Jan 12, 2012

The Return of the Black Widowers, by Isaac Asimov

It came as a bit of a shock to me that Isaac Asimov wrote sixty-six short mystery stories. He is indelibly etched in my mind as the genius behind such science fiction masterpieces as "I, Robot." It turns out, though, that he loved the mystery genre even more than science fiction, because he loved giving his readers puzzles to solve. His goal in writing these stories, based on Agatha Christie's books (he declares her the greatest mystery writer of all time), was to present a clever little puzzle to the reader within the bounds of a comfortable pattern. The older gents are lovingly antagonistic, the guest always has some sort of problem that needs solving, and Henry, that most incomparable of waiters, always comes up with the answer while the Black Widowers remain stumped.

The stories are quick, fun and highly enjoyable. It is a special little treat to try and figure out the answers before Henry performs his big reveal, and the satisfied little thrill one gets when one does figure out the solution is an added bonus. I would definitely read more of these stories, and think most people would find them quite enjoyable.

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