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Casebook of the Black Widowers

by Isaac Asimov

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499438,727 (3.75)1
Twelve mystery stories chronicling the further cerebral adventures of the Black Widowers involve all manner of ingenious word play and all manner of clever crime.
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Fun little mysteries written in Asimov's approachable, friendly style. Not terribly deep, but one shouldn't crack open a book of short, formulaic stories expecting that anyway. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
It's difficult to categorize these stories. I had thought I was going to be reading a series of crime and murder mystery stories, but only three (I think) of the stories actually deal with such. Even then, they aren't whodunnits, as the perpetrator is not necessarily disclosed.

What they are is a collection of witty and cleverly concocted conundrums about divers topics and with enough information given for the dedicated reader to work out the answer before Henry the waiter does so. Personally, I'm too lazy to make the mental effort, so just enjoyed getting to the revelation. The puzzle itself and the logical process of solving it is really the point; the answer itself is almost irrelevant.

As with many of Asimov's short story collections, there's a little afterword to each tale, giving a bit of background to either the writing of the story or the genesis of the plot. It's like Asimov is chatting to you and almost made me feel like a guest at the monthly banquet of the Black Widowers, if only somebody had brought me a brandy as I finished each story. ( )
  Michael.Rimmer | Mar 30, 2013 |
In this collection of short mysteries, Asimov showed the ability to create clever and complex plots capable of keeping you turning the page if only to find the solution. His characters are thin and forgettable, but the stories will keep you compulsively turning the page, and short enough to encourage just one more read. ( )
  Bill_Peschel | Oct 16, 2010 |
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Emmanuel Rubin did not, as a general rule, ever allow a look of relief to cross his face.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Twelve mystery stories chronicling the further cerebral adventures of the Black Widowers involve all manner of ingenious word play and all manner of clever crime.

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Book description
The Black Widowers Club — there were six of them. Professional men and their waiter. They gather at the Milano Restaurant once a month for good food and good conversation. But lately the Black Widowers have added a new entertainment to their meetings. They have begun to solve mysteries, murders, and conspiracies of seemingly impossible dimensions.

With all the skill of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot combined, these six men and their ever-faithful waiter, Henry, take on challenging cases that will tease your deductive skills to the limit and keep you guessing to the very end.

What ancient sign can be seen on a highway at night? In what way may Halloween be considered equal to Christmas? What is a one-syllable middle name that represents what every schoolchild knows, but doesn't?

Who on this earth would be preoccupied with such rigmarole? Yes, the Black Widowers have convened once more for gourmet meals, fine wine, and evenings of solving murderous riddles.

Limericks, anagrams, puns, indeed all kinds of word puzzles, hold the solution to such enigmas as the mystery of the Tri-Luciferians, an ingenious murder in outer space, the whereabouts of a missing person, a brilliant computer crime.

The Cross of Lorraine
The Family Man (A Case of Income-Tax Fraud)
The Sports Page
Second Best
The Missing Item
The Next Day
Irrelevance! (A Matter of Irrelevance)
None So Blind
The Backward Look
What Time Is It?
Middle Name
To the Barest

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