THE RETURN OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS by Isaac Asimov

THE RETURN OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Just because you’re dead is no reason to let a long-running short-story franchise wither.

Asimov, who passed away over ten years ago, always kept two typewriters going at the same time, so it’s no surprise that reams of his material still await collection. These six tales, like their predecessors (Puzzles of the Black Widowers, 1989, etc.), involve a set of fusty graybeards who pose unsolved riddles after a clubby dinner served by the estimable Henry. Their—ultimately Henry’s—expertise is applied to cases concerning Batman, anonymous letters, a wayward umbrella, a harassed cellist’s wife, the name on a credit card, and a note on a hatband deposited in a cloakroom. Amiable and modestly puzzling though these anecdotes are, half a dozen of them hardly fill out a book, so editor Ardai adds a batch of ten previously collected Black Widowers tales that focus on peace of mind, final-exam questions, Daylight Savings Time, un-psychic phenomena, an unbeautiful British stamp, puns and anagrams, a Wordsworth sonnet, a redhead sitting in a restaurant, the occupants of a house, and an old man’s library. To round things off, Ardai also includes William Brittain’s "The Man Who Read Isaac Asimov," which makes use of the Black Widowers’ skills, and his own "The Last Story," which sets the group a case of disputed authorship.

Perfect for short train rides, waiting rooms, and those who favor talk-talk-talk with a modicum of description.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7867-1248-1
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2003




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