SIX PROBLEMS FOR DON ISIDRO PARODI by Jorge Luis & Adolfo Bioy-Casares Borges


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Published originally in 1943 in Buenos Aires, these six detective-story fooleries represent Borges and Bioy-Casares at their most in-joking, parodistic (as the title ifself gives away), and literarily brittle. In cell 273 of a Buenos Aires jail, framed and sentenced to 21 years' imprisonment, sits famed sleuth Don Isidro Parodi--who is consulted there by radio actors, Gongoristic rhetoricians, and a general run of fools. And, after carefully listening to the verbiage-inflated stories of these clients, Don Isidro--without moving from his cell, by elegant cerebration alone--almost always comes up with who killed whom, when, and why (plus a little philosophical adage at the end in the bargain). In Buenos Aires literary circles at the time, these detective send-ups (references to Poe, Chesterton, Christie) must have given rise to much true drollery: the sensuous flimsiness of the satire here makes for the primary pleasure. But, though dazzling in their command of throwaway styles, these elegant trifles (with no real detective-story values) are at best intriguing curiosities today--chiefly for Borges devotees and the most erudite sort of mystery buffs.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1981
Publisher: Dutton