Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Le club des veufs noirs [Book Review]

I never knew that famed science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov also produced several down-to-earth mysteries. Le club des veufs noirs ("The Black Widowers Club") is a collection of short stories that each take place within the four walls of a monthly men's supper club. The Black Widowers only have four rules: no women allowed, every member must call each "Doctor", nothing said within the club can be repeated outside, and the rotating host must invite an outside guest. Each story has the same set-up: after a bit of chatter and banter, this month's guest explains a particular mystery that has been vexing him and the six Black Widowers debate possible solutions back and forth. And then their waiter, Henry, solves the problem by placing a few pointed questions.

These are very nice, light mysteries, just complex enough to give the reader a fighting chance to solve them before the end. Because they all have the same setting and progression, it's better to space out the stories than reading the whole book at once. I know Asimov published some subsequent Black Widowers stories in Ellery Queen, so if I ever come across a collection I'll definitely pick it up.

Next: SAS À ISTANBUL (a cheap spy novel)

No comments: