Tag Archive: series



Isaac Asimov is well known for his extremely numerous writing contributions to science and science fiction.  But not everyone knows he was also a mystery author and regular contributor to Ellery Queen Magazine, as well as a few others.  His most famous crime sleuths never actually went to a crime scene, nor did they go into police headquarters and announce they had cracked an important case.

No, these amateur sleuths, who call themselves the Black Widowers because once a month they come together for a dinner of just themselves and one invited guest, a man.  Women are not allowed to attend this function, hence their nickname.  For one night a month they can enjoy just the company of each other without female company, not that they object to women.  It’s simply their own little club.  The members of this little club are based on friends from the author’s own life and are listed here:

  • Geoffrey Avalon, a patent attorney (based on L. Sprague de Camp)
  • Emmanuel Rubin, a mystery novelist and acquaintance of Isaac Asimov (based on Lester del Rey)
  • James Drake, a chemist (based on Dr. John D. Clark)
  • Thomas Trumbull, an expert in cryptography for the United States government (based on Gilbert Cant)
  • Mario Gonzalo, an artist, who usually draws a portrait of the evening’s guest (based on Lin Carter)
  • Roger Halsted, a high school mathematics teacher, fond of jokes and limericks (based on Don Bensen)
  • Henry Jackson, the club’s waiter, was not based on an actual person, but according to Asimov was inspired by PG Wodehouses character Jeeves.
 
At each meeting a guest is brought by one of the members and after being served an excellent meal, are then ‘grilled’ by the group, usually by being asked “How do you justify your existence…?”  What happens in the first story sets the stage for the rest of the tales within the pages of this excellent work.
 
A puzzle is presented to the Black Widowers who systematically try to help find the answer to their guest’s dilemma. In the end, it is the esteemable Henry who provides the final solution to each of the twelve tales you will find here.  Each story is presented fairly and the reader is supplied all the hints that the Black Widowers are given.  Although Henry supplies the answer, he always credits the club members for having helped eliminate all the other options, allowing him to discover the final solution.  
 
My personal favorite in this collection is “The Acquisitive Chuckle” which is also the 1st story.  In it we learn a great deal about our hosts and even more importantly we gain keen insight into their wondrous butler Henry, a scrupulously honest man, but who is not above delivering a little payback to an old partner.
 
There is one puzzle that involves a death of one of the club member’s sister, which is touching and bittersweet, but handled very well.
As for the rest of the tales, each has its own flavor and unique outcome.  I can safely say that they are wonderful puzzles that will keep you guessing and wondering.  But at the same time it is the interplay between the characters will also keep you smiling and laughing.
 
There are 5 books in this series and I will tell you right now, each one is a 5-Star read.  I intend to review each of them as in the near future.

5 Stars.

ImageThis is the 2nd installment of the long running Bed and Breakfast Mysteries and it was every bit as good as I’d hoped. The protagonists, two middle aged women who are cousins, are great foils for each other with their banter and sharp wit. Having grown up like sisters, they know each others habits, temperaments and strengths. They also naturally share a long family history and deep understanding of one another. Together they make a formidable amateur sleuth team.

In this story, while on a trip to Canada they encounter some old high school friends and a colorful local popcorn seller who becomes the victim of murder. But the mystery deepens when his pet parakeet is also found dead after he is murdered.

Watching the cousins dealing with international police instead of the typical American police is a nice touch which adds a great flavor to the story. Having actually been to Canada myself, I could really enjoy this particular tale. The clues are laid out for the reader and the writer plays fair with us in this enthralling mystery.

Looking forward to reading number three in the series and getting caught up to date.  


My debut novel “The Bridge” is a unique blend of horror/mystery/science fiction and it will be available on Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Sony, Nook this Friday.

The novel will also be available in Kindle and Trade Paperback shortly.

Here’s a the book jacket blurb”

Alex Hill buried his psychic talents for eighteen years. But with the scream of tires and twisting metal all this changes.

When his girlfriend, Police Sergeant Veronica Ross, is nearly run down by two teens he becomes concerned. But upon learning that both the driver and passenger had been dead for almost twelve hours before the crash, he knows what he must do…

WELCOME TO BOOK ONE OF THE PARA-EARTH SERIES

Note: Books 2 and 3 are already under way.

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