Cover image for The return of the Black Widowers
The return of the Black Widowers
Asimov, Isaac, 1920-1992.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Carroll & Graf Publishers, [2003]

Physical Description:
xv, 335 pages : 24 cm
General Note:
"An Otto Penzler book."
The acquisitive chuckle.--Ph as in phony.--Early Sunday morning.--The obvious factor.--The iron gem.--To the barest.--Sixty million trillion combinations.--The redhead.--The wrong house.--Triple devil.--Northwestward.--Yes, but why?--Lost in a space warp.--Police at the door.--The haunted cabin.--The guest's guest.--The woman in the bar.--The last story.--Afterword: Birth of the Black Widowers.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy
X Adult Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



Bound in one must-have volume are six diabolically clever Black Widowers mysteries never before published in book form and ten of the all-time best stories.

Author Notes

Isaac Asimov was born in Petrovichi, Russia, on January 2, 1920. His family emigrated to the United States in 1923 and settled in Brooklyn, New York, where they owned and operated a candy store. Asimov became a naturalized U.S. citizen at the age of eight. As a youngster he discovered his talent for writing, producing his first original fiction at the age of eleven. He went on to become one of the world's most prolific writers, publishing nearly 500 books in his lifetime.

Asimov was not only a writer; he also was a biochemist and an educator. He studied chemistry at Columbia University, earning a B.S., M.A. and Ph.D. In 1951, Asimov accepted a position as an instructor of biochemistry at Boston University's School of Medicine even though he had no practical experience in the field. His exceptional intelligence enabled him to master new systems rapidly, and he soon became a successful and distinguished professor at Columbia and even co-authored a biochemistry textbook within a few years.

Asimov won numerous awards and honors for his books and stories, and he is considered to be a leading writer of the Golden Age of science fiction. While he did not invent science fiction, he helped to legitimize it by adding the narrative structure that had been missing from the traditional science fiction books of the period. He also introduced several innovative concepts, including the thematic concern for technological progress and its impact on humanity.

Asimov is probably best known for his Foundation series, which includes Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. In 1966, this trilogy won the Hugo award for best all-time science fiction series. In 1983, Asimov wrote an additional Foundation novel, Foundation's Edge, which won the Hugo for best novel of that year. Asimov also wrote a series of robot books that included I, Robot, and eventually he tied the two series together. He won three additional Hugos, including one awarded posthumously for the best non-fiction book of 1995, I. Asimov. "Nightfall" was chosen the best science fiction story of all time by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

In 1979, Asimov wrote his autobiography, In Memory Yet Green. He continued writing until just a few years before his death from heart and kidney failure on April 6, 1992.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ah, there's nothing like a Harlan Ellison rant to add some spice to a short story collection, and he delivers a beaut in the form of an introduction to this collection of the late Asimov's Black Widower stories, one of the incredibly prolific author's relatively rare ventures into the mystery genre. Asimov wrote 66 Black Widower tales in all, from 1970 until his death in 1992, and this collection brings together 6 never published in book form in addition to the editor's selection of the 10 best. Each story is framed by a meeting of the Black Widower Club, at which the members, armchair detectives all, are treated to a gourmet dinner and then, for dessert, tested with a classic puzzle mystery. The mysteries tend to be gentle and ironic, solved by deduction instead of mayhem--and explained for the slow of mind by the inimitable waiter Henry. For fans of puzzle mysteries, this one's a gem, from a kinder, gentler era. (What does Ellison rant about? Mostly the book's editor, Ardai.) --Elliott Swanson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans of Asimov's Black Widower brain-teasers, which typically turn on wordplay and subtle observation, will welcome this sixth (and first posthumous) collection in this diverting series. The book includes Shamus nominee Ardai's choices of the 10 best Black Widower stories, six previously uncollected tales and more. In each tale, the six members of the Black Widowers club gather to dine, socialize and take a crack at solving a puzzle posed by an invited guest. Invariably, the highly literate and intelligent group-an artist, a patent lawyer, a cryptographer, a math teacher, a chemist and a mystery writer (whose real-life counterparts from Asimov's circle of science-fiction colleagues Harlan Ellison identifies in his foreword)-falls short of success, and their Jeeves-like waiter, Henry, effortlessly points out the often obvious clues they overlooked. The mysteries the club tackles range from murder to theft to the seemingly inexplicable disappearance of an umbrella into a space warp. Most are locked-room or impossible crimes, and since the author bends over backwards to play fair, many readers will easily be able to anticipate the solutions. These old-fashioned puzzle stories may not have much substance, but they never fail to entertain. (Dec. 8) Forecast: Expect crossover from fans of Asimov's SF who may have been unaware of his mystery fiction. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved