Tales of the Black Widowers -- Isaac Asimov More Tales of the Black Widowers -- Isaac Asimov
These mysteries are so much fun. They're kind of like a grown-up version of Encyclopedia Brown crossed with Miss Marple. Like Encycolpedia Brown, they're puzzle mysteries--not logic problems--mysteries that you need knowledge not necessarily provided in the story to solve, but that ARE solveable if you know the right things about the right subjects. And like Miss Marple, there isn't a lot of action. All of them are solved within the confines of the Milano Restaurant. Also, all of them are solved by the Black Widowers' waiter, Henry.
Some of them are a lot of fun--I especially liked the literary ones--one revolved around Tolkien, one revolved around Sherlock Holmes, and one involved Alice in Wonderland. Since it's Asimov, he hits a TON of different subjects--and his Introductions and Afterwords are all worth reading.
The stories are very self-aware (in a good way), to the point of silliness like this:
"All right," said Trumbull, looking glum, you're a science fiction writer like Manny's pal what's-his-name--uh--Asimov."
"No friend of mine," said Rubin swiftly. "I just help him out now and then when he's stuck on some elementary scientific point."
Gonzalo said, "Is he the one you once said carried the Columbia Encyclopedia around with him becuase he was listed there?"
"It's worse now," said Rubin. "He's bribed someone at the Britannica to put him into the new 15th edition and these days he drags the whole set with him wherever he goes."
What can I say? To read him is to love him.