A private investigator is on the trail of a man who was defrauded by his business partner and managed to enjoy a most unusual revenge. The trial leads him to a stag organization that meets monthly for dinner and their imperturbable waiter—who is able to solve the mystery for once and for all.

This is the very first Black Widower story, and although it does fit the general formula very well—a mystery is presented over the course of the after-dinner grilling and Henry provides the solution—it does so in a completely different way from any other Black Widower mystery. Here, the problem is what exactly did the defrauded businessman do, and since Henry himself is the defrauded businessman who has turned to another line of work altogether—he can answer the question.

It is actually a fairly weak story, and since I’m not as fond of Asimov’s mysteries as I am of his sf, I’m very tempted to give it a lower rating—but it’s the beginning of something very significant in Asimov’s career, and so one ought to have it under one’s belt.

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