Bruce Wayne—yes, that Bruce Wayne, the real-life guy on whom Batman was modeled—is having problems with his manservant, who had some valuable Batman memorabilia in his possession and managed to escape some people following him in order to steal it by flying northwest and yet didn’t go northwest at all.

I’m not a Batman fan, by any means, although I remember the original TV series with fondness. (I learned to tell time largely so that I would be able to know when it was about to start.) I also like the first Batman movie, and maybe even the second. My reaction to this story was dominated, I’m sorry to say, by the fact that Asimov is giving poor Bob Kane the shaft by pretending that Batman was made up by someone else, and I’m also sorry to say that I figured out the mystery well before Henry did. (Of course, the fact that I had just flown Northwest myself between the Orient and the Pacific Coast helped.)

And yet I liked the story. I think that’s largely because at the time I first read it, it seemed like it would be the last “new” Black Widowers mystery I would read. It was good to see Henry and the other Black Widowers in harness once more, and it made a nice note on which the series could end.

Even allowing, however, for the fact that since then Charles Ardai has brought five more Black Widowers stories into book form, I still like the story. Despite my being able to figure out the mystery, it’s still a pleasant one, and Bruce Wayne makes for an interesting guest.

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