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Tales of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,732 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
There were six of them. Professional men and their waiter. They gather at the Milano Restaurant once a month for good food and good conversation. But lately the Black Widowers have added a new entertainment to their meetings. They have begun to solve mysteries, murders, and conspiracies of seemingly impossible dimensions.

With all the skills of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule P
Mass Market Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 12th 1976 by Fawcett (first published 1974)
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The Westing Game by Ellen RaskinAnd Then There Were None by Peter ForemanEncyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. SobolThe Roman Hat Mystery by Ellery QueenCasebook of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov
Solve-it-yourself Mysteries- All Ages
7th out of 54 books — 20 voters
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Best Asimov Books
36th out of 65 books — 82 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,858)
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Nandakishore Varma
Jul 12, 2015 Nandakishore Varma rated it it was ok
I was in the mood to read something light, so I picked this up, even though I do not have much of an opinion of Dr. Asimov as a mystery writer. I had read one of these collections during my early twenties, when I was a hardcore fan of Asimov and was less exacting in terms of expectations from the books I read: therefore I had found them mildly interesting. But alas, the magic has worn off.

I did not finish these book, but dropped it after four or five stories. These are just parlour puzzles, plot
Feb 13, 2013 Manny rated it did not like it
Towards the end of his life, Asimov became obsessive about publishing as much as possible: he'd brag about having published his age in years and his weight in pounds and stuff like that. He ended up with several hundred books to his credit, but, unsurprisingly, the standard suffered.

This collection, an impulse buy at an airport bookstall, was one of the last ones I read. It's a bunch of extremely dull little mysteries; the most noteworthy point is that Asimov, apparently as interested in the pro
Feb 11, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
Asimov turned his hand at writing many genres and styles - some better than others (after all he is known for his science fiction after all) BUT I think mysteries come a close second.

The tales of the black widowers (and the subsequent equals which I will read once I find them, along with the Union Club mysteries) are perfect examples of the after dinner who dunnit story. Each one is presented as a tale from one of the diners for the pleasure and confusion of the rest of he attendees. The storie
Maria João Fernandes
Dec 02, 2013 Maria João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, favorites
"O facto é que em praticamente todos os crimes de que há registo, a pessoa mais suspeita é realmente o criminoso."

Após uma introdução brilhante no início do livro, Isaac Asimov apresenta-nos o Clube dos Viúvos Negros.

Um grupo de seis homens junta-se, uma vez por mês, num jantar privado, deixando as suas mulheres em casa e concentrando-se em usufruir, ao máximo, da companhia uns dos outros. Entre eles encontra-se um escritor, um professor de matemática, um especialista em criptografia, um artist
Joanna Forbes
Apr 12, 2016 Joanna Forbes rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, borrowed
It's been a while since I held a paperback and since I read Asimov. The borrowed, second hand copy brought back memories of all the second hand Asimov of my teens and 20s.

The stories all have a note, and the author's voice still speaks to me as he always did. He's warm, friendly and self-deprecatingly aware of his own vanity. I still like him, after more than 30 years acquaintance.

Oh, the actual book is a nice collection of mysteries. I think I worked out one of them before the end. I still li
Brian R. Mcdonald
Jun 17, 2010 Brian R. Mcdonald rated it really liked it
Contains the short story "The Curious Omission" which in turn contains a brief go reference.

This short story started life as a bibliographic oddity, and without a go reference. The Union Carbide corporation held a "super-sleuth" contest for their customers. The company published, and distributed to "packagers, formulators, and marketers of soap and/or detergent products, chemical specialty products, and cosmetic chemicals", special editions of three of the canonical collections of Sherlock Holme
Jul 06, 2009 Hollis rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-fiction
With the greatest respect and admiration for Dr A, I have to say nevertheless that this has to be the most boring thing I have ever read: a collection of dull and predictable stories. (I hate to say this but: would they have even been published if they hadn't been written by Isaac Asimov?)

No, I mean it: really boring. As boring as cold shit, as boring as watching paint dry, as boring as a six-hour lecture by Isaac Asimov entitled ''Why I Am So Great'' followed by a two-hour session in which Dr
Uriel Ramirez
Jan 24, 2012 Uriel Ramirez rated it really liked it
At first, when I started to read this book the content was somewhat hard to understand. The wording may be a little advanced (Book level) for some readers. Regardless to that, the use of descriptive sentences helps the reader picture in their head the ideas of what the book is telling. The author is great with mysteries and the way the characters are described. Each character has a different style (purpose) that makes things clear to the reader. I would recommend this book to someone who is grea ...more
Aug 29, 2014 Yvonne rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-drawer
If you've never read anything by Isaac Asimov, this is a way to start. Asimov was a prolific writer, and wrote on many different subjects: Bible archaelogy,religion, Greek origins of our words. He wrote a series of 3 manuals on nuclear energy, and described it in a way that anyone could understand. There's so many I couldn't begin to list all of his interests.He was most famous, though, for his science fiction. He wrote the trilogy starting with "I, Robot," and originated the "Ten laws of roboti ...more
May 26, 2014 Kaligolo rated it it was amazing
I didn't know Asimov wrote crime stories. Well, he did. A ton of them, published as collections of short stories over the years.

The Black Windowers are a group of friends from various professions and social circles, who gather once a month in an Italian restaurant for their traditional dinner. The only rule being: no women. Each month (and each short story), one of the members invites a guests, who turns out to have a mystery to solve.

First, I like how diverse the mysteries are. It's not (only)
Aug 11, 2015 Claudia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Amo Asimov come scrittore di fantascienza, da morire, e mi sono approcciata a questo libro con non poco scetticismo.
Lo stile e la complessità dei racconti, proprio a livello giallistico, non sono minimamente paragonabili a quelle che si trovano nei capolavori fantascientifici dell’autore (eppure l’elemento giallistico e di mistero è spiccato in parecchi libri di Asimov).
Spesso il mistero è piuttosto semplice e la trama è quasi ingenua ma Asimov è riuscito a creare, tratteggiandoli appena, dei pe
Giacomo Boccardo
Questa è la prima volta che leggo qualcosa di Asimov che non sia legato alla fantascienza. Si tratta, infatti, di una raccolta di racconti gialli che vengono esposti, discussi e risolti nell'ambito delle riunioni di un gruppo di conoscenti che si autodefiniscono scherzosamente "Vedovi Neri", anche perché a tali incontri non possono prendere parte le rispettive mogli.
Ad ogni ritrovo, a turno, uno degli appartenenti a tale club ha la possibilità di portare un ospite che dovrà accettare di farsi in
Elizabeth McDonald
Apr 14, 2008 Elizabeth McDonald rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
Isaac Asimov - writing mysteries! What more can I say? When I found this book at the library, it was like a personal present from the universe to me. Asimov's style is highly influence (he admits this himself) by Agatha Christie, with each mystery serving as a puzzle.

Each of the short stories in this volume (and its sequels) deals with the Black Widowers' Club, a fictional group of men who meet monthly for dinner with one guest. Invariably, the guest has some puzzle; in variably, the intellectua
Carly  Patrick
Sep 30, 2015 Carly Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Primer libro que leo de Asimov y debo decir que me he enamorado.

¿Por dónde empezar? Primeramente,tenemos un compilado de relatos cortos que el escritor hizo para una revista y posteriormente formó esta gran obra, que nos habla de un grupo de seis hombres que se reúnen mes tras mes a resolver diversos misterios de ellos mismos o de alguno de los invitados de los viudos negros.

Los personajes son hombres mayores sumamente agradables y las historias muy atrapantes e interesantes; que incluso, yo in
Jan 31, 2012 J. rated it liked it
The idea of the stories told-round-the-table is interesting, and Asimov is careful to have the members ask every possible question to exclude every possibility, but this brings two problems: the first is that, in trying to exclude every possibility, sometimes someone has to say silly things like, "There's no way John could have stolen the gold--he is too short." It's supposed to tell the members that that isn't a possibility, but it's frequently awkwardly unconvincing for the reader. Also, the b ...more
Poecraft Hyde
Feb 07, 2016 Poecraft Hyde rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy lejos de sus temas científicos, Asimov presenta relatos de corte misterioso, que sin llegar al nivel de Doyle, entretienen en su sentido. Aun así, un poco flojo y repetitivo.
Mar 09, 2011 Vito rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seconda raccolta dei racconti gialli di Asimov: storie leggere e ingegnose che svolgono per bene il loro dovere di intrattenere il lettore. In pratica, una conferma delle impressioni positive che mi aveva dato il primo volume.

Feb 02, 2016 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es increíble que el maestro de la ciencia ficción Asimov pueda pasar de un género al otro con tanta soltura y hacerlo tan bien, los relatos de los Viudos Negros son una delicia para los que nos gustan los libros de misterios, muy en la onda de Ágatha Christie (salvando las distancias claro está), tenemos un grupo de amigos que se reúnen una vez al mes en una especie de club "solo caballeros", tan popular en Inglaterra donde básicamente comen, beben, discuten y pasan un buen rato, lo interesante ...more
M Hamed
Aug 12, 2015 M Hamed rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015, fiction
not a single women in it,it was quite lovely
Aug 01, 2012 Aries rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giallo-soft
Come ho scritto più volte Asimov è uno dei miei scrittori preferiti: la sua fantascienza è alla base della mia passione per il genere ed il suo modo di fare divulgazione scientifica ha sempre dimostrato come sia possibile esporre argomenti anche difficili in maniera appassionante.Ma Asimov era anche un autore di gialli: già nel ciclo di Lucky Starr aveva fuso il genere fantascientifico e quello più squisitamente del giallo, ma sicuramente il suo maggior risultato fu coi racconti dei Vedovi Neri. ...more
Mar 26, 2015 allimo rated it really liked it
Recommended to allimo by: Bobbyliu
These are wonderful. I've been a big fan of the mystery short story genre since about kindergarten when I first picked up an Encyclopedia Brown book, and I thought I'd pretty much exhausted my supply by devouring all the Holmes stories in elementary/middle school and nearly every Poirot throughout college. It's wonderful to find more - of which, interestingly, I'd actually read one previously in a "Detective Stories" anthology that had stuck with me for ages. I remembered the story but had forgo ...more
Allan Krummenacker
Jan 27, 2013 Allan Krummenacker rated it it was amazing
Isaac Asimov was one of the most prolific of writers. Known mostly for his Robots and Foundation series and other science fiction classics, he was also a master of the short story mystery. In his Black Widowers series, he introduced us to a group of gentlemen who one night every month, leave their wives to themselves and gather to eat a wonderful meal together. Their waiter, an unassuming fellow named Henry, serves his 'gentlemen' with an easy professional manner.

These men all come from differe
Alan Smith
Jun 07, 2013 Alan Smith rated it really liked it
Every month, the all-male society dining club known as the "Black Widowers" (based on a group of SF writers known as "The Trap Door Spiders" of which Asimov himself was a member) meet for a gargantuan feast.

And each month, whoever is acting as host not only chooses the menu, but brings along a guest. And said guest always - without fail - has some mystery,conundrum or problem that the members of the club try to solve.

And, despite their huge collective ability and intelligence, they always end u
Aug 16, 2014 Francesco rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americani
Lessi un volume dei Vedovi Neri ere fa e mi piacque.
Ma sono passate, appunto, ere e i gusti cambiano.
Divertissement d'autore, dal gradevole sapore artigianale, ma con un retrogusto "alimentare" molto evidente che, tra l'altro, lo stesso Asimov, nelle note ai racconti stessi, non rinnega.
Si legge veloce e ogni racconto dà soddisfazione con la soluzione del mistero della serata. Alcuni misteri sono un po' artati, altri graziosamente ingenui.
Lettura piacevole e basta.
Jan 04, 2016 Lis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
E' il primo della serie dei Vedovi Neri. Purtroppo però l'ho letto solamente dopo "Dodici casi per i Vedovi Neri", il secondo della serie e che mi è piaciuto di più.
In questo si nota quasi che Asimov sta ancora "prendendo le misure" a questi racconti e in alcuni punti non ho trovato la stessa costante piacevolezza che ho invece trovato nel secondo.
Resta comunque una lettura leggera e divertente.
Arthur Doweyko
Apr 25, 2015 Arthur Doweyko rated it really liked it
This book is not for everyone. Asimov uses his incredible talent in creating a curious mix of widowers who meet to have dinner and solve mysteries. These mysteries, however, are not meant to be serious, but hang on the author's wit and keen insight into human nature. The result is more of a study of human nature than rollicking detective adventures. A great bedtime snack.
Tobias Schmidt-Gönner
I started that book to read a bit more Science Fiction. Therefore I grabbed an book by Asimov, without checking. It's not. Its a collection of mystery stories. Nice ones.
Although I prefer Asimovs own role model for mystery writes, Agatha Christie and will probably stay with Asminovs SF stories.
Jeff Hobbs
May 20, 2016 Jeff Hobbs marked it as to-read
Read so far:

The Acquisitive Chuckle --
Ph as in Phony--
Truth to Tell --
Go, Little Book! --
Early Sunday Morning --
The Obvious Factor --
The Pointing Finger --
Miss What? --
The Lullaby of Broadway --
Yankee Doodle Went to Town --
The Curious Omission --
Out of Sight --
Sep 19, 2014 Federica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ho amato più l'ambientazione e i Vedovi Neri in sè piuttosto che la trama dei racconti. Sono brevi gialli che però non arriverei a definire "gioielli di logica" come altri hanno detto. Molto piacevoli ma non straordinari dal punto di vista dell'intreccio narrativo.
Semplicemente amabili le note dell'autore.
Aug 03, 2011 J'aime rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asimov may be best known for his science fiction, but he was also a master of murder mysteries. Each Black Widowers book is an anthology of short stories with the same group of characters. The "Black Widowers" is a men's club that meets once a month to host a guest for dinner. Each guest always has a mystery that needs to be solved, and the butler Henry (also a club member) always solves it. These mysteries are heavily based on logic and are actually more puzzles than mysteries. Readers have to ...more
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Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born, American author, a professor of biochemistry, and a highly successful writer, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books.

Professor Asimov is generally considered the most prolific writer of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works published in nine of the te
More about Isaac Asimov...

Other Books in the Series

The Black Widowers (6 books)
  • More Tales of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #2)
  • Casebook of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #3)
  • Banquets of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #4)
  • Puzzles of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #5)
  • The Return of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #6)

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