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Murder At The ABA

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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  897 ratings  ·  81 reviews
When the protege of writer Darius Just suddenly turns up murdered at the celebrated annual publishing convention, chaos and suspense sweep the autographing sessions, the buffet tables, the bars, and the famed hospitality suites.

Darius is certain he can discover the murderer--if the murderer doesn't find him first....
Paperback, 269 pages
Published June 1977 by Fawcett Crest (first published 1976)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  897 ratings  ·  81 reviews


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Manny
Another bandwagon I couldn't resist the urge to jump on...

ASIMOV: Good morning team. Now, I know you're all eager to get started on Authorised Murder, but why don't we take a moment to introduce ourselves. You first.

ASIMOV: I'm Asimov. Overall concept. I'm proud to say that it's going to be a sexy, post-modernist mystery...

ASIMOV: You gotta be kidding. How are we ever-

ASIMOV: Shut up, Asimov. Next?

ASIMOV: Asimov. Plot and suspense.

ASIMOV: Like you're going to
...more
KristenR
Up to now I had only read some of Asimov's science fiction work, so when I came across this mystery I didn't know what to expect, but thought I'd give it a try.

It was great! It was funny and clever (and, yes, dated - but enjoyable nonetheless)

I liked how he wrote himself into the story. It was done in a way that really worked, and those were the scenes that really made me laugh.
However, I had to roll my eyes at some of his descriptions of the female characters and f
...more
Jerri Brissette
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know Asimov wrote anything other than science fiction, but this was excellent. I love the way he inserted himself into the story as a third person; very amusing the way he describes himself.
Craig
Aug 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Asimov obviously had a lot of fun writing this one. The mystery aspect itself isn't really captivating but the story is entertaining and Asimov's style is fresh and easy. The main character, Darius Just, is more or less modeled after Harlan Ellison, and Asimov makes himself a character. The story takes place over a weekend at the 75th ABA in 1975. It's an amusing read and a good reminder that Asimov wrote a lot more than just good science fiction.
Christina
Ok, but not one of his best. This one felt like he was writing just to write, not because he actually had a story tell. I wouldn't recommend it.
Steve R
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Asimov's foray into the whodunit genre, with a fanciful story set at a meeting of the American Bookseller's Association. A friend of a writer and amateur detective, Darius Just, is discovered dead, but Just is unable to convince the police that this is the result of a murder. Independent investigations uncover some nefarious on goings at the hotel and lead to a solution to the mystery. Not remembered.
Mark Oppenlander
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Isaac Asimov was a ridiculously talented author. But by the time he reached the mid-70's, I think he was convinced he could take on any challenge and do it well. He was not entirely correct.

Take this book, Murder at the ABA. Apparently, an editor suggested to Asimov that he write a mystery novel set at the American Booksellers' Convention, just to add some "local color" to it. Asimov took on the challenge, apparently doing extensive research while attending the actual ABA in 1975. The pl
...more
Megan
Isaac Asimov... mystery writer??? Apparantly so. Murder at the ABA describes just that; a murder which takes place at the 1975 American Booksellers Association convention. Asimov appears as a minor character in this story, and apparently included enough real information regarding the actual 1975 ABA convention that he had to include a disclaimer that the events portrayed are a work of fiction. The mystery was only so-so. For me the star of this story was narrator Darius Just; especially as he was r ...more
Joan
I did enjoy this book! Someone described this as "meta-fiction" and I see their point. Asimov introduces himself as one of the characters and he and the main character/detective scatter footnotes throughout the book insulting each other and having a lot of fun. He also threw in a scene where he is autographing books. It turns out to be an important scene but it is also a lot of fun to read. Asimov simply enjoyed interacting with his readers, especially of the female variety. It actually is not o ...more
Kathy
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a fun read especially for anyone who's attended a SF con and Asimov went to many. It's clever (Asimov's a character in the story) and funny and the mystery is okay. But I don't think even Isaac himself would call it a great work of literature.
William
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars, but very unsure about it.

On the one hand, Isaac is my boy. Not only does he write terrific sci-fi a lot of the time- he also, as a bonus, gets what makes fair-play mystery tick. And as a bonus-bonus, he gets what it takes to make fair play sci-fi mystery tick. Win-win-win, as they say.

Murder at the ABA isn't a sci-fi mystery, but it is very much a fair play mystery, and while the resolution didn't set me on fire in the tradition of the best rug-pullers, the piece
...more
Blue
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Murder at the ABA is a fun story where author Darius Just uncovers the murder of a fellow author at a book-selling convention, and spends the rest of the novel trying to prove that it was in fact a murder and not an accident, as well as figuring out who the killer is. I was introduced to the character of Darius Just via Isaac Asimov's story "The Woman in the Bar," and I found him so charming that I was compelled to read this book. Unfortunately, Just's charm did not hold up in Murder at the ABA, ...more
Lynn
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny. Clever mystery. A little nostalgia from being set at a booksellers convention.

The characters are quirky and flawed – but you have to like them in spite of themselves. This wasn’t a deep or complex mystery novel – it was a fun read of what it might have been like to be at the ABA, with a little mystery thrown in.

Asimov writes himself into the story, and actually has snarky conversations between him and the main character in footnotes !

A favorite quote from the book is to me t
...more
Kate
Nov 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
"When the protege of writer Darius Just suddenly turns up murdered at the celebrated annual publishing convention, chaos and suspense sweep the autographing sessions, the buffet tables, the bars, and the famed hospitality suites.

"Darius is certain he can discover the murderer -- if the murderer doesn't find him first ..."
~~frontispiece

I just couldn't get into this book, which saddened me -- normally I like Asimov's writing very much. The format seemed disjointed, wh
...more
Irene
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
My mom recommended this book to me because I quite enjoyed all the Sherlock Holmes adventures and I am really happy she did.
This book presents and interesting mystery which is filled with funny moments, and a rather nice ending.
One of the things I appreciate very much about the book is how self-aware it is. The writer shows up as one of the characters and he and the character telling the story "argue"in the foot notes. This addition adds for many funny moments in the book.

Although it is a mur
...more
Angie Boyter
Asimov showed a lot of his trademark wit but also WAY TOO MUCH of his incessant sophomoric obsession with sex. And the denouement, while somewhat implausible, was not very clever; I expected something much more original.
He shoulda stuck with robots and psychohistory.
Vallery Feldman
This is just fun. A bit dated but still lots of in jokes foe the Sci Fi crowd and a good mystery to boot.
Bea
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read...and a real surprise as I did not know Isaac Asimov wrote anything other than Science Fiction.
Eric Stiffler
This was my introduction to Asimov. I hope the rest is better.
Pam Brownlee
As a mystery, it was OK. But it was diverting, and delightful, because of Asimov’s quirky cleverness.
Michael
This murder mystery takes place at the 75th Annual American Booksellers Association (ABA) conference in 1975. Asimov's publishers actually had him attend the conference in order to write this fictional book, and he cleverly mixes actual events with a fictional story (even going so far as to include himself as a character in the book). The mystery is competent and elusive until the end, and he makes it interesting with a constant flow of characters and conflicts. However, the first person narration requi ...more
Bev
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth
I don't know where I found this shabby paperback, but it could not have been better-timed; I was right in the middle of my metafiction craze and just stumbling into online media fandom, and so reading a story set in a convention in which the author appears as a character (a comic one, no less) -- there are no words for how much I enjoyed this.

Which is not to say it's one of Asimov's best. It's -- well, you know how Austen worried that Pride & Prejudice was "too light & bright
...more
Chuck Neumann
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting mystery written by Isaac Asimov, who writes himself into the book. The setting was interesting, allowing Asimov to include real people in the story (ranging from Carl Sagan to Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) although none had "speaking" parts, except for the author. The "hero" was an interesting character, noting all the unrelated small events that all paved the way for the murder. He also was short, which bothered him more than a little. I figured out who the murderer was fairly early on, bu ...more
Snailmontr
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well it is obvious that this isn't really his style. reminds me of György Kulin who - as a scientist - wrote science fiction. some parts of the story were sloppy or too predictable, but the overall insight of a scientists' approach to the mystery of space aliens were fascinating. the same scheme is to be applied to this; as a murder mystery it is sometimes sloppy, too slow or too obvious (you can choose) but Asimovs sarcastic insights into the atmosphere and personality types of such a conferenc ...more
Dusk Peterson
Oh my lord, have I been sensitized by recent events. I could barely make it through all the narrative observations of the "feminist" male protagonist on women: every description he gives of a female character begins with his assessment as to which body parts he finds attractive or unattractive. Asimov's self-insertion of himself as a character is amusing, except where the narrator compliments him on his ability to flirt with female readers. I entirely missed all this when reading the novel as a ...more
Laura
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A short, misogynist author who is short is at an American Bookseller Association convention where someone he knows dies. The short POV character is the only one who thinks it's murder, so he goes around pestering everyone until he gets it figured out. And he is short - that must be very clear.

The mystery is okay. The main character is hard to take. I think Asimov wrote this mostly for his own amusement, which carries the book for 30 pages or so.

At least it doesn't take up
...more
Robin
Apr 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This was a thoroughly entertaining read despite the remarkably unimpressive mystery plot. Luckily, the deft and almost gleeful writing style, the lifelike characters, the publishing world setting, and the rather startling (for me) glimpse into the 1970s via a very male perspective more than made up for the iffy plotting. The murderer is guessable early, which feels clumsy. Still, Asimov as a character was to die for and makes me want to go to back in time so I could attend one of his signings. I ...more
Felicity
Apr 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, novel, mystery
A murder mystery set at the American Bookseller's Association conference of 1975, and told from the point of view of a small, insecure, misanthropic author. It is clever and entertaining, as you'd expect from an Asimov mystery, and it's fascinating to see even an outdated look inside the publishing industry; but the book gets an added fillip of the surreal from the inclusion of Isaac Asimov as comic relief, and he and his protagonist taking potshots at each other in the footnotes.
Brian
Dec 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like murder mysteries and am a huge Asimov fan. This book is a quick little read where the main character (supposedly modeled after science fiction author Harlan Ellison) encounters Asimov. It was cute seeing Asimov write about himself in the third person.

Anyway, if you're an Asimov fan, i would give this 5 stars. If you're a mystery fan, I'd give it a 3. Mystery fans might be much more interested in his Black Widower series.
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17,226 followers
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 one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. He has works publish
...more
“And [Asimov]'ll sign anything, hardbacks, softbacks, other people's books, scraps of paper. Inevitably someone handed him a blank check on the occasion when I was there, and he signed that without as much as a waver to his smile — except that he signed: 'Harlan Ellison.” 57 likes
“Life is not like a murder mystery. In mysteries people always do the same thing. Then when some little thing is out of line, some wise-guy amateur detective makes big deductions. In real life, people don't do the same things all the time. They do different things at different times. In real life, people are crazy.” 3 likes
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