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The Union Club Mysteries [Hardcover]

Isaac Asimov
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Doubleday (Aug 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385188064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385188067
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,206,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable collection of short-shorts 2 Jan 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This anthology collected the first 30 stories from a monthly series of mystery shorts Asimov wrote for Eric Potter at Gallery magazine. The frame story for the series is a group of four men who sit together at their club. One of their number claims to have a background in intelligence, and has a habit of telling stories about problems he has solved for the police and intelligence services. The problems are typically in the form of lateral thinking puzzles, and Griswold invariably finishes by commenting that the answer was obvious, and waiting for his companions to admit that they can't work it out before giving them the answer (thus also giving the reader a chance to try to work it out before the answer is revealed). With only 2000 words to play with each month, the stories are of necessity fairly pared down and low on characterisation. They're often great fun, and I find it entertaining to watch the ongoing frame story about the narrator and his two friends trying to decide whether Griswold is telling the truth about his past or pulling their legs; but if you don't like bad puns you won't like a fair few of these little mysteries, and some of them have dated badly.

I enjoyed the collection, though it's more of a book for dipping into occasionally than reading all the way through in one sitting. I find them excellent for when I want something that will occupy me for five or ten minutes without making it difficult for me to put down the book at the end of a chapter. The collection has kept me entertained through more than a few bouts of 3 am insomnia when I wanted something light and short to focus on that I could put down again as soon as I felt sleepy.

It's not really worth going to a lot of effort to lay hands on a copy, but if one comes your way it's well worth trying a few of the stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 15 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover
Asimov in cracking short-mystery-story form: 30 short tales each with a twist (and a story-break to try and spot what it is). Very similar to his 'Black Widowers' series, written at the same time, with a standard format, although (as he himself commented) with less space to develop the ideas: still each one is a gem. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good 13 Dec 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Who likes the Black Widowers will like this too, though the interplay between the members and the eminence grise who will solve the problem or better said gives the solution is far less thorough. This gives less chance to both paper members and readers to work things out by themselves, which is a shame. Also some themes may have been unwittingly (lightly) recycled by Asimov, in the pressure to come up with some new story. Great otherwise.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short mysteries based on puzzles rather than psychology 18 Aug 2001
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are basically two types of mysteries, those that are long and involved, requiring a full novel in order to prepare and complete the tale and those that are completed in a few pages. This volume is a collection of short stories that Asimov wrote for Gallery magazine. The setting is the library of an aristocratic club where a small set of members gather to momentarily restore their roles of gentlemen in a society where their time has passed. The “hero”, an arrogant, yet effective gent named Griswold, has a tale to tell about every topic that comes up.
The mysteries are not profound or deep, but they are challenging enough so that you will find it difficult to solve them. They truly fit the criteria of such stories, where the solution is difficult to grasp but easy to understand once it is given. I am not a big fan of mysteries, but I liked this collection because the solutions are puzzles to be interpreted rather than psychological quirks to be untangled. If you are a fan of puzzles, then you will most certainly like these.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the Black Widowers... 10 Mar 2008
By Smeddley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
More condensed than the Black Widower's Club, these are the `5 Minute Mystery' type stories. And while some are eminently solvable (if you're really smart), there are others that are severely dated. Specifically, the library book mystery - not something the younger generations (especially those living in big cities) would ever get. Still, unless you have to be able to solve them, it's still a fun and worthwhile read. And because they are very short, it's easy to squeeze on in before bed, while waiting on take-out, or in the doctor's office. A great little book to have around for just such time-wasting emergencies.

But if you're looking for really great (if a little longer) mysteries with much better characters, I recommend the Black Widowers series. Even though this book rates pretty high, those are far superior.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable collection of short-shorts 2 Jan 2010
By Jules Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This anthology collected the first 30 stories from a monthly series of mystery shorts Asimov wrote for Eric Potter at Gallery magazine. The frame story for the series is a group of four men who sit together at their club. One of their number claims to have a background in intelligence, and has a habit of telling stories about problems he has solved for the police and intelligence services. The problems are typically in the form of lateral thinking puzzles, and Griswold invariably finishes by commenting that the answer was obvious, and waiting for his companions to admit that they can't work it out before giving them the answer (thus also giving the reader a chance to try to work it out before the answer is revealed). With only 2000 words to play with each month, the stories are of necessity fairly pared down and low on characterisation. They're often great fun, and I find it entertaining to watch the ongoing frame story about the narrator and his two friends trying to decide whether Griswold is telling the truth about his past or pulling their legs; but if you don't like bad puns you won't like a fair few of these little mysteries, and some of them have dated badly.

I enjoyed the collection, though it's more of a book for dipping into occasionally than reading all the way through in one sitting. I find them excellent for when I want something that will occupy me for five or ten minutes without making it difficult for me to put down the book at the end of a chapter. The collection has kept me entertained through more than a few bouts of 3 am insomnia when I wanted something light and short to focus on that I could put down again as soon as I felt sleepy.

It's not really worth going to a lot of effort to lay hands on a copy, but if one comes your way it's well worth trying a few of the stories.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great short stories 19 Aug 2013
By Rolandtz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was unaware of this book. It contains many short mysteries and their solutions which are done in a separate section. If you like puzzles, you will love this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful collection of very short mysteries. 7 Jan 2009
By Enrique F. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a delightful collection of very short mysteries. Each story is about 6 pages long. A group of 3 friends discuss a topic, a slant on it arises, a fourth one, Griswold, tells a mystery associated to it, chellenges them to solve it, which they fail to do, and then explains it to them. And there are 30 of these here! To be sure, they are of a light nature, which is understandable due to their length, but make for a quick, entertaining read.
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