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More Julius Katz and Archie
The award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted readers since first appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009. These stories introduced readers to Boston's most brilliant, eccentric, and possibly laziest detective, as well as the most unique sidekick in the annals of detective fiction: a tiny marvel of whizbang computer technology named Archie who has the heart and soul of a hard-boiled P.I. This second volume of Julius Katz mystery stories starts where the first volume THE JULIUS KATZ COLLECTION ends, reprinting the next eight stories in this most unusual series.
The eight stories in Zeltserman’s superior second collection inspired by Rex Stout (after 2011’s Julius Katz and Archie) are engagingly narrated by Boston PI Julius Katz’s equivalent of Nero Wolfe’s Archie Goodwin—a “highly advanced AI software housed in a device that looks like a tie clip.” The crime fiction in the database of Katz’s Archie shapes his thinking on the cases Katz handles. For example, in “Julius Katz and the Giftwrapped Murder,” Archie is inclined to believe a client who states that he has no memory of his actions around the time his business partner was shot, “because of the Cornel Woolrich novels used in building my knowledge base.” A high point is “Julius Katz and the Case of Exploding Wine,” in which the status quo is shaken by an attempt on Katz’s life and the solution to a murder is a neat riff on a classic mystery trope. The puzzles are clever, and Zeltserman plays fair with readers. Stout devotees will be delighted with this loving homage. (Self-published)