The above illustration, "Blowing Bubbles," has been adapted for use here by generous permission from the artist, Cyril Rolando.

June 29, 2010

Cool Katz!

Rex Stout fans must be over the moon, at least those who've read Dave Zeltserman's Derringer Award-winning novella, Julius Katz. In style, wit and charm, this story comes closer than anything I've read to capturing Stout's bloodless but entertaining riddles. Considering that Zeltserman is probably best known for his twisted noir and his New Age detective novels, this story ranks as one of the biggest surprises for me this year. This isn't a story you have to worry about your eight-year-old reading. No overt violence, no profanity, no abuse stronger than the occasional raised voice, this one can be read by the whole family.

Julius Katz is the requisite resident genius detective, which takes some doing, because Julius's sidekick, Archie - you can guess where the name derived - is no slouch in the smarts department. But this Archie... Well, let's just say that this Archie's physical characteristics are a shade closer to KITT than to Archie Goodwin.

In this original story, first published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, Julius and Archie must figure out who killed their client, a woman who just wanted Julius to help protect her aged mother's assets from a greedy sibling. Julius and Archie are so delightful, particularly Archie, with his whims and snits, that I hope this is only the first in a long series of escapades for them. Highly recommended, and available only at (unfortunately) On the plus side, you'll get your 99-cents worth, easy.


  1. Naomi, thanks for the write up on Julius and the little guy. The story will be in print again later this year in the best mystery stories anthology that Ed Gorman and Martin Greenberg edit. Also, anyone who doesn't have a Kindle and wants a free PDF version can email me at


  2. I read this in Ellery Queen, and I was ecstatic.

  3. I think I might add, I wouldn't mind seeing Zeltserman do more of these.

  4. Joe, he plans to do so. He has another Julius Katz novella coming in EQMM I think later this year, and he is almost finished with a full length novel. What I marvel at is how different this is from his other work, and yet he handles this niche so (apparently) effortlessly.

  5. Katz rules. I will snag anything associated with this series.

    Btw in two weeks, I have Mr. Zeltserman in BEAT to a PULP with a marvelous story called "King."

  6. Ooh, I hadn't heard that! Thanks for the heads up, David.