Isaac Asimov, einer der berühmtesten Sience Fiction- Schriftsteller der Welt, hat auch eine Anzahl von hervorragenden, intelligenten Kriminalgeschichten geschrieben. Acht davon enthält dieser vom Autor zusammengestellte Band.
Die „Schwarzen Witwer" sind keine Bösewichte, sondern ehrbare Herren, die sich einmal im Monat zu einem gemütlichen Beisammensein zusammenfinden. Dieses Treffen zeichnet sich durch zwei Besonderheiten aus. Erstens darf - und das ist eigentlich der Sinn dieser Veranstaltung - keine Frau an diesem Essen teilnehmen. Zweitens wird bei dieser Zusammenkunft jedesmal eine geheimnisvolle Angelegenheit aufgeklärt, beispielsweise die Geschichfe des Mannes, der immer die Wahrheit sagte, oder warum ein Faulpelz seine Frau ermordete. Obwohl die Schwarzen Witwer mit der größten Begeisterung versuchen, jeden Fall zu losen, sind sie jedoch immer wieder auf die Hilfe ihres Kellners Henry angewiesen, der wie ein zweiter Sherfock Holmes oder Hercule Poirot jedes noch so tiefsinnige Geheimnis entschleiert.
Titel der amerikanischen Originalausgabe TALES OF THE BLACK WIDOWERS
Deutsche Übersetzung von Willi Thaler
Something funny is going on in the East African nation of Luzuland...and it's more than just the usual civil unrest or military coup. Organized crime lords are converging for what looks like an underworld summit - and Dr. Harold Smith dispatches Remo for a look-see and some quiet, effective neutralization.
But Remo has his own problems, and he's just not in the mood to be killing his way up chain of command in East Africa. Chiun has gone AWOL, fulfilling some ancient Sinanju contract and busily storming the Luzu presidential palace with a handful of saber-wielding warriors.
And unless Chiun can beat some sense into his pupil's skull, Remo's bent on nuking an entire mob-infested Third World city to deliver a pound - make that a megaton - of prevention guaranteed to wipe out a generation of predators...and a few million innocent souls.
The stage is set for murder, mayhem and deafening music. But the music isn't loud enough to drown out the shots aimed at the gorgeous redhead on stage. Not that anybody is paying much attention, not in the screaming chaos of the world's biggest rock festival ever. The girl likes to be near singers, the freakier and more spaced-out the better. Some of them get too close and wind up permanently spaced out. Why? Someone wants to kill the beautiful girl with the long auburn hair. She is under contract for one million dollars. A big bounty is on her beautiful head. She has to be killed, and quick. But Remo and Chiun have other ideas. Their assignment from CURE says protect her at any costs - and that means someone is going to have to pay a very high price.
They are tiny, genetically engineered blue seeds that mature quickly into trees that literally suck all the oxygen out of the air. They're the twisted experiment of the earth-friendly but highly secretive Congress of Concerned Scientists, and now they've been snatched its head, Dr. Hubert St. Clair.
Having killed off all but one of his scientific team, he's leading Remo and Chiun on a chase through the proverbial forest. He's got enough seeds to choke off the world's oxygen supply, and the ability to create environmental disasters at will. Battling everything from acid rain to blistering heat to frigid cold, the Destroyer races to thwart double disaster in the Amazon rainforest: St. Clair is planting seeds like a maniac and a U.S. President prepares to nuke Brazil onto oblivion.
The new body culture is finally bringing its rewards, thanks to a hormone treatment that rapidly restructures body fat to muscle - all overnight, during a true beauty snooze.
But it's way-out expensive, and only the rich and famous can indulge. After all, what's a thousand bucks a day when the result is a body to die for?
There are some side effects - no pain, no gain! But when innocent people start paying a steep price for the star's self-improvement regimens, CURE's Dr. Smith sends Remo and Chiun to infiltrate the Lycra crowd and the hallowed halls of the legalized drug trade. Soon their investigation is blocked by a greedy corporation, but the worst challenge is from an army of celebrities - lean, mean products of a killer diet...
Something strange was happening - and only Chuin knew what it was.
In America, the Indian tribes had united and were delivering crushing blows to the U.S. Army. In the Middle East, the Arabs had regained their martial mastery and were demolishing all who resisted them. In Mongolia, scattered tribesman had joined together for the first time since Genghis Khan to form a new Golden Horde poised to ravish all the earth.
Something strange was obviously happening all over the globe. Remo had no idea what it was, even as he desperately tried to fight it. Chiun knew but wasn't saying anything, as he got ready to cut a deal and split the world with the fiendish for behind it all. With Remo and Chiun divided, the whole world was wide open for conquest, and an ancient evil was spawning modern terror. Humanity's greatest enemy was now in the driver's seat - and its ultimate nightmare was coming true....
Everything that Maddas Hinsein touched turned to blood as the mad-dog dictator of outlaw Irait pursued his plans of conquest by taking over tiny oil-rich Kuran. Only Remo and Chiun could stop this man who was up to his mustache in gore. But Remo was possessed, slave to his immortal nemesis, the death goddess Kali. And the feeble Chiun was merely a shadow of his former awesome self. Unless CURE's terrific twosome could be restored to their full powers, Maddas Hinsein would turn the whole into one...
For centuries, the ancient House of Sinanju is recognized as the center of learning for all the martial arts. From the ancestral nucleus of Oriental power and prestige have come the world's deadliest assassins and killers, also man's greatest protectors and warriors. To become a Master of Sinanju, however, is to totally perfect one's mental, spiritual, and physical powers. Very few mortals possess even a fraction of the necessary skills. Mere muscle or brains do not matter. Rarer still have been the men who dare to even approach the lowest steps of this shrine to violence and sudden death at Sinanju. The masters of Sinanju are the sun source and essence of the martial arts since prehistory. Recent upstart fighting techniques such as Kung Fu, Karate, Ninja, Aikido are but minor variations in the deadly armament of a Master. Only foreplay to the Grand Battle. And now, for the first time, a Westerner, a white man, Remo Williams, is defending the Holy Place against his relentless archenemy, Nuihc. Not since the Mongol invasions and the barbaric Chinese warlords has the land trembled in such anticipation. The scenario begins in New Jersey. The die is cast in a U.S. government submarine. Now Chiun and the Premier of Korea will witness the Grand Battle. And Remo Williams - the Destroyer - is being allowed but one blow. One split-second opportunity to punch, slash, chop, smash or kick . . . The ghosts of a thousand warriors dance in the dust as the two men face each other. And Chiun knows.
It's a jungle out there - and the Destroyer may become the next endangered species.HOT, MOIST, DANGEROUS
Deep in the Malaysian jungle a group of scientists gets a lethal surprise, and a lone survivor rants about a prehistoric monster who eats men alive.
The survivor dies with bizarre symptoms - and CURE's Dr.Harold Smith wants answers. So Remo, his favorite problem solver, finds himself armed with a brand-new doctorate and joining an international expedition to look for the next Jurassic park.
But things heat up even more in the jungle. Who's to tell what the adventure will be, what with a sexy lady professor, the hidden agenda of expedition members, and the hot breath of something big, dangerous and undreamed of deep in the rain forest's heart.
Budget cuts are every administrator's nightmare, but CURE's own Dr. Harold Smith has a real whopper. A battle over bullion prompts Chiun to seek better pastures, and he's dragging Remo along.
Word spreads like wildfire: the fabled assassins of the House of Sinanju are hiring out to the highest bidder. While the desperate Dr. Smith is panicking big-time, rogue nations are trying to beat out, burn down and bump off the competition - before the highest bid gets the goods.
It's a seller's market for the lethal duo, and their success is assured - if there's anything left of the planet after the bidding way.
Remo surrenders to a sex goddess armed to seduce and destroy the Destroyer.
"Arms Race To The Finish Line"
Normally Remo didn't care how evil enemies were armed. The Destroyer could take on everything from brass knuckles to H-bombs. But now he faced a foe equipped with arms that even he couldn't overcome. For the many arms of the goddess Kali were attached to the most fabulous body in the universe of love. And with Chiun trapped in the spirit world, Remo's flesh turned weak as his iron will melted down in the arms of a female who had the fate of the world in her many fiendish hands.
The tiny Caribbean tourist trap of Union Island wants to declare its independence from the U.S. And while baby-faced island leader Greg Grom's "Free Union Island" movement is taken about as seriously as a summer day, good ol' Greg is touring Dixieland's hot spots, from the honky-tonks to the hee-haws, trying to rally support for the cause. And some weird stuff is happening . . .
Ordinary beer-swilling, foot-stomping, line-dancing yahoos are running amok, brawling like beasts on a rampage. Remo Williams -- currently not experiencing a lot of job satisfaction as Reigning Master -- spots the connection between the doofball from Union Island and the redneck killer zombies. And he's pretty sure Greg is slipping something into the local brew, but the why is another matter. No biggie. Remo's not in a mood to make friends, or deal with the Chiun's abuse or CURE's insults. He's here to smoke some bacon. Happily.
"The Horror Is Quicker Than The Eye When Remo And Chiun Go After An Invisible Enemy"
"Now You See It..."
Someone - or something - is walking right through the walls of America's top nuclear missile facility, and walking off with some of the world's deadliest secrets.
Someone has mastered an unholy power that makes Chiun believe in ghosts.
Someone has perfected a mind-defying magic that beats anything in Remo's bag of tricks.
Unless Remo can take his eyes off the chest of a buxom beauty with a chip on her shoulder...unless Chiun can come down to earth from the sphere of the supernatural...America's nuclear safety and her two supreme defenders will be victims of a disappearing act...
The president is calling. Dr. Harold W. Smith, head of the secret agency known as CURE, took the phone from the bottom left drawer of his desk and answered with a sigh, "Yes, sir." The President of the United States could not directly assign CURE to do anything, he could only suggest. The one and only order any president could give CURE would be for its immediate dissolution. And five presidents now hadn't quite done that. Though all five were often tempted. "What do you know about the Lippincott case?" the Southern voice asked. Smith regurgitated a two-page, single-spaced capsule of hard information. "Uh, huh. Well, I hear there's a plot to kill all the Lippincotts, and it has something to do with animals. Weird experiments, like," "I see," Smith gagged. "Yeah, and I think it involves my having the Lippincotts use their clout to open up new trading markets in China." The hint was clear. The White House would like the Destroyer to take a look at the situation. "You'll be using those two, I suppose?" Smith rolled his eyes upward, "I imagine so." "Whatever you say," he drawled, "just, er, um, tell them to keep the deaths down.
Artists, composers, and writers are being mutilated and destroyed in the bloodiest murders in police history. This maniac is taking one thing - their brains! The chief of CURE nearly ends up as the next corpse . . . Remo and Chiun are acting fast, and discovering the killer's an old enemy, stockpiling brains to extract the creativity he's lacking . . . They are tracking him to Hollywood - top brain center - where work can be fun! A sexy agent wants Remo for a new career . . . Chiun meets his soap opera idol . . . and there's a great spectacle coming: irresistible force, Sinanju, meeting indestructible object, Mr. Gordons.
It's computer crime of the highest order when an electronic shadow force steals all of CURE's secrets, including those of Remo and the Master of Sinanju, and begins manipulating them for their own mysterious purposes. It's up to Remo to crack this secret organization before they can begin the downloading of the unimaginable threat--the Fourth Reich.
Things are changing for the supersecret organization known as CURE. Dr. Harold Smith has a protégé, Remo is thinking about apprentice shopping and Chiun is fantasizing about retirement from the headaches of the job (i.e., Remo). Yet the world still has big trouble to dish out for the master assassins-and this time it's a real doozy.
Somebody's given America an eviction notice in Alaska-in the form of mass murder. Pipeline workers and dozens of U.S. troops are being slaughtered by a mysterious "ghost force" of silent killers. Remo and Chiun recognize the techniques-a bargain basement brand of Sinanju-which poses an alarming question. Who has trained an army of die-hard Soviet troops in the ancient, secret art of the master assassins?
Black is not only beautiful, it's Ruby Gonzalez . . . the wild CIA lady with a sure cure for what ails Remo and Chiun. Remo Williams just can't seem to forget he was once a Newark cop. But when you're the Destroyer you do need a little humility. Yellow, the worth of gold, the texture of parchment, the color of the sun source itself . . . and, in the inscrutable, insuperable, Chiun, a veritable galaxy of wisdom and power. And fun at a riot. It will be all over when Southern idiots with whips and chains, and Northern madmen with money attempt to reduce business costs by raising slavery to new levels of efficiency. The Destroyer, with a little help from his two friends, proves that billions of dollars and armies of thugs just aren't enough. Then bucks and Ruby will do . . .
The government's Witness Protection Program has been hitting a bit of a snag lately. Despite their brand new secret identities, certain loose-lipped mob stoolies are getting blown away by a group of gun-toting adolescents. And in an effort to save face, a big-mouth Army bigwig's been pointing the accusing finger at the wrong assassins - Remo Williams and his mentor, Sinanju master Chiun! There's a new kind of "baby boom" going around. And before he plays dead for a bunch of homicidal half-pints, the Destroyer is going to nip the poisonous peewee pandemonium in the bud!
A Chinese diplomat is decidedly deceased and the communist chairman's advisor is shanghaied while burrowing in the Bronx. The State Department is seeing red and a sour situation gets spicy. Now Remo Williams and his Korean mentor, Master Chiun, must save the abducted adviser and compromise the conspiracy before the kung fu hits the fan. As the US and China prepare for nuclear battle and an assassin's bullet has The Destroyer's name on it, the fate of the world is as complicated to solve as a Chinese Puzzle.
Its fat-cat master made his subjects slaves to his greed. Its beautiful princess was motivated by lust-for money or whatever. Its people were far deeper into digging their ruler's grave than his mines. And its only tourists were a dollar-demented psychic charlatan named Shane Billiken and a crew of money-mad murderers from the back pages of Soldier of Fortune.
In short, Moo was a bubbling caldron of every cardinal sin..and Remo and Chiun had to sweat blood to keep the lid on..as Chiun ran into an evil with too many tentacles even for him..and Remo found how dangerous a royal female could be when it came to attacking his principles- or whatever...
When impoverished Cuba is attacked, Castro is sure that the U.S. is behind the assault, and he sends a MiG fighter jet to destroy a nuclear power plant in Florida, prompting Remo and Chiun to spring to action.
When ex-New Jersey cop Remo Williams is electrocuted for the murder of a dope-dealing goon, CURE, a super-secret government agency that doesn't really exist, schemes to resurrect Remo as the ultimate killing machine that will carry out most of its dirty plans. Under the direction of expert assassin Master Chiun, Remo is transformed into the Destroyer and launches a series of secret plots to dissolve the underworld.
The heat's on. Bodies are strewn acrosss the Sunbelt. Who they are and where they came from is shrouded in mystery. The casualties are still mounting when Remo and Chiun come to cool things off - unprepared for the discoveries that await them there, like the impregnable mountain fortress where 242 beautiful senoritas are being imprisoned. And the insidious plot that has them earmarked as gifts for America's most powerful men. And the blackmail that's sure to follow..
Rescue operations begin at once, with Remo's job-and life-on the line, as he and his mentor tackle a new Old West that's wilder than the shootout at the O.K. Corral!
Meet the Boss Camelus-Whitus, affectionately known as BBQ to the genetic engineers at Boston Bio, Brainchild of the beautiful but sociopathic Dr. Judith White, this homely, sad-eyed creature is a bio-masterpiece of gene splicing, and billed as the world's most promising new food source.
A bungled kidnapping of the BBQ by animal rights activists results in the unfortunate discovery that these slow, silly-looking creatures might actually be bloodthirsty killers.
Vicious man-eaters or docile darlings? Chiun wants one for a pet and Remo's getting real bad vibes about the sinister secrets behind the whole BBQ thing, especially he's been selected as the prime stud material in a madwoman's brilliant plot to send the human race out to lunch...permanently.