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Literature / The Curious Omission

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The 11th story in the Black Widowers case files, Isaac Asimov wrote it for Tales of the Black Widowers (1974).

Halsted is host tonight, and his guest is Jeremy Atwood, a retired civil engineer. He has a nephew who teaches English, and this information sets Rubin off on a rant throughout the dinner about the deficiencies and failings of those who teach English literature.

After dinner, the brandy is served and Trumbull grills Mr Atwood. His friend has recently passed away, and left him one last puzzle. Mr Atwood's friend, Lyon Sanders, loved games and puzzles. He would constantly invite Mr Atwood over to play Board Games, Card Games, and games of his own devising. In his will, Mr Atwood's friend left him one last puzzle; he must find "The curious omission in Alice.", and solving that would allow him to collect ten thousand dollars. The reference to Lewis Carroll is immediately figured out, and the rest of the meeting is spent trying to figure out what is missing from the famous story. Henry starts his solution to the mystery by asking Mr Atwood if he is Episcopalian.

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This story has been reprinted in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (December 1991).


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