“What’s in a Name?” by Isaac Asimov
Card picked: Three of Clubs
From: Asimov’s Mysteries
Thoughts: Many of Asimov’s mysteries are based on a single piece of information being the key to solving the mystery. This key clue is kept from the narrator (and the reader) until it’s revealed punch-line style at the end. This doesn’t work for me. Or, maybe it would if the action surrounding the key clue was better handled.
In the case of “What’s in a Name?”, our narrator isn’t the detective that canvasses the witnesses. That guy, Hathaway, probably should/would have mentioned the coincidence of names that ends up being the master clue. But in fact, the way the story is written, the suspect would have learned of it too if the second questioning of witnesses happened in any manner resembling reality. I would assume that the police aren’t unprofessional enough to refer to one of the witnesses as “the little German furrier” in conversation. That doesn’t mean that this story couldn’t work. We (the narrator and the reader) could know the pertinent information, with the ending being its reveal to the suspect. In my opinion, that’s a better story.
And, thankfully, the zigger-ending would be lost.