Julius Katz is an unquestionably brilliant private investigator who lives and works in Boston. Unfortunately, he’s also unquestionably lazy, only working when his cash flow dips below the point of sustaining his healthy interests in fine wine, upscale dining, and gambling.
Julius Katz and Archie finds Julius hired by famous crime fiction author Kenneth Kingston to participate in a publicity stunt to help launch Kingston’s upcoming release, and hopefully boost severely lagging sales. The idea is to gather six “suspects” together in Julius’ office and, with press gathered, reveal one of them as being behind a plot to kill Kingston.
Having recently hit a bad streak of luck at poker, and always with an eye on adding to his extensive wine collection, Julius reluctantly agrees. However, a funny thing happens on the way to the bestseller list.
As Julius has the six suspects gathered in his office awaiting Kingston’s arrival, Julius’ assistant, Archie, happens upon a Boston Police radio communication indicating a body has been found at Kingston’s residence. It seems someone really was out to kill Kingston, and what started as a publicity stunt has turned into a very real mystery for Julius and Archie to solve.
Clever, refined and sophisticated, but with an underlying hard as nails streak (backed up with a black belt), Julius is what would happen if you threw Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, and Special Agent Pendergast in a blender. Archie, on the other hand, is a different kind of guy. In fact, he’s actually not even a guy. No, Archie is an extremely high tech computer roughly the size of a tie bar/clip…which is precisely how Julius carries him around (with the interesting unintended result being that Archie pictures himself as 5′ tall since that is approximately how far off the ground he’s worn). Though Archie’s exact origins are not yet known – he’s been told by Julius he was won in a poker game – he has nevertheless developed a fully realized personality, one that is often at odds with his partner. While Julius could take or leave the private investigation business, seeing it more as a means to an end financially, Archie has wholeheartedly embraced the life of a gumshoe, bless his little silicon heart.
Julius Katz and Archie is a wonderful mix of old school and new. It’s old school in that the mystery is presented in a slight variation on the classic British drawing room setup (the suspects are all gathered together, though not in a secluded location), the violence is minimal and offstage, with the investigator solving the crime through intelligence and deduction instead of car chases, fist fights and shootouts. New school, on the other hand, is well represented by Archie’s very high tech presence (he’s constantly hacking into various databases to gather information) and hard-boiled personality. Indeed, in Julius Katz and Archie author Dave Zeltserman has packaged the best of both crime fiction worlds into one delightfully charming read.
Julius Katz and Archie is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $2.99. The two stories that first introduced readers to Julius and Archie – Shamus and a Derringer Award winning “Julius Katz” and Ellery Queen Magazine Readers Choice winner “Archie’s Been Framed” – are also available in one collection, Julius Katz Mysteries, at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $0.99.