Impossible! No word is more irritating to Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, better known to mystery readers as The Thinking Machine.
From "The Problem of Cell 13" through almost fifty other stories, the crusty scientist and logician seeks to prove that "nothing is impossible" and that "two and two make four, not some times, but all the time." With the help of reporter Hutchinson Hatch (a progenitor of Nero Wolfe's Archie Goodwin), The Thinking Machine unravels odd crimes and tangled mysteries in Edwardian Boston.
Jacques Futrelle's stories of The Thinking Machine originally appeared in popular newspapers and magazines from 1905-1912. Some were collected into volumes, and "The Problem of Cell 13" has been reprinted and anthologized innumerable times. Many of the stories, however, have until now remained buried in old newspaper files. Jacques Futrelle was born in Georgia in 1875. After stints in newspaper reporting and theatrical managing in Richmond and New York, he and his wife May, also a writer, moved to Scituate, Massachusetts, which would remain their permanent home.
While working on the editorial staff of the Boston American, he started in 1905 to publish his Thinking Machine detective stories. They at first were run as week-long serials, with prizes given to readers who solved the mysteries. The swift popularity of the Thinking Machine stories at home and overseas led to Futrelle's brief but successful career as a detective story writer and novelist. Two collections of selected Thinking Machine stories appeared in his lifetime: The Thinking Machine (1907) and The Thinking Machine on the Case (1908). Futrelle's other works include The Diamond Master (1909) and My Lady's Garter (1912).
In 1912, after a visit to Europe, Jacques and May Futrelle embarked for home aboard the R.M.S. Titanic. When the liner struck the notorious iceberg, Jacques pushed May into a lifeboat but refused to board one himself, and went down with the ship.
Stan Smith is the author of several collections of mystery puzzles, including Five-Minute Whodunits, Five-Minute Crimebusters, and Five-Minute Mini-Mysteries. His books have been published in six languages. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, he is also the author of The Sacred Rules of Management. He lives in New England with his wife, Julie, and their two children.
Blue Cloth Hard Cover
with Dustjacket, 471 pp.
ISBN 1-55246-234-X $80.00
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