The Julius Katz Collection

Time to meet Julius and Archie…

The Julius Katz detective stories have been a favorite among mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, winning a Shamus, Derringer, and two Ellery Queen Readers Choice awards. JULIUS KATZ introduced readers to Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric, and possibly laziest detective, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI.

If you haven’t had a chance to meet Julius and Archie yet, now’s your chance to get caught up in these clever, funny, and very unusual mystery stories as this collection contains the first six Julius Katz mystery stories originally published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, as well as a never-before published novella, JULIUS KATZ AND THE CASE OF A SLICED HAM

Reviews for The Julius Katz Collection

“I love these stories”

Timothy Hallinan

“Fans of Donna Andrews’s Turing Hopper artificial intelligence mysteries, rejoice! Award-winning author Dave Zeltserman has created silicon chip Archie, the high-tech sidekick to Julius Katz, Boston’s most famous and laziest wine-drinking detective. Here is a delightful traditional mystery that follows in the footsteps of Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey series.”

Naomi Hirahara

“It’s a nifty change-of-pace for the usually hard-boiled Dave Zeltserman. Clever, sophisticated and witty, ‘Julius Katz & Archie’ will thrill fans of Nero Wolfe…and readers who never heard of him! Zeltserman knows how to mix character, action, and plot and create a pitch-perfect, modern mystery. More, Sir! The sooner the better.”

Paul Levine

“Julius Katz may be the titular star of Dave Zeltserman’s new novel, but it’s the voice of his AI assistant, Archie, that carries the day. Archie’s more human than most “real” people, and funnier, too. The satire bites, and the mystery satisfies. Julius and Archie became favorites of mine when they first appeared in Zeltserman’s award-winning short stories, and they’re even better in novel form. Long may they thrive.”

Bill Crider

Excerpt from Julius Katz and the Case of a Sliced Ham

Julius sat politely and listened—or at least pretended to listen—while Theodore Dreckle explained why it was imperative that he hire Julius to investigate Arthur Trewitt’s murder. Dreckle was very theatrical with the way he gestured and how his voice trembled with passion and his long face contorted as if it were rubber. Of course, it made sense for him to be so theatrical given that he was the producer of The Goose Feather Bed, which was the play Trewitt was set to act in until someone decided to plant a sharpened twelve-inch chef’s knife into his chest.

Dreckle gave quite a performance, and several times I had to stop myself from uttering ‘Bravo’, not that he would’ve heard me since I communicate to Julius through a small earpiece that he wears. I could’ve said anything and Dreckle wouldn’t have been any wiser, just as he was no wiser that there was anyone else in the office with him besides Julius. Granted, he would’ve been right about there not being anyone else there of a biological nature, since the advanced technology that comprises me is housed within what looks like an ordinary tie clasp that Julius wears. While I may not be biological, I certainly consider myself a sentient being. At least I was sentient enough to know that Dreckle was wasting his talents as a producer, and should instead be up onstage with the actors he hires.

He was not only wasting his talents, but also his breath. I couldn’t fault him for that since he had no way of knowing how infuriatingly lazy Julius was. While most of Boston thinks of Julius as a brilliant and eccentric detective who cherry-picks only the most challenging and interesting cases, the truth is he takes on cases only when the funds in his bank account reach an anemic level, and for the most part the only criteria he’s concerned about with the jobs he accepts is how well they pay. The simple fact was, since the Lind case and two very good months at the poker table had left him flush, it didn’t matter what Dreckle had to say. Unless there were special circumstances involved, the only way he was willingly going to accept any new cases over the next six months would be if he decided to put in a bid for the 1982 Mouton-Rothschild that he’s been eyeing. There was a chance of that. I know he badly covets the vintage and has been mulling over a bid, but so far he hasn’t pulled the trigger.

Dreckle continued to soldier on, his voice quivering with indignation as he explained how the police had so far been stymied. “They’ve had three weeks without the slightest progress!” he exclaimed, his eyes opening wide and his rubbery face contorting to show how aghast he was over the police’s evident failure. “They know it has to be either Sturges or one of the four cast members, and yet no arrest. Not even the hint that one is coming.” His expression became one of abject misery as he added, “Unless one is made soon, we’re finished. The play will have to be shut down.”

“Why would that be?” Julius asked, dubiously. “Isn’t all publicity good publicity?”

I was surprised Julius had said anything. From the way he had been smiling blandly at Dreckle I’d assumed that he had tuned out the man, and hence had completely missed the performance the theater producer had given. Of course, if he had bothered to read the report I had prepared for him earlier, he would’ve known the answer to his question, and he wouldn’t have caused Dreckle to sputter exasperatedly for several seconds.

“Julius, I assure you that is definitely not the case here,” Dreckle said once he got his sputtering under control and was able to spit his words out. “Vanessa Havoc is threatening to sue to be released from her contract so that she doesn’t have to perform with a murderer, and now the other cast members are all doing the same. Even Sturges has joined in! But even without those threatened lawsuits it would be an inescapable mess. Almost every purchased ticket has been returned. While the public might be insatiable for all news and salacious gossip regarding poor Arthur’s murder, they have shown to be very queasy about buying tickets to a play where one of the members involved is a cold-blooded killer.”

“I’d suggest then that you replace your director and actors.”

“The cost to do that would be prohibitive,” Dreckle said with a wan smile.

“Why would that be?” Julius asked. He was just being stubborn. Again, he had no intention of taking on any new work, not with his bank account holding the reserves it did, so he was going to be stubborn. “Cast members are replaced all the time due to accidents and other unforeseen circumstances.”

Dreckle blinked several times at Julius while somehow maintaining his smile. “Not a whole cast, including the director,” he said. “We would in effect have to shut down and start again from scratch, which would mean needing to raise a million dollars and causing our original investors to lose everything. With the commitments we have already made, it would be a debacle, and even if we were miraculously able to attract an actress with Ms. Havoc’s star power, the lawsuits would tie us up for years. No, Julius, our only hope is to find the killer. We have something special with The Goose Feather Bed, which is why many early prognosticators picked us to win the Tony. If Arthur’s killer is found out and arrested, theatergoers will come back, and our play can be the success that we all expect it to be. I’m sure of it.” His smile shifted into something conspiratorial, and he added, “Maybe then we’ll even be able to benefit from the publicity that this awful incident has caused. So Julius, will you save us? I’m prepared to offer you fifty thousand dollars to take on this investigation.”

“Sorry, but no.”

Dreckle’s smile congealed into something sickly and plastic. “I thought Phil had talked to you,” he said, his act now completely gone, the despair in his voice very real. “Didn’t Phil explain, uh, the situation to you?”

“He did. I agreed to listen to you, which I have done, and I’ve decided that this investigation is not for me.”

“But for heaven’s sake, why?”

This was said with such naiveté that I almost broke out laughing. Perhaps if Julius wasn’t seeing the theater producer only as a favor to his friend, Phil Weinstein, he wouldn’t have bothered with an explanation, or in this case, a justification. But because this was part of a favor, Julius consented to explain his reason to Dreckle.