In an unusual twist on the traditional armchair detective, don Isidoro, jailbird and former barbershop owner, unravels each mystery brought to his cell by a host of flamboyant characters, parodies of different elements of Argentinean society. Among these, an easily duped journalist, an actor who gives a new meaning to egotism, and members of a Buenos Aires literary circle, each more absurd than the next, are some of the clientele who stop by the prison to see if don Ididoro is "in" for a consult. As with most of Borges' fiction, there are ample literary references; these add to the unrelenting and cutting humor wielded against Argentinean intellectuals, but the characters speak for themselves. Some of the plots are as farfetched as the characters, including a diamond stolen from Russian royalty and a precious stone lifted from a Chinese temple; others, such as "Free Will and the Commendatore," underscore philosophical problems. The stories are playful even when they are serious; H. Bustos Domecq does not miss an opportunity to poke fun at the characters, and the authors, Borges and Casares, take every chance to make much of Bustos Domecq, their illustrious pseudonym. The forward and afterward are not to be missed.
Used availability for Jorge Luis Borges's Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi
March 1981 : USA Hardback
May 1981 : UK Hardback
March 1983 : USA Paperback