Philippe Schnoebelen, 21 Mar 1995
This summer I had the opportunity to read "Flanders Panel" (this is the English title), a 1990 crime novel by best-selling Spanish author Arturo PE'REZ-REVERTE.
The plot revolves around an ancient painting featuring two historical celebrities playing a chess game. Today the painting is kept in contemporary Madrid, where murders begin to occur when it is understood that a retrograde analysis of the position on the depicted chess board gives clues about ancient (and recent) crimes.
This is the only case I know of a retro-problem playing some part in a novel (quite some part here). I'd guess the author was inspired by Smullyan's Sherlock Holmes book, that I will not count as a novel.
Who knows anything about the author's background ? Who knows other similar instances ?
There was a short science fiction story published years ago in the Isaac Asimov Science Fiction Magazine, entitled Retrograde Analysis. I don't recall the authors name (nor the issue number, sorry)
The story was about a time traveler who, as an experiment in what would happen if one made a major change in the past went back to help Lasker win the World Championship match that de-throned him. There was no actual retro-analysis in the story, but it did make an interesting analogy between retro-analysis and time travel.
<Mario.Richter@isst.fhg.de> just wrote me that there exists a short story, "The black bishop", by Alois Wotawa (Austrian problem composer) where Sherlock Holmes solves a murder with the help of retrograde analysis. This story is in German.
I am interested into any additional info, e.g.
* Has it been translated in English ? (or any other language)
* How many problems does it contain ? Perhaps somebody can post the most interesting retro-material from the story.
Philippe asked about the Wottawa story. Here are some details.
Author: Alois Wottawa Title: Eine verhaengnisvolle Schachpartie (Aus den Aufzeichnungen des Dr. James Watson) Published in: Auf Spurensuche mit Schachfiguren Publisher: Walter de Gruyter, Berlin Year: 1965 Pages: 191-204 Number of "retros": 1 Number of diagrams: 2