This is a novelette set in Piper's "Federation" universe, which was also the setting for his classic "Little Fuzzy". It was expanded to novel length and published as "The Cosmic Computer" and "Junkyard Planet".
Conn Maxwell is the son of Rod Maxwell, a prominent planter on the planet Poictesme. Poictesme is economically depressed, and Conn has been sent to school on distant Terra.
Decades before the story takes place, the Federation had fought a war with the secessionist System States Alliance, and Poictesme had been a major advance base. An assortment of folks on Poictesme prospect for abandoned Federation supply dumps to salvage and resell the equipment. There have been rumors for many years that the Federation built and installed a super computer somewhere on Poictesme that was used to help manage the war, and many dream that if they find it, it can provide the answers to lift Poictesme out of economic stagnation and decline and make it a prosperous place again. Part of the reason Conn was sent to school on Terra was to gather information to aid that search.
Conn has returned home, and the search for the super computer is on, but what will the results be if it is found? The answers it can provide may not be those the searchers hope to hear.
It's one of a series Reynolds did under the general title "Frigid Fracas". The US and the Soviet bloc have recognized common interests and become much like each other. A world peace has been imposed, and weapons development strictly limited.
The US has what is called "People's Capitalism", with everyone issued Basic shares at birth and able to earn Variable shares in various manners. The social structure has stratified into Lowers, Middles, and Uppers based on shares held.
The protagonist is a Major in Category Military, hiring out to fight in various clashes. Corporations which cannot resolve differences by other means hire mercenary troops to fight for them. Combat is restricted to use of weapons designed before 1900, and the clashes are televised for the entertainment of the masses.
Little Fuzzy has achieved status as a classic, and may be the best known of Piper's works. There are two sequels by Piper: Fuzzy Sapiens and The Other Human Race. They take place about midway in the Federation timeline.
Piper died in 1961, and the manuscript for the planned third Fuzzy novel disappeared. Ardath Mayhar wrote a third Fuzzy novel called Golden Dreams, and William F. Tuning wrote a third called Fuzzy Bones. Both took off from the ending of Fuzzy Sapiens, but in different directions.
Years later, Piper's manuscript for the third Fuzzy novel was discovered in a trunk by an old friend, and was eventually published as Fuzzies and Other People.
Author John Scalzi, whose Agent to the Stars is available here, has signed a contract to produce another novel in the Fuzzy universe, tentatively titled Fuzzy Nation, which will be published by Tor Books in 2011.
Also published as The Woman In Black, E. C. Bentley's Trent's Last Case is a landmark in the art of mysteries. While one of the first modern mysteries, it's also a send up of the genre, turning the standard elements neatly on their heads.
Trent's Last Case is the first book featuring him. It's dedicated the G. K. Chesterton, and was a response to a challenge by Chesterton to Bentley. It's considered the first of the "Golden Age" mysteries, and was called one of the three best mysteries ever written by Dorothy Sayers.
Bentley had a dim view of the personality of Sherlock Holmes and the portrayal of the the police inspectors as dull witted incompetents. He tried to make Trent a warm and rounded human being, and Trent's police counterpart, Inspector Murth, is quite sharp, with an amiable competition between them to see who can unearth clues and solve the crime.
Philip Trent is an artist, and the son of an artist. He gets involved in solving crime by accident, when he takes an interest in a reported murder, reads all of the availble accounts, and sends an impassioned letter to the newspaper that published the best account pointing out holes in the evidence and leading the arrest and conviction of the real killer.
The publisher of the paper is impressed, and hires Trent as a Special Correspondent on a number of occasions over the next several years to investigate similar cases, which Trent does with success.
In Trent's Last Case, Financial magnate Sigsbee Manderson is murdered, with suspicion falling on his wife. Trent falls in love with the widow, which is usually a mistake, investigates, and concocts a plausible explanation for what happened that turns out to be utterly wrong. When he learns the truth, an astonished Trent vows to have nothing further to do with investigating crime.
It's not universally admired as a mystery: Raymond Chandler made pointed comments about the preposterous plot in his essay "The Simple Art of Murder", and others have revised their opinion downward for technical reasons, it's an engaging read with well developed characters and a surprising denouement.