I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This is the first Nero Wolfe novel I have listened to and at first I found the narration off-putting. The narration seemed a little bland for the characters, but the more I listened, the more I enjoyed the narration. By the end, I was fully engaged. Of course the characters are unique, quirky, and fun. The story is interesting and the mystery is not stupid. This is the first Nero Wolfe novel and the characters are not quite as interesting as in later novels, but this was an excellent listen.
Unfortunately this recording has a number of pops, drops, and distortion, not too bad, but distracting and not up to the normal Audible quality.
This book contains three Nero Wolfe short stories; Eeny Meeny Murder Mo, Death of a Demon, and Counterfeit for Murder. Eeny Meeny Murder Mo was my favorite of these, and is also one of the stories that A&E adapted for TV. I generally prefer longer Nero Wolfe novels to the collections of short stories, but this was the best of the short collections. As usual Michael Prichard’s narration is excellent and audio quality is great. Each of these shorts have a situation or character that is so good, it overcomes the lack of richness I get from Stout’s novels. I thought I had read every Nero Wolfe story long ago, but somehow had missed Counterfeit for Murder, which was a pleasant surprise.
If you have never read a Nero Wolfe story, this is perhaps the best introduction to the series. The Nero Wolfe stories are funny, stimulating, and touching, developing a cast of character you come to appreciate in relationships that are like a close, clever, cantankerous family. The stories have twists that are unexpected, yet seldom unbelievable. The logic holds together, and even when I have not figured out the mystery, I almost always feel that I had a fair chance, but missed some subtle point, sometimes a single line.
This collection contains three stories, two of which appear in different versions in other collections. The stories are Bitter End, Frame-Up for Murder (a later version of Murder is No Joke found in And Four to Go), and Assault on a Brownstone (an early version of Counterfeit for Murder found in Homicide Trinity). These were good stories, but two were repeats for me. Counterfeit for Murder is one of my favorite Wolfe stories and is better than Assault on a Brownstone. Frame-Up for Murder is a bit better than Murder is No Joke. Bitter End was quite enjoyable. I generally prefer the novels to short stories, but these are among the better Stout shorts.