Stout fellow: explore our list of Nero Wolfe mysteries, including novels and classic radio programs.
©1975 Rex Stout; (P)2000 Books on Tape
"It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." (The New York Times)
"Reader Michael Prichard delivers a convincing rendition of Archie Goodwin....a well-paced narration." (AudioFile)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This Nero Wolfe novel is the final in the fictional timeline and the last written by Stout. It is set in 1974 with references to Nixon, Ford and Watergate. This is a little weird as I always picture Archie and Wolfe as creatures of the 30s and 40s. If Archie was hired in 1930 and must have been at least 23, then in 1974 Archie would be 67, and the older Fritz and Wolfe are still alive and kicking in 1974? Oh well, you have to suspend disbelief for this timeline. Nevertheless the characters and relationships are at their best, the writing is excellent with lots of wit and detail, and the story is interesting with unexpected twists and a killer ending. The narration, as always, is excellent.
This is a must read for any lover of Nero Wolfe, but don’t make it your first of the series, or even your tenth. This should be one of the last read, as it will be more enjoyable if you know all the characters really well. This book is one of my all-time favorites of the series.
Rabbi Steve the Storyteller
Well it doesn't usually make any difference what order you read the Nero Wolfe series of books in, this one should be read last no matter what.
It was the last book that Rex Stout wrote and published, shortly before he died.
and it puts a little bowtie on some character arcs that had been going on for many years.
Some of the later Rex Stout written Nero Wolfe books, include references that date them more than some of the older books. He included more 60s and early 70s jargon, and made references to events that were correct in the news, not just in passing, but often over and over again, and sometimes (as here), it had something to do with the plot.
Nevertheless, at least for this book, it doesn't get in the way of a very enjoyable read, whether reading the text version, or listening to the audio version.
I would definitely put this one in my top 10 list. I don't think I would ever put it in my top three, or maybe even top five.
However, it's when I do read and listen to over and over again.
I know this is getting redundant and my reviews about this series, but Michael Prichard's performance here is typically top notch. Even the worst of this series (which is better than some of the best of many others), is worth listening too many times just because of Prichard's excellent reading.
Watergate? The mystery is lost amid political name-bashing. Hated that part. Read only if you have NOTHING better to do.
I teach American Literature and am the proud daddy of a 2 year old.
Reading a Rex Stout novel is a visit with old friends. Wolfe and Archie, Fritz and Cramer, and the rest, everyone is in top form here. I give it 4 starts rather than 5 because I didn't care for the ending (no spoilers here). Still, it is a delight.
No. However, I'll be listening to more.
Foe Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, this time it is personal!
If you don't know this series, you really should try it. The relationships between the characters trumps the mystery element and thus, the books hold up to repeated readings.
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