A hefty contingency fee prompts Nero Wolfe to snoop around. But the portly detective finds that all of the case's principal players lie through their teeth. Through the maze of deceit, Wolfe probes for the truth.
Stout fellow: explore our list of Nero Wolfe mysteries, including novels and classic radio programs.
©1948 Rex Stout; (P)1995 Books on Tape
"[Prichard's] Nero Wolfe is suitably commanding." (AudioFile)
"It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." (New York Times)
I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I like almost all of the Nero Wolfe novels, but this, and the follow on (In the Best of Families) are two of my least favorite. It even seemed to me that the narrator did not like these two, making a few uncharacteristic mistakes and lacking his usual upbeat flow.
I found the plot elements a bit less believable than usual. This book introduces an almost all powerful villain that becomes a major factor in the next book, In Best of Families. I found this Moriarty-like character more than a bit derivative and I found both of these books among the least compelling of all the Nero Wolfe novels. Still this was not bad in any way, it is just not as good as I have come to expect from Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe.
This isn't one of the better Nero Wolfe mysteries, but even the less wonderful ones are better than most of what's out there. Michael Prichard always brings out Archie's sly deadpan sarcasm and Wolfe's misanthropic stubbornness with great skill.
It doesn't get any better than "And be a Villain." A great story and Michael Pritchard is a great reader for these stores. This story has a highlight of Wolfe confronting his great nemesis Arnold Zeck!
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