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A Right to Die  By  cover art

A Right to Die

By: Rex Stout
Narrated by: Michael Prichard
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Publisher's summary

When a bright young heiress with a flair for romance and one too many enemies is found brutally murdered, Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie, find themselves embroiled in a case that is not as black and white as it first appears.

Susan Brooke has everything going for her.  

Men would have killed themselves to marry her, and, in fact, one did.Susan came to New York to find love and fulfillment, and ended up dead on a tenement floor.  

The police say her black fiance did it, but Wolfe has other ideas.  

Before he's done, he'll prove that good intentions and bad deeds often go hand in hand and that the highest ideals can sometimes have the deadliest consequences.

Stout fellow: explore our list of Nero Wolfe mysteries, including novels and classic radio programs.
©1964 Rex Stout (P)1997 Books on Tape

Critic reviews

"This audio production follows [Rex Stout's] formula to the letter, with Michael Prichard portraying both main characters brilliantly." (AudioFile)

What listeners say about A Right to Die

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Great story and performance

Rex Stout surely stuck his neck out when he wrote this book at that time. Even in today's time (or should I say "again in this time") it"s not popular to support groups which are not in the mainstream. Being in an interracial marriage myself I thoroughly enjoyed the story and of course Michael Prichard is a great performer. I probably would enjoy listen to him while he's reading the New York phone book if they still have it. Juergen Amling

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1964 Caucasian View of Race

It is almost impossible to enjoy this book because of the persistent racism that forms a significant part of the plot. The views are so antiquated and painful to listen to that I cannot recommend this book. I am sure the views expressed by the characters were accurate in 1964, but they do not stand the test of time.

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3 people found this helpful

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Vintage...of course!

Rex Stout was well ahead of his time in many areas...and his voice was Nero Wolfe (and sometimes even Archie Goodwin). He didn't shy away from tough issues like Civil Rights...he faced them head-on. We get a taste of this in "A Right to Die". And we also get a particularly good mystery story to boot!

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3 people found this helpful

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Another great Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout

If you love detective stories, it's hard to beat Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe. Like all of them, this one is another great excuse, if you need one, to spend time in the old brownstone with Mr. Wolfe and Archie. Unlike the others, this one uses, repeatedly, a word or two that you'll certainly find jarring. The "n-word" and a variation or two thereof, shows up. Since the book was written in 1964, and the background/setting is in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, this is hardly surprising. Most readers will find the use of that word jarring. I do. But it's true to its time, and it tells us much about that time. Only a deep infection of what C. S. Lewis calls "chronological snobbery," rampant in our self-righteous time, would make a reader say, as one reviewer writes, that this book should be "taken down." That, of course, is the kind of thinking that would cause that causes "woke" folks to raucously demand that amazing works like "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" should be "taken down." Only if we are too squeamish to be educated and deal with our history. I find it hard to believe that anyone could read this book and believe that Rex Stout and, by extension, his characters Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, are racist. Indeed, Stout makes it quite clear that they are not. They live in their time, but are unwilling to be shackled by it. So, to anyone who thinks this should be "taken down," may I say, as Wolfe certainly would, "Puerile!" And he would bellow, "Phooey!" I concur.

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2 people found this helpful

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love it

I am a big fan of Michael Pritchard reading Nero Wolfe mysteries. listener must keep in mind when the books were written. they are not part of today's culture.

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Nero Wolfe as Usual

I always enjoy his books. Good mystery with a few twists with interesting unwindy story. Great reader makes story move with great voice inflection. Always will listen to any stories of hif i can get.

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Nero Wolfe meets the Cival Rights Activists.

As always Rex Stout does a great job with his storytelling but this one was unique as it dealt with racism in the early 60's and a group of activists. Wolfe deals with everyone equally and sometimes that's harshly but never based on race. It was unsettling to hear racists using the "N" word so often though.

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Has not aged well.

This is one Nero Wolfe story that I don't think has aged well. It does give you a good feel for the racial tension of the 1960's, much like "In the Heat of the night". It just lacks some of the charm, and fun I get find in other Nero Wolfe stories.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Uses out of date language

Terms that may have been acceptable when this is written are used, mostly the n word.

Should be taken down.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Good but not stellar

An engaging mystery skilfully narrated, but it's not the brightest of Rex Stout's efforts to portray his genius detective Nero Wolfe.

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