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Publisher's Summary

It was a broadcaster's worst nightmare: dead air, in the true sense. A radio host's on-air guest is anything but live, dropping dead after chugging a sponsor's beverage.

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

Critic Reviews

"[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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 11-20-13

Not one of my favorites

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

You can't go wrong with Rex Stout

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good listen

Good listen, but figured out murder soon. Still had some twists did not see. Plots for later book? Most likely.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

I love virtually all of the Nero Wolfes. But would say this is probably my fave. Get it and enjoy :-)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Recording had skips...

Pritchard was great as usual but the recording had skips, like a scratched LP. Noticeable & irritating, but not enough to interfere with the story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best!

This has probably been my favorite Nero Wolfe book yet. Very enjoyable. It will keep you guessing!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love Stout

He is just a wonderful author and the narrator is great.I will be buying more Stout.