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Publisher's Summary

Cheaters never prosper, but Nero Wolfe encounters one who kills trying. At the Pour Amour perfume riddle contest, a million dollars goes to the contestant who can answer five questions. Someone doesn't like the heat of competition, so he murders the contest founder and steals the answers to the riddles. Now Wolfe has to sniff down a trail of clues that leads disturbingly close to home.
Stout fellow: explore our list of Nero Wolfe mysteries, including novels and classic radio programs.
©1955 Rex Stout (P)1995 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." (The New York Times)

What listeners say about Before Midnight

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  • Overall
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One of my favorites

Nero Wolfe has been my favorite detective since I began reading mysteries years ago. This one is one of my favorite Wolfes.

3 people found this helpful

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Michael Pritchard is Nero Wolfe

I have heard Michael Pritchard narrating many of the Nero Wolfe stories. He is marvelous both as Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. His pacing and clear delineation of each character makes for an enjoyable experience. Rex Stout's art and clever repartee lets me listen more than once with equal satisfaction,

3 people found this helpful

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One of the funniest

There are tons of priceless one-liners in this one, recited by Archie, Wolfe & even a couple by Cramer. You can just tell that Rex Stout was having a grand old time with this one. I have listened to this many times, as I have all the others. Ditto in terms of reading. And while I enjoy all of them, and some have better mysteries, better drawn characters, and other features which set them apart, this is one of the few where I find myself laughing out loud in multiple places every time I listen. And of course, Prichard does his usual stellar job.

You may not like him as a reader on other books. But when he reads Wolfe and Archie books, he is becomes something extraordinary. As an actor, you can tell he just loves these books. And he loves being Archie Goodwin, his greatest role, and one of he was born to play.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Surprise Ending But . . .

This one pays off with a very clever surprise finish, but there are uncharacteristic dull sections in the middle. It’s lacking in progress and tension for a couple hours in the middle.

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as usual, I loved it.

The best thing about a Rex Stout audible is Michael Pritchard. Thank you Audible App.

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Wonderful writing, wonderfully performed

I love Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books, but not for their plots. In fact, I almost never remember who committed the murder - which allows me to read them over and over again. What I love about these books is the wit and style of the writing, and his wonderful characters - particularly Archie. (I would love to go out dancing with him, but wouldn’t dare anything more serious. He is the quintessential bachelor.) So I have been reading Stout for many years, and loved the wonderful Timothy Hutton TV series, but have never heard the books read aloud. I wasn’t sure about Michael Pritchard from the audio sample, but decided to trust the reviews. They were absolutely correct; I can’t imagine a better narration. The book is one of Stout’s best, and it is read perfectly. I can’t recommend this recording enough.

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Hilarious

I enjoy Michael Prichard' s performances/readings of the Nero Wolf mysteries. I wish that I had the talent to "read" like that. Fun story with great characters.

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Nero had no c!ue, almost appeared stymied?

This was a contest for a well versed reader, most likely an English major or more. A very large sum of money and prizes were being offered. Down to just a few contestants and the last five answers, a man is murdered who boasts he has the answers to the clues. Nero has been hired to straighten it all out! Nothing he does gives him a lead. What does he do? As always the reader is perfect for Nero and Archy. Rex Stout does it again!

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A Classic Mystery without the modern weaknesses

Rex Stout knew how to write a mystery like the old grand masters. No need to rely on gratuitous sex scenes, violence or swear words to build an audience base.

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Complicated

A complicated plot with many threads expertly woven together. However, this very complexity weakens the pleasure of discovering the solution.