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Publisher's Summary

Nero Wolfe has left his comfortable brownstone for the promise of a remarkably rare black orchid at a flower show - but before Wolfe and his perennially hardy sidekick, Archie Goodwin, have a chance to stop and smell the roses, a diabolically daring murder takes place right under their noses and puts a blight on the proceedings. Now Wolfe's fancy turns to thoughts of weeding out a murderer - one who's definitely not a garden-variety killer. Only then will Wolfe be ready to throw his weight into a second thorny case, involving a rich society widow bedeviled by poison-pen letters—and a poisonous plot as black as Wolfe's orchids...with roots that are even more twisted.

Introduction by Lawrence Block

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

A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America’s greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained - and puzzled - millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original 73 cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout.

Stout fellow: explore our list of Nero Wolfe mysteries, including novels and classic radio programs.
©1942 Rex Stout (P)1994 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 Black Orchids

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    335
  • 4 Stars
    118
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    4
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Performance
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    59
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  • 3 Stars
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Great words and performance - HORRIBLE audio!

This sounds like a dub from worn-out cassettes played on a cheap tape player. The pitch of the reader's voice changes and it is full of hiss.

10 people found this helpful

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

Typical Wolfe Short Story Collection

If you could sum up Black Orchids in three words, what would they be?

Early Wolfe Shorts

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Not really. Like all Wolfe books, they are more of an intellectual challenge than a suspense experience.

Which scene was your favorite?

The murder at the flower show.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. Four of Stout's early Wolfe short stories that you can read at your own pace.

Any additional comments?

Stout published about a dozen short story collections, only a few of which are available on Audible and even fewer on CD. It would do us all a service if Audible would make the others available, as they are mostly real gems.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

mystery with history

I love the authentic slice of New York in the early-to-mid 1900's that Rex Stout books supply - the way characters talk and dress, the lack of computers and cell phones; it's all very quaint and creates a cozy atmosphere for solving murders.

7 people found this helpful

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

Two in One - but neither are best of

This is two shorter mysteries tied together by black orchids. Although the audio is not super crisp, I did not find it problematic. The stories were good, but neither were my favorites. I thought the end to the first story was weak, and the second story (which was better) was still not one of my favorites. Nevertheless they were still well worth the listen, and they were both better than many in the genre. The narration took me some getting used to, but now I am completely happy with Michael Prichard’s narration.

3 people found this helpful

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

The world Rex Stout built around Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin is Unique & Captivating!

If you read just about any of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries, be ready to read them all. Even fellow mystery writers speak of the world & atmosphere Stout built around Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin.

The first Nero Wolfe mystery I read came from a small local Library, in small town, Milford, New Hampshire in 1985. Immediately afterward I checked out every single volume the library had. Then I took to eBay to find and buy all of Stout’s Nero Wolfe books. I’ve even read a number of Stout’s books with a different leading man/woman.

The stories are almost addictive. Every few years I read all of the stories, in the order they were initially published.

Wonderfully written and captivating.

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

Black Orchids for Two Please.

Archie ties in two different cases where a rare black orchid plays a part. Fun as always and surprises in both. Well worth the time for any classic mystery fan and a treat for fans of Nero Wolfe.

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

Excellent first read of the Nero Wolfe mysteries

Really enjoyed this...this was my first time sharing the adventures of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

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

Great story

Fave NW tale so far. Prichard's narration is excellent. Two stories for the price of one.

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

Vintage...just Vintage!

Any additional comments?

Despite the fact I've read this (and every other) Nero Wolfe story many times, the Audible version allowed me to savor this story "hands-free"! It was just as good. Tightly written and just a load of fun, Rex Stout never disappointed. And Nero finds a way to add to his extensive orchid collection to boot in this one!

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

He will not disappoint.

What made the experience of listening to Black Orchids the most enjoyable?

Another book that you will listen to over and over again.

What about Michael Prichard???s performance did you like?

Michael has the characters down pat.I can not imagine anyone else reading these books.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Heck ya........

Any additional comments?

I will I could get better price deals on these because I want them all.