• Murder By the Book

  • By: Rex Stout
  • Narrated by: Michael Prichard
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (593 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Introduction by David Handler

It wasn’t Leonard Dykes’s writing style that offended. But something in his unpublished tome seemed to lead everyone who read it to a very unhappy ending. Now four people are dead, including the unfortunate author himself, and the police think Nero Wolfe is the only man who can close the book on this novel killer. So the genius sleuth directs his sidekick to set a trap...and discovers that the truth is far stranger - and far bloodier - than fiction. 

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: listen to all of our Nero Wolfe mysteries, including classic radio programs!
©1951 Rex Stout (P)1995 Books on Tape Inc.

Critic Reviews

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

"What's not to like about a Nero Wolfe mystery? The mysteries are short, cleverly plotted, well paced, and, if you're an audiobook listener, wonderfully read by Michael Prichard....Prichard has read nearly 20 books in Stout's series and has mastered Wolfe's deep, meditative voice and Archie's spry, chipper voice, as well as those of a host of other characters we recognize from one recording to the next." (AudioFile

What listeners say about Murder By the Book

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good stuff

Michael Pritchard is one of the best voices out there for audiobooks and he's perfect for Nero Wolfe mysteries. This one has a pretty good plot and is worth a listen.

10 people found this helpful

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Great Stout

This was another particularly excellent Nero Wolfe novel. One of the best I have listened to. The narration, as usual, was great. The story keeps moving and keeps interesting and fun. The plot has some of the most interesting twists and enjoyable character development of any of the Nero Wolfe novels. This one is worth reading more than once.

6 people found this helpful

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Truly one of the best

I read all Rex Stouts books in the 70s, but fortunately I've forgotten most of them. I love them all, but this plot is particularly good.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A fun read

Rex Stout had an amazing way with words. His stories are fun, witty, and all around well written. And, as read by Michael Pritchard they truly come alive. All of them are gems and this one is no exception!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very good, with good ending

This is typical Archie Goodwin, the physical end of Nero Wolfe. I listened to this all night while sitting up on a train. I couldn't fall asleep until I knew whodunit. What happens in California will keep you guessing, for nothing is what it seems. Not RS's best, but very good.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

What can I say, no one writes like Rex Stout.

Where does Murder By the Book rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

I listen to Rex Stout audiobooks over and over again. I go to sleep listening to one and wake up listening to another. Just a little obsessive. Good stuff.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I smile at the banter between Nero and Archie. The reader is quite good.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

If you love a mystery, here's 4

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I love the character Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I love the way Rex Stoudt puts dialog in Archie's mouth and Archie's little 'get even' tactics with Wolfe. Wolfe is a wonderful crazy genius and he and I both love orchids. This book, written in 1958 also is a lot of fun from the perspective of knowing they didn't have at their disposal the things we now have at our disposal. It's a lovely little time capsule so well done it's fun. Of course I also am a big fan of old black and white movies. The Narrator does a very good job and my intent is to savor each and everyone of the Nero Wolfe's.

What did you like best about this story?

Actually, I'm not crazy about short stories but as they go, these were fun. Wolfe ends up solving all four mysteries for free. You'll have to listen to find out why

What does Michael Prichard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

My mother, an avid reader, introduced me to Nero Wolfe in the written form and when the series was on TV with Timothy Hutton, I was entranced by it. It brought me closer to her and a time when she influenced me. As to which is better eyes or ears... I happen to think that the same part of my brain is engaged whether I read with my eyes or my ears. Michael indeed does an excellent job of portraying Nero and Archie as well as the other recurring players. It's a delightful light listen that keeps you trying to beat Nero to the solution.

2 people found this helpful

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I like the original author.

I like the original author he's clever and keeps the twist braiding through the story. I know they have rewritten the Nero Wolf books but I like Rex Stout.

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Nero Wolfe is unforgettable!

Fantastic Nero Wolfe. Michael Prichard is an outstanding reader. I recommend this book highly. Of course all Rex Stout mysteries are unique.

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I liked it

I have read all of the Nero Wolfe bucks at least twice. This is one of my favorites. I do wish though that someone would do for cast recording said the stories.