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Publisher's Summary

A remarkably rare black orchid at a flower show lures Nero Wolfe from his comfortable brownstone. But before the detective and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin, can stop and smell the roses, a diabolically daring murder puts a blight on the proceedings. The murderer to be weeded out is definitely not a garden-variety killer.

Wolfe must also throw his considerable weight into another thorny case, this one involving a rich society widow bedeviled by poison-pen letters and a poisonous plot as black as Wolfe's orchids - with roots even more twisted.

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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    214
  • 4 Stars
    89
  • 3 Stars
    24
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    171
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    43
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    13
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    2
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    3

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    57
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  • Overall
  • Brian
  • Erie, PA, USA
  • 11-02-09

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 09-11-12

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 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story

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

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Theodora
  • Wichita, KS, United States
  • 01-23-12

Great entertainment !

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

The way in which the story was told.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Archie because he is a jewel.

Have you listened to any of Michael Prichard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Only as Archie and he is always most entertaining.

  • Overall

Fantastic, especially on audio!

You can't stop at just one. the plots, the humor, the characters all fit so well. Prichard is great as well.
I like more serious reads, but what a nice escape. got me through my marathon training!