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Publisher's Summary

When Priscilla Eads, heiress to the fortune of a cotton towel company, implores Nero Wolfe to sort through a case buried in dirty laundry, Wolfe says no. But hours later, Mrs. Eads and her maid get strangled, and the stories of the suspects don't quite wash.

To the dismay of a greedy board of directors and Mrs. Eads' gold-digging ex-husband, the astute Wolfe decides to scrub away the stain of murder.

Stout fellow: listen to all of our Nero Wolfe mysteries, including classic radio programs!
©1952 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Classic Nero Wolfe--always a fun read!

There is no such thing as a "bad" Nero Wolfe, the originals, as written by Rex Stout. But given there is a very long list of books covering about 35 years, some are better than others. This kind of falls into the "Others" category. I still loved it, as I love them all, but this just isn't quite as great as some. It's still good, though :-)

A young woman comes to the brownstone and asks to stay there for a week. Archie would, in fact, let her do that. But then after speaking with an attorney who explains to Wolfe why he wants her found, Wolfe decides it is not a good idea to give her asylum or get involved in any of it. After that, things go south, murder happens. Wolfe does not want to get mixed in it, but Archie feels some personal concern for all that happens. So he goes out on his own. Only his arrest finally brings Wolfe back into the case and things proceed as usual (with Wolfe solving the case in the traditional way of bringing everyone into his office together.)

I like that it holds to Stout's formulaic process that is itself part of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, and leaves readers happily able to predict the way the thing will play itself out (though not the murderer). I thought the part about Wolfe's initial refusal to take the case was a bit odd, since it was the kind he would typically have taken (but it had to be that way, for subsequent events to take place). The thing that was the most disconcerting was the production itself. The narrator is okay, but the editing or sound quality is not up to the usual standards of most Audible books. There were places where it was obvious that there had been voice patching, because suddenly the narrator's voice would be lower, or deeper, or louder for a paragraph or two, then back to the flow again. And it was not always easy to discern one voice from another.

In most series books, it can get wearisome for the author to hold to a tight pattern of the way things will play out. But there are several writers (Agatha Christie and Rex Stout come to mind) where the reader enjoys having the pattern be predictable, though not the killer! If you love Nero and Archie, you will enjoy this book.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Archie leaves Wolfe to join a police investigation

Another exceptional addition to mystery detective fiction. Rex Stout doesn't disappoint. Archie is racked with guilt for his part in creating easy access of a victim to a murderer. In his distress he chooses to work with the police rather than Wolfe to solve the case.

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Not my favorite Nero Wolfe

What made the experience of listening to Prisoner's Base the most enjoyable?

This may have been my least favorite episodes in the Timothy Hutton TV series. I had hoped the book might be more entertaining but it sadly fell short. Michael Prichard is an excellent narrator but the story lacks something.

Which character – as performed by Michael Prichard – was your favorite?

Archie Goodwin

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Michael Prichard breathes life into Nero Wolf.

Michael Prichard is the best voice ever for classic detective yarns. I could listen for hours...and have and do. Thank you for performing Rex Stout's great series.

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An Embarrassing Mispronunciation

What was one of the most memorable moments of Prisoner's Base?

Michael Prichard's MISPRONUNCIATION of the name, "Muke."

What about Michael Prichard’s performance did you like?

Excellent, as always, except for the head-scratching mispronunciation of the bad guy's name.

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

No, but I have a an extreme reaction to be being asked a question like this for a book review. Puke.

Any additional comments?

Gradually purchasing every Nero Wolf book narrated by Michael Prichard offered at Audible.

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Pritchard is Perfect.

Michael Pritchard is always perfect as Archie Goodwin. His is the voice I mental hear whenever I read Nero Wolfe in print.

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Another fantastic book

Rex stout has yet again blew my mind. I loved this book. I have a tendency to say that about all Nero Wolfe novels, but, this is one of the top reads. Suspenseful and thrilling.

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  • Cynthia
  • Gainesville, FL, United States
  • 07-20-15

Not my favorite denouement.

I think it is impossible for anybody to have figured out. Wplfe's final naming of the murderer seems like a school lecture given to ignorant pupils, rather than an unfolding of clues we readers could have followed to reach the same conclusion.

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Another favorite in a favorite series

Slight spoiler here:

This is a somewhat sad entry in the Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin series. Especially for Archie.

Having said that, this is one of the most interesting plotted of all the Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin series. There are some fascinating twists and turns here.

And another typically outstanding performance by Michael Prichard as all of the voices, most especially as Archie Goodwin, the narrator.