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Publisher's Summary

There's no one or no thing the great detective Nero Wolfe won't take on if the price is right. That's something wealthy society widow Rachel Bruner is counting on when she writes him a check for a whopping one hundred grand. The oversize genius and his able assistant, Archie Goodwin, soon find out why the prize is so generous as they lock horns with the FBI. The highly trained G-men have a way with threats, tails, and bugs that could give even sedentary sleuth Nero Wolfe a run for his money.
Stout fellow: listen to all of our Nero Wolfe mysteries, including classic radio programs!
©1993 Rex Stout; (P)1999 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

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Story

Defend a widow, outfox the FBI, and make $100,000

Nero Wolfe's interest is raised when a wealthy woman offers him a huge check if he can get the FBI to stop harassing her. Only a man as arrogant as Nero Wolfe would even dream of attempting this act of professional suicide. But Nero Wolfe loves a challenge, so he takes the case. Although the plots of the books are always clever and engaging, the irresistible appeal of the Nero Wolfe books is the interplay between the principal characters. This is witty banter at its absolute best. Rarely will you hear goads and observations delivered with such acerbic humor or with such rich vocabulary. Stout could have educated Shakespeare in the art of satiric dialog. In particular, this book is my favorite because Mr. Wolfe's real desire to strike a blow for civil liberties and his evident enjoyment of the challenge enriches the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Walnut Creek, CA, United States
  • 09-18-13

The best of the Nero Wolfe series? Perhaps.

If not the absolute best, this is one of the very best of the Nero Wolfe series. It has some of the best characterization and relationship development in the series along with some of the best imagery and cleverness plus it was a brave exposure of the abuses by the FBI of the time, earning Stout a thick FBI file. Although I enjoyed the TV version of this for the premier of the A&E series, the book was much, much better. Although this is a great book, I don’t think it should be one of the first read as it depends more than most on the history between characters.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Annoyed by the FBI?

I started reading Rex Stout -- specifically Nero Wolfe in the sixties. Because of the timing, I collected and read the paperbacks in order, starting with 1934 Fer-de-Lance. This shorter novel had me laughing out loud because it tickled my fancy, propped up my prejudices (about the FBI) and is Archie and Nero in full alter ego stride, albeit closing in (1965) on the end of a long series of well written, entertaining detective novels. Extensive vocabulary and proper grammar aside, Rex Stout is an engrossing story teller and Michael Prichard does both characters justice as he narrates the tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Favorite Nero Wolf

Rex stout was a genius who wrote each of his books and short stories in one sitting with no editing. He wrote one a year and everything in the story in terms of color is authentic whether it be the score of a Yankee game or a presidential election.

The stories make you smile as old characters appear. If you've never read the earlier ones, Rex still paints each character with a fine brush.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wolfe & Archie face an impossible challenge

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are hired to go up against the unlawful practices during the time of Hoover ' s oppressive FBI. An extremely "satisfactory" story unfolds. You'll love it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Favorite Nero Wolfe book

This is one of the funniest, cleverest Nero Wolfe book Stout ever wrote. The plot and reason why Stout wrote this book are just great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Classic Detective Story

I have read more than 30 Nero Wolfe detective stories and have enjoyed them all. This was the first one that I have listened to. The narrator will keep me from downloading any more. His voice and flat monotone delivery would be fine for Nero Wolfe but the stories are told from Archie Goodwin's view and this is not the energetic, cheeky voice of Archie Goodwin. So sad...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of Nero Wolfe's Best

Would you listen to The Doorbell Rang again? Why?

Yes. Like most Nero Wolfe stories, you can listen to them over and over again and pick up new details. I typically listen to them all over a two year period and then repeat. It's too bad Audible doesn't have all of them, especially the short story collections that were never made available on CD.

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

It's more like keeping your mind trying to outwit Wolfe (which you seldom do unless you've heard the story before). In this case he outwits the FBI, which seems like an impossible task until two agents make a mistake and Wolfe uses it to corner them. But even so, the way he does it makes you glad he's on our side!

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

Michael is perfect for representing the voices of Wolfe, Archie and all the other characters. Not just the right sound, but the right inflection.

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

No. What's great about Wolfe books is that you can read on any schedule you would like. No gratuitous sex or violence, just a solid, intellectually challenging mystery.

Any additional comments?

Please, Audible, please make available the remaining Wolfe books! Most of those you don't currently have are no longer available in audio format except for cassettes priced at $50 or more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I enjoy Rex Stouts Nero Wolf books.

Where does The Doorbell Rang rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The way the Plot unfolds it makes you think that the little guy can win.

What about Michael Prichard’s performance did you like?

Mr. Prichard makes the book feel honest and true. He has the right voice for this time period I think.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

classic rex stout, made more relevant today

government and politics, the more things change the more they stay the same. This Rex Stout novel will remain relevant from now on.