Friday, August 06, 2021

50. Double for Death by Rex Stout

I have been looking for a Rex stout book for quite awhile as I am a fan of the Nero Wolfe old time radio shows. So I was quite happy to discover this book in the free box in my neighborhood. However when I got it open and started reading it I discovered it wasn't actually a Nero Wolfe book. I was mildly disappointed but soldiered on. 

The protagonist here is Tecumseh fox and his setup was equally as cool as that of Nero Wolfe. Tecumseh fox lives in a beautiful old estate in upstate New York with a diverse mix of querelous servants and helpers. His driver and dogsbody for instance has the title of vice president of his company and he also has a housekeeper and cook with whom they seem to have a slightly tense relationship. He also has various guests who stay with him in times of need. He just seems to be the gentleman detective who has enough money to lead a very pleasant lifestyle not far from New York City and indulge in exciting investigations in and around New York City with a panoply of resources both financial and social.

I later read that this was the best of the Tecumseh fox stories the other ones were not quite as interesting and I think were even considered sort of boring but I may be wrong about that I just went read one review. The setup itself ended up being more entertaining than the mystery which involved a wealthy man who was murdered in his secret cabin that nobody but his manservant knew about. Well almost nobody has the uncle of a young woman in distress who's come to Tecumseh had happened to sneak up to the cabin at night to try and beg the man to give him his job back. There is a switched identity and a lot of procedure around trying to find a missing man which was somewhat interesting and gave you lots of looks into New York City during this time. It's a decent novel but won't blow you out of the park I liked it mainly for Tecumseh Fox's world. I will continue to look for Nero Wolfe books.

I am not sure how the publisher convinced Bob Newhart to do this cover photo; maybe they were old friends or maybe Bob needed the money at this stage in his career.

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