Monday, June 06, 2022

26. Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout

Shall we read a Nero Wolfe, how about two?!  I was so into the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin world after The League of Frightened Men that I felt like going back and reading the first one in this same double volume (with the bonus of being able to get this thick book off my on-deck shelf, freeing up much needed space).

This is the first Nero Wolfe book, though you wouldn't know it without the helpful introduction.  It refers to past cases and mentions that Archie Goodwin has been living with Wolfe for the past 8 years.  The interplay between the two seems as rich and ripe as ever, which is kind of amazing.  Stout was a good writer.  I enjoyed the mystery in this one a lot more than in The League of Frightened Men.  We start out with a banal case, that Wolfe almost rejects.  A woman's brother has disappeared.  Then it gets connected to the heart attack death of a wealthy college president on a golf course and things get interesting.  Unfortunately for the mystery it gets solved almost halfway through the book and when it should have ended we get another brain-off between Wolfe and a superior criminal.  The ending wasn't super satisfying either, but quite dark (Wolfe has some questionable ethics which I enjoyed).  Still, the lead-up was good enough that I was happy to keep reading.  

My Rex Stout goal has been achieved.  I am now happy to have his other books ahead of me to grab when desperate.

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