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Rex Stout (1886-1975) wrote dozens of short stories, novellas, and full-length mystery novels, most featuring his two indelible characters, the peerless detective Nero Wolfe and his handy sidekick, Archie Goodwin.
Nero Wolfe is sleuthing as usual in these three mysteries. In the Best Families deals with Mrs. Rackam, an aging millionaire who approaches Wolfe to investigate why her young and penniless husband suddenly and mysteriously has large sums of money. Wolfe's inquiry leads him to a confrontation with Arnold Zeck; later a letter bomb causes Wolfe to resign from detective work and go into hiding, leaving his assistant, Archie Goodwin, to solve the case. Has Wolfe's career ended in humiliation? Only time will tell. Michael Pritchard's clear and strong reading helps support the tale. Rachel Bruner, a wealthy society widow, turns to Wolfe in The Doorbell Rang. She writes him a check for $100,000 and asks him to stop the FBI from spying on her and her family. She will pay more if he is successful. He takes the case, and soon Wolfe and Archie are confronting FBI agents, murder, and threats as they search for answers. Champagne for One challenges Wolfe's knowledge of gourmet food and of sleuthing. Did society girl Faith Usher commit suicide via cyanide in her champagne, or was she murdered? Archie was there, and he suspects foul play. Saul Rubinek provides pleasant readings of both stories and helps keep the atmosphere charged. Although abridged, The Doorbell Rang/Champagne for One provides more entertainment than In the Best Families and is recommended.ÄDenise A. Garofalo, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore."--The New York Times Book Review