It has been a long time.
Like most of us, I suppose, years ago I read and loved Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books. When Amazon offered Murder by the Book (1951) on a daily Kindle special, I took them up on the offer.
A grieving father asks Wolfe to investigate what he thinks is the murder of his daughter. She worked for a book publisher. The murder appears to have been a hit-and-run automobile accident.
Wolfe might not have accepted the case except that weeks ago Inspector Cramer brought him a list of names found on a slip of paper in another murdered man’s book. The names were aliases. One of those names was the pen name on a manuscript the man’s daughter had rejected. That rejected author took the daughter to dinner the night she died.
This leads Wolfe and Archie to investigate three murders connected to the manuscript. They keep hitting dead ends until they pull a scam to shake up things, and that breaks the case open.
This is Archie’s story. Archie does most of the complicated legwork. He has some of the ideas. He earns at least three of Wolfe’s “satisfactories” and one “very satisfactory.”
Archie’s work is loathsome. He interviews ten (mostly younger) women and dates a couple of them.
These books are so deftly written. If there are facts the reader shouldn’t know, Saul Panzer, not the narrator Archie Goodwin, investigates them. Wolfe (and Stout) keep the facts from Archie.
Rex Stout’s plotting is intricate, and his characters (especially the brilliant, eccentric Nero Wolfe and the woman-loving Archie) make the rest work.
It was good to get back to reading about Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.