Champagne for One (1958) by Rex Stout

Champagne for One by Rex Stout

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

A suicide at her party would be bad enough, but a homicide is murder.”

Archie Goodwin doesn’t normally mingle with high society. At least, not without murder being involved. When a former client issues a unique invitation, however, curiosity gets the better of him. Every year, Mrs. Robilotti, the widow of Albert Grantham, holds a swanky dinner party for unwed mothers, the charity closest to her late husband’s heart. Not to raise money for unwed mothers: the mothers themselves are the guests of honor. Though the purpose behind this event is a little obscure even to Mrs. Robilotti, she dutifully honors her deceased husband’s wishes.

Archie is not surprised to learn that some of these young ladies lead complicated emotional lives, but the normally unflappable detective is stunned when Faith Usher drops dead after downing a glass of the very best champagne. Faith’s death is quickly dismissed as suicide. His years of working alongside Nero Wolfe tell Archie that there’s more to the story. With a powerful family closing ranks against them, Wolfe and Archie must discover the truth before they end up behind bars themselves. Continue reading “Champagne for One (1958) by Rex Stout”

Fer-de-Lance (1934) by Rex Stout

Fer de Lance by Rex Stout

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Be seated,” Wolfe said. “You must pardon me; for engineering reasons I arise only for emergencies.”

“This is an emergency,” she said.

Maria Maffei is worried about her brother Carlo, who has vanished after accepting a mysterious new job. When police don’t take her concerns seriously, Maria turns to the famed private detective Nero Wolfe, who is larger than life in more ways than one.

Wolfe discovers that Carlo Maffei was taking an unusual interest in the death of university president Peter Oliver Barstow. What is the connection between the seemingly natural death of a blue-blooded academic and the disappearance of an immigrant metalworker? Wolfe and his legman Archie Goodwin are about to learn that the two men are bound by a secret more sinister than they could have imagined. Continue reading “Fer-de-Lance (1934) by Rex Stout”

The Doorbell Rang (1965) by Rex Stout

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“But good heavens, if you know your phone is tapped—isn’t that illegal?”

“Sure, that’s why it’s fun.”

Wealthy businesswoman Rachel Bruner is used to buying whatever she wants. So when she reads an expose of the FBI’s abuses of power, she thinks nothing of buying 10,000 copies of the book to circulate to other leading citizens. Now Mrs. Bruner believes she’s under surveillance by federal agents, and she’s learning that peace of mind is one thing money can’t buy.

Nero Wolfe is another. Mrs. Bruner offers him the biggest payday of his career if he can stop the FBI harassment. The case doesn’t interest Wolfe, however…until he becomes a target himself. Nero Wolfe and his wisecracking assistant Archie Goodwin have never met a case they couldn’t crack, but until now they’ve never been up against the entire Federal Bureau of Investigation. Continue reading “The Doorbell Rang (1965) by Rex Stout”