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review 2017-05-03 19:23
In the mood for some mystery
Trio for Blunt Instruments: A Nero Wolfe Threesome - Rex Stout

Trio for Blunt Instruments by Rex Stout draws us back into the world of Nero Wolfe and his loyal assistant, Archie Goodwin. The last time I visited with these distinguished detectives was back in 2015 (it's been too long!) so I was very happy to get a 3-in-1 with this book. This volume contains the following mysteries: Kill Now -- Pay Later, Murder Is Corny, and Blood Will Tell. As this is a collection, the stories aren't overly lengthy (Murder Is Corny was previously unpublished and was the last novella written by Stout.) but as with all of Stout's writings they pack a powerful punch no matter the length. I continue to maintain that Archie Goodwin is one of my favorite literary characters. His veracity, loyalty, bravery, and overwhelming likability mark him as a singular character that it's nearly impossible not to like. There is something so real about him and his narrative voice as the reporter of Wolfe's cases lends reality and humor. Of course, Wolfe is a singular character in his own right as a true 'armchair detective' in every way.

 

Kill Now -- Pay Later covers the story of Wolfe's shoe shiner who witnesses something (it's not too much of a shock for me to tell you it's related to a murder I don't think) and comes to Wolfe immediately afterward. Once Wolfe is on the case, it turns out that it's not as straightforward as the police think especially since a subsequent crime is marked as a suicide and the case is considered closed. It's up to Wolfe and Archie to continue the case to its bitter end no matter how winding their path becomes.

 

Murder Is Corny is an extremely corny title for one of Stout's mysteries as the victim works at a farm that produces corn. <pause for grimace> Archie is pegged as the main suspect after one of his prior flames indicates that he was at the scene of the crime. Wolfe at first demurs as it's 'Archie's private affair' but when he realizes that he stands a good chance of losing someone he relies on he steps in. This one has a lot of moving parts and quite a few memorable characters but what marks it as unique is that Goodwin isn't interested in the main female character. ;-)

 

And that brings us to Blood Will Tell which opens up with Archie receiving a rather strange package in the mail and snowballs into a dramatic story about spurned love, boorishness, and snappy dressers. I think this one was my favorite of the three because it provided a lot of sidestories to sink your teeth into and it kept me guessing up until the last.

 

Whatever your taste in mysteries, you can't go wrong with this 3-in-1 because it has a little something for everybody. If you haven't ever tried a Nero Wolfe mystery then this is an excellent place to start. 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-04-15 14:49
Neuauflage eines alten Krimis mit zeitgemäßem Thema
Es klingelte an der Tür: Ein Fall für Nero Wolfe - Rex Stout,Jürgen Kaube,Conny Lösch

"Es klingelte an der Tür" ist ein kurzweiliger Krimi mit hohem Unterhaltungswert. Es handelt sich um den 41. Fall des Privatdetektivs Nero Wolfe aus New York City, der mit bisher kein Begriff war. Das hat mich bei der Lektüre aber nicht gestört: Die Handlung ist in sich abgeschlossen und macht auch Sinn, wenn man die vorherigen 40 Geschichten nicht kennt.

Es geht um die reiche und exzentrische Mrs. Bruner, die dem FBI kritisch gegenübersteht und nun von der Behörde überwacht wird. Sie hofft, dass Wolfe die Überwachung stoppen kann und gibt ihm neben einem großen Scheck viel Freiraum bei der Ausführung des Auftrags. Wolfe und sein Assistent Archie Goodwin stellen dem FBI eine clevere Falle... Das FBI wird in diesem Buch vor allem für illegale Abhöraktionen kritisiert. Obwohl der Krimi bereits 1965 veröffentlicht wurde, erhält er durch dieses Thema eine aktuelle Dimension.

Die beiden Protagonisten Nero Wolfe und Archie Goodwin sind ziemlich verschrobene und nicht unbedingt durchgehend sympathische Charaktere. Das macht die Geschichte aber zusätzlich interessant. Der übergewichtige Detektiv Wolfe verlässt so gut wie nie das Haus und züchtet mit großer Hingabe Orchideen. Er ist zwar ziemlich intelligent, reagiert aber oft knurrig und arrogant. Archie, Wolfes Assistent mit einer Vorliebe für Milch, berichtet aus der Ich-Perspektive.

Die nicht voraussehbaren Wendungen, das aktuelle Thema und die interessanten Charaktere machen "Es klingelte an der Tür" zu einer sehr unterhaltsamen Lektüre.

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review 2017-03-28 19:33
Rezension "Es klingelte an der Tür" von Rex Stout
Es klingelte an der Tür: Ein Fall für Nero Wolfe - Rex Stout,Jürgen Kaube,Conny Lösch

Der Privatdetektiv Nero Wolfe wird beauftragt, eine Klientin vor der Beschattung durch das FBI zu „retten“. Zeitgleich wird ein Journalist ermordet, bei dem die Spuren ebenfalls auf das FBI hindeuten. So steht Wolfe dem wohl grössten Gegener gegenüber, den die USA zu bieten haben: dem Staat.

 

Die Geschichte wird aus der Ich-Perspektive von Nero Wolfes Assistenten Archie Goodwin erzählt. Wieso eigentlich Nero der grosse Held und berühmte Detektiv sein sollte, habe ich während der Lektüre nicht wirklich verstanden. Die ganze Arbeit wird im Grunde von Archie erledigt, während Nero zu Hause rumsitzt, seine Orchideen pflegt und Leute anblafft. Mehr Eigenschaften als „unfreundlich“ scheint Wolfe kaum aufzuweisen, auch Archie bleibt blass. Vom „bösen Gegner“ wird mehr gesprochen, als dass er tatsächlich auftaucht, und wenn, dann auch nur mit blassen, nichtssagenden Figuren.

 

Die Handlung ist ziemlich verwirrend und ich muss zugeben, dass ich bis zum Schluss nur am Rande verstanden habe, worum es eigentlich geht. Viele Fragen wurden meines Erachtens nicht beantwortet. Oder habe ich die Antworten schlicht übersehen? Jedenfalls sollte das Buch mit grosser Konzentration gelesen werden, wer es nur so nebenher überfliegt, wird wohl die Hälfte der Handlung verpassen. Nachdem ich dann das Nachwort gelesen hatte, wurde mir immerhin einiges klarer, da der Autor seine Geschichte stark in das damals aktuelle Umfeld eingebunden hatte, was im Nachwort auch erklärt wird. Wer alles verstehen will, sollte sich daher vor der Lektüre am besten über die politische und allgemeine Situation der USA in der Mitte der 1960er schlau machen.

 

Leider las sich der Krimi nicht nur komplex, sondern auch ziemlich zäh, sodass ich für das doch recht dünne Buch mit weniger als 250 Seiten etwa doppelt so lange brauchte, wie ich im Voraus erwartet hätte. Man sollte sich daher für die Lektüre nicht nur genügend Konzentration, sondern auch ausreichend Zeit einplanen.

 

Als Fan von klassischen Krimis habe ich sehr auf das Buch vom mir bisher unbekannten Autoren Rex Stout gefreut, aber leider kann mich der Autor weder mit interessante Charakteren, spannenden Wendungen oder wenigstens aussergewöhnlichen Ermittlungsmethoden (der Mordfall wird schlussendlich durch einen einzigen Satz aufgelöst) locken. So hat mich der Krimi eher enttäuscht.

 

Mein Fazit

Recht zäh und ziemlich verwirrend.

Source: aglayabooks.blogspot.ch/2017/03/es-klingelte-der-tur.html
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review 2016-11-24 00:00
Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe Mysteries)
Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe Mysteries) - Rex Stout This edition actually contains two novellas, along with an introduction by Lawrence Block, a noted author of crime novels. Black orchids (the flowers) appear in both novellas, but they are otherwise unrelated, other than having in common Nero Wolfe and his able assistant, Archie Goodwin. I read this book to get a handle on real Nero Wolfe stories so as to see if some of the stylistic tics that appeared in Alan Vanneman's Three Bullets, were Vanneman's own stylistic tics or actual mimicking of Stout himself.

These two stories, themselves, weren't particularly interesting or memorable, and now, a few weeks later, I can barely remember them. One of our friends in Pittsburgh, back a number of decades ago, was a big Wolfe fan. I'm not sure why. I doubt I'll be reading any more Wolfe stories any time soon. Part of the reason, I think, is because Wolfe is such an egotistical asshole. I have enough egotistical assholes in my life; I don't need to read about them.


Black Orchids [***]

Wolfe is hired to investigate some blight that is beginning to run rampant at a flower show. Was the introduction of the blight intentional or inadvertent? Wolfe agrees to investigate, but only if he is given some rare black orchids. Wolfe then sends his assistant Archie Goodwin off to the flower show to keep an eye on things. Mostly, Archie keeps an eye on a particular exhibit in which a shepherd and a nymph cavort in a glade (something like that). The nymph has nice legs that she dangles enticingly in a pool. Archie decides he wants to marry her. The shepherd naps under a newspaper each day at a certain time. But one day, the shepherd doesn't wake up. He's been murdered. Eventually, Wolfe/Archie finger whodunnit.


Cordially Invited to Meet Death [***]

I've pretty much completely forgotten this one. Something about a society lady who supports herself throwing fancy parties for the idle rich.
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review 2016-11-19 00:00
Three Bullets: A new Nero Wolfe Threesome
Three Bullets: A new Nero Wolfe Threesom... Three Bullets: A new Nero Wolfe Threesome - Alan Vanneman This is a collection of three novellas, each featuring the famous literary detective, Nero Wolfe. I suppose one might say this is fan fic. The first was set in 1935, contemporaneous with the early Rex Stout novels featuring Nero Wolf. The latter two were set in modern times, i.e. the opening years of the 21st century. The novellas were originally published serially on the author's web site. He has subsequently packaged the novellas into a single ebook and which he offers to all takers for free.


Invitation to a Shooting Party [***+]

Set in the 1930s. A rich dowager wants to hire Wolf to break up the marriage between her granddaughter and heir and a British Lord. The granddaughter won't have it, in part because she's as stubborn and willful as is her grandmother. Wolfe doesn't do divorce cases, but eventually relents enough to send Archie Goodwin, his ever faithful sidekick down to the Poconos to the rich woman's estate. The extended family are gathered there for a shooting party, shooting deer, grouse and what not. One of the party is shot. An accident or murder?

I'm not familiar enough with Nero Wolfe to tell if the writing style is similar to Rex Stout's. I assume it is, given that the author, Alan Vanneman spends much of his time reading and musing. This novella is competently written and worth one's time.


Fame Will Tell [ ***- ]

Set in modern times, i.e. after 2000. Wolfe desperately needs money to restore his roof-top green house. So he agrees to consider taking on a case involving three bodelicious young black woman in a super group, Black Pussy Cat.

It seems that the group's manager is trying to get them signed to a big deal either with a big-time, hip-hop promoter, or with Sony. But the manager from their early days and her ex-con boyfriend show up and try to horn in on a piece of the action. Then some people get murdered and Wolfe's special analytical skills are required to finger the culprit and get the suspected member of the super group off the hook. Meh!

Politics is Murder [ **]

Ann Coulter seems to think she's being black mailed by an old friend who has a tape she recorded when she was beginning to practice her on-air personna, but with a twist, apparently. She wants the tapes found/destroyed. The old friend ends up murdered. Ann is a suspect. Ann, one of the ickiest people alive (I don't like professional liars), has an affair with Archy. Yeech!
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