This book–a pretty hardcover with simple graphic of a building on it, and an eye-catching splash of red–called to me at a used bookstore, and decided to take a risk on it. I’d heard of the detective. Despite it being a whopping #41 in the series, it worked quit well as a stand alone. It was scattered with little hints about characters’ backstories and development. Not as much as reading all those books, I’m sure, but plenty to go on.
I like an old fashioned sort of detective story, like Sherlock Holmes. The proper balance involves an intelligent, only moderately insufferable detective, and a partner who doesn’t put up with their nonsense.
The basis is an unsolvable case–a woman is being stalked by the FBI, and she wants it to stop. But how can one person (or even two) manage that? Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie are severely outgunned, yet they don’t let that stop them. Somehow, they plan to dig up the leverage to make the tails go away. Soon enough, Wolfe seizes on a murder that just might do the trick, but the case is a lot more complicated than that.
In the expected fashion for this kind of book, there’s plenty of lies and red herrings, hidden secrets uncovered, and the grand unveiling at the end. You know, the one where the detective walks the reader through each step, and it all makes sense. The ending is properly satisfying, wrapping things up without being impractical.
And the falling action contains and unexpected chuckle, too. In fact, there’s a few places, where if you enjoy a dry sort of humor, that this book will entertain. Wolfe and Archie have that back and forth witty banter down pat. A good read for classic whodunit fans.