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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Fer-de-lance by Rex Stout

Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout, Loren D. Estleman

The first Nero Wolfe book (1934).

Also the first I've ever read.

For others in that situation, Nero Wolfe is a corpulent detective who solves crimes essentially from his armchair, with the perambulatory help of Archie Goodwin, who also supplies the muscle when necessary. Clearly, Wolfe owes something to Sherlock Holmes' brother, Mycroft.

Well-written and enjoyable. Though the plot holds up, what makes the book so entertaining are the characters and their chemistry. Archie is very loyal, but he's not obsequious, which is one reason why, I think, Wolfe likes him so much. Certainly it's one reason we like him, an important consideration considering that he is the book's narrator. Wolfe himself is a delight--arrogant, selfish, but also amusingly self-aware and, as he himself admits, a romantic at heart.

Nothing very deep here, of course, but Stout sprinkles a few excellent observations here and there. Here's an example: "I don't think I had ever really felt sorry for Anna until I saw Fritz didn't blush when I told him to take her home."

Another bonus is that the book is sometimes very funny.

Well worthwhile for classic mystery fans.