THREE DOORS TO DEATH (Nero Wolfe #16) by Rex Stout is three short stories written in the late 1940s that are still fun to read today. Archie Goodwin talks us through three tales of murder and Nero Wolfe talks us through the solutions. We open with MAN ALIVE, set in the New York world of high fashion. A dead man appears to come back to life, only to be murdered. OMIT FLOWERS takes on the restaurant business. After her husband dies, the new owner and head of a highly successful chain of fine dining establishments decides to marry a slightly shady character and install him as president of the company. Her children, not to mention her head chef, have other ideas. Finally DOOR TO DEATH presents a clear cut case of murder that could only have be perpetrated by one man. Wolfe has allowed Archie to drive him to the wilds of Westchester in search of a new horticulturist to temporarily replace Wolfe's usual man. That Wolfe has left his home shows how important the new man is to him, so Wolfe knows there is no possible way the fellow could be guilty. Each is a puzzler and it is nice to sit and actually read a good mystery in the company of old friends. This is yet another winner from the pen of the late Mr. Stout.
About This Item
Introduction by Jonathan Kellerman "It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore."--The New York Times Book Review A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America's greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained--and puzzled--millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original seventy-three cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout. One by one they knock on the door of the incomparable Nero Wolfe, each with a case more perplexing than the one before. First comes the niece of a man who committed suicide by jumping naked into a geyser, only to return just in time to be murdered. Then it’s the strange case of the murder victim’s family covering up for the real killer, while a chef stews in jail. Finally a master horticulturist discovers the woman he wants to marry: dead and cooling in a hothouse. Three knocks on the door. Three cases of crime. Enter a world of mendacity, mixed motives, and masterful detection on West Thirty-fifth Street, where murder is always at home.
Introduction by Jonathan Kellerman
“It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore.”—The New York Times Book Review
A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America’s greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained—and puzzled—millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original seventy-three cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout.
Random House Publishing Group
|Number of Pages|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
6.90 x 4.10 x 0.50 Inches
This is three novelett...
This is three novelettes. The first,"Man Alive" involves a theme Stout uses several times (e.g. Red Threads) of a woman involved in the fashion industry (in which his wife worked). In this case, the niece of a leading designer comes to Wolfe to say her uncle supposedly committed suicide by jumping into a geyser in Yellowstone Park. but she has recently seen him alive. Soon after the investigation begins, however, he is found definitely dead. I rally like the opening concept of that one, though the rest is a fairly conventional investigation. . The second story, "Omit Flowers" has Wolfe's best friend Marko Vukcic asking as a favor that he look into a crime for which a once-great chef is being accused. The chief (Virgil Pompa) now works for a chain of restaurants called Ambrosia (reminiscent of the Pratterias in Some Buried Caesar) . Pompa had been the number 2 man in the business behind its founder, and when he died Pompa took over running it until the founder's widow remarried and decided her second husband should take over. When the husband was found with a knife in his back, Pompa was of course a suspect. The third story, "Door to Death" involves Wolfe and Archie going out to Westchester County to recruit an orchid tender to temporarily replace Wolfe's usual an Horstman who is ill. They find the prospective orchid men accused of murder in the death of a woman, so of course Wolfe has to get him off.
This book contains thr...
This book contains three novellas, which makes the title a little bit corny. Plus the title of the last story if Door to Death. It is still good writing and quite entertaining. Man Alive This is a rather complicated tale where people pretend they get killed in order not to get killed. It comes down to five suspects because only five people have keys to get in where the victim was killed. The action and suspense move at a good pace and Wolfe pulls a rabbit out of a hat to end the story. Omit Flowers The meaning of the title is disclosed at the end and I found it quite poignant. A friend of Marko is accused of murder and he asks Wolfe for help. Archie pulls off the errand of all time and Wolfe spends five hours with the suspects. When Wolfe pops the secret he relies on the reaction of the murderer and he gets what he needs. The two meanest people in this story are women. They are cold and out to kill. Archie gets asked out on a date to keep up his reputation. Door to Death ( There is a theme working here.) Wolfe needs a new someone to take care of his orchids. The man he wants is in jail for murder. Wolfe breaks all of his rules in this book. He wades through a stream and commits kidnapping. He is not even getting paid. This is the man he wants taking care of his orchids. Dina Lauer, an attractive and popular nurse is found killed by the ciphogene used on the orchids. Joseph G. Pitcairn is a local grandee but Wolfe makes him stop and listen and give him room to solve the murder. The story moves quickly and has moments of strong emotional impact. As I read through the series I notice some patterns. Wolfe has a way of making up clues and using them to make the murderer break. He also has some really vicious women murderers. I have run into several women characters lately that were scary mean.
What is better than fi...
What is better than finding an unread title of a Nero Wolfe volume by Rex Stout? It's finding three, all consolidated into one volume entitled Three Doors To Death. The three novellas were published in magazines in the late '40's, but Stout's writing ability and clever plotting is as fresh as ever. Archie Goodwin remains Nero Wolfe's stenographer, gofer, assistant detective and Man on the Spot for the brilliant detective who hates to leave his home as much as he hates to miss a meal. In his witty style, Archie, the narrator of the Nero Wolfe books, writes a Foreword that pulls the three novellas together, pointing out the details the stories have in common as well as the exceptions to Nero's mystery-solving methods represented in each. In Omit Flowers, for instance, Wolfe does leave his home to take a meal in the restaurant of a close friend, and then proceeds to take on a case involving a friend of the restauranteur, and winds up solving the case as a favor to his friend(i.e., NOT for money!)...both rare exceptions to Wolfe's usual style. In Door to Death, Wolfe once again leaves his lair to resolve a murder in upstate New York. He makes the exception because he is set on hiring away the gardener of the estate. He may be the only gardener capable of taking care of Wolfe's orchid collection while his own Theodore Horstmann is on emergency family leave, and thus unable to render the tender loving care to Wolfe's orchids that their survival requires. Once at the estate, Wolfe has to stay to absolve the gardener, who discovers the body of his own fiancee' in his greenhouse, and is then unjustly accused of killing her. In Man Alive, the detectives are hired to find the uncle of the young lady who hires them. He is presumed to have committed suicide, but his niece is sure she has recently seen him. But before they can locate him, he is found dead at the family business. Once again, there is a murder to solve. Rex Stout is a witty man, incredibly non-"politically correct," and in the process, hilarious, not to mention a gifted creator of mysteries and resolutions to the mysteries that are just as creative.
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