I have always loved Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, so, of course, it was a tragedy when he died and the series came to an end. Trying to emulate a writer must be a very difficult task, one taken up by several different writers for Robert Parker, but only one so far for Rex Stout: Robert Goldsborough. They are pretty good. Not perfect, mind you, but they do, in spots, capture the master.
Rex Stout had a formula that worked very well. Nero reluctantly takes on a client, usually after Archie's nagged him enough because the bank balance is low. Then it's Archie's job to collect information and relay it verbatim to Nero who then summons all the participants to his brownstone, usually with Inspector Cramer in attendance, whereupon he solves the case. Stout had the formula down to perfection. It wasn't so much the plots that garnered such a devoted following but rather the wordplay of the characters. Goldsborough has captured that pretty well.
Archie is the ostensible target in this novel. Two shots have been fired at Archie as he enters the brownstone. He and Wolfe assume it's someone out for revenge especially after the phone calls. A man Wolfe helped put away years before has vowed to kill Archie in revenge. Saul and Fred are enlisted to help dig through the cases in attempt to find the culprit. In the midst of this, Cordelia Hutchinson, a railroad millionairess, wants Wolfe to find who is blackmailing her about an affair she had in Florence that threatens her upcoming nuptials. Since the Wolfe's bank account has suffered mostly withdrawals Archie is badgering Wolfe to take the case.... Then the two cases begin to cross.
A little slow in starting, once I got into it, I felt comfortably back in the world of Nero Wolfe and couldn't put it down.
My thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in return for my unbiased review.
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