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Bad for Business [Mass Market Paperback]

Rex Stout
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 1995
When the elderly head of the Tingley Titbits catering service meets a sudden end, a beautiful young detective becomes the main suspect, until Tecumseh Fox arrives on the scene to sort out the ingredients in the case. Reissue.

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3.0 out of 5 stars Hostile takeover or an old-fashioned family murder? March 24 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Published and set in 1940, this isn't a Nero Wolfe novel, but it's set in the same universe: Rusterman's is the best restaurant in New York. What this *is*, is a Tecumseh Fox mystery, Stout's lesser-known creation.
Amy Duncan, who once worked for her uncle Arthur Tingley of Tingley's Tidbits, is now a PI: one of Dol Bonner's 'siren squad'. Unfortunately, Ms. Bonner's current client is that selfsame Tingley. Tingley makes the best appetizers money can buy, and somebody's started sabotaging them by adulterating them with quinine. Could it be engineered by the Products & Beverages Corporation, or Consolidated Cereals, who both want to buy out Tingley's? Is it just a crank? Or is it something more personal?
Amy suspects Dol may be double-crossing Tingley, when she sees Dol at Rusterman's with a P&B vice president, so when she meets Fox by chance, she asks for advice. (She's on such bad terms with her uncle that her attempt to talk with *him* ended by her storming out.) Within a day or so, though, Tingley telephones and asks Amy to call on him, and she finds him in his office, throat cut, just before being knocked cold.
While the initial calling in of the police is a bit muffed, somebody for once shows sense: Fox sees to it that Amy is 1) put under a doctor's care, and 2) provided with a sharp lawyer before the cops get to her.
We have, among others: 1) Philip Tingley, Arthur's adopted son and heir, but the business is tied up in a trust controlled by some senior employees, fanatically devoted to the company. (He's a grapefruit with delusions of grandeur, and his crackpot economic theories take up too much time.) 2) Leonard Cliff, the VP seen with Dol Bonner, who seems to have a romantic interest in Amy. Dol Bonner, despite her connection with Amy, appears only twice, in passing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hostile takeover or an old-fashioned family murder? March 24 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Published and set in 1940, this isn't a Nero Wolfe novel, but it's set in the same universe: Rusterman's is the best restaurant in New York. What this *is*, is a Tecumseh Fox mystery, Stout's lesser-known creation.
Amy Duncan, who once worked for her uncle Arthur Tingley of Tingley's Tidbits, is now a PI: one of Dol Bonner's 'siren squad'. Unfortunately, Ms. Bonner's current client is that selfsame Tingley. Tingley makes the best appetizers money can buy, and somebody's started sabotaging them by adulterating them with quinine. Could it be engineered by the Products & Beverages Corporation, or Consolidated Cereals, who both want to buy out Tingley's? Is it just a crank? Or is it something more personal?
Amy suspects Dol may be double-crossing Tingley, when she sees Dol at Rusterman's with a P&B vice president, so when she meets Fox by chance, she asks for advice. (She's on such bad terms with her uncle that her attempt to talk with *him* ended by her storming out.) Within a day or so, though, Tingley telephones and asks Amy to call on him, and she finds him in his office, throat cut, just before being knocked cold.
While the initial calling in of the police is a bit muffed, somebody for once shows sense: Fox sees to it that Amy is 1) put under a doctor's care, and 2) provided with a sharp lawyer before the cops get to her.
We have, among others: 1) Philip Tingley, Arthur's adopted son and heir, but the business is tied up in a trust controlled by some senior employees, fanatically devoted to the company. (He's a grapefruit with delusions of grandeur, and his crackpot economic theories take up too much time.) 2) Leonard Cliff, the VP seen with Dol Bonner, who seems to have a romantic interest in Amy. Dol Bonner, despite her connection with Amy, appears only twice, in passing.
All in all, a decent story, but Fox doesn't narrate, and lacks the character development of the inhabitants of Wolfe's brownstone, so it seems a bit thin compared to Stout's other work. If you'd like to see this same story recast as a Wolfe story, check out "Bitter End" in _Death Times Three_, Stout's last published collection.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An early work, worth a late read Sept. 23 2009
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book reminds me of movies from the 30's, full of plot twists, fast talk and witty repartee. It's a fun read, and even the murder doesn't feel too serious, since the victim is an unpleasant sort.

The story centers on Tingley's Tidbits, a venerable old company whose superlative gourmet treats are under attack by a saboteur who's adulterating the product with quinine. Sales are falling - and in the midst of the chaos Arthur Tingley is murdered.

Suspects abound: the lovely niece, who never got along with Uncle Arthur; Arthur's adopted son, who is fanatically anti-business; the entire production staff of Tingley's Tidbits; and certain corporate characters who are out to buy the business.

Tecumseh Fox is the detective, an alternate to Wolfe that Stout created at the request of his publishers. But contemporary readers rejected Fox unequivocally in favor of Nero Wolfe, and Stout dropped him pretty quickly. Stout also stole the plot of Bad for Business for the first Wolfe novella, called Bitter End.

I'd recommend reading the entire Wolfe series before this book, but for a Rex Stout fan, it still has considerable interest. Friends claimed that Fox was very much like Stout himself.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There was Life Before Nero Wolfe & Archie Goodwin! March 17 2011
By L. Gaye Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have read and enjoyed all three of the Tecumseh Fox novels (Double for Death, Broken Vase, & Bad for Business (orig. version of the Wolfe Tingley Tidbits short story)). The Fox novels are very good. Fox reminds me of the male protagonist in the Thin Man. Fox is very entertaining, suave and wealthy and is surrounded by a coterie of very, funny oddballs. In a sense, he is Archie's elder precursor. Stout somehow communicates his suaveness, sophistication and elegance. Fox is very much a man about the town and a man in charge.

I strongly recommend all of the Fox novels to Wolfe fans and anyone who likes a well-written and entertaining 1940's detective mystery. Stout offered us a rich universe of detective fiction. It'd be silly not to avail oneself of hours of reading pleasure.

I can guarantee you'll enjoy them each novel and maybe feel as grateful as I did. Discovering new detective novels by Rex Stout is wonderful! They are equally as good as the Wolfe Cannon.

FOR YOUR INFO
For die hard and craving Wolfe fans, Stout wrote two special novels featuring detectives from the Wolfe Cannon. I haven't read the Inspector Cramer (Red Threads) or Doll Bonner (The Hand in the Glove) novels but I tried each briefly and was tempted away by another book.
5.0 out of 5 stars great June 17 2014
By Deana Castle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
bought this for my father, he has been collecting them. he really likes them I am so glad I can find them in print again. hope to get all of them. great stories! if you have never read one I highly suggest you try it! great read!
5.0 out of 5 stars Always worth reading. April 3 2014
By S. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As is usual with Rex Stout, the story is interesting, the writing is superior, and the overall effect is pleasant reading from page one to the end!
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