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Curtains for Three [Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 2 1995 Crime Line
Three clever murderers challenge Nero Wolfe in cases involving lovers who want to make sure neither is a killer, a stable full of suspects in the search for a killer on horseback, and a murderer stalking Wolfe's brownstone. Reissue.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Minor Wolfe Novellas, But Pleasing March 29 2011
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"Curtains for Three" is another in Rex Stout's series of Nero Wolfe stories; as with some previous books, it's actually three novellas (from 1948, 1949 and 1950) packaged into one book following their publications in various magazines of the day. This outing includes "The Gun With Wings," wherein an operatic tenor is found dead, an apparent suicide, except that the couple who found the body, his wife and her friend who have just mutually discovered their love for each other, found no gun at the body's feet, as the police later did find; in order to keep their love pure and open, they appeal to Nero Wolfe to find out what really happened to her husband so that they will be free of nagging doubts that one of them murdered him. In "Bullet for One," a man with a lot of enemies is shot dead while riding his horse in the early morning in Central Park; five of the six suspects believe the sixth man is the culprit, but he's got an ironclad alibi.... And "Disguise for Murder" features a murderer audaciously attacking and killing a victim in Nero Wolfe's own house, nay, in his very office! You see, a garden reporter for the newspaper has persuaded Wolfe to permit members of the Garden Society to visit his beloved orchids, and so Wolfe is confronted with a packed house, half of which are, gasp, women, and when one of them turns up dead, it's up to Wolfe to discover the killer, if only to make sure that Inspector Cramer will unseal his office pronto so that he can get back to being comfortable again in it.... All of these are fairly slight, as befits the novella form for the most part, but again, they were all fun to read. As always, recommended!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
One (so far) of the 3 short stories herein has been adapted by A&E. Apart from the introduction by Judith Kelman added to the paperback edition, the book is pure Stout.
"The Gun with Wings" - Alberto Mion, top tenor at the Met, had several reasons to die, whether suicide or murder. His alleged seduction of Clara James provoked her father into hitting Mion in the throat so hard that he needed an operation even to hope to sing again. He'd lost thousands of dollars in recording contracts and tours even in four months out of action. His wife wanted to leave him for Fred Weppler, the Gazette's music critic. But the police crossed it off as suicide, finding the gun on the floor beside him and a bullet through the roof of his mouth.
But Peggy Mion and Fred Weppler still have a problem: they know the gun wasn't beside the body when they found it, and they want Wolfe to find the murderer so they can stop suspecting each other.
Some high points: an attitude toward suing for damages that's an historical exhibit; Wolfe's all-time record in high-handedness in squeezing information out of clients; and a completely fair puzzle.
"Bullet for One" - Sigmund Keyes took a ride in the park 5 days a week. On the day of his death, he left the stable at 0630, passed a mounted cop at 0710 who knew him and his horse by sight, but his horse came in riderless half an hour later. A wealthy industrial designer, shot out of the saddle in sight of the Empire State Building, means a tailor-made media circus. Of the 6 suspects, 5 have now come to Wolfe, at least 4 ganging up on the 6th (who appears just after Wolfe, err, 'asks' them to stay to dinner for a grilling session afterwards). "I am hired to get facts." "Sure, the real facts." "There is no other kind. I guarantee not to deliver any unreal facts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Entertaining Oct. 8 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
PROS: Excellent writing style, well-defined characters, captivating plots
CONS: Not a single complaint!
BOTTOM LINE: Always a great read with Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 3 bite-size murder mysteries.
Curtains for Three is a trios of murder mysteries starring Nero Wolfe, a 300 pound master sleuth with a penchant for food, beer and flowers. He solves crimes from his 1940's New York brownstone apartment with his wisecracking right-hand man, Archie Goodwin, doing the legwork. And as always, Wolfe's apartment staff and other regulars (Fritz Brenner the chef, Freelancer Saul Panzer, Police Inspector Cramer, Officer Purley Stebbins) are on-hand to round out the cast.
All of the Nero Wolfe books showcase Rex Stout's unique talent as a writer. The way he describes things is always interesting and adds to the atmosphere of the stories. For example, at one point in this novel he describes a resistant witness as 'next-door to nasty'. In another novel Archie describes how he 'retired to the kitchen to chin with Fritz'.
The three short stories presented in Curtains for Three are very enjoyable and just plain fun to read. The first story involves 2 lovers who call upon Wolfe to prove neither of them is a murderer. The second story involves a Central Park killing of a man on horseback. The final story tells the tale of a murder that occurs right in Nero Wolfe's office, which is real convenient since Wolfe tends stay within his apartment.
The characters are a hoot, the plot interesting and twisty and the prose is outstanding. Wolfe cooks up a good mystery every time and will have you going back for seconds.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In Wolfe short stories, it's the mystery not the characters that matter Oct. 9 2005
By J. Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
When Wolfe appears in Stout's short fiction, the emphasis is on the mystery, not the characters. That usually works to the detriment of a series like this one where the byplay between Nero and Archie is the real reason for this series success; however, the stories in this collection are at least interesting diversions, if not as satisfying as the novels.

"The Gun with Wings" is a "locked room" mystery with a rather familiar "Gideon Fell" feel to it; and "Bullet for One" has more than its fair share of annoying characters, a fairly forgettable plot, but is slightly redeemed by memorable scene in an office where a Marx Brothers style romp occurs with Archie as a bemused bystander.

The winner here is "Disguise for Murder" which proves to be a lot of fun. Wolfe's aversion to disturbance in his household is overshadowed by his love of showing off his orchids. This proves to be a huge problem as murder occurs in his office, and then the unthinkable happens: Inspector Cramer shuts down Wolfe's sanctuary as a crime scene. Wolfe in high dudgeon is always a treat and the added attraction of Archie in jeopardy ranks this with the best of the Wolfe tales. One classic and two also rans make this a acceptable deal and CURTAINS FOR THREE with your time.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The victims: an opera singer, a designer, and a con artist Feb. 24 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One (so far) of the 3 short stories herein has been adapted by A&E. Apart from the introduction by Judith Kelman added to the paperback edition, the book is pure Stout.
"The Gun with Wings" - Alberto Mion, top tenor at the Met, had several reasons to die, whether suicide or murder. His alleged seduction of Clara James provoked her father into hitting Mion in the throat so hard that he needed an operation even to hope to sing again. He'd lost thousands of dollars in recording contracts and tours even in four months out of action. His wife wanted to leave him for Fred Weppler, the Gazette's music critic. But the police crossed it off as suicide, finding the gun on the floor beside him and a bullet through the roof of his mouth.
But Peggy Mion and Fred Weppler still have a problem: they know the gun wasn't beside the body when they found it, and they want Wolfe to find the murderer so they can stop suspecting each other.
Some high points: an attitude toward suing for damages that's an historical exhibit; Wolfe's all-time record in high-handedness in squeezing information out of clients; and a completely fair puzzle.
"Bullet for One" - Sigmund Keyes took a ride in the park 5 days a week. On the day of his death, he left the stable at 0630, passed a mounted cop at 0710 who knew him and his horse by sight, but his horse came in riderless half an hour later. A wealthy industrial designer, shot out of the saddle in sight of the Empire State Building, means a tailor-made media circus. Of the 6 suspects, 5 have now come to Wolfe, at least 4 ganging up on the 6th (who appears just after Wolfe, err, 'asks' them to stay to dinner for a grilling session afterwards). "I am hired to get facts." "Sure, the real facts." "There is no other kind. I guarantee not to deliver any unreal facts."
The suspects: Ferdinand Pohl (financed Keyes' start) and Dorothy Keyes (daughter), who inherit; Frank Broadyke (competitor; defendant in a lawsuit just begun by the victim for industrial espionage); Annie "Audrey" Rooney (just-fired secretary of Victor Talbott); Wayne Safford (courting Audrey, works at the stable); and Victor Talbott (Dorothy's fiance, the preferred murderer of the other four).
To balance the dry timetables of the murder and the six alibis, we have lots of catfights between the clients, Cramer going ape because Wolfe's messing around with a high-profile case, and a smart-aleck mounted patrolman who can compete with Archie.
"Disguise for Murder" - I recommend the excellent adaptation by A&E with Timothy Hutton as Archie. Wolfe has opened the plant rooms for the afternoon to the Manhattan Flower Club, but neither he nor Archie realized how troublesome it would be. Wolfe hadn't realized there would be (gasp!) *women* in the club, and Archie hadn't realized how few would be a treat for the eyes. Archie, therefore, was bound to notice Cynthia Brown, virtually the only attractive young woman in the place, even if she hadn't gone down to Wolfe's office to speak with Archie when he went AWOL.
Cynthia is a woman of many names - a con artist, in fact. Today, though, she wants to give it all up and go legit - because she just recognized the man she believes strangled her friend Doris Hatten a few months ago. "I wouldn't have recognized him if he hadn't had a hat on, and then he looked at me and saw what was happening." She wants Wolfe and Archie to help her put the creep away, without winding up in jail herself. Unfortunately, disaster strikes before Archie can get Wolfe downstairs to speak with her.
And to add injury to the insult of a murder in the office, Cramer seals it. Client or no client, Wolfe is motivated. :)
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely Entertaining Oct. 8 2001
By SF Signal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
PROS: Excellent writing style, well-defined characters, captivating plots
CONS: Not a single complaint!
BOTTOM LINE: Always a great read with Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 3 bite-size murder mysteries.
Curtains for Three is a trios of murder mysteries starring Nero Wolfe, a 300 pound master sleuth with a penchant for food, beer and flowers. He solves crimes from his 1940's New York brownstone apartment with his wisecracking right-hand man, Archie Goodwin, doing the legwork. And as always, Wolfe's apartment staff and other regulars (Fritz Brenner the chef, Freelancer Saul Panzer, Police Inspector Cramer, Officer Purley Stebbins) are on-hand to round out the cast.
All of the Nero Wolfe books showcase Rex Stout's unique talent as a writer. The way he describes things is always interesting and adds to the atmosphere of the stories. For example, at one point in this novel he describes a resistant witness as `next-door to nasty'. In another novel Archie describes how he `retired to the kitchen to chin with Fritz'.
The three short stories presented in Curtains for Three are very enjoyable and just plain fun to read. The first story involves 2 lovers who call upon Wolfe to prove neither of them is a murderer. The second story involves a Central Park killing of a man on horseback. The final story tells the tale of a murder that occurs right in Nero Wolfe's office, which is real convenient since Wolfe tends stay within his apartment.
The characters are a hoot, the plot interesting and twisty and the prose is outstanding. Wolfe cooks up a good mystery every time and will have you going back for seconds.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Title, Good Set of Three March 28 2012
By Ohioan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's not just curtains, it's Curtain's for Three, a clever summary of the three stories, in which (as in almost all Wolfe novels or novellas) each story centers on a murder. The first, "The Gun with Wings," concerns a tenor of the Metropolitan Opera who maybe committed suicide and maybe didn't. The tenor's estranged wife and her fiancé hire Wolfe to solve the case because, it seems, they found the body but didn't tell. When they found the body, there was no suicide gun alongside the victim. When the police found the body, there was a suicide gun. Who put the gun there and why? It's up to Wolfe to solve the case.

"Bullet for One" has a delightful Central Park setting. Unfortunately, the industrial designer out for a horseback ride through the park is murdered. He and his horse set out for a trot through the park, but only the horse returns. Six different suspects beg Wolfe to help prove it wasn't them. Or, rather, they'd like to prove it was a particular one of them who is highly unpopular.

My favorite of the three is "Disguise for Murder," in which Wolfe is somehow talked into hosting an event of the Manhattan Flower Club which, to his dismay, permits women to join. One of these women enters Wolfe's office while he isn't there. She is murdered in the office and then, insult of insults, Cramer seals the office. This means that if Wolfe wants to return to his office fortress, he has to solve the case quickly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wendi's review April 16 2010
By W. Simons - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is no such thing as a "bad" Nero Wolfe book or novella. The condition of the book was just acceptable, but it was still great reading. It takes me back to when dialogue was important and characters were thinking, not just blowing stuff up with C-4. I'm re-reading all I can find of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series and enjoying every minute.
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