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In the Best Families [Large Print] [Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1991 Thorndike Press Large Print Paperback Series
An elderly woman asks Wolfe to uncover the source of her husband's money, but as he is led to confront the most dangerous racketeer in America, Wolfe unexpectedly announces his retirement, and goes into hiding. Has Nero Wolfe, the world's most famous sleuth, ended his career in cowardice and disgrace?
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Product Details


Product Description

From Library Journal

Nero Wolfe is sleuthing as usual in these three mysteries. In the Best Families deals with Mrs. Rackam, an aging millionaire who approaches Wolfe to investigate why her young and penniless husband suddenly and mysteriously has large sums of money. Wolfe's inquiry leads him to a confrontation with Arnold Zeck; later a letter bomb causes Wolfe to resign from detective work and go into hiding, leaving his assistant, Archie Goodwin, to solve the case. Has Wolfe's career ended in humiliation? Only time will tell. Michael Pritchard's clear and strong reading helps support the tale. Rachel Bruner, a wealthy society widow, turns to Wolfe in The Doorbell Rang. She writes him a check for $100,000 and asks him to stop the FBI from spying on her and her family. She will pay more if he is successful. He takes the case, and soon Wolfe and Archie are confronting FBI agents, murder, and threats as they search for answers. Champagne for One challenges Wolfe's knowledge of gourmet food and of sleuthing. Did society girl Faith Usher commit suicide via cyanide in her champagne, or was she murdered? Archie was there, and he suspects foul play. Saul Rubinek provides pleasant readings of both stories and helps keep the atmosphere charged. Although abridged, The Doorbell Rang/Champagne for One provides more entertainment than In the Best Families and is recommended.ADenise A. Garofalo, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Rex Stout (1886–1975) was the creator of Nero Wolfe, one of the most popular detectives of all time.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfes Reichenbach... June 3 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
For those who believe that Wolfe is the progeny of Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes his final encounter with ruthless genius, Arnold Zeck is priceless. It is genuinely frightening and takes Wolfe where he has never gone before - underground. Everything that is good about Nero Wolfe novels is in this one. His relationship with Archie, brilliance and ... well, there are also some things here that you have never seen in another Wolfe book; Nero necking for instance. No, I did not make that up. If you like Wolfe this book is a big treat, combining suspense, humour and high drama. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nero Wolfe Loses Weight! March 16 2011
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Yes, "In the Best Families," by Rex Stout, is another Nero Wolfe novel - I'm working my way through them slowly. This is the 17th, published in 1950, and features a largely missing Wolfe! Early on, a very rich woman comes to Wolfe to ask him to find out how her husband of three years always seems to have lots of money even though she cut him off following too many requests for money from her. The woman's cousin, who lives on her property and raises Dobermans for a living, happened to have an instance of someone poisoning one of his dogs (the dog survived) about a month earlier, and it is decided that Archie Goodwin will travel to Westchester County to visit the cousin in his role of detective, looking into the poisoning incident; that way, Archie can get a look at the husband and find out what he can. Things take a turn for the (much) worse when that night, the rich woman is murdered, along with her dog. Before Wolfe can even begin to investigate, however, a rigged package sent to his home leads him to go into hiding; no one, not Archie and not even his good friend Marko, knows where he is. Because Nero Wolfe is determined to do something much more dangerous than finding a murderer, and he needs time and secrecy for his plan to ripen....This is one of the best Nero Wolfe novels I've read, albeit also one of the most melodramatic. There's action, there's intrigue, there's all sorts of surprises; and even Lily Rowan shows up, in a cameo. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Nero Wolfe Feb. 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have listened to quite a few Nero Wolfe books, so I expected I knew the pattern when I put on the tape to listen to this one earlier this week. I was in for a big surprise. Not only did this book not follow the same pattern as the other books, but it actually shocked me to see that Nero Wolfe had decided to disappear and sell his Brownstone house.
This book was perhaps the best Nero Wolfe book I have listened to yet, as it kept me guessing and eagerly listening to learn what would happen yet. The irony, of course, is that once again, the solution to the mystery lay right in front of us, so obvious, yet I never once considered it. It takes excellent writing skills to make this happen!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Final Problem Sept. 5 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's quite hard to write convincingly about a genius. Rex Stout did it better than anyone, including Agatha Christie or Conan Doyle. The Sherlock Holmes tales too often rely on microscopic examinations or encyclopedic knowledge rather than interesting logical deductions. Poirot and Marple appear too seldom in their books, and their analyses are frustratingly delayed until the very end. Nero Wolfe's genius is on display throughout his stories, and this book is no exception.
Just compare the similar Sherlock Holmes story, "The Final Problem", where Holmes destroys Moriarty's criminal enterprise. No details are given - just vague quips: "I have woven my net round him", "at last he made a trip", and "if a detailed account of that silent contest could be written it would take its place as the most brilliant bit of thrust-and-parry work in the history of detection". Yes, too bad Conan Doyle never actually wrote such an account! The reason is simple: It was beyond him.
Rex Stout was up to the challenge. This novel, with the main part of the story consisting of Wolfe's defeat of Arnold Zeck, describes the affair in detail. The final confrontation is both masterful and believable.
The action elements of this novel may disturb those used to the standard formula, but it's a welcome break, and a treat to read.
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