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In the Best Families Paperback – Large Print, Jul 1991


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: G K Hall & Co; Lrg edition (July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816152039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816152032
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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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By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 16 2011
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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By A Customer on Sept. 5 2003
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's amazing how comfortable you can become with the never-changing routine of the occupants of Nero Wolfe's brownstone. Theodore tends the orchids, Fritz cooks, Archie does the investigative legwork, and Wolfe never leaves the brownstone. Visitors come and go, and Wolfe interrogates them, manipulates them, and occasionally exposes one of them as a murderer. Wolfe's universe existed almost unchanged through seventy three stories. In one of them, however, the entire structure of Wolfe's, Theodore's, Archie's, and Fritz's world was completely destroyed. "In the Best of Families" is that story.
A homely heiress asks Wolfe to check up on her husband. Arnold Zeck warns Wolfe off the case. Wolfe refuses. His home is bombed, the heiress is killed, and Wolfe disappears without a trace. Theodore takes a job in the country, Fritz goes to work in a restaurant, and Archie opens up his own detective agency. We have some clues as to what Wolfe might be up to from comments he made in "And be a Villain" and "The Second Confession," the first two Arnold Zeck stories. This much is certain: Wolfe must utterly destroy Arnold Zeck or forever remain in hiding.
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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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