In the Best Families Paperback – Large Print, Jul 1991
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Richard Schwindt
Wolfe finally confronts Arnold Zeck, the supervillain who's been dogging him for several books. In addition to Archie and Wolfe taking on their nemesis, this book contains two of... Read morePublished on March 22 2000
The climax of the Zeck trilogy, I found this unlikely and unconvincing. It's purely an adventure, with a weak mystery sub-plot. Not to be compared with the best Wolfes.Published on Aug. 2 1999