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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.

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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.

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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe -vs- Zeck: The Final Chapter July 14 2001
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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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 Wolfe v. Zeck March 22 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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 the most significant moments in the Corpus: the strafing of the plant rooms, and Lily Rowan's brief encounter with "Pete." Highly recommended.
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