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The Doorbell Rang [Mass Market Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1992 Nero Wolfe Mysteries
Hired to help society widow Rachel Bruner foil bothersome Feds, Nero Wolfe and his able assistant Archie get in over their heads with highly trained G-men who are adept at bugs, tails, and threats. Reissue. NYT.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books are all great fun, full of wonderful food and the arcane details of hobbies as diverse as orchid growing and Balkan history. But in this outing, things suddenly become much more serious when Wolfe and his sidekick Archie Goodwin face the malevolent forces of J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI minions. Luckily, Stout's heart and his writing style are more than equal to the challenge.

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Looking tough at the FBI Jan. 26 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Oftentimes the Nero Wolfe books are in some never-never time. You know it's sometime after the second World War, but placing it in the fifties or sixties or seventies can be tough. Except when Stout decides to take on what later became one of his favorite subjects, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In The Doorbell Rang, Stout gets his jabs in at the "privileged" position of the federal investigator, while raising issues many Americans had at the time about a "secret police" which reported, supposedly, only to the president. A true immigrant, Wolfe has more of a feeling for what democracy is and how precious an item it is, and works harder to defend it than the "real" Americans. As always, Stout's prose is clean and crisp, and this is the same book that you expect from him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What really holds Archie and Wolfe together Dec 19 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love this series, especially because of the relationship between NW and AG. These two men could not be more different in terms of work ethic, personal style, taste, etc. Yet they are held together by mutual respect and -- as illustrated by this colorful installment -- a very healthy disrepect for authority. Here we find Wolfe confronted by an institution he would enjoy tweaking even more than the NYPD, and that's the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The murder itself really is not that important to the story. The real story is Wolfe's elaborate (and boy, is it ever elaborate!) plan to sting the Feds. If you're looking for a complex whodunit, look elsewhere. But if you enjoy the series and the main characters of Goodwin, Wolfe and Cramer, curl up with this one and prepare to smile often.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great "Archie Goodwin Story" Nov. 7 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This may not be the best Wolfe story to start with, because it is one of the later and greater of Stout's novels. However, if you do read this and like it, you won't be disappointed with any others in the series.
Interestingly, Stout was 48 when his first Wolfe novel was published and he continued writing them until he was almost 90.
This book has it all, from the usual cast of characters, Wolfe and Archie in the old brownstone, Saul, Orrie, and Fred, the freelancers hired to help on the case, Inspector Cramer, and the plot features an interesting twist on Wolfe's orchid hobby...well hobby doesn't describe 10,000 orchids in his rooftop greenhouse. You know there's a lot of commerce involved in keeping that collection going, but I'd better not say anymore about that.
Wolfe is visited by a potential client with a problem that could be too hot to handle. You see, she has sent out copies of a book, "The FBI Nobody Knows" to influential people, newspaper editors, etc. Now she thinks the G-men are following her, tapping her phone and maybe worse. Most PI's wouldn't handle this case, even if the client was Cleopatra or Helen of Troy.
But, a check for $100,000 has a...powerful appeal to Wolfe(it was a lot of money in the 60's when the book was written). Has Nero Wolfe finally bitten off more than he can chew when the FBI comes calling?
Read this book. I consider it a classic, of both humor and of subtle political commentary. I give this book five of the biggest, brightest stars in the heavens.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Stout at His Best April 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rex Stout has always been one of the best mystery writers. The Doorbell Rang is one of his best. It sprints along and gets you caught up in the story. Nero Wolfe takes a case to stop the FBI themselves from harrassing a rich woman. On the way, he encounters a murderer, lying women, lying men, and a pair of FBI agents who he uses in one of the most creative ways I have ever read.
What makes this book so great is that it's different from most Nero Wolfe books. In this one, the main case is not a murder. The enemy is a huge and powefrul organization. Throughout the book, special precautions are taken by Wolfe and Archie, his wisecracking assistant, because they both know that the FBI isn't above bugging. The way they fulfill their clients wishes is wonderful, but of course I won't tell you how they do it. And the very end made me laugh out loud in the middle of a crowded bus. Just wait for it and you'll see what I mean. Stout is also a great writer and the Doorbell Rang is full of snappy writing and Wolfe in all his eloquence. It is a great book and it is really fun to read.
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