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The League of Frightened Men Paperback – Jan 2 1995


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--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (Jan. 2 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553762982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553762983
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 1.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #462,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"It is always a treat to [hear] a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." -- The New York Times Book Review

Rex Stout's League of Frightened Men presents a fascinating new Nero Wolfe mystery read by L.A. actor Michael Prichard, who brings to life this fine story of an eccentric detective's investigation of a classmate's potential for murder. A man left crippled by a college hazing prank seems out for revenge upon his fellows in this gripping saga." -- The Midwest Book Review, August 1997 --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Rex Stout (1886-1975), inimitable master of detective fiction, wrote 73 mysteries. His career also included writing three novels, chairing the War Writers' Board, and mobilizing public opinion against the use of nuclear devices. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a disappointment. I'm a Wolfe fanatic and the author of a comprehensive webpage devoted to Wolfe, of as enormous size as Wolfe himself (see [...] ), but compared to the masterpiece published only a year earlier than _The League_, I mean the very first Wolfe novel, _Fer-de-Lance_ (1934) -- compared to that first novel _The League_ is a "wash-out", to use Archie's term: tedious, overlong, and trite. I agree with the assessment of a previous Amazon reviewer (of August 1999).
In _Fer-de-Lance_, it didn't really matter that the characters were all-new, created from scratch. You could feel the excitement of their being created, or having just been created, in Stout's prose; it was more careful and less unnecessarily verbose than in _The League_. Wolfe himself says in _The League_ that the art of writing is to leave out as much as possible without detriment to the substance: well, if _The League_ had only been 100 pages long instead of 200, it might have been entertaining!
Wolfe talks too much, and Archie describes and theorizes and worries and rejoices too much in this novel. Inspector Cramer appears for the first time in this book, but he's not really himself yet. He smokes a pipe (!) instead of chewing an unlit cigar to tatters. Neither does he talk or otherwise behave like the later Cramer we love to hate. There's no red leather chair in the office yet, neither are yellow chairs there. No one-way glass panel at the door.
As to the mystery angle in this book (a weak point in all of Rex Stout's books): the solution to the murder(s) is disappointing and can be guessed with many pages left to go. Hardly any suspense, certainly not to be compared with the likes of Agatha Christie.
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Format: Audio Cassette
January 8, 2003: Finished listening to this on the way to work today. It ends with a gentle insult that cracked me up. Otherwise, I think I would recommend reading this over listening to this. I think it would go faster, and the conversations would be easier to follow. This particular reader is advertised as having a golden voice; not on my system, he didn't.
A man, Paul, was injured in college. Some number of fellow students felt responsible and guilty enough to undertake some degree of lifetime support (more or less) of him. He was not always fond of this. Some 20 or 30 years later, some of those fellow students begin dying, and later evidence indicates to the remaining that Paul has killed them.
Straightforward (in as much as any of them are) mystery with the twist that you don't know whether the deaths are, in fact, murders--and some may be, some may not be, there may or may not be more, and Paul himself may or may not have been the murderer. I liked that; it presented complications. Some other events (data) laid forth drew me to really basic conclusions ... which were wrong. But appropriately wrong: I had missed something or not been devious enough in my thinking. I had concluded on too little evidence, maybe. I liked that, too.
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Format: Audio Cassette
A hazing accident at a Harvard dormitory leaves a young man hopelessly crippled. The 35 men responsible for the injury form a League of Atonement to help support their victim. Eventually the victim discovers he has great literary ability and becomes a lionized author. All his books have as their theme the murder of various characters modeled after various members of the League of Atonement. The victim has become a Literary Avenger. Then one member dies violently at a reunion while in close proximity to the Literary Avenger. The survivors receive an anonymous poem suggesting the Literary Avenger has become a literal avenger. Another dies of poisoning shortly after a meeting with the Avenger. Another group of poems goes out. A third disappears without a trace. Another anonymous poem goes out to the League. They have transmogrified from the League of Atonement to the League of Frightened Men.
They consult with Nero Wolfe, and he undertakes to relieve their fears for an obscene fee. Wolfe feels that all he needs is the answers to three questions and he can corkscrew a confession out of the Literary Avenger. Before Wolfe can pull it off, his target gets himself arrested for the murder of a fourth member of the League, and it looks like an open and shut case. Wolfe stands to lose his fee. If the Avenger gets electrocuted for the fourth murder, the League won't owe him a cent.
Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's confidential assistant, sees the problem quite simply. All Wolfe has to do is exonerate the Literary Avenger in the fourth murder and get confessions to the first three. The pair of detectives travels a complex path to achieve Archie's simple solution. Archie gets poisoned, Wolfe gets kidnapped, and it all culminates in one of the most Machiavellian maneuvers ever to spring from Wolfe's fertile imagination.
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Format: Audio Cassette
This second adventure of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, while not as compelling as the first, is nonetheless an excellent mystery with a rather sly twist at the end. While the the chief suspect, Paul, was the victim of a prank so many years before, he is not a sympathetic character at all and appears to be very bitter through his mask of friendship towards all. Paul's wife also seems to have few good qualities and does, in fact, seem to have quite a bizarre personality. Stout's stories are all well written and contribute to fast paced adventures that usually end with one character very unhappy, in this case Paul appears to be both unamused and unimpressed by Nero Wolfe's solution of the case. I storngly recommend this story to all Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin stories.
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