The Mother Hunt Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1 1993
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Someone drops off an infant on the doorstep of a wealthy and attractive widow. She hires Nero Wolfe, the famed P.I., to ferret out the baby's mother. A couple of murders result from the investigation, placing the onus on Wolfe and his street-smart legman, Archie Goodwin, to nab the killer. When reading this and other Wolfe whodunits, one gets the distinct impression that Archie, for all his complaining, not only loves working for the obese orchid-growing P.I., but gets a huge charge from writing about their cases. One gets none of that from listening to Michael Prichard's oral renderings of Stout's oeuvre for Audio Editions. He is as flat as a pancake, not even bothering to look up the pronunciation of some of Wolfe's less familiar expressions. To borrow one of Wolfe's MORE familiar terms--Pfui! Y.R. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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A baby is left at a widow's doorstep. A note is attached with a straight pin: "A Boy Should Live In His Father's House." Since the widow was painfully aware of her late husband's philandering, she accepts the responsiblity...
But she also wants to know who the mother is. Not to exact revenge, but really to make sure that the baby's mom is OK.
This story has a strong plot line, but it is Stout on mental health that makes it memorable. So much of this, almost unconsciously, is about forgiveness, moving on with life, and the power of selfless love for another person.
Murder mysteries don't often afford much of a platform for this type of discourse. Here, you'll learn something valuable about life, in addition to seeing a tough case solved...
If you want darkness and violence, then these aren't for you, but the story lines are good, characters are likeable, and the wit in his writing, and the banter between Wolfe and Archie Goodwin (his assistant and story narrator) make the stories a pleasure to read.
This is one of my favorites, along with Prisoner's Base, The Father Hunt, Too Many Women, The Golden Spiders, and The Rubber Band. Some are dated now, but that can be part of the charm. And all are clever and multifaceted, but it is the characters that make these stories great.