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The Silent Speaker Mass Market Paperback – Jan 1 1994

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Crimeline (Jan. 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553234978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553234978
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 1.5 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From AudioFile

Narrator Michael Prichard excels as the brilliant detective, gourmet, and grouch, Nero Wolfe. Prichard's polished, smooth style is the only way to feature the sophisticated, egotistical detective who solves crimes with an incisive mind and an active assistant, one Archie Goodwin. This mystery involves two brutal murders tied to the antagonism between an industrial association and a governmental regulatory agency. Predictably and reassuringly, justice prevails, and the listener knows that even if "they don't write 'em like that anymore," they still tell them with panache and charm. D.L.G. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stories of conflict between big business and public interest are common enough. What makes this book unforgettable is the series of murders which have been woven so smoothly into the plot as to make the behind the scenes looks this book provides into the world of big business and its murky politics register almost unnoticed. And old followers of Nero Wolfe who might be forgiven for occasionally getting satiated with the irrepressible Archie Goodwin will be delighted to meet Phoebe Gunther the one female who manages to bring Goodwin under complete control (In past stories he always manages to hold his own where the ladies in the plot are concerned.); he does escape of course finally but the way that happens will probably linger in the reader's memory. I think that in Phoebe Gunther, Rex Stout has created an image not easily forgotten and one whom today's career girls might well wish to emulate. Even if you are not a Nero/Archie fan this is one book you will probably enjoy and wish to keep.
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By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on April 24 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
Nero Wolfe is surely one of the most beloved and fully imagined fictional detectives to be found. So, it is with great enthusiasm that I can now turn to a favorite story in audio book form. Michael Prichard, who was named one of Smart Money's Top Ten Golden Voices, gives an exuberant reading, adding another dimension to Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's aide.
Fans will remember that with "The Silent Speaker" Wolfe is, to say the least, in need of cash. Therefore, when a government honcho doesn't show up for a scheduled speech but instead shows up dead Wolfe is soon on the prowl. With the sometimes able assistance of the fey Archie the pair uncover a feud and a murderer. How they do it is a reminder of the narrative skills of Rex Stout.
- Gail Cooke
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
All the elements of a great Nero Wolfe novel are to be found in The Silent Speaker. Great verbal sparring between Archie and Wolfe:
"I dislike commotion," Wolfe said peevishly. "I didn't tell you to hit him."
"He tried to kick me. He did kick me. Next time, you do it."
Wolfe shuddered.
A solid mystery, more challenging than the average Wolfe novel, and Wolfe pulling off one of his greatest stunts (it involves a lot of time in his yellow silk pajamas) add up to one of the best books in the series.
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By Richard Schwindt TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 6 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This has a veneer of a post war issue oriented story over a solid detective mystery. The conflict between private industrial concerns and government regulators could have been written yesterday. That said, who killed Cheney Boone? This book has all the elements of a classic Wolfe mystery. Which to mean that they may lack flash bang but slowly work their way to a satisfying conclusion. This book also shows Inspector Cramer at his best as he too look about desperately for the last words of the Silent Speaker.
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Format: Audio Cassette
I lost interest during this complicated story, mainly because the reader is left too much in the dark. Only in the last couple of pages does Archie figure out how Wolfe was figuring out the mystery all along. There were a lot of details to attempt to follow, and they weren't interesting enough for me to care. As usual, the dialog between Wolfe and Goodwin is the high point of the book, but I want Archie to be more involved in the solution.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
While I am a Rex Stout fan, this book is a little darker in tone for my first choice, a little too reminiscent of the mccarthy hearings era. If you love Nero Wolfe, you will like this book. But I wouldn't recommend it to someone who hasn't read some of this lighter books first (Some Buried Caesar, is a good example).
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By A Customer on Aug. 2 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This one has Wolfe in a welcome return to top form, getting cranky with lots of very important clients. The plot has its weaknesses but who cares?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa43489cc) out of 5 stars 43 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40f6864) out of 5 stars Operation Payroll, a.k.a. the Cheney Boone case June 13 2005
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Our literature needs some revision. For example, 'dead men tell no tales.' Mr. Boone is dead. Mr. Boone is silent. But he speaks."

- Wolfe to Archie, herein

As with all of Stout's Wolfe mysteries, the setting is contemporary with the time of its writing - in this case, 26 March - 6 April 1946, making it a period piece today. This was the first new Wolfe novel since 1939, all the war years cases having been told as short stories. Archie's wartime stint in Army intelligence (which assigned him right back to Wolfe) has been over for months, and Wolfe is just getting back into private practice.

Operation Payroll is about to begin: the first case in which Wolfe actively seeks new business. (The next, in AND BE A VILLAIN, soured him on the tactic for years to come.)

Cheney Boone, head of the Bureau of Price Regulation, was scheduled as guest speaker at a bash thrown by the National Industrial Association, but for him, the bash featured a monkey wrench to the head (a prop brought along for his talk). Since the BPR and the NIA are arch-enemies, and the NIA have a reputation as rich creeps, the NIA's members have been condemned as murderers at the bar of public opinion.

They're *eager* to hire Wolfe to clean up the mess.

As usual when Wolfe's client is a corporate entity - initially, at least, the NIA, who are worth billions *and* suffering the worst PR in history - are not interested in catching a killer, but in getting bad publicity under control, resulting in a certain conflict of interest. The employees of the BPR, on the other hand, are convinced that Wolfe's been hired to clean up the mess, not uncover the truth about their chief's death.

The case soon narrows to a hunt for a set of recordings of dictation given by Boone to his confidential assistant, Phoebe Gunther, who made them disappear. Far from being crooked, she's actually very much like Archie; she's determined to see her boss' arch-enemies publicly ruined by his death, and is willing to run the risk of concealing the location of the crucial cylinder revealing the key information identifying Boone's killer.

This is a very cool case.

- Archie's very much attracted to Phoebe, who turns the tables by treating *him* with the same kind of humour that serves as his best defence mechanism in conversation.

- In the public hue-and-cry over the Boone murder, Cramer is relieved of command in favour of an unspeakably obnoxious replacement from Queens.

- Wolfe fakes a nervous breakdown, with Doc Vollmer's cooperation.

The A&E adaptation with Maury Chaykin as Wolfe is faithful to the story. The corresponding Bantam paperback edition has an afterword consisting of an exchange of letters between Stout and his publisher about recycling the metal of the printing plates used for three of his earlier books due to the wartime shortage of metal.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa40f68b8) out of 5 stars Even if you dislike fat detectives don't miss this book! July 9 1998
By BookBug - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stories of conflict between big business and public interest are common enough. What makes this book unforgettable is the series of murders which have been woven so smoothly into the plot as to make the behind the scenes looks this book provides into the world of big business and its murky politics register almost unnoticed. And old followers of Nero Wolfe who might be forgiven for occasionally getting satiated with the irrepressible Archie Goodwin will be delighted to meet Phoebe Gunther the one female who manages to bring Goodwin under complete control (In past stories he always manages to hold his own where the ladies in the plot are concerned.); he does escape of course finally but the way that happens will probably linger in the reader's memory. I think that in Phoebe Gunther, Rex Stout has created an image not easily forgotten and one whom today's career girls might well wish to emulate. Even if you are not a Nero/Archie fan this is one book you will probably enjoy and wish to keep.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa455ab94) out of 5 stars One of Stout's best. April 24 2001
By J. Carroll - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All the elements of a great Nero Wolfe novel are to be found in The Silent Speaker. Great verbal sparring between Archie and Wolfe:
"I dislike commotion," Wolfe said peevishly. "I didn't tell you to hit him."
"He tried to kick me. He did kick me. Next time, you do it."
Wolfe shuddered.
A solid mystery, more challenging than the average Wolfe novel, and Wolfe pulling off one of his greatest stunts (it involves a lot of time in his yellow silk pajamas) add up to one of the best books in the series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa41bbaec) out of 5 stars A firm favorite Aug. 19 2005
By CrimeFictionBuff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stout's work is reminiscent of P.G. Woodhouse: they are domestic comedies with either Jeeves and Wooster or Goodwin and Wolfe. (They are also both compulsively re-readable.) THE SILENT SPEAKER has all our beloved characters at full blast, including a wonderful, joyous final scene with Inspector Cramer.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa41bbb88) out of 5 stars For a newcomer to the series, this was superb! Dec 26 2007
By Sean Homrig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third Wolfe novel I've read (after The Father Hunt and Champagne for One) and while I obviously can't compare it to the rest of the series as a whole, it is certainly my favorite so far. In fact, it suprises me that many reviewers didn't care for it, because I find that it's an excellent blend between the British cozy mysteries by Agatha Christie and the American hard-boiled mysteries by Raymond Chandler.

In this one, Wolfe must solve the murder of an affluent industrialist which occurs before the book begins. There are, admittedly, a slew of characters here (about ten suspects in all), my of whom are difficult to keep track of, and about half probably have less than 15 lines in the entire story, but characterization of minor characters is sacrificed here for plotting. Less than halfway through the story, a second victim is murdered literally on Wolfe's stoop, and in perhaps the best moment of the story the police advance upon the brownstone for an all-night interrogation session with the suspects and some interesting clues are discovered involving one suspect's scarf and another's overcoat.

Part of the fun is the search for a dictaphone cylinder which the victim used to narrate a memo to his secretary on the very afternoon of his murder. It becomes clear that once the police find this cylinder, they will find their murderer. Of course, Wolfe beats them to it in the end, and when he reveals his methods in doing so I had one of those head-slapping "why didn't I think of that?" moments.

If you're looking for a surprise twist at the end where the killer is revealed as the one person you'd never expect, you may be disappointed here. The killer is one of the ten suspects, and although the solution is amply explained, his/her identity didn't throw back the curtain on any surprises. Like I stated earlier, however, the characterization of the secondary characters is taken away to give us some rich moments between Wolfe and Archie.

Fans of the series may enjoy such unique moments as Inspector Cramer being fired from the police force, Wolfe slapping a police detective across the face, Wolfe making an appearance on the brownstone's first floor in his pajamas, the discovery of a dead body almost literally at the front door (it's not so much the body per se, but the identity of the victim and the way it's discovered that are a treat), and Wolfe retreating to his bedroom for almost a week feigning insanity to avoid an arrest warrant.

Good, solid stuff. I would recommend it to new fans as well as those who are already fans.

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