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Three for the Chair [Mass Market Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1994 Crime Line
A vast fortune in uranium, international diplomacy and intrigue, and a female detective become the focus of a trio of mysteries featuring epicurean sleuth Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin. Reissue.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Minor but Enjoyable Novellas Oct. 13 2011
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Three for the Chair" is another trio of Nero Wolfe novellas by Rex Stout, including "A Window for Death," about a uranium miner who attempts to reconcile with his family but is murdered during his attempt; "Immune to Murder," one of the rare tales where Nero Wolfe leaves his home, in this case to travel to the Adirondacks in order to prepare a special meal for a visiting ambassador, only to find himself detained and inconvenienced when one of the party is killed; and "Too Many Detectives," wherein Wolfe is actually arrested briefly during the course of an investigation by the district attorney into possible illegal wiretapping activities amongst a group of private detectives. As always with these collections, the stories are short, concise and minor, but also as always, Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are remarkable characters to follow, and it's a great deal of fun to try to beat the great detective to a solution. Recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Three Tales of Death and Deduction July 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nero Wolfe may be enjoyed through the media of print, audio, and video--in print courtesy of Bantam Books; on audio courtesy of Durkin Hayes, Radio Spirits, and Books on Tape; and on video courtesy of A&E Network. It's hard to say which way gives the most pleasure. As much as I like the A&E shows, and as much as I like Durkin Hayes' editions of the CBC radio shows, I think the best way to enjoy Nero Wolfe is in print. And the best way to enjoy him in print is in Rex Stout's novelettes. The novels are good, but the novelettes are tauter, faster-paced, and funnier. "Three Witnesses" serves up three very good novelettes. In "The Next Witness" Wolfe sits uncomfortably in a crowded courtroom, under subpoena, and waiting to give truthful testimony which he expects will materially contribute to the conviction for murder of an innocent man. What to do, what to do? Flee the courtroom, dodge the arrest warrant issued for contempt of court, and bring the real murderer to justice before the judge can bang his gavel down on a sentence of imprisonment for contempt. That sounds easy enough, doesn't it? In "When a Man Murders", a millionaire returns from the dead to retrieve the fortune which was divided among his heirs and reclaim the "widow" who has entered into a much happier second marriage. The "widow" comes to Wolfe for his assistance in obtaining a divorce from her recently resurrected spouse. Not to worry, he almost immediately dies again, but the widow's new husband is arrested for murder. Wolfe must penetrate a web of lies to determine who among the heirs had the most to gain from the millionaire's second death. In "Die Like a Dog" an improbable chain of coincidences brings Nero Wolfe together with Nero the Labrador Retriever. Together they unravel a murder mystery, reunite a couple, and retrieve Archie Goodwin's raincoat. "Die Like a Dog" and "The Next Witness" have both been televised on the A&E series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe gets out of the house a little May 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The cases herein occurred in late summer and autumn of 1955, and early 1956.
"A Window for Death" - a.k.a. "Nero Wolfe and the Vanishing Clue". No relation to "Door to Death". Two members of the Fyfe family, father and son Bertram, 20 years apart, died of pneumonia - but it seems to have been murder in both cases, since a window was deliberately left open each time to sabotage the patient's recovery. But Bertram Fyfe died with a half-share in a big uranium strike - which now reverts to his young partner Johnny Arrow rather than his family. Arrow, his executor as well as his friend, says that Fyfe had returned to New York because something was eating him from his past, andnot just a desire to reconcile with the relatives who nearly pinned his father's murder on him. The family wants Fyfe's death investigated, some with an eye on the lion's share that went to Arrow, but Arrow has an ironclad alibi. The 'vanishing clue' mentioned in the alternate title is the key to discovering what really happened, if the reader can deduce its existence. Wolfe handles the final confrontation by dictating a letter to Cramer in front of the suspects - Cramer himself doesn't appear.
"Immune to Murder" - Adapted for A&E's 2nd Nero Wolfe season. Ambassador Kelefy, whose country is being courted for favors by the U.S., has eaten Wolfe's recipes at restaurants all over the world, and Asst. Secretary of State David Leeson has persuaded Wolfe (against Archie's counter-efforts, who has to put up with Wolfe grousing about imaginary lumbago after the long drive) to visit O.V. Bragan's fishing lodge in River Bend and cook brook trout for his country. When Archie joins in the trout-fishing efforts, he hooks not only a granddaddy fish, but the body of David Leeson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A trio of excellent short stories March 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
To date (beginning of season 2), 2 of the 3 stories herein have been adapted by A&E with Maury Chaykin as Wolfe; the TV series is extremely faithful to the original stories.
"The Next Witness" - (Adapted for _Nero Wolfe_'s 2nd season.) Wolfe makes a point of never leaving home on business, but alas, subpoenas are an occupational hazard for private investigators, and even Wolfe can't always shuffle them off onto Archie, even when the defendant never made it to the status of client.
Wolfe didn't deliver Leonard Ashe to the law; he rejected Ashe as a client because he won't touch marital squabbles. Ashe is being tried for the murder of one of the operators of his telephone answering service, apparently after a failed attempt to bribe her to tap his wife's calls. Wolfe, after hearing the testimony of preceding witnesses, skips out on the subpoena, taking Archie along, having become convinced that Ashe is innocent, though he doesn't at first explain why. See if you can deduce his reasons before the grand finale.
When Wolfe finally does take the stand quite a while later (now, of course, facing contempt of court), he has a diabolically clever plan to get his new evidence before the jury. Enjoy.
When a Man Murders... - Sydney Karnow had wealth, a sardonic sense of humor, a nice wife, and a pack of sponging relatives. A year after his marriage, he volunteered for army service in the Korean War, and was reported dead within a year, leaving his fortune divided between his wife (50%) and the spongers (50% divided 3 ways), so all were well provided for if not filthy rich.
Now, 3 years later, he's come back *alive* - two years after Caroline's remarriage to Paul Aubry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Tales of Death and Deduction July 10 2002
By George R Dekle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Nero Wolfe may be enjoyed through the media of print, audio, and video--in print courtesy of Bantam Books; on audio courtesy of Durkin Hayes, Radio Spirits, and Books on Tape; and on video courtesy of A&E Network. It's hard to say which way gives the most pleasure. As much as I like the A&E shows, and as much as I like Durkin Hayes' editions of the CBC radio shows, I think the best way to enjoy Nero Wolfe is in print. And the best way to enjoy him in print is in Rex Stout's novelettes. The novels are good, but the novelettes are tauter, faster-paced, and funnier. "Three Witnesses" serves up three very good novelettes. In "The Next Witness" Wolfe sits uncomfortably in a crowded courtroom, under subpoena, and waiting to give truthful testimony which he expects will materially contribute to the conviction for murder of an innocent man. What to do, what to do? Flee the courtroom, dodge the arrest warrant issued for contempt of court, and bring the real murderer to justice before the judge can bang his gavel down on a sentence of imprisonment for contempt. That sounds easy enough, doesn't it? In "When a Man Murders", a millionaire returns from the dead to retrieve the fortune which was divided among his heirs and reclaim the "widow" who has entered into a much happier second marriage. The "widow" comes to Wolfe for his assistance in obtaining a divorce from her recently resurrected spouse. Not to worry, he almost immediately dies again, but the widow's new husband is arrested for murder. Wolfe must penetrate a web of lies to determine who among the heirs had the most to gain from the millionaire's second death. In "Die Like a Dog" an improbable chain of coincidences brings Nero Wolfe together with Nero the Labrador Retriever. Together they unravel a murder mystery, reunite a couple, and retrieve Archie Goodwin's raincoat. "Die Like a Dog" and "The Next Witness" have both been televised on the A&E series.
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe gets out of the house a little May 5 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The cases herein occurred in late summer and autumn of 1955, and early 1956.
"A Window for Death" - a.k.a. "Nero Wolfe and the Vanishing Clue". No relation to "Door to Death". Two members of the Fyfe family, father and son Bertram, 20 years apart, died of pneumonia - but it seems to have been murder in both cases, since a window was deliberately left open each time to sabotage the patient's recovery. But Bertram Fyfe died with a half-share in a big uranium strike - which now reverts to his young partner Johnny Arrow rather than his family. Arrow, his executor as well as his friend, says that Fyfe had returned to New York because something was eating him from his past, andnot just a desire to reconcile with the relatives who nearly pinned his father's murder on him. The family wants Fyfe's death investigated, some with an eye on the lion's share that went to Arrow, but Arrow has an ironclad alibi. The 'vanishing clue' mentioned in the alternate title is the key to discovering what really happened, if the reader can deduce its existence. Wolfe handles the final confrontation by dictating a letter to Cramer in front of the suspects - Cramer himself doesn't appear.
"Immune to Murder" - Adapted for A&E's 2nd Nero Wolfe season. Ambassador Kelefy, whose country is being courted for favors by the U.S., has eaten Wolfe's recipes at restaurants all over the world, and Asst. Secretary of State David Leeson has persuaded Wolfe (against Archie's counter-efforts, who has to put up with Wolfe grousing about imaginary lumbago after the long drive) to visit O.V. Bragan's fishing lodge in River Bend and cook brook trout for his country. When Archie joins in the trout-fishing efforts, he hooks not only a granddaddy fish, but the body of David Leeson. The situation is interesting, but the local law enforcement types are portrayed as somewhat fumbling - although that could be attributed to the sheriff & the DA trying to run things directly instead of leaving it to the real experts. Good story, nice change from Wolfe's usual habitat.
"Too Many Detectives" - Thanks to a big wiretapping scandal, the state of New York has noticed the licensing process, such as it is, for private detectives, and all 590 licensed by the state of New York have been summoned to testify. Wolfe, Archie, Dol Bonner, and Sally Colt are among those on the day's lineup in Albany when a former client of Wolfe's - who provided a false name to dupe Wolfe into an illegal wiretap - is found murdered at the hearings. Several of the other detectives have had (or claim to have had) similar experiences. Wolfe and Archie, under arrest as material witnesses, don't trust the Albany cops to uncover the truth, and all the P.I.s want to keep their licenses, so a massive cooperative private investigation is undertaken.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, brilliant Sept. 7 2005
By Bo Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just finished this book, but could have recommended it before opening it. As a long-time reader of Stout, I can tell you that his plotting is impeccable, his denouements unfailingly surprising and his command of the language masterful. The first story, "A Window for Death," has long been one of my favorites, featuring as it does Stout's usual suspects--class, money and sexual tension--in the story of a black sheep returning to the fold and mysteriously dying. The other two tales are tasty, too; in "Immune to Death," Stout's lazy and unwilling detective, Nero Wolfe, gets involved in an international fight over oil rights, and in "Too Many Detectives," he is caught in an investigation regarding illegal wire tapping. I will read a Stout--any Stout, even the occasional romance novel--again and again, whenever I get my hands on one, and I always pass them around to anyone who loves a mystery. They're fast, hilarious, arrogant, profoundly unrealistic and fun, with the air of an old comic thriller movie, like Hitchcock's "The Lady Vanishes" or one starring Edna Mae Oliver. Don't be put off by the undercurrent of misogyny, I'm a flaming, old-school feminist and if I can laugh at such sheer ridiculousness, so can you.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trio of excellent short stories March 30 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
To date (beginning of season 2), 2 of the 3 stories herein have been adapted by A&E with Maury Chaykin as Wolfe; the TV series is extremely faithful to the original stories.
"The Next Witness" - (Adapted for _Nero Wolfe_'s 2nd season.) Wolfe makes a point of never leaving home on business, but alas, subpoenas are an occupational hazard for private investigators, and even Wolfe can't always shuffle them off onto Archie, even when the defendant never made it to the status of client.
Wolfe didn't deliver Leonard Ashe to the law; he rejected Ashe as a client because he won't touch marital squabbles. Ashe is being tried for the murder of one of the operators of his telephone answering service, apparently after a failed attempt to bribe her to tap his wife's calls. Wolfe, after hearing the testimony of preceding witnesses, skips out on the subpoena, taking Archie along, having become convinced that Ashe is innocent, though he doesn't at first explain why. See if you can deduce his reasons before the grand finale.
When Wolfe finally does take the stand quite a while later (now, of course, facing contempt of court), he has a diabolically clever plan to get his new evidence before the jury. Enjoy.
When a Man Murders... - Sydney Karnow had wealth, a sardonic sense of humor, a nice wife, and a pack of sponging relatives. A year after his marriage, he volunteered for army service in the Korean War, and was reported dead within a year, leaving his fortune divided between his wife (50%) and the spongers (50% divided 3 ways), so all were well provided for if not filthy rich.
Now, 3 years later, he's come back *alive* - two years after Caroline's remarriage to Paul Aubry. They used her inheritance to start an automobile agency, but the money didn't bring them to Wolfe - their problem is that their marriage is now invalid. (They're willing to concede anything about the money in exchange for a simple divorce.) Paul can't bring himself to speak with Karnow directly, and Karnow's lawyer won't get involved, so they're approaching Wolfe to act as intermediary.
Ordinarily Wolfe won't touch any case related to marital squabbles, but he's willing in this instance. Unfortunately, when Archie enters Karnow's hotel room at the Churchill, he's dead again, this time for keeps. Did Paul or Caroline try to hire Wolfe as a bluff? Or did one of the spongers (some of whom haven't *got* the money to repay the estate anymore) panic? Or was it something they don't know about yet?
"Die Like a Dog" - This has always been a favourite of mine, and I was very pleasantly surprised when A&E adapted it for _Nero Wolfe_'s 2nd season. A black Labrador literally follows Archie home, and not only retrieves his windblown hat, but turns out to be named 'Nero' (part of a much longer kennel-club name on his collar, but how could Archie resist?)
Unfortunately, the unannounced (even if temporary) introduction of a dog into the hallowed halls of the brownstone backfires in a totally unexpected manner, which you'll have to read/see to believe. :) The *dog* turns out to be a possible witness in a murder investigation, but how the heck can anybody learn anything from him?
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In which Nero leaves the house, handles a messy divorce case and gets a dog! Feb. 5 2006
By Jeanne Tassotto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nero Wolfe has many eccentricities, his orchids, his rigid schedule, his obsessive reading to name a few. Very prominent on this list is that Wolfe rarely leaves the house, NEVER handles divorce cases, and is opposed to animals in his house. In this collection of three novellas all of the above and more occur.

THE NEXT WITNESS is the first story. Nero Wolfe has been summoned to court as a witness in a murder trial. This has necessitated him to abandon his routine, travel in a car, sit in court (next to a woman wearing perfume!) and just when the end of this torment is in sight Wolfe walks out of court. Now a fugitive himself he, and Archie set out to solve the case in a more satifactory manner so Nero can return home. This is hilarious, Wolfe becomes involved in many unusual (for him) situations that he reacts to as only Nero Wolfe could or would.

WHEN A MAN MURDERS.... finds Nero and Archie confronted with a low bank balance and two eager clients which Wolfe would prefer to dismss since the case involves divorce. Still the details are intriguing enough to look into and soon this simple matter becomes one of death and deception.

The final work - DIE LIKE A DOG begins with Archie out on a simple errand. A would be client has taken Archie's raincoat by mistake so Archie go the man's apartment and retrieve his coat. When he arrives at the address he discovers that the situation has been complicated by the man's murder, he leaves in order to avoid dealing with the police but discovers that he has been followed home, by a dog. Archie then decides to have a little fun at Wolfe's expense before locating the dog's owner. Soon however the trio - Archie, Nero and the dog find themselves deeply involved in the case and with no client.

These are particularly funny entries into this long running series. Wolfe is thrust into many situations that he would very much prefer to avoid. Fans are treated to many juicy little tidbits about life in the brownstone and even a fleeting glimpse into Wolfe's mysterious past. The mysteries themselves, although somewhat secondary to the cozy/comic elements in these stories, are very clever, fairly laid out and challenge to reader to solve them before Nero reveals all.
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