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Three Doors to Death [Mass Market Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 1995 Crime Line
Three cases bring perplexing challenges to Nero Wolfe, as a man unsuccessfully attempts suicide just before he is killed, a murder victim's family hides the identity of the killer, and a horticulturist discovers his girlfriend's body. Reissue.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Three Doors to Death", by Rex Stout, is another compilation of three Nero Wolfe novellas, including "Man Alive" (1947), "Omit Flowers" (1948) and "Door to Death" (1949). The first concerns a young fashion designer whose uncle apparently kills himself but then turns up in disguise, only to be murdered; the second is a classic locked-room type mystery centering on a family whose patriarch has been stabbed to death in a house containing only family members and a former serious chef whom, of course, is blamed and who Nero Wolfe is certain did not do it; and the final story has Wolfe out of his comfort zone, having traveled to Westchester County in order to poach a good orchid man from a wealthy businessman - when death intervenes, it is in his own interests to clear the man of the crime. All three are tightly written and to the point; the last one was familiar to me from the "Nero Wolfe" television series, which is fresh enough in my memory that I could compare the filmed version to the original (there was very little variation, which speaks well for the television people). Again, not essential Nero Wolfe, but if you like the detective and/or his sidekick Archie Goodwin, these are good way to while away an afternoon - recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 7 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I cannot stop reading this book! The charactures are so vivid and real that I feel as though I am really there. Read this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Only 1 paid inquiry out of 3 cases: a record... April 21 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This edition boasts "As Seen on TV!" on the cover, alluding to the fact that one (as of the 2nd season) of the 3 stories herein has been adapted by A&E. The introduction is provided by Jonathan Kellerman, but otherwise the book is pure Stout. Archie provides a rare forward, having noticed that Wolfe got a fee in only 1 of the 3 cases herein, to head off any funny ideas that might turn into a nuisance. :)
"Man Alive" - Cynthia Nieder, a young model getting hands-on experience as a fashion designer, not only inherited her uncle's half of Daumery & Nieder upon his death, but can supply the creative talent that was his contribution to the business. (Jean Daumery supplied the nuts-and-bolts business talent needed.) Cynthia wasn't surprised that uncle Paul killed himself within a week of Helen Daumery's death in a riding accident, since he'd been in love with her. (Although jumping naked into a geyser is an unusual method...)
That is, she wasn't surprised until she saw him in disguise a week ago in the audience at Daumery & Nieder's fall show, a few weeks after his partner Daumery's death in a boating accident. Did she really see him? Is the business as solvent as the creative side of the house thought it was? Who is trying to befuddle whom here?
"Omit Flowers" - Marko Vukcic, Wolfe's best friend, asks Wolfe to investigate the death of Floyd Whitten, who married the wealthy widow of the founder of the AMBROSIA fast-food chain, but not because of any care for the victim. Virgil Pompa, a once great chef forfeited any claim to professional respect when he took a high paying job in AMBROSIA administration, was once 'the best sauce man in France', and Marko owes him a lot. More, he knows Pompa well, and won't see him tried for a murder he didn't commit.
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Only 1 paid inquiry out of 3 cases: a record... April 21 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This edition boasts "As Seen on TV!" on the cover, alluding to the fact that one (as of the 2nd season) of the 3 stories herein has been adapted by A&E. The introduction is provided by Jonathan Kellerman, but otherwise the book is pure Stout. Archie provides a rare foreword, having noticed that Wolfe got a fee in only 1 of the 3 cases herein, to head off any funny ideas that might turn into a nuisance. :)

"Man Alive" - Cynthia Nieder, a young model getting hands-on experience as a fashion designer, not only inherited her uncle's half of Daumery & Nieder upon his death, but can supply the creative talent that was his contribution to the business. (Jean Daumery supplied the nuts-and-bolts business talent needed.) Cynthia wasn't surprised that uncle Paul killed himself within a week of Helen Daumery's death in a riding accident, since he'd been in love with her. (Although jumping naked into a geyser is an unusual method...)

That is, she wasn't surprised until she saw him in disguise a week ago in the audience at Daumery & Nieder's fall show, a few weeks after his partner Daumery's death in a boating accident. Did she really see him? Is the business as solvent as the creative side of the house thought it was? Who is trying to befuddle whom here?

"Omit Flowers" - Marko Vukcic, Wolfe's best friend, asks Wolfe to investigate the death of Floyd Whitten, who married the wealthy widow of the founder of the AMBROSIA fast-food chain, but not because of any care for the victim. Virgil Pompa, a once great chef forfeited any claim to professional respect when he took a high paying job in AMBROSIA administration, was once 'the best sauce man in France', and Marko owes him a lot. More, he knows Pompa well, and won't see him tried for a murder he didn't commit.

"Door to Death" - I recommend A&E's excellent, faithful adaptation with Maury Chaykin as Wolfe. Wolfe hardly ever leaves the brownstone, but a crisis has arisen: Theodore, the orchid nurse (as Archie calls him) is on an indefinite leave of absence due to his mother's critical illness. Not that Wolfe is worrying about old Mrs. Horstmann - with Theodore away, he can't just relax with the plants for a few hours a day; he has to *work*, and he's not a pro like Theodore.

Wolfe trudges all the way to Westchester with Archie, to tempt Andy Krasicki away from Mr. Joseph Pitcairn's orchids and into the brownstone for the duration. Andy is willing, and Wolfe, while happy to have his problem solved and to receive a tour of Mr. Pitcairn's orchids (as grown by Andy), might just as well have waited at home for a reply to his letter. But during the tour, they find Dani Lauer, Mrs. Pitcairn's nurse, dead under one of the orchid benches - apparently knocked out, then left to die during the previous night's fumigation. Wolfe sets to work to get his stand-in orchid tender out from under.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Doors to Death Aug. 19 2004
By Ricky N. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Three Doors to Death" is a collection of 3 short Nero Wolfe novels by Rex Stout. In "Man Alive", Cynthia Nieder asks Wolfe to find her uncle after seeing him in New York. Paul Nieder had "committed" suicide by jumping in a geyser. Before Wolfe can find him, Nieder is murdered. In "Omit Flowers", Mario Vukcic asks Wolfe to help clear his friend, Virgil Pompa who is accused of murdering Floyd Whitten. In "Door to Death", Theodore Horstmann takes a leave of absence, and Wolfe goes to Joseph Pitcairn to hire his orchid man until Theodore returns. While there, Dini Lauer, Mrs. Pitcairn's nurse, is found dead under an orchid bench. Wolfe feels obligated to solve the crime. All three of these short novels are excellent. The plots are strong. I always enjoy going into the old brownstone with Archie and Wolfe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Short Stories Dec 14 2006
By John P Bernat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of these made it to the A&E series; as with other short stories, it would have been great to see the ensemble cast tackle the rest.

"Door to Death" was done by A&E, and we get to meet Andy Krusiecky, the man we'd all wished Theordore Horstmann could be. He's young, personable and a genius with the orchids...and suffers an awful loss.

"Man Alive" is about geyser-jumping. Not for the faint of heart...but his neice says that what looks to everyone like a suicide is really something else.

Finally, "Omit Flowers" is about a chef falsely accused of murder. You cannot beat food and murder in the Wolfe genre...but in the end, the way a woman feels about a man she loves who does not love her back tells the tale.

These are good stories, although you can detect a little "rushing" and lack of polish in some of the writing.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 7 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I cannot stop reading this book! The charactures are so vivid and real that I feel as though I am really there. Read this book!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid Threesome March 4 2012
By Ohioan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my favorite collections of Stout's many threesomes. Each story is strong, vivid, and intriguing. In the first, "Man Alive," a woman hires Wolfe to investigate her uncle's suicide of a year earlier. Reason: she thinks she saw her uncle, in disguise, at one of her fashion shows. In "Omit Flowers," Wolfe's oldest friend, restaurateur Marko Vukcic, asks his help. It seems that Marko's sauce chef, who left Marko's restaurant for a soulless job as manager of a large restaurant chain, is accused of murder. Marko believes his friend is innocent. And in "Door to Death," Theodore Horstmann, who tends to Wolfe's precious orchids on a daily basis, leaves the brownstone in order to aid his ailing mother. Wolfe, who does not want to do the work of tending the orchids himself, sets out in snow and storm to find a temporary replacement for Theodore. What he finds is a corpse. An excellent collection, totally enjoyable.
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