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.
"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.