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Too Many Cooks [Paperback]

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

Nov. 1 1995 Nero Wolfe
Not much will stir Nero Wolfe from his comfortable brownstone, but when the gourmand is invited by the greatest chefs in the world to a gathering of Les Quinze Maitres, he will brave anything to dine at their table. Yet Wolfe finds himself embroiled in something sinister when a chef is fatally stabbed during a taste-testing contest. The plot thickens as the detective goes after a taste of vengeance—and a ticket out of town.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Description

From AudioFile

Here's yet another Nero Wolfe mystery brought to life by the dramatic skills of Michael Prichard. Yes, the dialogue is dated, the plot clichéd, and the hero not altogether likable, but dropping into the milieu of a posh resort in the late thirties is glamorous and fun. Michael Prichard does a masterful job of presenting the oversized detective genius who prides himself on his discerning taste buds as well as his sleuthing. In this story Nero is invited to speak at a meeting of the world's top chefs. Naturally, a chef is found murdered. Michael Prichard gives individuality and vitality to all the suspects and makes listening to this old chestnut an indulgence. D.L.G. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The food books are the best! Oct. 17 2003
The famous detective is also a famous gourmand. Anyone familiar with the series is aware that occasionally, the reader is given recipes straight out of the kitchen of Nero Wolfe. These recipes are a pretty accurate reflection of the times in which they originated - turtle soup (on the endangered list now), Steak Delmonico, etc...
This tale takes place at a meeting of chefs and the key to the solution is being able to detect ALL the ingredients in a particular dish. This is a clever, witty and very satisfying read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slapstick Wolfe Aug. 2 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
This is a landmark Wolfe mystery for the true fan, but new readers may find it dated, with a thin plot. It is Stout's first real shot at playing Wolfe for laughs, and also marks Archie's emergence as a mature and witty observer- unlike the more naive Goodwin of previous books (eg The Rubber Band, The Red Box) for whom the heroine is out-of-reach. The setting is farcical but still has a nice 30s period feel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good early Wolfe June 12 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I should say up front that the racial subtheme comes across as patronizing and dates the book; showing off the worst of both Wolfe and Archie. That said, "Too many Cooks" is a solid early effort. Rex Stout was the original foodie in mystery fiction and has a blast with all the fancy chefs in this one. He is not the only big ego in town. This story will make you hungry and long for a different age of gourmandizing. Only food or orchids normally draw him away from home so when the Philip Laszio is found dead there is no end of fun to be had. That the normally venal Wolfe does it for a sausage recipe is priceless. Worth checking out before a good dinner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it Nov. 25 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of Stout's best and one of the most fun reads I have ever had. It is hilarious, full of interesting characterizations, and plotted well enough to carry it through. Great fun!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Spoiled Plot Here May 12 2005
By Mark Baker - Published on
Format:Audio Cassette
Nero Wolfe is the guest of honor when the greatest chefs in the world meet in West Virginia. He's honored and looking forward to all the great food but dreading the train trip itself.

They've hardly all gathered before the sparks fly. One of the chefs is universally despised, and it's really no surprise to the reader when he turns up dead. Not wanting to get involved in anything that might delay his return to his beloved brownstone, Wolfe vows to not get involved. In spite of his efforts, he finds himself getting sucked in. Can he stay alive, find the real killer, and still make his train?

My best friend has recently started reading these books and keeps recommending them to me, so I picked this one up. I can see why he likes them. This story is a great puzzle. I thought I had the plot figured out before the end, but I was only half right. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin make for two interesting leads. I listened to the audio version, which made it a little hard to keep all the chefs straight. The further I went the easier it was, however. Michael Prichard does a great job of reading the story.

If this is an example of why Nero Wolfe a classic character in the mystery genre, I can see why. I will be looking for more books in this series.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loads of Fun! Bon Appetite! Oct. 22 2000
By A. Wolverton - Published on
In Rex Stout's fifth book in the series, Wolfe engages in two activites he detests: leaving the confines of his home and travel by any type of machinery (a train in this case). Wolfe and Archie travel to Kanawha Spa, West Virginia, where Wolfe has been invited to speak before a group of master chefs. Wolfe encounters more than just gourmet food when one of the chefs is murdered.
Stout really has a lot of fun with the story and characters as Wolfe's confrontational manner begins to emerge in the series. The characters are always colorful, but the supporting cast of chefs, wives, servants, and others is also enjoyable. Some of the most interesting books in the series are those in which Wolfe leaves the brownstone and is absent from his comforts: the plant rooms, his cook Fritz, his beer, his office. Still, it becomes evident early on that Wolfe is in complete control. Or is he? Find out the lengths that Wolfe will go to in the attempt to obtain the recipe for saucisse minuit.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Five Best Oct. 12 2004
By John P Bernat - Published on
If only A&E had continued the series...

It would have been great to see them do "Fer-de-lance" and "Too Many Cooks." While resonances of this story appear in A&E's depiction of the Ten for Aristology, the idea of the Fifteen Masters convening in West Virginia to hear Wolfe's disquisition on American haute cuisine is - fantasically appealing.

The Kanawha Spa is a proxy for the Greenbrier (which is actually in West Virginia). It's wonderful to see how Archie has to balance nursemaiding Wolfe with hunting down the killer, and even better to read Wolfe's methodical, respectful quizzing of the kitchen staff. This is the book where a character is established who, many years later, returns as an older man with ingrained beliefs.

As wise as Wolfe's sayings can be, it's wonderful to see their influence on someone's entire character and philosophy. This is an all-time great book, and, if A&E ever comes back to their senses...
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his five best Aug. 13 1998
By A Customer - Published on
I found this immensely enjoyable. Along with BEFORE MIDNIGHT, THE SILENT SPEAKER, AND BE A VILLIAN and PLOT IT YOURSELF, I consider it one of his best. Classic Wolfe and Goodwin.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it Nov. 25 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of Stout's best and one of the most fun reads I have ever had. It is hilarious, full of interesting characterizations, and plotted well enough to carry it through. Great fun!
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