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Trio for Blunt Instruments [Mass Market Paperback]

Rex Stout
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book by Stout, Rex

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
That Monday morning Pete didn't give me his usual polite grin, contrasting the white gleam of his teeth with the maple-syrup shade of the skin of his square leathery face. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some flaws, but fair puzzles May 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
None of the 3 cases herein occur during the same year, one each occurring in 1960, 1961, and 1962. The common factor is, of course, that in each case a blunt instrument (speaking loosely) serves as a murder weapon.
"Kill Now, Pay Later" - Pete Vassos, roving shoeshine guy, regularly visits the brownstone. On this occasion, he left the offices of Mercer's Bobbins early, since Dennis Ashby (one of his regular customers) had just fallen to his death from a window. After a brief interlude as a suspect (Ashby was attempting to seduce Pete's daughter Elma, a stenographer with the company), Pete is found murdered, and Elma hires Wolfe to investigate. The fee is low, but the Vassos family hero-worships him.
The title quote is a comment made by Joan Ashby in the style of her late husband's favorite advertisements; he was a womanizer and deep in debt, although he'd saved the company from disintegration. Some of Wolfe's ploys include having his client as a guest in the South Room, and arranging for her to sue several suspects plus Cramer (!) for defamation.
"Murder Is Corny"- Adapted for A&E's 2nd Nero Wolfe season. Wolfe starts this case in a bad mood - farmer Duncan McLeod's specially picked guaranteed fresh corn-on-the-cob shipment (one every Tuesday in season) didn't show up in time for dinner. When Cramer appears at the door later that evening with the missing crate, they learn that Ken Faber has been found murdered in the alley behind Rusterman's while delivering their corn (Wolfe's still trustee). Naturally, they unloaded the corn before calling the cops. Cramer leaves with Archie in custody as a material witness - Faber had been spreading rumors about Susan's chastity, and Archie's now implicated in the murder by various lies told to the cops.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good as always Sept. 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Three novellas featuring Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin and the rest of the gang. What's new here is that Stout is beginning to speak forthrightly about sex. In earlier books, he'd been cunningly vague about sexual motivation or Archie's contact with women. Here, in stories written in the early 1960s, Stout first mentions pregnancy outside of marriage.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To be Blunt... Oct. 19 2010
By WryGrin
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
BUY THIS BOOK!

Again, it's an amazing little collection of short stories staring my favorite detective pair as they move through a series of events related only by their focus on blunt instruments as weapons for murder. Rex Stout continues to entertain me far beyond what I expected and I'll continue to add this and anything else I can get my hands on to my growing Nero Wolfe collection XD
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some flaws, but fair puzzles May 5 2002
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
None of the 3 cases herein occur during the same year, one each occurring in 1960, 1961, and 1962. The common factor is, of course, that in each case a blunt instrument (speaking loosely) serves as a murder weapon.
"Kill Now, Pay Later" - Pete Vassos, roving shoeshine guy, regularly visits the brownstone. On this occasion, he left the offices of Mercer's Bobbins early, since Dennis Ashby (one of his regular customers) had just fallen to his death from a window. After a brief interlude as a suspect (Ashby was attempting to seduce Pete's daughter Elma, a stenographer with the company), Pete is found murdered, and Elma hires Wolfe to investigate. The fee is low, but the Vassos family hero-worships him.
The title quote is a comment made by Joan Ashby in the style of her late husband's favorite advertisements; he was a womanizer and deep in debt, although he'd saved the company from disintegration. Some of Wolfe's ploys include having his client as a guest in the South Room, and arranging for her to sue several suspects plus Cramer (!) for defamation.
"Murder Is Corny"- Adapted for A&E's 2nd Nero Wolfe season. Wolfe starts this case in a bad mood - farmer Duncan McLeod's specially picked guaranteed fresh corn-on-the-cob shipment (one every Tuesday in season) didn't show up in time for dinner. When Cramer appears at the door later that evening with the missing crate, they learn that Ken Faber has been found murdered in the alley behind Rusterman's while delivering their corn (Wolfe's still trustee). Naturally, they unloaded the corn before calling the cops. Cramer leaves with Archie in custody as a material witness - Faber had been spreading rumors about Susan's chastity, and Archie's now implicated in the murder by various lies told to the cops. While I like this story, I think it contains several clunkers in human behavior, especially known quantities on the staff of the restaurant, who should have tipped Wolfe off about the corpse before Cramer got to him.
"Blood Will Tell" - An odd item turns up in Archie's personal correspondence rather than Wolfe's - a letter on James Neville Vance's private stationery asking that he keep the enclosure until called for: an expensive necktie, stained with something that might be blood. Checking out this message from a stranger, who denies having sent it, Archie is present when the corpse of the promiscuous Bonny Kirk is found in her apartment in Vance's building - literally smashed by a bottle of vodka. When her estranged husband later asks to hire him, Wolfe accepts immediately - why is he convinced of Martin's innocence?
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is for the text version Dec 24 2000
By Ann E. Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette
The listener should not feel cheated over getting three novelettes instead of a full-length Nero Wolfe adventure. Rex Stout was a master at packing in all the flavor although delivering fewer calories; unlike many "lite" foods. "KILL NOW, PAY LATER": Don't waste your time feeling sorry for the first victim. I'm not saying that he deserved to die, but had this book been published in 2000 instead of 1964, Mr. Ashby would have cost Mercer's Bobbins a fortune in sexual harassment lawsuits. It's the second victim whose blood cries to Heaven for justice. When Wolfe reveals the reason the second victim died, I trust that you will be as angry as I was. As Archie Goodwin tells us, Wolfe would rather miss a meal that have anyone think he's a softy. Do not miss Mr. Wolfe's attempt to explain that he solved this case NOT for the sake of his loyal bootblack but for far less admirable reasons. As usual, Inspector Cramer's and Wolfe's remarks about each other are a treat. Persons who collect stories where there is a lawyer who is portrayed as honorable instead of a self-serving human roach with no interest in justice will want this one because Nathanial Parker, Wolfe's lawyer, has a speaking part. "MURDER IS CORNY": I have no tears to shed for Ken Faber, either. For those of you who were born after the Sexual Revolution, what he was doing was a particularly vicious form of slander for that period. (Why Susan MacLeod didn't just go to a doctor and come out triumphantly waiting a certificate or two that proved Faber a liar beats me. It might have saved a couple of lives.) As for which of the suspects did the deed, except for Susan herself and Archie (whom she brainlessly gets into trouble), all are men who love Susan. Those of you who bother to cook might want to find out if Wolfe's corn on the cob recipe is as delicious as learning how Wolfe Saves Archie from a murder rap and reveals the true killer. Personally, I found the concept of "born come-on", which Archie assures us that Susan has and isn't aware she has, rather unnerving. "BLOOD WILL TELL": This one starts out with a minor mystery -- who sent Archie the stained tie (is or isn't that stain blood?) and later calls asking Archie to burn it. Naturally, Archie chooses to investigate instead. This is why he's on the scene when an adulteress' bloodied corpse is found. I found this story the most fun of the three because Archie became increasingly frustrated at being left in the dark and Wolfe assumed that Archie should have been able to figure things out for himself. Will you spot the clues that enabled Wolfe to know that Kirk didn't kill his wife or, as did Archie and this reader, will you have to feel DUMB when they're revealed? Continuity nitpickers may feel free to pounce on the big error Mr. Stout made in chapter 6, where Archie claims this is the first time he ever saw a man slap another man. Even if you wish to argue that, technically, Archie didn't see himself slap that uppity jerk in THE RED BOX; how could Goodwin of the Matchless Memory possibly forget the sight of his boss slapping the insufferable Inspector Ash's face in THE SILENT SPEAKER?
Even if the reading of these mysteries is no more than adequate, that's enough to recommend this book to those who need the audio version or those facing hideously tedious car trips/waits at the airport. For those who prefer the print version, you might want to try Amazon.com's Z-shops or their sister company, Bibliofind.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trio for Blunt Instruments Jan. 23 2013
By wilddog-1978 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would tell you to consider buying the Rex Stout books because they are good ones. No bad language-just an old fashioned mystery. You will grow to love Nero and especially Archie along with Theodore and Fritz. great books.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Long love affair! Nov. 12 2013
By John G. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Witty,enjoyable quick Read. Archie always gives me a breath of fresh air and I keep returning for at least 80 years!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Stories - Awful Digital File April 24 2013
By Pen Name - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good writing; awful digital file. The number of typos are annoying and distracting and should be embarrassing to the digital publisher.
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