on January 18, 2004
This is a Rex Stout book, but Nero and Archie are no where to be found. This adventure features Dol Bonner, the tough-talking female detective who has appeared briefly in some Wolfe books. As a character, she's interesting. She had her heart broken before the book begins, and consequently insists that she "hates men." Yet some of her closest relationships are with men. She's proud and efficient and good at her work. However, while it's interesting to watch Stout flesh out a new character and to hear him write in a new voice, it's still not great Stout. Sometimes the story is told from Dol's POV, sometimes it shifts to her partner and friend Syliva, other times the story is told by some one else altogether. This is no where near as satisfying a way to tell a mystery as by telling it all from the detective's point of view, and letting us solve the mystery along with our narrator. So, while this book will be fascinating for Stout's fans, I don't think it holds up very well as a mystery on its own.