Once from being kidnapped by the main suspect's wife and once to go out to get a confession from the suspect. Of course we have the assembling of the entire group at the end of the book where Wolfe explains his deductions about the deaths and the missing group member and defends his success in order to be paid.
This was a lot of fun! View 2 comments. I've decided I should be reading these in close to publication order. There were a couple of references in The Red Box to earlier cases, one of which I knew was one I'd read. It wasn't exactly a spoiler, but I became leery of what Stout might throw in another. There were references to earlier cases in this one, too, but I laughed even at myself for knowing Stout had not yet written about them and was just making up Wolfe's history of genius as he could.
This one starts out with no case I've decided I should be reading these in close to publication order. This one starts out with no case and Archie itching for something to do. That he was restless would be an understatement. Even with the below, there is almost nothing to dislike about Archie Goodwin and I can lay my hands quickly on no quote that better epitomizes the relationship between Archie and Nero Wolfe.
Wolfe asked me once why the devil I ever pretended to read a book, and I told him for cultural reasons, and he said I might as well forgo the pains, that culture was like money, it comes easiest to those who need it least. In many ways, I could not say this one is the reason I will continue to read the series. Archie was continuously frustrated - and hungry. As usual, I was wrong in my guess as to who did the dastardly deed until the very end.
It was also obvious that Wolfe knew at least pages earlier, but needed proof.
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I'll stick my neck out and give this one 4 stars, but it probably just barely breaks the line and even at that I might be feeling generous. Nov 05, Bill rated it it was amazing Shelves: detective , top-ten-mysteries , mystery-us , bill-s-favourites , top-ten Rex Stout is another of those authors that I have come to late in my reading life. My first experience was with one of his last books, a short story collection, Death Times Three, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I've been trying to find his first book, Fer de Lance but so far with no luck. But I did find this book, The League of Frightened Men , his second book, originally published in From being someone who enjoyed my first experience of the great detective, Nero Wolfe, I now find my Rex Stout is another of those authors that I have come to late in my reading life.
From being someone who enjoyed my first experience of the great detective, Nero Wolfe, I now find my self an unabashed fan.
The Nero Wolfe Mystery Series in Order - Rex Stout - FictionDB
This book was excellent, a fascinating, entertaining, great mystery. Nero Wolfe and his partner, Archie Goodwin are a great team and both interesting in their own rights. Wolfe is an oversize detective, basically housebound, whose life, while he works to solve mysteries, is quite regimented. Each morning and each afternoon, he works upstairs in his home, tending his multitude of orchids. While he can be visited, no business is conducted. He settles the remainder of his day, in his office, tending to business. Archie is his eyes, ears, arms and legs. Archie conducts the investigations, travels around New York and local environs, interviewing, gathering information.
He can be Wolfe's strong arm man if necessary.
The stories are told in Archie's voice, from his perspective. Oddly enough, Wolfe does sometime leave his home, this I discovered in this story. But this seems to be a rarety, not the norm So this story; a group of men, Harvard classmates have a secret past. While in university, they hazed another classmate and as a result caused him to have severe injuries. Out of guilt, they have banded together to pay medical bills, etc.
Now two have died, or maybe been murdered. They think that Paul Chapin is involved and that he plans to kill them all.
Wolfe is hired and so the story begins. I enjoyed so much how the story is presented; small details like how Wolfe decides how to bill each of the different members of the group, and so many other aspects. The story has a surprising menace throughout and the case is so very interesting even when Archie and Wolfe seem to be grinding their heels trying to get information. I love Archie's manner of presenting the case, his thoughts on Wolfe; a combination of affection and anger.
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Great story and now I will have to read the whole series. An excellent story and mystery. Can you figure out the ending? View all 3 comments. Oct 24, John Yeoman rated it it was amazing Shelves: crime-suspense. This is arguably the first Nero Wolfe novel and probably the best. The author Rex Stout thought so himself. Across 47 Wolfe novels and anthologies, Stout kept up a remarkable quality, especially as he never edited a word. His later novels might be accused of digression, twittering dialogue that went nowhere, and loose structure.
Robert Heinlein exhibited the same faults in his dotage. But this is ingenious, crisp and as sharply crafted as an Aztec crystal skull. No point in reviewing the plot. Read the story! If you've never read Nero Wolfe before, you'll join a global club of addicts. I'd heard of the Nero Wolfe series over the years and this was my first foray into the series. A convoluted mystery more intricate than I had expected. Enjoyed the setting and the period depicted. A few cringeworthy moments regarding a character with a disability.
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Sep 06, Deb Jones rated it it was amazing Shelves: series. College hijinks lead to the lifelong crippling of a young man.
Those who felt responsible for the terrible accident banded together to do all they could to make amends for their foolishness to that man, who as the years have passed has become a successful author. One by one, members of the group, or league, are found dead under suspicious circumstances. To make matters worse for the league, each of them has received anonymous lines of verse taking credit for each death in turn and int College hijinks lead to the lifelong crippling of a young man.
To make matters worse for the league, each of them has received anonymous lines of verse taking credit for each death in turn and intimating that anyone could be next. Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin have their work cut out for them as they try to put the pieces together, hopefully before any more deaths can occur. This story is one heck of a ride, so hold onto your hat and enjoy the ride. Jan 22, sylph rated it really liked it Shelves: golden-age-detectives.
I hadn't read this one since childhood, so I remembered almost none of it. In a way, I loved it. But not necessarily as a detective story. I'm not into looking for plotholes, yet I noticed two or three which took me out of the story briefly. No, what I loved was how absorbing the language and dialogue is. I think Stout tightened things up in later books, and that's good. But this early story has something later ones are missing; a love not only of language, but of thinking about language.
Which I hadn't read this one since childhood, so I remembered almost none of it. Which is a love I share.
Related The League of Frightened Men (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 2)
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