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Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries (The Nero Wolfe Mysteries) Paperback – November 13, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Archie and Nero Wolfe fans rejoice! Robert Goldsborough, who so deftly and ably continued the Wolfe series a few years back, has returned to tell the story every fan wanted to hear: the origin of the Wolfe/Goodwin partnership. This book has a hardboiled sheen worthy of the period it recreates and captures Stout’s recurring characters—not just Archie and Wolfe—with a fidelity that is damn near supernatural. And Archie’s voice and Wolfe’s grand demeanor are spot on. Here’s hoping Goldsborough finds a dozen more untold cases as he channels the great Rex Stout.” —Max Allan Collins, author of Bye Bye, Baby
 
“Devotees of the late Rex Stout’s bestsellers will be pleasantly surprised.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“Robert Goldsborough brings Nero Wolfe, late of Rex Stout, gloriously back to life.” —Chicago
 
“Mr. Goldsborough has all of the late writer’s stylistic mannerisms down pat.” —The New York Times

Book Description

The much-loved detective hero Nero Wolfe teams up with the new kid on the block, Archie Goodwin, in one of the strongest entries to the iconic detective’s canon in years
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Product Details

  • Series: The Nero Wolfe Mysteries
  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road; 1st edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453270973
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453270974
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (465 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed Rex Stout's Nero Wolf/Archie Goodwin stories for over 30 years, and I own every book and story Stout wrote on this intrepid duo. (Well, Archie is intrepid. :-) ) And I've read all but one of them. The reason that I haven't read that last book is because when I finish it, there will be no more, and a part of me just doesn't want the series to end.

So, I later bought and enjoyed Robert Goldsborough's seven pastiches, and although some parts didn't feel quite right (like Wolfe's almost fawning on several women characters in the earlier books), on the whole, they could have passed for something Stout had authored. But I thought that with "The Missing Chapter", which was about the murder of an author who continued a dead author's mystery series (and seemed to be a very big wink to the reading audience), that Goldsborough had hung them up, so to speak. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find, 19 years after that book, that Goldsborough had decided to write another Nero Wolfe novel. Below are my impressions of this book "Archie Meets Nero Wolfe", and note that I do not give any spoilers.

The book is well written and fits stylistically as a prelude to Stout's first Wolfe novel, "Fer-de-Lance". By that I mean the idiom and grammar fit to story's time frame (the late 1920's). While avid fans will undoubtedly notice discrepancies from the Wolfe "canon", I believe many of these were rational compromises made by the author to make the story work, and don't really affect the novel. With one minor exception, I enjoyed reading the book and it felt like I was reading something written by Rex Stout.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Faterson on December 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"I do not think you would find life in the brownstone to be onerous." That is the quote that best summarizes what Robert Goldsborough's prequel is all about. True to Rex Stout's original books, it's not really the mystery itself that is the most interesting feature of the prequel -- it's the relationship between the two main protagonists, in its budding stages here. (Also, similar to Rex Stout's own books, the whodunnit angle of the prequel is rather weak, and the dénouement underwhelming.) I had to chuckle while reading the prequel, because it seemed to resemble reading a romance novel: you just know that "these two were meant for each other"; you know they will "embrace each other" (if only figuratively here) by the time the book comes to a close; but those two don't know it *yet*, and it's fun to observe the process of them getting closer to each other. Speaking of Wolfe and Archie as "groom and bride" seems somehow justified after Rex Stout once caused outrage with a lecture suggesting that "Dr. Watson was a woman".

Indeed, the finest chapter in _Archie Meets Nero Wolfe_ is the very last one; Robert Goldsborough is excellent throughout in capturing the mood of the brownstone, but it all comes to a head in the final chapter. The very last dialogue between Wolfe and Archie is superbly, sparingly written in understated tones; and so is the final scene, with Goldsborough elegantly deciding to end the story before Archie gives his final answer to Wolfe. I think many a Rex Stout fan will be moved emotionally while reading the final chapter of the prequel.

The prequel has one distinguishing feature that no original Wolfe book could offer: it shows us Wolfe, Archie, Cramer and the rest of the staff during the Prohibition era.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Brian Burns on June 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was lukewarm about Goldsborough's previous continuation of the Wolfe canon, but they're milestones of popular fiction compared to this.

This is, frankly, a shockingly bad book. The "mystery" is pretty much nonexistent, its solution uninteresting, and is addressed principally by some dull, talky, repetitive legwork on the part of Wolfe's army of operatives (with Del Bascom a more or less central character, and Bill Gore joining Saul, Fred, and Orrie; can't imagine how he overlooked Johnny Keems and Dol Bonner). Wolfe's contribution is minimal (and despite his narration, Archie's isn't that much greater), and none of the suspects or other supporting characters are in any way interesting. As noted by others, Goldsborough really savages Orrie Cather, which is particularly disappointing as it more or less signposts developments that Stout took decades to refine until he made the character's flaws central to "Death of a Doxy."

But one doesn't read the Wolfe books for plot, and what's truly surprising is how utterly Goldsborough fails to get Archie's voice. Granted, that was never his strong point in his previous novels (his Wolfe was always better), but with barely a couple of exceptions, the reader would be hard pressed to know that this was Archie Goodwin, one of American popular fiction's great narrative voices, at all. Yes, he's young and inexperienced, but that shouldn't deprive him (or the reader) of his personality. Archie also shows a strong streak of sentimentality that Stout managed to avoid.

Goldsborough's grip on Wolfe also seems to have slipped since he brought his series to a halt a while back: most of the dialogue is purely (and barely) functional, with little sense of the enjoyment that Wolfe gets from using words.
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