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Before Midnight (Nero Wolfe) Paperback – November 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Nero Wolfe
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553763040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553763041
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A ripping good yarn in audiobook form like this one is always good to find." -- Rainbow Electronic Reviews, December 2004

"Veteran narrator Prichard does an outstanding job, especially when Wolfe and Archie work together… a great listening experience is guaranteed." -- AudioFile Magazine RealTime Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

While this Nero Wolfe mystery might be creaking a bit with old age, the Stout magic still plays well, decades after first publication. A murder mystery wrapped around a puzzle entices Wolfe and the ever steady Archie Goodwin to big pay dirt and even greater fame. The cast of characters is colorful, and the pressure mounts until a truly dastardly event takes place--murder right in Wolfe's office. Veteran narrator Michael Prichard does an outstanding job, especially when Wolfe and Archie work together. Not all of Stout's mysteries work as well as this one, but whether or not you get through it before midnight, a great listening experience is guaranteed. R.O. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Been looking for this book for awhile.
L. Murlatt
It's an enjoyable read and we all agreed we would read another book by the author.
L. M. Keefer
I love Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries.
Melissa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Koschnitzki on October 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Berfore Midnight is classic Rex Stout. Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe are called in by the operators of a national contest when the contestants use murder to achieve a winning edge. Stout at his best: Archie is witty and urbane and Wolfe his usual self. Highly recommend to fans of Rex Stout. Tightly written with a good mystery.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on February 3, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you're interested in an audio edition, the unabridged recording narrated by Michael Pritchard is good. I look forward to the day A&E adapts it for the TV series.
The advertising firm Lippert, Buff, and Assa (LBA) lost the creativity that made them successful when Lippert died some years ago. Their best hope was a rising young star, Louis Dahlmann, who named a new perfume for Heery Products, Inc., one of their best clients: Pour Amour. He also came up "the biggest prize contest in history": each week for 20 weeks, a new 4-line verse appeared in newspapers and magazines, describing a woman in history known to have used cosmetics. He also wrote the verses to break the first tie (72 people) and now the 2nd and last tie (5 people, who were brought to New York to receive the verses from Dahlmann personally). Unfortunately, along with his creativity, Dahlmann had a wild streak; after handing out the verses, he brandished a paper from his wallet, saying it had the answers, and he mustn't accidentally give it to anyone. Within twelve hours, he was found shot dead in his apartment, the wallet and paper both gone.
The next morning, the members of the firm arrive at Wolfe's office, and they don't care who killed Dahlmann. They want Wolfe to extract them from the wreckage this will make of the contest, by finding out what happened to the paper before midnight, April 20th (the last contestant's deadline), so they can scrap the existing questions and come up with new ones.
But of course, as Inspector Cramer points out soon afterward, it'll be difficult to catch the thief without exposing the murderer.
The idea of woman-hating Wolfe getting involved with a perfume contest is in itself worth reading. (Some of the verses are given, and the later ones are nice puzzles.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on September 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I've wondered whether Michael Pritchard and Rex Stout ever met.

He interprets Stout's work with such insight and feeling. In this book, Stout confronts another of the 1950s institutions: the advertising business and the "big contest" approach to promoting products.

An advertising firm runs a million-dollar contest to promote perfume. The finalists have been asked to determine which perfume-using historical figure is depicted in some rhymes. The writer of the rhymes teases the finalists by flashing the answers, and is later found dead.

It's historically interesting to note that, strictly speaking, Stout anticipated the quiz show scandals a few years after this story's time (1955). To learn more about this, get the wonderful DVD "Quiz Show," which deconstructs this era with great insight and empathy.

But man, that Michael Pritchard. I have some Nero Wolfes read by others, but Pritchard got it right for sure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Noneofyourbiz VINE VOICE on August 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The plot is ingenious, surrounding an advertising agent and its perfume contest. This scenario gives Stout ample opportunity to present greed and jealousy as a motive from suspect to suspect to suspect, and I did find myself wondering "whodunit" and how until the murderer's identity was finally revealed. There's also a wonderfully witty plot twist at the end that made me smile. And I also came away thinking that Robert Parker should curl up with a few Wolfe mysteries. I used to love his Spenser books, but now the banter between Spenser and Hawk and Spenser and Susan has become tired, old, and often childish. Rex Stout manages to take the familiar characters and remain both true to the interpersonal relationships (Wolfe/Archie, Archie/Stebbins, Wolfe/Cramer, etc.) and consistently entertaining and readable. Stout is a master of this genre and perhaps it's unreasonable to expect another author to reach such heights.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hal Jordan VINE VOICE on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a little out of step with the other reviewers in that I don't think this is one of Stout's better Nero Wolfe mysteries. It was written in 1955, well after his prime period. For me, Wolfe belongs in the New York of the 1930s and 1940s. There are some good points: Archie Goodwin's narration is well done and he gets off enough good lines that you will have a few chuckles. My main problem is that the mystery and the characters just aren't very interesting. There are nine suspects, most of whom are rather bland. Because there are so many of them, there isn't space for any of them to appear for more than a brief period. Although one of the women suspects is described as being attractive, Stout passes on his frequent gambit of having Archie take a romantic interest in her. The resolution of the mystery is also unsatisfying as it turns out that X had a grudge against Y that would have been difficult for the reader to figure out. In other words, I don't think Stout really plays fair with the reader on this one.

This edition contains a brief introduction by Robert Crais that spells out nicely what I guess we all knew: Archie, not Wolfe, is the key to the success of these books. So, if you are Wolfe fan and haven't yet read this one, it's worth picking up. If you are new to Wolfe, go back and get one of the earlier books from the 1930s or 1940s. Bantam has recently begun to reissue those in a new format that combines two books in one volume. They are definitely more of a bargain than these somewhat pricey "Rex Stout Library" editions.
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