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Death of a Dude (Nero Wolfe) Paperback – January 2, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The mountain couldn't come to Wolfe, so the great detective came to the mountain--to Lame Horse, Montana, to be exact. Here a city slicker got a country girl pregnant and then took a bullet in the back. Wolfe's job was to get an innocent man exonerated of the crime and catch a killer in the process. But when he packed his silk pajamas and headed west, he found himself embroiled in a case rife with local cynicism, slipshod police work, and unpleasant political ramifications. In fact, Nero Wolfe was buffaloed until the real killer struck again, underestimating the dandified dude with an unerring instinct for detection. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Nero Wolfe (Book 44)
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553762958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553762952
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David Stephens on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A quarter century ago while I was getting edified in college in Houston, I picked up a Nero Wolfe novel, on the recommendation of some journalist. Being rather methodical in such things, I found out that Mr. Stout had written quite a few novels, that the first Wolfe one was "Fer de Lance," and so I bought it. Start at the beginning; I was studying math after all. I liked the book, which I had gotten at The Book Den on Rice Boulevard, an establishment long gone in the yuppification of the Village and the John, the owner, no doubt gone too of age, had taken a shine to me and had ordered for all of the Wolfe novels, which I went through like a bureaucrat through your paycheck. Not a week goes by that I don't have a warm thought about this dead man. Some of my teachers and professors should be so lucky. Mrs. Schmidt, are you listening?
Wolfe is a hugely fat private detective in New York. He is Montenegrin, which features in the series, and which has given some piquancy to the (ever-constant) Balkan fighting exploding in the last few years. His amanuensis-and I think that I learned that word in this book-is Archie Goodwin, a controlled rakehell from Ohio. Wolfe is a genius and Archie is his legman. The other full-time occupant of the New York brownstone house is Fritz Brenner, the Swiss chef and house keeper. Wolfe grows 10,000 or 20,000 or 40,000 orchids-one of the few slight inconsistencies in Stout's own Wolfiana-on the roof of his brownstone in New York. He fights the police, hates to work, loves to eat, and is generally difficult.
But my God can he talk. Roll in the vocabulary; pluck out the recondite verbs and carpe dem nouns.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A later Nero that holds up very well. For dialogue between Wolfe and Archie it is one of the best and could be the funniest of them all. I have reread it several times and it is always fun.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on June 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Despite the title, this story has (slightly) more to do with _The Father Hunt_ than with _Death of a Doxy_; the research compiled by Amy Denovo on Lily Rowan's father is now being turned into a book. One of Archie's fellow guests during his vacation at Lily's ranch in Montana (the Bar JR) is Wade Worthy, the biographer who's working on James Rowan.
However, the dude of the title was Philip Brodell, who had returned to the area after seducing Alma Greve the year before - Brodell was found dead from a shot in the back on a huckleberry-picking expedition. Alma's father Harvey is now in jail, charged with murder, but Lily and Archie are convinced he's innocent, since they've both known him for years (see "The Rodeo Murder" in _Three at Wolfe's Door_). Archie takes an unpaid leave of absence from Wolfe until the case is finished. Wolfe, of course, isn't prepared to have Archie gone for an open-ended length of time, so after pulling a few strings to find out exactly what the case against Harvey is, he appears unannounced at the Bar JR soon after receiving Archie's letter, and he and Archie get to work on the investigation.
It's cool to see Wolfe loosen up a little; as a guest in someone else's domain, he'd be violating his personal standards if he took his eccentricity too far. (Archie, after watching him a little, says it's obvious Wolfe promised himself not to complain about the food no matter what.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on May 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
DEATH OF A DUDE shows why the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout remain classics. Stout was a competent journeyman who consistently delivered easy to read prose, enjoyable puzzles and interesting characters. The heart and soul of the appeal of these books lies in the contrast between the characters of the quintessential legman Archie Goodwin and his brainy boss Nero Wolfe.

The contrast between Archie's energy and Wolfe's laziness and the tension between the two as Archie subtly spurs Wolfe into working is great fun in their normal milieu of New York City but elevates to a new level whenever Wolfe is forced out of his comfort zone, which is basically the armchair in his office.

In this book, Archie was on vacation at Lily Rowen's ranch in the Rockies when a guest of a dude ranch down the road is murdered. Everyone thinks the Lily's foreman has done the deed because Phil Brodell got the foreman's daughter pregnant. Archie and Lily are sure the foreman would never shoot a man in the back like that but Archie is going nowhere in trying to find the real culprit.

Here is where the real fun begins: Archie writes to Wolfe, taking an unpaid leave of absence and assuring his employer that he's sure to be back by the World Series...or maybe by election day.

Wolfe doesn't think he can do without Archie that long so he makes the trek to Lame Horse, Montana.

There he's in a place that for eccentricity beats him hollow. The pleasure of Nero Wolfe adapting to his Wild West environment is matched by the clever solution to the crime.

This is a great book for a summer reading program. It was first published in 1969.
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