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Murder by the Book (Nero Wolfe) Paperback – September 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Nero Wolfe
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553763113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553763119
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Deceased --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie, connect the dots between three seemingly unconnected murders, as always a step ahead of the chronically baffled and frustrated Inspector Cramer. Linking the murders of a law clerk, an editor, and a typist is a missing book manuscript with potentially damaging information about a prominent law firm. Narrator Michael Prichard has Wolfe, Archie, and Cramer down pat, and does justice to the supporting cast of quirky women and men. Prichard shifts smoothly from one to another and keeps the story moving at a pace that never lags while allowing listeners time to absorb the intricacies of plot. This absorbing 1940s mystery will entertain Stout fans and newcomers alike. E.S. © AudioFile 2007, 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

I heartily recommend this book.
The Skeptic
Murder by the Book is the first Rex Stout novel I've read in years, and I'd forgotten just how clever he was.
Debra Purdy Kong
The stories are plausible and the characters believable.
Suzi W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Horselover_Fat on November 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Written with such a mastery over words and phrases, that it's really hard not to like it. I've read almost every Nero Wolfe novel and while this one is not my absolute favorite, it has several scenarios that I find among the most memorable. The first being the 'scam' that Wolfe and Goodwin contrive to attempt to lure the murderer to the sister of one of the people who've read the book - this is expertly handled and quite thorough. The second is (I'm obviously not going in order :P) the 'group interrogation' with the dozen or so secretaries. But there's alot of little nuances throughout the novel that are professional touches that make it seem almost as if the characters are real and that you're reading a piece of history. Stout's almost tedious attention to detail is more fuller appreciated the more you read it, or better yet listen to the audiobook (read by Michael Prichard).
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By James A. White on November 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
This mystery is wonderful, whether you are a new Stout fan or an old afficionado. Since the other reviewers have discussed the plot, I won't delve into it much. Basically, a man, Leonard Dykes, has written a story and everyone who reads it (he, the woman at the publishing house, and the typist) is killed. The father of the woman from the publishing house, Joan Wellman, hires Wolfe because he is not satisfied with the police's efforts. The rest of the story is fairly formulaic for the Stout series: Wolfe is arrogant, sticks to his schedule, and never leaves the Brownstone. Archie is sarcastic, lures the women, and is a 1940s man-about-town.

There are two differnt things about this story: one good, one bad. First, the bad: Stout doesn't explain the alibi of the murderer. The killer says there is one, and Wolfe starts to dispute it, but Cramer stops him. Therefore, we never find out how the killer contrived the alibi. This may not bother some, but for me, it's frustrating. As for the good, Archie's (perhaps) ultimate love interest is found in this book, in the form of a plump, older, married woman. Don't worry: Archie does nothing wrong, but he sure does think about it...

Bottom line: Well up to Stout's usual standards, with extra interest. The flaw, though, keeps it from being five stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Lupoff on September 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe / Archie Goodwin books comprise one of the best mystery series of all time, and *Murder by the Book* is one of the best of the series. Sparkling with Stout's sharp wit, brilliant in detail and characterization, rich in period ambiance, the book is a total pleasure from start to finish. Even from the viewpoint of formal detection, usually not one of Stout's stronger points, this one is a flawless gem. The fact that it is out out print is little short of appalling, but the fact that used copies (as well as "audios") are readily available save the day. Still, the book deserves to be reissued and to be kept in print for posterity.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Michele L. Worley on March 17, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
(If you're interested in an audio edition, Michael Pritchard's unabridged narration is pretty good.)
We begin with the murder of a man who had no life: Leonard Dykes, fished out of the river on New Year's Day, a confidential clerk in the law firm of Corrigan, Phelps, Custen, and Briggs. No family (other than a married sister in California), no lovers, no unsavoury habits, no money problems (neither debts nor a large net worth), no problems with his job. Somebody somewhere, though, hit him on the head before leaving him to drown, and ransacked Dykes' apartment, but the only thing the Manhattan homicide squad could find was a single sheet of paper in a book, with a list of men's names, none of whom could be found in New York City.
Stuck, Cramer pays a call at the brownstone, but Wolfe can only suggest that Dykes or someone he knew had tried to come up with an alias for someone, but never used it. Cramer, frustrated (and embarrassed at having sunk so low as to ask for help without getting anywhere), leaves it at that.
Six weeks later, John R. Wellman hires Wolfe to find the man who killed his daughter Joan; he's not satisfied with the Bronx's handling of the case. From a letter, he knows that after Joan rejected a manuscript - "Put Not Your Trust", by Baird Archer - for her publishing firm, Archer had made an appointment to see her privately and get feedback on how to improve it, and the appointment coincided with her death. But nobody can find either the man or the manuscript. Wolfe has no information that the police don't have - collectively, between Manhattan and the Bronx - but he remembers that "Baird Archer" was one of the names on Dykes' list.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
This doesn't seem to be a well known Wolfe story, but I think it's one of the best three. It's outstanding for the cleverness of the plot, which is not always a Stout strength. For once, Wolfe really has to unravel complex cause and effect like a Poirot, and there's no cheating of the reader.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I loved just about everything about this book. A wistful, infatuated Archie, an exasperated/exasperating Wolfe, police who are (as Wolfe himself would say) good enough at what they do but always a step or two behind, and an action-packed yet heartbreaking mystery. So often books of this genre use murder merely as a catalyst for action. By introducing the victims' families and giving them voice, Rex Stout makes us view the murders in terms of the very real pain they cause those who are left behind. But don't get me wrong -- this book is not a downer. It's bright and clever and, as always, the Wolfe/Goodwin exchanges brought me many a smile.
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