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The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe) Paperback – January 2, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is always a treat to [hear] a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore." -- The New York Times Book Review

Rex Stout's League of Frightened Men presents a fascinating new Nero Wolfe mystery read by L.A. actor Michael Prichard, who brings to life this fine story of an eccentric detective's investigation of a classmate's potential for murder. A man left crippled by a college hazing prank seems out for revenge upon his fellows in this gripping saga." -- The Midwest Book Review, August 1997 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

7 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Nero Wolfe (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (January 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553762982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553762983
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on July 26, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
A hazing accident at a Harvard dormitory leaves a young man hopelessly crippled. The 35 men responsible for the injury form a League of Atonement to help support their victim. Eventually the victim discovers he has great literary ability and becomes a lionized author. All his books have as their theme the murder of various characters modeled after various members of the League of Atonement. The victim has become a Literary Avenger. Then one member dies violently at a reunion while in close proximity to the Literary Avenger. The survivors receive an anonymous poem suggesting the Literary Avenger has become a literal avenger. Another dies of poisoning shortly after a meeting with the Avenger. Another group of poems goes out. A third disappears without a trace. Another anonymous poem goes out to the League. They have transmogrified from the League of Atonement to the League of Frightened Men.
They consult with Nero Wolfe, and he undertakes to relieve their fears for an obscene fee. Wolfe feels that all he needs is the answers to three questions and he can corkscrew a confession out of the Literary Avenger. Before Wolfe can pull it off, his target gets himself arrested for the murder of a fourth member of the League, and it looks like an open and shut case. Wolfe stands to lose his fee. If the Avenger gets electrocuted for the fourth murder, the League won't owe him a cent.
Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's confidential assistant, sees the problem quite simply. All Wolfe has to do is exonerate the Literary Avenger in the fourth murder and get confessions to the first three. The pair of detectives travels a complex path to achieve Archie's simple solution. Archie gets poisoned, Wolfe gets kidnapped, and it all culminates in one of the most Machiavellian maneuvers ever to spring from Wolfe's fertile imagination.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tom Brosz on July 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Referring to the Kindle edition: I am a long-time Nero Wolfe fan, and am slowly collecting the books on Kindle. I am discovering that typos in Kindle books are almost the norm, and this edition of "League of Frightened Men" is no exception. The nature of the typos indicates that someone ran the original book through a scanner and didn't bother to do a lot of editing.

If a book is issued by the publisher (Bantam) in a Kindle edition at essentially the same price as the paperback, I expect some serious attention to formatting and detail. On the other hand, "Fer de Lance" contained a completely screwed up line of text that had been copied exactly from the same printing error in the original Bantam edition.

Would it be asking too much to have someone read these over before selling them?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on October 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really loved this book even before I read "Stout Fellow" by "O.E.McBride." Her insightful analysis of all of Rex Stout's work confirms what I already suspected: Rex Stout's earliest books were his best.

This one can be forgiven some narrative excesses (the pink tie and soup, for example) in fair exchange for some of Wolfe's best Wolfeisms. The one about membership in the Hardvard Club is in this book.

And finally, Paul Chapin is a much better "Moriarty" than Arnold Zeck. He's much deeper and more complex, in fact, than virtually any other of Stout's other characters, doubly subtle by the way in which his villainy is propounded.

Fetishism, kinky stuff - all here more so that in anything else of Wolfe's that comes to mind. And it is expertly read in audio.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Taylor on July 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
A bit longer than most of Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries, but still well worth the read. This is also one of the earliest Nero Wolfe books so there are a few differences between it and later stories, which made it even more interesting.
A good read, a great story line, and great value for the money compared to the $9 or $10 for a 90 minute movie, not including the 20 bucks for popcorn and soft drink.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kir talmage on January 13, 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
January 8, 2003: Finished listening to this on the way to work today. It ends with a gentle insult that cracked me up. Otherwise, I think I would recommend reading this over listening to this. I think it would go faster, and the conversations would be easier to follow. This particular reader is advertised as having a golden voice; not on my system, he didn't.
A man, Paul, was injured in college. Some number of fellow students felt responsible and guilty enough to undertake some degree of lifetime support (more or less) of him. He was not always fond of this. Some 20 or 30 years later, some of those fellow students begin dying, and later evidence indicates to the remaining that Paul has killed them.
Straightforward (in as much as any of them are) mystery with the twist that you don't know whether the deaths are, in fact, murders--and some may be, some may not be, there may or may not be more, and Paul himself may or may not have been the murderer. I liked that; it presented complications. Some other events (data) laid forth drew me to really basic conclusions ... which were wrong. But appropriately wrong: I had missed something or not been devious enough in my thinking. I had concluded on too little evidence, maybe. I liked that, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim Lester on May 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the earliest entries in Rex Stout's long running Nero Wolfe mystery series. Written in the 1930s, the book can be read as something of a historical document as well a a classic mystery. No one jumps into their roadster and speeds away or looks for a cigar store to find a pubic telephone anymore. But on the other hand, all of the elements of the great Wolfe mysteries are here--Archie Goodwin and Fritz the chief and Inspector Cramer and the brownstone and Wolf's constant ringing for beer.

Stout's novels were a bridge bridge between the "cozy" mysteries of Agatha Christie and the hard boiled detective books of Raymond Chandler, but this one rests firmly in the cozy camp. The plot involves a group of Harvard grads who, during their undergraduate days, played a horrible prank on one of their classmates that left him crippled for life. Now they suspect their one time victim is planning to murder them one by one. After two deaths of their membership they call on Nero Wolfe to save the day. This is a fun premise that Stouts pulls off with a minimum of violence, a maximum of Sherlock Homesian detection and a final scene where all the suspects assemble and Wolfe reveals the real murderer. A great read for devoted Nero Wolfe fans or anyone who enjoys traditional American mystery fiction.
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