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The Second Confession (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 15) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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The Second Confession (Nero Wolfe) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

Orchids and machine guns, the privileged rich, and tough private eyes make for a heady mix, which reader Michael Prichard spins in classic late 1940s' style. The phlegmatic, cerebral, orchid-and-food-fancying sleuth Nero Wolfe, like a twentieth-century Mycroft Holmes, accepts a case involving not only the players mentioned, but also a search for Communists. Prichard tells the story in the first- person point of view of Wolfe's right hand, the tough, canny, and pleasure-loving Archie Goodwin. This is a fairly cinematic listening experience, as we are treated to lushly described scenes and desperate, intelligent characters. D.J.B. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Nero Wolfe (Book 15)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (May 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553245945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553245943
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #637,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By George R Dekle on July 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nero Wolfe's favorite drink, beer, is not a beverage you can come to like on the first taste. You will find beer bitter and repugnant, but if you keep at it you will eventually begin to tolerate it, then to like it. So it is with Nero Wolfe. At first taste you will find him arrogant, eccentric, and thoroughly unlikeable. Keep at him. Because Rex Stout chose the novella as the format for most Wolfe stories you can read the stories at a sitting. After three novellas you will come to tolerate the corpulent crimefighter. After five, you will even come to have some affection for him.
"The Second Confession" might better be named "The Second Confrontation," because Wolfe faces his archnemesis, Arnold Zeck, for the second time. ("And be a Villain" chronicled the first confrontation). When Sherlock Holmes discovered the existence of Professor Moriarty, he immediately undertook to destroy the professor's criminal empire. When Nero Wolfe discovered the existence of Arnold Zeck, he immediately began to avoid Zeck at all costs. Holmes' course of action led to the Reichenbach Falls. Wolfe's led -- you'll have to find out in the final novella of the trilogy, "In the Best Families." Suffice it to say that Wolfe undertakes to expose a communist, runs afoul of Arnold Zeck, gets his orchids machine-gunned, and winds up trying to solve a murder for Zeck. Along the way Archie gets in deep trouble with the local constabulary, Wolfe confounds the police, the two manage to outright break several laws, and they severely bend a few more.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Gregory on February 10, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't understand the reviewers who complain about loose ends. Do you normally expect the second book in a trilogy to wrap everything up? I'm guessing that those reviewers didn't realize that Zeck appears in three books (And Be a Villain, The Second Confession, and In the Best of Families, in that order). At any rate, any ends left loose in this book are tied up in the third.
But even if you know and care nothing about Zeck, you should still be able to enjoy this books; he does not dominate it. Wolfe and Archie are both in top form, and the ploy Wolfe uses to expose the murder is both enjoyable and clever.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John P Bernat on September 6, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
Some of the reviews here disparage Rex Stout's "pandering" to the Red Menace thinking of 1949. Let's put this into perspective...

Long before it was fashionable or even easy to represent for civil rights, Rex had Nero Wolfe honoring people of all races. Nero never generalized about (we'd now use the term "stereotyped") people with one key exception: Rex, a devoted husband and father of women, had Nero suspecting and disparaging women as flighty, treacherous and dangerous.

So here Nero accepts a commission to prove that Louis Rony is a Communist. In all truth, the way this is treated in the story Nero might as well have been asked to prove Rony was a philatelist. It's a matter for factual establishment or disestablishment...

To place this book's purported view of Communism as outweighing Stout's lifelong commitment to freedom of speech and expression is illogical.

And, please, don't forget how this book ends. That, too, puts things into an important perspective.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Judith Paley VINE VOICE on September 21, 2010
Format: Audio CD
This is for the audio version of this book. Prichard is, of course, flawless as the voices of Wolfe and his wise-cracking assistant Archie Goodwin. Wolfe remains deliciously true to character at every eccentric turn, and Stout continues the master of the English language and the occasional surprising Wolfian epithet (nincompoopery!). Phrasing so rich that sometimes I just had to pause the recording and write it down to savor it later. I've not read/heard a Wolfe novel yet that wasn't an complete pleasure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Boone VINE VOICE on July 23, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The Second Confession is another in the long line of Nero Wolfe novels. The story begins with a man coming to Wolfe and asking him to prove that the man his daughter is dating is a communist so he can force the two to break up. Wolfe wisely amends the terms of the deal by opening it up to include any facts that would make him unacceptable to the daughter rather than limiting it to communism. When he begins digging into the man's past, it raises the ire of a man named Arnold Zeck (who previously appeared in And Be a Villain (Crime Line) (Crime Line)). Zeck is a powerful crime lord reminiscent of Professor Moriarty and when Wolfe fails to stop investigating he has the orchid room destroyed by machine gun fire to make his point. From here, there are many twists and turns until the mystery is solved and justice is served.

Archie sparkles as always while investigating first the background and then the murder of the possible communist with gangster ties. When he tries to slip a mickey into the drink of one suspect so he can search the guy's room, he gets a nasty surprise that is so entertaining that it alone is worth buying the book for.

Some reviewers suggest that the mere investigation of someone's possible status as a communist makes this book dated. I really don't see that. By this definition, any old detective story is dated because they don't have cell phones, hair and fiber analysis, etc. All stories set during WWII would be dated by mere mention of Nazis. That's just silly. It is one thing for a story to be clearly set in a past time, which this one is. As long as the story itself still works and is entertaining than I personally do not consider it dated.
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The Second Confession (Nero Wolfe)
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