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A Family Affair (The Rex Stout Library) Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
This book reminds us of several things. One - it's amazing how much fun, mystery, and suspense some of the classic writers of fifty years ago could pack into a 150-200 page volume. Few words were wasted, and no filler or irrelevant subplots were deployed to compile the 400-700 page tomes we so often get today. Two - it occurs to us, that characters were revealed ever so slowly over the course of multiple stories. So one can't just pick up this novel and even begin to understand the complexities of our genius detective and his affable sidekick; it takes reading several entries in the set to really get to know these guys in a way that eventually seals their place in our hearts and minds as "best friends!" Lastly, there is a certain predictability we come to enjoy - not from guessing the outcome (difficult!) but rather just enjoying the eccentricities and habits of the familiar people and places: Wolfe's bottle caps, his globe, Cramer's cigars, the old brownstone, etc.Read more ›
Wolfe does break some of his cherished rules; but can't we allow him to in Archie's last report of his doings? And he breaks them because the case is "a family affair." His self-esteem, as large as his fabled seventh of a ton, has been tweaked. A murder has happened in his own home--and, twice as indigestible, the victim is mighty Nero's own waiter at Rusterman's. He requires satisfaction and will halt his planetary momentum at nothing--not even jail time--to get it.
Being a male chauvinist lookalike, as Saul Panzer would have it (and not just a lookalike, unfortunately), Archie's machismo could never allow him to comment at length on how he felt about where the investigation led. His lapses say it for him. A question implicit in what he and Wolfe discover is: how does one come to terms with finding betrayal where one expected sincerity? It can be an anguishing question, and the stylish solution devised by "the family" leaves behind it both a mystery solved but a lesson learned about the need to be critical of those who claim to uphold the law of the land.
The closing lines bring the series to an appropriate end:
Wolfe said, "Will you bring brandy, Archie? And two glasses. If Fritz is up, bring him and three glasses. We'll try to get some sleep." after forty years of wonderful adventures and possibly the most re-readable mysteries ever, they deserve it.
"It's possible to tell your mind what to do,only when your mind agrees with you". Archie Goodwin
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rex Stout created Nero Wolfe two decades before I was born and finished this last two decades after I was born, by which time I had read most of the marvelous series and I remember... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have to agree with the forward. Don't read this book until you have read a few others in the series. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Andrew
The last volume written by Rex Stout and another cliff hanger,Published 11 months ago by Emil J. Gnam
Another great adventure with Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin and crew. Make certain you read several other Nero Wolfe mysteries before this one. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Brownie