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Nearly Nero: The Adventures of Claudius Lyon, the Man Who Would Be Wolfe Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
When Arnie Woodbine answered an ad for a job, the former felon ended up working for Claudius Lyon, an extremely odd individual who has a great love for Nero Wolfe, a man well-known for resolving what actually happened by having somebody else do all the research. Claudius has redone much of his life to match similar aspects in Nero’s, and he now needs someone to help with solving any problems brought to him by having that person do all the physical investigating. So Arnie is now employed and does tasks asked of him in order for Claudius to explain whatever dilemma he has been given. Since neither of them are licensed detectives, no fees are charged, but this fact does not stop the police captain from repeatedly trying to prove they are committing a crime.
After Claudius and Arnie meet and start working together, the two deal with a predicament plaguing someone in every story. A wide variety of people come asking for help, and their problems also greatly vary. But the portly amateur detective and his cunning assistant sort through clues, then make deductions based on fact. While there is not a lot of depth to the novellas because of their length, the information about each case let me make my own guesses as to what was really going on. Arnie is the one who describes what is taking place, and his inner thoughts were often a highlight of a scene. How the final assumptions were reached are frequently shrewd, and I thought the reasoning to be rather comical at times while other logic showed real aptitude. Loren D. Estleman has made me want to check out the original Nero Wolfe stories, as I would like to know about the team who inspired such a fun duo. NEARLY NERO is an entertaining and witty parody.
I voluntarily reviewed the book from the publisher, and all comments are my honest opinion
“Lyon loved to read mysteries, but he knew he’d never have the energy to emulate Sherlock Holmes, or the physique to withstand and deliver beatings a la Sam Spade . . . Wolfe’s obesity and sedentary habits suited him right down to his wide bottom.”
These are the adventures of Claudius Lyon, Nero Wolfe-wannabe, as told by Arnie Woodbine, his chronicler, secretary, aide, and leg man. Unfortunately, everything about Lyon, from his five-foot, overweight frame to Arnie himself, is a little skewed from any resemblance to his idol.
Though there are no murders or mayhem, and absolutely no bullets, Lyon shines, in his own way as perspicacious as his idol. Most of the mysteries are no more than riddles instead of danger-fraught thrillers. In fact, they may remind some readers of those “brainteasers” they were subjected to in school. No matter. Each one is clever, filled with puns and acerbic wit as spoken by Arnie, and good fun to read.
Nearly Nero is an anthology that will appeal to both the Nerophyte as well as any reader who may not have had the good fortune to learn of Nero Wolfe. Claudius Lyon isn’t a poor substitute; he’s simply a very accomplished mini-me version of the master. Imitation is the best form of flattery, and Loren Estleman has flattered very well indeed.
This novel was supplied by the publisher and no remuneration was involved in the writing of this review. This excerpt is taken from the full-length review written for the New York Journal of Books Online.
The Chair in his Office is not the famous yellow of the Wolfe Books but orange. His sidekick takes every advantage of him, rounding off checks to the next hundred and his Cook serves pigeon and charges the Boss for chicken. Still they all rub along...Saints and Sinners.
If you are familiar with the Nero Wolfe stories this book has some laugh out loud moments. The comparisons are adroit and very colorful but not always to Claudius Lyon's advantage may I add. He has the girth of Wolfe but very little else. His problems are much smaller but they get solved in a timely way. The comparison of Lyon's townhouse to anything Wolfe is very aptly described as working out of a Motel Six.
So if you are a fan of Nero Wolfe you will like Nearly Nero very much. And even if you haven't read the Wolfe Books there are plenty of comparisons to satisfy your curiosity and keep you reading. Each story is different and I enjoyed the characters very much.
My thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books
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