What's your least favorite Nero Wolfe story.

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What's your least favorite Nero Wolfe story.

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1stoic
Out 11, 2006, 3:00 pm

Mine would be "A Family Affair". If I remember correctly, this one was published after Stout's death and I can see why he kept it hidden away. Dark and disturbing. Definitely not a "feel-good" story.

2Eurydice
Editado: Out 12, 2006, 2:37 am

Not at all. A suitable 'end.'

A Family Affair, if not my least favorite, is certainly in the running. I'll have to think over the question a little, stoic; it's a good one.

(spelling error corrected)

3cogitno
Out 12, 2006, 6:34 am

I'd vote for (or is it against?) Not Quite Dead Enough, which includes two novellas covering the period of Archie's Military Intelligence career. Apart from the comic scene of Wolfe and Felix fasting and excercising, the stories left me depressed. I hated the disruption in the household.

My (Ace) edition includes the story of the book title, plus "Booby Trap". The original Farrar and Rinehart also included "Help Wanted, Male". This latter story was also published in Trouble In Triplicate.

4etrainer
Editado: Out 13, 2006, 4:56 pm

I finished Not Quite Dead Enough and Booby Trap a few weeks ago and also found it didn't meet expectations. Whoops! Booby Trap touchstone called up the wrong book/story. How can I correct that?

5MrsLee
Nov 19, 2006, 12:07 am

I have to agree with A Family Affair, if only because it was the last one. But also because I always saw something redemptive about Orrie.

6MrsLee
Nov 19, 2006, 12:11 am

I think my above message isn't clear. I mean I never saw him as someone who would give up hope, to the point of...you know, guess I should be more careful, I forget that those who haven't yet read the books might read this.

7Eurydice
Nov 20, 2006, 9:40 am

Quite right. But it's enough for those of us who have. It never occured to me, yet I thought the reasoning was pretty sound. It made quite a neat inversion, sadly. Could be wrong, of course. You can start a thread marked 'Spoiler' on it, with the title, if you'd like to discuss it more freely.

8MrsLee
Nov 21, 2006, 10:24 pm

I think before I do that I had better go back and read some more. It's been several years since I've read the Wolfe books, that's why they don't show up on my library here. What a delightful chore!

9AdonisGuilfoyle Primeira Mensagem
Nov 24, 2006, 4:19 pm

Death of a Dude, just to be contrary! Lily Rowan, despite the feeling that Stout would have preferred to keep her to himself, is my favourite secondary character, and here she is a shadow of her former self. The story is set on her ranch and yet she barely features - when she does, her dialogue is dry and distracted. I love Lily for the way she can match Archie's quick lines, but I could barely find above two quotes that I would remember in Dude. Lily aside, I thought Stout was just indulging himself with this travelogue of a Montana ranch, and the plot was instantly forgettable.

10Eurydice
Nov 24, 2006, 11:23 pm

Yeah - a poor one. I did not enjoy it nearly so much as usual. Even seeing Wolfe out and about to that extent lacked much savor.

11lasergirl69 Primeira Mensagem
Fev 18, 2007, 9:22 pm

I never liked (Plot It Yourself) because I read it 3 or 4 times thinking it was a new one I hadn't read. I guess I might just be biased against it because I got immune to it after a while. But somehow, I still ended up with two copies on my shelf, thinking I only had one. It must be haunting me.

12Eurydice
Editado: Fev 18, 2007, 9:38 pm

It must be haunting me.

Sounds like it is, lasergirl. Most unfair, but probably harmless, as hauntings go.

I confess, I only remember the sketchiest outlines of the (ahem) plot. (BTW, try brackets around the title, instead of parentheses, for working touchstones. :) A title should show up below 'Touchstones', to the right of the text box, if it's recognized.) Plot it Yourself didn't thrill me, even if I can't remember enough about it to gripe. ;)

13LisaLynne
Fev 27, 2007, 9:18 pm

I don't mind being contrary - I liked A Family Affair. I think my least favorites are The Black Mountain and Not Quite Dead Enough. I want Archie and Mr. Wolfe at home in the office, where they belong.

14Eurydice
Editado: Mar 1, 2007, 1:48 am

I do like seeing them get out of the office, but The Black Mountain is a sombre story in the Wolfe canon. Interesting and worthwhile, in many ways, but one couldn't class it as 'fun'.

Being contrary has its points. :) Feel free.

Edit: touchstones not loaded.

15quartzite
Mar 1, 2007, 12:05 pm

Given the group read read in the other thread, it may be contrary of me to say that the Zeck books are my least favorite, as I find the arch-enemy schtick a little silly.

16Eurydice
Mar 1, 2007, 12:10 pm

At least the first time through, I found it gave a vintage pleasure - but even now, relying on memory and not yet to Zeck - I can say you're quite right, quartzite. It is a little silly.

This may or may not dampen my pleasure, of course. :)

17MrsLee
Editado: Mar 1, 2007, 1:06 pm

Well, for me, that's why I read murder mysteries as opposed to real crime stories. I have a lot of reality around me, so I like to escape into the silly and improbable now and then. I also like conspiracy theories, which border on the silly too. :)

Unless they are real 8o !

18quartzite
Mar 1, 2007, 1:28 pm

That's right. Just 'cause you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't really a conspiracy!

19etrainer
Mar 1, 2007, 6:45 pm

Yeah, and just because I'm dumb doesn't mean I'm crazy, either!

20etrainer
Mar 17, 2007, 1:55 pm

Eurydice, I see you have posted the only review of Stout's T. Fox Novel Double for Death. I must have read it years ago whenever it was that I acquired it, but I remember nothing. Just started reading it again yesterday (only a few pages so far). It will be interesting in light of your comments.

21etrainer
Mar 20, 2007, 4:02 pm

I finished Double for Death. It was OK, but never really grabbed my interest. A disappointment when compared to the Nero Wolfe books.

22MrsLee
Mar 20, 2007, 4:32 pm

#21 - I felt the same way about all of Stout's "other" detective stories. They were O.K., and a lot better than some of the other detective stories out there, but couldn't hold a candle to Wolfe and Archie.

Have you read his fantasy/sci-fi attempts? Those, to me, were laughable, but now that I've read some of the other early sci-fi, like Edgar Rice Burroughs, I'm not so sure.

23etrainer
Mar 22, 2007, 4:54 pm

Check my catalog for Edgar Rice Burroughs and the fantastic cover art. I love those, although you are right - they are kind of amusing, if not laughable. Still, I found them fun to read many years ago. I wish I had more, but I would want the Ace editions for their great covers. I think those books were priced about $0.60, so that tells you how long I've had them.

I've never even seen any Stout sci-fi books, 'tho I have heard about them. I guess it would be fun to try one or two.

24MrsLee
Abr 2, 2007, 11:23 pm

#23 - Nice book covers. :) I really had no idea he wrote those.

These are the early Stout books I have. The Great Legend, a story from Troy, it was serialized in the All Story magazine. Under the Andes, definitely sci-fi or fantasy. A Prize for Princes, another book which was in All Story magazine, it is about a woman who is "pure evil" from the Balkans. Target Practice is a collection of short stories written for the All-Story magazine. In it is a story which is a precursor to Archie and Wolfe and Stout's first crime fiction story, "Secrets". I only remember reading Under the Andes, and I didn't care for it, though the writing gave me a giggle now and then. I may have to try the others again.