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The Silent Speaker (1946)

por Rex Stout

Outros autores: Ver a secção outros autores.

Séries: Nero Wolfe (11)

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9862021,074 (3.96)59
When a powerful government official, scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires, turns up dead, it is an event worthy of the notice of the great Nero Wolfe. Balancing on the edge of financial ruin, the orchid-loving detective grudgingly accepts the case. Soon a second victim is found bludgeoned to death, a missing stenographer's tape causes an uproar, and the dead man speaks, after a fashion. While the buisness world clamors for a solution, Nero Wolfe patiently lays a trap that will net him a killer worth his weight in gold.   Introduction by Walter Mosley   "It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore."--The New York Times Book Review   A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America's greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained--and puzzled--millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original seventy-three cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout.… (mais)
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Inglês (19)  Checo (1)  Português (1)  Todas as línguas (21)
Mostrando 1-5 de 21 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
One of the better-plotted of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, and redolent of the kinds of tensions present in the immediate aftermath of World War II. The head of a government price control agency is murdered shortly before he was to give a speech to some of his fiercest opponents, and those opponents are being raked over the coals as being responsible for his murder. (Sound familiar?) Wolfe puts his finger on a key issue: where is a crucial recording that the government official made shortly before he died? It does indeed turn out to be a crucial element in the solution. As a side note, Wolfe helps out his "frenemy" Inspector Cramer, who makes an unusual gesture back to Wolfe -- a gesture that seems to strike a chord in the detective. ( )
  EricCostello | Jun 26, 2023 |
Cheney Boone, Director of the Bureau of Price Regulation, is the scheduled speaker at a dinner for the National Industrial Association. He didn’t make it to the dais for his speech. He was dead. The weapon was one of his props — a monkey wrench.

The bank balance was getting low and there were bills to pay. Nero Wolfe saw the story of the murder in the newspaper and decided he’d land the case and solve it before the cops would. All he had to do was get the NIA to hire him and that he did.

Simple, yes? No, he wound up with two murders to solve!

Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe’s right hand man, along with private eyes Saul Panzer and Bill Gore, do all the leg work while Wolfe splits his time between his orchids and his yellow throne, with some time devoted to staying in be to dodge dealing with his demanding clients and Inspector Cramer of the PD.

From the 1940s, the plot has action, dialogue and a gorgeous blond to boot. (Something Archie greatly appreciated.) Another classic from the pen of Rex Stout. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | May 15, 2023 |
The Silent Speaker (1946) (Nero Wolfe #11) by Rex Stout. I like going back to the Golden Age of the Detective Story. The authors of the time kept their mysteries neat, sweet and adult in nature. That is, the crimes were perpetrated upon adults by adults. Children might be witnesses to events leading to or away from the crime, but they were not the crime itself, as in many modern crime tales.
The Silent Speaker of the title is a government man from the Bureau of Price Regulation (BPR). He s set to speak before his agencys’nemesis, the NIA ( National Industrial Association). The rich members of the NIA hate the BPR regulators hampering the setting of whatever prices they see fit while the BPR detests the feeling of righteousness the NIA projects in any meeting of the two organizations.
The BPR speaker is bludgeoned just prior to speaking and each side points a finger at the other as the source of the killer. There are some missing dictation cylinders that the speaker had with him that might just point to his murderer. His secretary is the last person seen with the case containing the cylinders, but she ends up murdered also, only she is on Nero wolf’s doorstep at the time. Wolfe has already been called into the case by the NIA and is outraged at the death of the woman, more so for its location than almost any other reason.
Inspector Cramer is on the case but, as major money and the federal government are breathing down the necks of the Mayor and the D.A., he soon is bumped off the case. His replacement, Inspector Ash issues a warrant for Wolfe’s arrest, so the big man has a showdown with the city powers that be, and solves the crime.
A fun romp with Nero and Archie saving Cramer from infamy. Nero fakes a nervous breakdown to avoid being dragged downtown and it is a humorous episode for the big man. Overall this is, like just about every other Nero Wolfe story, lots of fun and a joy to read ( )
  TomDonaghey | Jan 26, 2023 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Silent Speaker
Series: Nero Wolfe #11
Author: Rex Stout
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 222
Words: 74K

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Cheney Boone, the Director of the Bureau of Price Regulation (BPR)[3] is beaten to death with a monkey wrench shortly before a speech he is to deliver at a gathering of the National Industrial Association (NIA), a prominent conglomeration of big business interests. Considerable antagonism exists between the two parties,[4] and the public begins to hold the NIA responsible for Boone's murder. This attracts the attention of Nero Wolfe, who is facing financial ruin, and with the help of Archie Goodwin he launches a scheme to manipulate the NIA into hiring his services to find the killer.

Wolfe arranges a meeting between the principal witnesses to the case—Boone's widow and niece, acting BPR director Solomon Dexter and researcher Alger Kates, the NIA executive committee, and select members of law-enforcement including Inspector Cramer and Sgt. Purley Stebbins. The meeting soon degenerates into chaos and bickering, but Wolfe is intrigued by the absence of Phoebe Gunther, Boone's private secretary and the last person to see him alive, and orders Archie to bring her to him for questioning. Archie finds Phoebe at an apartment owned and occupied by Alger Kates and, after a flirtatious battle of wits, persuades her to meet Wolfe. Phoebe claims that she was given a leather case full of confidential dictation cylinders shortly before Boone's death, but has misplaced them.

The next day, Wolfe receives a telegram informing him that surveillance of Don O’Neill, the chairman of the NIA's dinner committee, will have to be suspended—surveillance that neither he nor Archie ordered. Archie therefore follows O’Neill to Grand Central Station, where O’Neill retrieves the leather case from the parcel room, and intercepts him. Faced with the choice of going to the police or to Wolfe, O’Neill is forced to surrender the case, which contains ten dictation cylinders. It becomes clear when listening to them that none of them are the real confidential cylinders, however. When Wolfe calls another meeting of the principal witnesses, Phoebe once again fails to appear—but this time, her body is discovered by the front step of Wolfe's home, brutally bludgeoned with a length of rusty pipe.

It is clear that Phoebe's murderer is one of the principal witnesses, and that this person is likely to have also murdered Boone. After nine of the ten cylinders are discovered in Phoebe's apartment, both Wolfe and Inspector Cramer become convinced that the missing cylinder is key to the murder, but political pressure forces Cramer's superiors to replace him with Inspector Ash. Ash issues a warrant for Wolfe and Archie and tries to bully information out of Wolfe, leading to a violent confrontation in the police commissioner's office. Although Wolfe stubbornly refuses to assist Ash, once the warrants are vacated he reveals why the cylinder is so important—on it, Boone identifies his own murderer. Phoebe, a passionate BPR supporter, intended to reveal it once the NIA had been damaged as much as possible by the controversy over Boone's death, but managed to alert the murderer that she was aware of his identity and was killed for her silence.

After a meeting with Boone's widow, where she confirms that Phoebe did indeed possess the cylinders, Wolfe takes the unprecedented step of terminating his contract with the NIA and returning the group's $30,000 fee. As this removes the protection he has received through the status of his clients and will begin a barrage of police and media interest in him, he fakes a mental breakdown in order to hold the police off and buy time until the cylinder is found. Before the police can expose his deception, Wolfe realises that the only place Phoebe could have hidden the cylinder and known it was safe was Wolfe's own office. He thus has Archie, Fritz and Theodore search the room for the cylinder, where it is found concealed in a bookcase. When played, both Wolfe and Cramer are vindicated; the murderer is revealed to be Alger Kates, who was bribed by Don O'Neill to pass on confidential BPR information and was exposed on the cylinder as a traitor. Having heard the cylinder, Phoebe discovered his guilt but revealed her knowledge to Kates when after pressuring him to return numerous items, possessing sentimental value to Boone's widow, that were stolen from the corpse to fake a theft.

The novel ends with Archie confronting Wolfe, having realized that Wolfe staged the cylinder's discovery and in fact knew it was in his office the whole time. He is simply unsure of whether Wolfe waited so long for "art's sake," or simply to ensure that he could collect a $100,000 reward offered by the NIA instead of the $30,000 fee. Wolfe does not disagree with either hypothesis, but suggests another motivation: having come to respect Phoebe Gunther's intelligence and determination, Wolfe decided to continue as far as possible her objective of causing damage to the NIA. In gratitude for saving his career, Inspector Cramer timidly gives Wolfe an orchid for a gift.

My Thoughts:

I took a small break from Rex Stout. It is good to be back with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, really good.

★★★★☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Jun 25, 2022 |
4/9/22
  laplantelibrary | Apr 9, 2022 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Rex Stoutautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Ahmavaara, EeroTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Askeland, ElsaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Borthen, LeifTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Mosley, WalterIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Omboni, IdaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Prichard, MichaelNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Seated in his giant's chair behind his desk in his office, leaning back with his eyes half closed, Nero Wolfe muttered at me:

“It is an interesting fact that the members of the National Industrial Association who were at that dinner last evening represent, in the aggregate, assets of something like thirty billion dollars.”
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When a powerful government official, scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires, turns up dead, it is an event worthy of the notice of the great Nero Wolfe. Balancing on the edge of financial ruin, the orchid-loving detective grudgingly accepts the case. Soon a second victim is found bludgeoned to death, a missing stenographer's tape causes an uproar, and the dead man speaks, after a fashion. While the buisness world clamors for a solution, Nero Wolfe patiently lays a trap that will net him a killer worth his weight in gold.   Introduction by Walter Mosley   "It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore."--The New York Times Book Review   A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America's greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained--and puzzled--millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original seventy-three cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout.

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