"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Nero Wolfe Mysteries: The Golden Spiders & Murder by the Book by Rex Stout

Read by Michael Prichard
Duration: 13 hours, 5 minutes
Published August 23, 2011 by AudioGo

As an avid reader of mysteries, I am sorry to say that I waited so long to check out Nero Wolfe and all of his valuable and useful assistants. If you are not familiar with Nero Wolfe, let me introduce you. Nero Wolfe is an obese genius who solves mysteries but rarely leaves his New York City Brownstone home. His true passions are meticulously prepared meals, orchids and keeping to his routine. Instead of leaving his home and doing the legwork himself, he has several trusted and talented investigators who serve as his eyes and ears. The Nero Wolfe stories are told by Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's number one employee.

Goodwin is an interesting character himself. He is Wolfe's employee, but not a toady. He speaks his mind, sometimes too freely. He is flippant, clever, tough and quite the ladies man. When I heard these stories, I realized how much a debt the late Robert B. Parker owes to Rex Stout - Parker's Spenser character is Archie Goodwin with his own detective agency.

This audiobook contains two short Nero Wolfe novels. The Golden Spiders was first published in 1953. The story starts when a 12 year old who makes a little extra money cleaning car windows at stop lights comes to Nero Wolfe with the story of a woman in a Cadillac who mouthed to him through the windshield that he should get a policeman to help her. She is wearing earrings shaped like golden spiders. The kid finds Nero Wolfe instead. Wolfe takes his story and starts to look into it. The next day, the boy is run down by a Cadillac. Soon, two more people are run over by a car and all of the deaths seem related and Wolfe is on the case...

Rex Stout (1886-1975)
First published in 1951, Murder by the Book is the stronger of the two stories. Wolfe is hired by a Peoria grocer to find out what really happened to his daughter. She died in a New York City park, but her father thinks she was murdered rather than accidentally killed in a hit-and-run incident. As Goodwin starts to dig they discover links to even more deaths and it all seems to be tied to an unpublished novel. Goodwin shines as he comes up with one clever way after another to pull the information from a variety of sources.

Veteran reader Michael Prichard captures the voice of Archie Goodwin perfectly  - he shows just the right amount of respect and sass for his boss, Nero Wolfe.

I rate this audiobook set 4 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here: Two Nero Wolfe Stories.

Reviewed on November 18, 2011.


  1. If you loved these mysteries, check out the former A&E series starring Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaikin...it's awesome! - audiobroad

  2. Thanks for the great review, DWD!! Wish you would consider joining the group on: The Wolfe Pack -Fans of Nero Wolfe on Facebook. There are 100 of us including some of the Wolfe Pack who meet in New York for the Black Orchid banquet and awards and also one of the members is under Rex Stout and the site is by a grandson and a publisher of Rex Stout's. There are many links to the Rex Stout webpage and amusing comments.
    Wishing you and yours all the best on Thanksgiving and all year 'round! ~Maureen A. Mulligan, mulliganbooks@yahoo.com I am choosing Anonymous as I don't fit into any of the other categories!