Mystery

The Rubber Band/The Red Box by Rex Stout

I need to start this review with the point that I am going to definitely be reading more of this series. The reason I need to begin with this is because I only liked these two stories enough to give it three stars and also it took me longer than it should have to read the whole thing.

I have been reading this mystery gene for as long as I can remember but I had never stumbled on this author or Nero Wolfe before. When I did google him, I was amazed to find out that he has a cult following to rival Poirot and there are even multiple series that aired on TV. I do feel the quick repartee between the lead two characters does lend itself to good screenplay.Nero Wolfe is a detective with a penchant for Orchids and who leaves all the legwork and sometimes even the talking to his confidential assistant/secretary Archie Goodwin. I admit it the latter character that kept me reading the book, despite the very first comment him making in the first of the books was something about a game being a little girls one since it was not hard enough.

This book was a set (I do love books which let you read more at a time being the happy owner of more than one set of complete works) of two books which are the third and the fourth in the series respectively.

The Rubber Band

This begins with a mysterious appointment with even more mysterious clients and the most absurd agenda, There is an annoying thorn in the side, a parallel charge on the main lady client in question. It involves a lot of subterfuge and a death or two and a lot of yelling between the parties. This was an interesting introduction to Nero Wolfe and Archie, and the case is complicated enough to enjoy the unravelling of. The narrative of Mr. Goodwin is the icing on that cake but I did guess the outcome pretty early on and that seemed to take a bit of the thrill out of it all for me. I would say reading this book should be for its own sake and not the conclusion.

The Red Box

The second story in this book is even more complicated than the first in some ways. It begins with Nero Wolfe being goaded/tricked into actually leaving his residence(which he only does once a year on his terms) to investigate the possibility that the death of a Ms Molly was accidental and if so, there may be more people in trouble. This is soon shown to be true and it  involves a lot more yelling than the first book and again the answer seemed obvious enough. I found the first book funnier in its own sarcastic way.

Overall though, I only liked this book. Hopefully I will ‘really like’ the next ones that I read of the author.

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