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Winner of the Lovey Award for Best Historical NovelTo become part of the Nero Wolfe legend, Archie Goodwin must prove his worthArchie Goodwin comes to New York City hoping for a bit of excitement. In his third week working as a night watchman, he stops two burglars in their tracks--with a pair of hot lead slugs. Dismissed from his job for being "trigger-happy," he parlays his newfound notoriety into a job as a detective's assistant, helping honest sleuth Del Bascom solve cases like the Morningside Piano Heist, the Rive Gauche Art Gallery Swindle, and the Sumner-Hayes Burglary. But it's the kidnapping of Tommie Williamson, the son of a New York hotel magnate, that introduces Goodwin to the man who will change his life. Young Tommie has gone missing, and only one detective is built for the job: Nero Wolfe, the heavyset genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street. Together they will form one of the most unlikely crime fighting duos in history--but first Goodwin must find Tommie Williamson, and prove to Wolfe that he deserves a place by his side.
When a great thinker takes a nasty tumble, Wolfe goes back to schoolA conservative academic, so far to the right that he thought Ronald Reagan was a pinko, Hale Markham rules Prescott University like an intellectual tyrant--right up until the morning he is found dead at the bottom of one of Prescott's famously beautiful ravines. Every liberal on campus hated the crotchety old crank, but which one is responsible for giving Markham his final push to the right? The case so intrigues the incomparable, reclusive master detective Nero Wolfe that he takes the unusual step of leaving the confines of his home. With man of action Archie Goodwin at his side, Wolfe examines jealous professors, a fanatical assistant, and a university president with an ego that--like the school itself--will not stop growing. Though they are far from the city, Wolfe and Goodwin will find that no back alley is as dangerous as the shadowy corridors of the Ivy League.
To save his favorite newspaper, Wolfe steps into the crossfire of a tabloid warMaster sleuth Nero Wolfe's small circle of friends is limited to his assistant Archie Goodwin, his chef Fritz, and Lon Cohen, the head man at the New York Gazette. Cohen knows more about the city's power structure than any man in Manhattan, and for years he happily passed Wolfe information in return for the odd exclusive scoop. But now Cohen needs Wolfe's help, for the Gazette is ailing and the vultures have begun to circle. Scottish newspaper magnate Ian MacLaren plans to gut the paper and turn it into a sex-filled conservative rag. Standing in his way is the company's chief shareholder, Gazette heir Harriet Haverhill. But when the aged Ms. Haverhill dies in an apparent suicide, no one remains to resist the Scot's advances except Wolfe. MacLaren may be fierce, but when the cause is just, Nero Wolfe knows how to play dirty, too.
Wolfe investigates a sticky matter of Cola Wars espionageFor the men of Madison Avenue, the battle between soft drink giants Cherr-o-key and AmeriCherry seems heaven-sent. For years now, the firm of Mills/Lake/Ryman has fought to help Cherr-o-key become the nation's favorite fizzy cherry soda, but each time they come up with a new slogan, mascot, or jingle, AmeriCherry has beaten them to it. There is a mole inside the agency, and only Nero Wolfe can ferret him out. Although he is as round as a cherry, Wolfe has no taste for soft drinks. But the question of industrial espionage is too sweet for him to resist, and so with assistant Archie Goodwin at his side, he sets out to end this vicious corporate feud. Only when the first adman dies, however, does he realize that a marketing war can be just as dangerous as the real thing.
After the heir to a frozen-food fortune gets iced, Wolfe's right-hand man, Archie Goodwin, becomes a suspectWhen Lily Rowan doesn't laugh at his jokes, Archie Goodwin knows something is wrong. Her niece Noreen has been running around with Sparky Linville, a club-hopping bad boy who is the terror of Manhattan nightlife. And the last time she went out with him, Noreen wasn't herself when she came home. All she would tell her aunt was that she had been assaulted. Springing into action, Goodwin waits for Linville outside of Morgana's, a chrome-and-glass palace that sits like a wart on Second Avenue. They nearly come to blows, but Linville's bodyguard intervenes, and Goodwin retreats to plan his next move. In the morning Linville is dead, and Goodwin is the chief suspect. For years he has helped rotund genius Nero Wolfe out of jams, and now it is time for the master detective to return the favor.
When a loudmouthed author gets silenced, Wolfe looks for the triggermanThe gun was fired close to Charles Childress's head, and his were the only fingerprints on it, forcing the police to conclude that the author committed suicide. But his friends know this is impossible, because Childress loved himself far too much. He had just begun attracting fame, writing new mysteries starring the iconic Sergeant Barnstable, and he had bright hopes for the future. His publisher hires corpulent genius Nero Wolfe to determine who cut Childress's career short, and the detective finds no dearth of suspects. Among the many who may have wanted the wordsmith whacked are his agent, his editor, a corrupt book reviewer, and an enraged legion of Barnstable devotees. With the help of his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin, Wolfe takes a look at those closest to the arrogant, argumentative author, hoping to decide which of Childress's associates merely hated him, and which would have been willing to kill.
Two years after Wolfe's retirement, his past returns with deadly intentIt wasn't Nero Wolfe's idea for Orrie Cather to kill himself, but the great detective gave his blessing to his longtime associate's plan. Cather had killed three people, and it was only fair to pay the price. Though Wolfe reacted to Cather's death with his characteristic calmness, prize assistant Archie Goodwin could see the rotund genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street was shaken to his well-fed core. Wolfe decided his sleuthing days were finished. The detective's retirement lasts until the day Maria Radovich walks through his townhouse door. She is the daughter of Milos Stefanovic, New York Symphony conductor and long-ago compatriot of Wolfe's. Like Wolfe, Stefanovic spent his youth as a freedom fighter in the mountains of Montenegro. The conductor has been receiving death threats, and Wolfe agrees to come out of retirement to help his old friend. But before he can attack the case, Stefanovic is murdered, and for the first time in years, Wolfe and Goodwin must go to war.
Wolfe earns a big league call-up after a senator gets taken out at the ball gameArchie Goodwin and Saul Panzer have ventured into the wilds of northern Manhattan to watch the Giants take on the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds. The national anthem is just winding down when Panzer spies a notable in the box seats: state senator Orson Milbank, a silver-haired scoundrel with enemies in every corner of upstate New York. In the fourth inning, a monstrous line drive brings every fan in the grandstand to his feet--every fan save for one silver-haired senator, who has been shot dead by a sniper in the upper deck.Archie's employer--the rotund genius Nero Wolfe--has no interest in investigating the stadium slaying, but Archie is swayed by the senator's suspiciously lovely widow. Her husband was mired hip-deep in corruption, and sorting out who killed him will be a task far less pleasant than an afternoon at the ball park.
When a fellow shamus gets charged with murder, Wolfe comes to his rescueStaten Island would be forgettable were it not for the gleaming Tabernacle of the Silver Spire, where thousands of congregants come every Sunday to hear the sermons of Barnabas Bay. Millions more tune in on television, giving the good Reverend international fame, and a chance to spread the gospel from New York City's harbor all the way to South Korea. But threatening notes have been appearing in the collection bag, suggesting that one of the faithful has decided it's time this good shepherd get the hook. Believing organized religion is nothing more than a scam, rotund sleuth Nero Wolfe refuses to investigate the threats, instead recommending veteran investigator Fred Durkin for the case. But when Durkin is accused of murdering the Reverend's assistant, Wolfe fights to clear his name. He may not be a Christian, but he will always help a brother in need.
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