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Three Doors to Death by Rex Stout

Three Doors to Death

by Rex Stout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Nero Wolfe (16)

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561817,757 (3.86)31



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I suppose I could spend some time detailing the plots of these three novellas, but when it comes right down to it they are formulaic, but my, what a formula. I love Rex Stout, although the early novels are probably better than those toward the end of his life. Nevertheless, if you have never read any Nero Wolfe stories, you must. The characters are classic and the word interplay between them is wonderful.

My favorite is the third. Wolfe is desperate as Theodore has left for an extended period of time to care for his sick mother so Wolfe has no one to do the dirty work with the orchids. He thinks he’s found a replacement and has actually left the brownstone to beseech Andy to come work for him. Unfortunately, Andy’s fiance has just been killed and he’s the prime suspect so if Wolfe wants to get his orchids cared for he has to solve the crime quickly. Wolfe actually has to sneak through the woods in the middle of the snow, falling down a couple of times. Now that must have been a sight.

Just go read all those you can get your hands on. ( )
1 vote ecw0647 | Mar 21, 2015 |
What is better than finding an unread title of a Nero Wolfe volume by Rex Stout? It's finding three, all consolidated into one volume entitled Three Doors To Death. The three novellas were published in magazines in the late '40's, but Stout's writing ability and clever plotting is as fresh as ever.

Archie Goodwin remains Nero Wolfe's stenographer, gofer, assistant detective and Man on the Spot for the brilliant detective who hates to leave his home as much as he hates to miss a meal. In his witty style, Archie, the narrator of the Nero Wolfe books, writes a Foreword that pulls the three novellas together, pointing out the details the stories have in common as well as the exceptions to Nero's mystery-solving methods represented in each.

In Omit Flowers, for instance, Wolfe does leave his home to take a meal in the restaurant of a close friend, and then proceeds to take on a case involving a friend of the restauranteur, and winds up solving the case as a favor to his friend(i.e., NOT for money!)...both rare exceptions to Wolfe's usual style. In Door to Death, Wolfe once again leaves his lair to resolve a murder in upstate New York. He makes the exception because he is set on hiring away the gardener of the estate. He may be the only gardener capable of taking care of Wolfe's orchid collection while his own Theodore Horstmann is on emergency family leave, and thus unable to render the tender loving care to Wolfe's orchids that their survival requires. Once at the estate, Wolfe has to stay to absolve the gardener, who discovers the body of his own fiancee' in his greenhouse, and is then unjustly accused of killing her.

In Man Alive, the detectives are hired to find the uncle of the young lady who hires them. He is presumed to have committed suicide, but his niece is sure she has recently seen him. But before they can locate him, he is found dead at the family business. Once again, there is a murder to solve.

Rex Stout is a witty man, incredibly non-"politically correct," and in the process, hilarious, not to mention a gifted creator of mysteries and resolutions to the mysteries that are just as creative. ( )
  vcg610 | Feb 26, 2015 |
Three short mysteries - the last one, Door to Death, was made into the video series with Timothy Hutton. ( )
  addunn3 | Aug 26, 2012 |
Short stories
  bookswamp | Jul 30, 2012 |
This book contains three novellas, which makes the title a little bit corny. Plus the title of the last story if Door to Death. It is still good writing and quite entertaining.
Man Alive
This is a rather complicated tale where people pretend they get killed in order not to get killed. It comes down to five suspects because only five people have keys to get in where the victim was killed. The action and suspense move at a good pace and Wolfe pulls a rabbit out of a hat to end the story.
Omit Flowers
The meaning of the title is disclosed at the end and I found it quite poignant. A friend of Marko is accused of murder and he asks Wolfe for help. Archie pulls off the errand of all time and Wolfe spends five hours with the suspects. When Wolfe pops the secret he relies on the reaction of the murderer and he gets what he needs.
The two meanest people in this story are women. They are cold and out to kill. Archie gets asked out on a date to keep up his reputation.
Door to Death ( There is a theme working here.)
Wolfe needs a new someone to take care of his orchids. The man he wants is in jail for murder. Wolfe breaks all of his rules in this book. He wades through a stream and commits kidnapping. He is not even getting paid. This is the man he wants taking care of his orchids.
Dina Lauer, an attractive and popular nurse is found killed by the ciphogene used on the orchids. Joseph G. Pitcairn is a local grandee but Wolfe makes him stop and listen and give him room to solve the murder. The story moves quickly and has moments of strong emotional impact.
As I read through the series I notice some patterns. Wolfe has a way of making up clues and using them to make the murderer break. He also has some really vicious women murderers. I have run into several women characters lately that were scary mean. ( )
  wildbill | Jan 7, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rex Stoutprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellerman, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Three cases bring perplexing challenges to Nero Wolfe, as a man unsuccessfully attempts suicide just before he is killed, a murder victim's family hides the identity of the killer, and a horticulturist discovers his girlfriend's body.

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