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Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
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Fer-de-Lance (1934)

by Rex Stout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Nero Wolfe (1)

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1,212376,585 (3.79)225
  1. 00
    Seeker by Jack McDevitt (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Alex Benedict stays at home handling sales and research while Chase Kolpath is the leg (wo)man in the field
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English (36)  Finnish (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This is not only the first Nero Wolfe, but one of the most ingenious. Wolfe is first asked to find a skilled Italian workman who has vanished; then he connects this to the apparently natural death of a respected university president on a golf course, and ultimately deduces tat the murderer intended quite a different target. The murder method and the evidence are quite orignal, which cannot be said of all the later Wolfe stories (Stout became deplorably fond of cyanide). ( )
  antiquary | Feb 7, 2016 |
Wolfe was more talkative than I remember from the other books! But the main thing I noticed was that this first book in the series reads as if it is from the middle of the series, in the sense that Wolfe & all his cohorts are presented as having been together for a while and this is just one more case. I guess I was expecting something like A Study in Scarlet, explaining how the "gang" got together. Glad I read/listened to it but it isn't as good as some of the other books in the series...

This audiobook is a reissue of the old Books on Tape audio cassette recording. I am disappointed in Penguin/Random House in releasing this digital edition without editing out the "this is the end of side one, turn the tape over to listen to side two" bits! ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 16, 2016 |
This was my first Nero Wolfe book, and I've already started on my second :)

I remember my pop had the Nero Wolfe mystery magazines and Ellery Queen too, lying around the house when I was young, but never got around to reading them...

Lots of fun, the Archie character is worth the price of admission alone... funny how you could just say pretty much anything back then, there was no politically correct police! ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 15, 2016 |
I really enjoyed the wit and wisdom of this book as well as the unraveling of the mystery.
  rosiezbanks | Nov 30, 2015 |
I don't know the last time that I enjoyed a mystery novel so much! This is the first of Stout's Nero Wolfe novels, and somehow he combines the appeals of a Sherlock Holmes-like detective in a Raymond Chandler "hard boiled" world. The plot is fantastic but you read Stout just as much for the characters and the dialogue. - Adam
  stephencrowe | Nov 11, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stout, Rexprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estleman, Loren D.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalvas, ReijoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krieger, Ellen E.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McAleer, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
There was no reason why I couldn't have been sent for the beer that day, for the last ends of the Fairmont National Bank case had been gathered in the week before and there was nothing for me to do but errands, and Wolfe never hesitated about running me down to Murray Street for a can of shoe-polish if he happened to need one.
Quotations
Wolfe speaking to the golf club salesman with delusions of superiority......

You know, Mr. Townsend, it is our good fortune that the exigencies of birth and training furnish all of us with opportunities for snobbery. My ignorance of this special nomenclature provided yours; your innocence of the elementary mental processes provides mine.
Archie..............I hated to hear him (Wolfe) curse. It got on my nerves. The reason for that, he told me once, was that whereas in most cases cursing was merely a verbal explosion, with him it was a considered expression of a profound desire.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553278193, Mass Market Paperback)

I've promised myself for the past decade that, when I finally retire, my first major project will be to reread the entire Nero Wolfe canon in chronological order, a worthwhile occupation if ever there was one.

Although entirely different and not nearly as literary as Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer series or the Philip Marlowe novels of Raymond Chandler, the Wolfe saga deserves to be ranked with them as among the finest series of detective stories ever written by an American. Fer-de-lance introduces the brilliant, idiosyncratic, and obese armchair detective to the world and, while it may not be the best book of the series, it provides a wonderful murder set on a golf course and a cast of characters and laundry list of eccentricities that are an integral part of each novel and novella.

Rex Stout has managed to pull off a feat unparalleled to this day: the perfect combination of deductive reasoning--as exemplified by the classic Golden Age writers such as Christie, Sayers, Van Dine, and Queen--with the hard-boiled attitude and dialogue of the more realistic tough guy writers such as Chandler, Macdonald, Hammett, and Robert B. Parker.

The toughness is brought to the books by Wolfe's leg man and amanuensis, Archie Goodwin. The structure and ambience of the books is, quite deliberately, very much like the Sherlock Holmes stories that Stout so admired. The house on West 35th Street is as familiar as the sitting room at 221B Baker Street; his cook Fritz pops up as regularly as Mrs. Hudson; and his irritant, Inspector Cramer of the NYPD, serves the same role as several Scotland Yard detectives, notably Inspector Lestrade, did for Holmes. Fair warning: It is safe to read one Nero Wolfe novel, because you will surely like it. It is extremely unsafe to read three, because you will forever be hooked on the delightful characters who populate these perfect books. --Otto Penzler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A case of multiple murder sends super sleuth Nero Wolfe and his quick-witted legman Archie Goodwin on a desperate hunt for clues, but they soon discover that they may be getting too close to a killer when someone sends them a fer-de-lance, one of the world's most poisonous snakes, as a deadly "gift."… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

Legacy Library: Rex Stout

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