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Kennzeichen wilde Rose by Rex Stout

Kennzeichen wilde Rose (original 1940; edition 1972)

by Rex Stout, Sigrid Kellner (Translator)

Series: Nero Wolfe (8)

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6971527,095 (3.85)55
Investigating the bizarre will of late multimillionaire Noel Hawthorne - who left the bulk of his estate to his mistress and nearly nothing to his three sisters - astute sleuth Nero Wolfe stumbles upon a legacy of murder.
Title:Kennzeichen wilde Rose
Authors:Rex Stout
Other authors:Sigrid Kellner (Translator)
Info:Wien : Ullstein, 1972.
Collections:Your library

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Where There's a Will by Rex Stout (1940)


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English (15)  Spanish (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
  laplantelibrary | Apr 9, 2022 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Where There's a Will
Series: Nero Wolfe #8
Author: Rex Stout
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 171
Words: 61.5K


From Wikipedia

The famous Hawthorne sisters — April, May and June — visit Nero Wolfe in a body to ask his help in averting a scandal. After the shock of their brother Noel's death three days before, they have been dealt another shock at learning the terms of his will. May, a college president, insists that Noel had promised to leave $1 million to her school; however, the will leaves each sister nothing but a piece of fruit and passes almost all of Noel's estate to a young woman named Naomi Karn. The sisters want to hire Wolfe to persuade Naomi to turn over at least half of the inheritance so that Noel's widow Daisy will not bring a case to court that would cause a sensation.

Daisy's unexpected arrival interrupts the conference. She wears a veil at all times to cover the disfiguring scars left after Noel accidentally shot her with a bow and arrow. She discovered that Noel was having an affair with Naomi and now hates the entire Hawthorne family as a result. Wolfe assures her that he will consider her interests in addition to those of the sisters and attempt to negotiate with Naomi on their behalf.

Later that day, Inspector Cramer interrupts another meeting with the news that Noel had in fact been murdered. He had been killed by a shotgun blast while hunting on his country estate; it was assumed that he had tripped and discharged the weapon, but further analysis of the evidence has led the police to discard this theory. Archie is called away to help Fred Durkin keep an eye on a man whom Fred had been tailing - Eugene Davis, a partner at the law firm that drew up Noel's will, who had been seen in a bar with Naomi. Davis is now drunk and passed out in a run-down apartment.

On Wolfe's orders, Archie travels to the Hawthorne mansion on 67th Street, where he finds Wolfe, the family and other associated individuals gathered to meet with the local police. Archie finds, to his surprise, that there are apparently two Daisy Hawthornes in the house. One is meeting with Wolfe and accusing April of the murder, based on the fact that a cornflower was found next to the body and April had had a bunch of them with her. The other is speaking to Naomi in the living room. The one meeting with Wolfe turns out to be the real Daisy, and Wolfe later determines that the other was actually April in disguise, trying to get information out of Naomi about the will and the relationship between her and Noel.

Later in the day, Archie finds Naomi strangled to death, her body hidden in an alcove next to the living room. Wolfe slips out of the house without telling Archie and has Orrie Cather drive him back to Wolfe's brownstone on 35th Street. After being confronted by the Hawthornes, Daisy spitefully claims to the police that April is the murderer, and she is arrested by the authorities. Meanwhile, June's daughter Sara tells Archie that someone has stolen her camera. The film it contained had already been sent off to be developed, and Wolfe and Archie later retrieve the pictures. After examining them, Wolfe warns Sara that her life will be in danger if she returns to the estate and has her stay at the brownstone. Cramer threatens to arrest Wolfe as a material witness to Naomi's murder, but Wolfe counters by threatening to turn evidence of the murderer's guilt over to a local newspaper instead of the police.

With all of the principals assembled in his office, Wolfe accuses Davis of switching Noel's actual will (which left generous bequests to Daisy, his sisters and May's college) with a forgery that leaves nearly the entire estate to Naomi, in a plot to win her affections, and of killing Noel and Naomi. When Glenn Prescott, another of the law firm's partners, agrees with this theory, Davis angrily accuses him of the murders. Wolfe then reveals his evidence: one of Sara's pictures, which shows Prescott wearing a wild rose in his lapel, a flower that he could not have obtained in the city. He had picked it at the scene of Noel's murder, discarding the cornflower he had worn (later found near the body), and had only remembered after Sara had taken the photograph. Prescott is placed under arrest, and Archie decides to keep the material witness warrant as a souvenir.

My Thoughts:

Here I am at the eighth book in the Nero Wolfe series and I am having a hard time not simply reading these one after another. I am REALLY enjoying these. What I find amusing is that the “mystery” of each book I can totally take it or leave it. I don't try to solve what is going on or even care. I like the interactions between all of the various characters whether main or side.

Archie is still pretty starchy and it's not worn on me at all. Wolfe continues to be as peremptive, eccentric and fat as ever and THAT hasn't worn on me at all either. I am surprised he hasn't died from a heart attack but some people have all the luck I guess. Each book introduces side characters who are great. In this one we have the fore-runner of the Hollywood Glam-Mom. Each of the Hawthorne sisters, while sharing a certain something, are not just 3 names give the author more room to maneuver. They are key individuals in the story and each one reacts differently and has different situational pressures on them. One is a mom, one is married to a high ranking political man and another is an actress. And then you have the lawyers Prescott and Davis. Oh, they are everything you want in lawyers in a mystery story like this. It was like giving someone a one-two punch and then doing a Rocky Balboa dance around the ring to read about them. And finally, the cops and various law enforcement officers. They have hassled Archie and Wolfe in every single book and most of the time Wolfe just throws utter defiance back in their face. While I am a law-abiding citizen and believe in law and order and that the officers of the law are to be obeyed and respected, I also like seeing citizens knowing their rights and using them properly. The Law IS at a disadvantage because it has to abide by the laws in place, and that has consequences. Badguys will get away or manipulate things, but once the Law starts changing itself to suit the situation, that way leads to tyranny. And revolution and bloodshed, which is not a good thing. So the first step to prevent that is an informed citizenry and Wolfe and Archie are stirling examples of that. Bravo boys!

Now, the one thing that bugged me. We have been told time and again that Wolfe is eccentric and won't leave his house. We've seen examples of this. But so far, in these eight books, Wolfe has ended up leaving his house more times than he's stayed. In this book he goes to the Hawthorne house and ends up doing most of his work there before running back to his house to keep out of the hands of the law. It isn't a big thing, but all of these “exceptions” make it hard to accept that it is a big deal for him to leave the house. And that's about my only problem with this book :-D

★★★★☆ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 27, 2021 |
Times are hard and even Nero Wolfe has to compromise. No more fance cases, this time it is a contested will. Wolfe does not like to fight over dead people's money, but he does need money for himself and his staff so off he goes. Or well, Archie Goodwin goes.

I like this book because while the character gallery was a bit too large, it was limited and allowed for many different theories of what has happened. Personally I went with a theory based on the experience Sayers, Stout and Christie have given me and that wasn't too bad. Though there were red herrings too.

( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Nero Wolfe takes on a type of case he normally wouldn't. A family matter about a will leaving the family fortune to a woman who wasn't his wife. Noel Hawthorne, multi-millionaire, has left his sister April, May and June, a peach, a pear and an apple. To his wife and a few others, some smaller bequests. The lady who gets the bulk is no relation. Why?

This high profile, conservative family want Wolfe's help in keeping any sort of scandal being attached to the family and to find out who killed Noel and why the will was written in favour of this other woman. The sisters fear that their brother's widow, Daisy, will cause a scene and embarrass the family.

The characters are varied, the strangest being the widow. She constantly wears a veil due to an accident that has scarred her face. She has also turned against the Hawthorne family since learning of the terms of the will.

Wolfe takes on the case due to the low balance in his bank account. It takes money to support his life style and his orchids. With little to no knocks on the door asking for help, this was as good as it was.

This tale has Wolfe leaving his home and taking up space in the house where the murder occurred - something Wolfe NEVER does! It is the only way he is able to access the suspects and get the information he needs. When another murder happens, Wolfe quickly makes a beeline to his home. Needless to say, when Inspector Cramer comes knocking with a warrant for Wolfe's arrest Wolfe has already solved the mystery. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Mar 26, 2019 |
The three Hawthorne sisters — April, May, and June in reverse age order — are disconcerted when their millionaire brother, Noel, dies and bequeaths to a peach, a pear, and an apple to each of them, respectively. The bulk of his estate goes not to his wife but his mistress. The sisters say they don't mind being cut out but are alarmed that sister-in-law Daisy intends to fight the will in court, thereby bringing them the short of publicity they can do without. They want Nero Wolfe to convince the mistress to give the widow half the money to prevent the lawsuit, but they soon have even bigger problems when Noel's apparently accidental death is found to be murder.

Set in 1939, this ninth series entry has possibly the most eclectic set of guest characters ever to grace Wolfe's office. The Hawthorne sisters seem to be intended as a sort of low-key colonies version of the Mitford sisters: The oldest is married to the U.S. Secretary of State; the middle sister is a brilliant scientist and college president; and the youngest is taking the Broadway stage by storm. Toss in a widow who wears a veil after a devastating archery accident left her permanently disfigured and a next-generation young female whose own mother calls her "a professional fiend," and you've got a bunch of women custom-made for getting on Wolfe's nerves.

Adding insult to injury is the distasteful aspect of a family fight about money; Wolfe has previously proclaimed that he would never take such a case since it would inevitably become "a game of tug-of-war using a dead man's guts for a rope." But it's the Depression and those orchids won't breed themselves. Thankfully, a good juicy murder soon pops up to make the whole puzzle more palatable for our finicky friend. Wolfe's discomfort also provides leg man Archie Goodwin plenty of opportunity for quips and scoldings, handed out as needed to all and sundry, but especially the boss. I enjoy this one more now than when I first read it, as my appreciation for Stout's masterful command of dialogue and repartee has increased over the years. ( )
4 vote rosalita | May 6, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rex Stoutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Koontz, DeanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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I put the 1938-39 edition of Who’s Who in America, open, on the leaf of my desk, because it was getting too heavy to hold on a hot day.
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Investigating the bizarre will of late multimillionaire Noel Hawthorne - who left the bulk of his estate to his mistress and nearly nothing to his three sisters - astute sleuth Nero Wolfe stumbles upon a legacy of murder.

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