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Death of a Doxy by Rex Stout

Death of a Doxy (1966)

by Rex Stout

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Nero Wolfe (42)

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7211419,935 (3.85)28



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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Another great Nero Wolf book. I really enjoy Michael Prichard's narration. A fun read, great play with the language. ( )
  njcur | Sep 4, 2018 |
A "kept' woman is murdered and one of Wolfe's hirelings is accused. Nice plot, and one used in the Timothy Hutton video versions. ( )
  addunn3 | May 2, 2017 |
Doxy: A woman who cohabits with an important man. Syn: concubine, courtesan, paramour

Isabel Kerr lived a luxurious life paid for by someone with a lot of money. Someone didn't like the idea and put an end to it. What brought Nero Wolfe and Archie into the case was the arrest of Orrie Cather, one of their assistants. Orrie had made the mistake of being a frequent visitor to Isabel's.

An interesting cast of characters who all tie back to Isabel on some level, yet know hardly anything about each other: a sister and brother-in-law, the rich man footing the bills, Isabel's best friend - a showgirl who isn't afraid to say what she thinks and isn't afraid of Nero Wolfe, a police captain looking to solve the case but can't come up with any definite evidence, and blackmail all combine to provide a tight and tangled tale of murder. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
This is not my favorite Nero Wolfe, though I fairness it is not anything n this story that I dislike but the fact that it foreshadows Family Affair, which I intensely dislike. In this story (which it just occurs to me has a plot parallel tp Scandal in Bohemia) Orrie Cather, one of the detectives Wolfe regularly employs when needed, is planning to marry a nice young woman named Jill Hardy, but a not-so=nice woman name Isabel Kerr, who was the paid mistress of the wealthy Avery Ballou, has been seeing Orrie on the side, claims to be pregnant by him, and wants him to marry her. She has various items of his (the most improbable being his detective license) and he asks Archie Goodwin to sneak in and get them from he apartment. When Archie goes in, he finds Isabel dead on the floor, and Orrie is promptly arrested as a material witness. There is a discussion in which Saul Panzer's (the most brilliant of Wolfe's sometime assistants) vote swings the group (Nero Wolfe, Archie, Fred Durkin (a less brilliant assistant) and Saul) to support of Orrie. ( )
  antiquary | Feb 20, 2016 |
Although I have probably read at least a dozen Nero Wolfe novels, I was still in my mid-twenties the last time I read one of them. And that was a long time ago, a very long time ago. So when I started reading Death of a Doxy (written in 1966), I thought I knew pretty much what to expect from Mr. Stout. But (perhaps because this is one of the later Wolfe novels), it holds up surprisingly well and delivers a good bit more than I was expecting from it.

My copy of Death of a Doxy is a 1972 seventh reprinting of the book’s original paperback edition. The little plot summary on the first page of the book captures both the basic premise of the mystery and the tone of the times:

“Poor Orrie Cather. He was being held for a murder he swore he hadn’t committed. Poor Avery Ballou. He’d been paying the rent of the victim’s apartment and if anyone found out, Orried’d be free and Ballou would be suspect #1. But most of all, poor Isabel Kerr. She was so young, so beautiful, so stone-cold dead.

Then, of course, there was poor Nero Wolfe. Orrie was a friend, Balllou was his client, and the real murderer was playing hard-to-get….”

As for as teasers go, that’s a pretty good one. The only quibble I have with it, and it’s a minor one, is that Ballou only even became a provisional client of Wolfe’s very near the end of the book – and only if taking him own did not at all interfere with Wolfe’s determination to clear Orrie Cather’s name with the police. But this little book (155 pages) is much more complicated than the blurb makes it sound.

Once again, the rather large and set-in-his-ways Nero Wolfe stays at home and dispatches his minions, led by right-hand man Archie Goodwin, to do all the leg work and to haul witnesses and suspects back to the Wolfe residence on New York’s 35th street as required to move the investigation along. This time, however, Wolfe is one minion short because Mr. Cather spends the entire novel in police custody. But Wolfe and the available boys are still well up to their task.

Isabel Kerr was a doxy, a kept woman, and there is no way she was able to pay the $300 monthly rent of the luxury apartment in which the body of this ex-showgirl was found. All the police have to work with is Isabel’s diary, but there is evidently enough in it to tell them that she was pressuring Wolfe’s friend into marrying her and not his fiancé – the woman he preferred to marry. Orrie Cather, however, is not a man with enough money to be the Isabel’s sugar daddy - and that man’s life would be ruined if he were somehow connected to the dead woman. Was he desperate enough, or angry enough, to be her killer?

Now it’s up to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to figure out a way to solve the murder that will earn them the conditional $50,000 fee they have been promised. Depending on how it all works out, Death of a Doxy is a case that Wolfe will solve for free or for $50,000 – and that’s a heck of a big difference in 1966. ( )
  SamSattler | Dec 7, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rex Stoutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pekkanen, HilkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I stood and sent my eyes around.
"I may be a mule, but I can count up to two and I can say the alphabet backward." "A mule would say it backward."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553276069, Mass Market Paperback)

When an old acquaintance and fellow P.I. is accused of murdering a kept woman, Nero Wolfe investigates and finds several suspects in a mystery blackmailer, a sexy lounge singer, and a cold-blooded lady-killer. Reprint.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The orchard-growing, gourmandizing, demanding genius, Nero Wolf, surprisingly finds the work of his able legman, Archie Goodwin, "brilliant" in a case where Archie investigates a honey-haired corpse lying on the floor of her plush bedroom. Archie discovers that the key to this very New York case, besides the fact that she is a doxy -a kept woman or paramour, lies in the power of relationships.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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