Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe Mysteries by Robert Goldsborough

It had been years, no, decades since I read Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books. I may have read them all; but there are undoubtedly some I have missed.

I really enjoyed Timothy Hutton’s Nero Wolfe series that ran on cable from 2001-2002. Hutton played Archie Goodwin and the late Maury Chaykin was Wolfe. It was an excellent adaptation that really captured the 50’s feel of the novels. It was criminal (pun intended) that it only ran for such a short time.

So I was delighted to be able to get this book from NetGalley. It seemed that I was reading Rex Stout again. All the familiar characters were there, and Wolfe was all that I remembered. Goldsborough has Stout’s voice nailed down. It is as if Goldsborough is channeling Rex Stout.

This book starts at the beginning, relating how Archie came to work for Wolfe. Goldsborough explains in the Afterword that it is based on clues (there I go again) in the Stout books. It’s the Depression when Archie Goodwin comes from Ohio to New York City and gets a job as a night watchman.  After being fired for being “trigger-happy,” – he shoots two burglars in their tracks, he finds a job as a detective’s assistant with detective Del Bascom. Then they are called by Nero Wolfe to aid in solving the kidnapping of Tommie Williamson, the son of a New York hotel magnate. In this case, Archie meets the man who will change his life.

 I am delighted to learn that Goldsborough has written other Nero Wolfe books.  His first novel starring Wolfe, Murder in E Minor (1986), was met with acclaim both from critics and devoted fans, winning a Nero Award from the Wolfe Pack. There are six more novels, including Death on Deadline (1987) and Fade to Black (1990). I intend to check them all out, as well as revisiting the original Rex Stout and his Nero Wolfe books.


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