Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Archie Meets Nero Wolfe
Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries
Robert Goldsborough Road
November 13, 2012/ ISBN 1453270973
Historical Mystery/Hard-Boiled Detective


Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

Before I read this one I didn’t know that the author, Robert Goldsborough, wrote a number of Nero Wolfe novels with the blessing of the author’s estate. Archie-Meets-Nero, as a prequel, takes place before all of the others in the series and the pastiches.

Archie is a 19-year old security guard from Ohio that ends up in a kill-or-be-killed situation on the New York docks and shoots the intruders that are robbing the shipyard he patrols. Despite witness testimony to the contrary, he is fired for being trigger-happy and is out on his own again. He starts a new career as PI by offering to find - without fee - a missing husband for an established detective firm and thereby showing that he is clever and has a knack for sticky situations.

If you are fans of the series, the characters, the authors, then you know what has to happen in this book. Archie has to be in a position to meet Wolfe, to prove himself to Wolfe, and to be embraced by Wolfe, the team and the household, all without knowing that this is where his actions are taking him. Along the way he works with and earns the respect of Fred, Orrie and Saul while helping to rescue a kidnapped child. The story, while great, isn't as important here as watching the group coalesce and form and seeing the ease with which Archie becomes the glue that holds it all together.

I have to admit that I chose to read this book because I always enjoyed both the Nero Wolfe TV series on A&E and the original novels by Rex Stout; and that both, but especially the TV show, affected my opinion of this book. I keep forgetting that I didn’t see it on a screen or listen to an audiobook. I could hear Timothy Hutton’s voice narrate and Maury Chaykin’s arrogant inflection offering beer to Inspector Cramer during the height of Prohibition. The end is particularly poignant, leaving the key question unanswered on the page but allowing the reader to close the volume satisfied that all is well.

Click her for the complete A&E Nero Wolfe Series on DVD

Reviewed 2013