An “excellent” novel that goes back to 1920s New York to reveal how the famed detective first met his incomparable sidekick (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
In 1930, young Archie Goodwin comes to New York City hoping for a bit of excitement. In his third week working as a night watchman, he stops two burglars in their tracks—with a pair of hot lead slugs.
Dismissed from his job for being “trigger-happy,” he parlays his newfound notoriety into a job as a detective’s assistant, helping honest sleuth Del Bascom solve cases like the Morningside Piano Heist, the Rive Gauche Art Gallery Swindle, and the Sumner-Hayes Burglary. But it’s the kidnapping of Tommie Williamson, the son of a New York hotel magnate, that introduces Goodwin to the man who will change his life.
Goodwin knows there’s only one detective who can help find Tommie: Nero Wolfe, the stout genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street. Together, they’ll form one of the most unlikely crime fighting duos in history—but first Goodwin must locate Tommie and prove that he deserves a place by Wolfe’s side.
In this witty story about the origin of a legendary partnership, Robert Goldsborough gloriously evokes the spirit of Nero Wolfe’s creator, bestselling author Rex Stout, and breathes new life into his beloved characters.
Set in 1923, Goldsborough s excellent eighth pastiche to recreate Rex Stout s iconic characters (after 1994 s The Missing Chapter) showcases his improved ability to recreate the smart-alecky voice of Archie Goodwin, the more-than-Watsonian sidekick to the quintessential armchair detective. Goldsborough fleshes out passing references to Archie s background in Stout s originals, and succeeds in presenting a much more callow figure than the familiar accomplished PI. The 19-year-old, newly arrived in New York City from Ohio, has taken a job guarding the Moreland Import Company docks that soon turns deadly. In self-defense, Archie guns down two would-be thieves and loses his job as a result. He later lands with a detective agency, whose proprietor, Del Bascom, hooks Archie up with his future boss after Wolfe brings in Bascom on a kidnapping case. Goldsborough hits nary a false note, an impressive achievement that will cause devotees to hope he won t wait another 18 years before his next Goodwin and Wolfe adventure.
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Only good NW story post Stout
This is a very good lead in to the Nero Wolfe mysteries, giving a believable and entertaining story to explain how Archie came to work for Nero. Unfortunately, it's the only enjoyable book by the post Stout author of NW mysteries. His other stories become increasingly political (socialist of all things) and defensive of obvious criticisms of his writing.