Two years after Wolfe’s retirement, his past returns with deadly intent
It wasn’t Nero Wolfe’s idea for Orrie Cather to kill himself, but the great detective gave his blessing to his longtime associate’s plan. Cather had killed three people, and it was only fair to pay the price. Though Wolfe reacted to Cather’s death with his characteristic calmness, prize assistant Archie Goodwin could see the rotund genius of West Thirty-Fifth Street was shaken to his well-fed core. Wolfe decided his sleuthing days were finished. The detective’s retirement lasts until the day Maria Radovich walks through his townhouse door. She is the daughter of Milos Stefanovic, New York Symphony conductor and long-ago compatriot of Wolfe’s. Like Wolfe, Stefanovic spent his youth as a freedom fighter in the mountains of Montenegro. The conductor has been receiving death threats, and Wolfe agrees to come out of retirement to help his old friend. But before he can attack the case, Stefanovic is murdered, and for the first time in years, Wolfe and Goodwin must go to war.
“A loving, knowledgeable, mightily pleasing recreation.” —Kirkus Reviews “Wolfe in all his glorious splendor. . . . The book plays strictly by the rules that Stout established.” —Chicago Tribune “It is fun once again to enter the brownstone on West 35th Street. . . . [Wolfe] is as insufferably omniscient as ever.” —The New York Times
Robert Goldsborough (b. 1937) is an American author best known for continuing Rex Stout’s famous Nero Wolfe series. Born in Chicago, he attended Northwestern University and upon graduation went to work for the Associated Press, beginning a lifelong career in journalism that would include long periods at the Chicago Tribune and Advertising Age.
While at the Tribune, Goldsborough began writing mysteries in the voice of Rex Stout, the creator of iconic sleuths Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Goldsborough’s first novel starring Wolfe, Murder in E Minor (1986), was met with acclaim from both critics and devoted fans, winning a Nero Award from the Wolfe Pack. Nine more Wolfe mysteries followed, including Death on Deadline (1987) and Fade to Black (1990). His most recent book is Archie in the Crosshairs (2015).
Devotees of the late Rex Stout's bestsellers will be pleasantly surprised by Goldsborough's first story about Nero Wolfe. Related by the elephantine genius's faithful assistant Archie Goodwin, this mystery starts when Maria Radovich asks him to intercede for her with Wolfe. She's worried over threats against her great-uncle Milan Stevens, controversial new director of the New York Symphony. Since Stevens, ne Mikos Stefanovic, had saved the detective's life years earlier in Montenegro, Wolfe agrees to take the case. Before he can act, however, someone stabs the musician fatally in his apartment. The police arrest Jerry Milner, a violinist with the orchestra and Maria's fiance, but Wolfe demolishes the evidence against him. While his boss remains sedentary, Archie obeys orders to go looking for information about other suspects: the victims's sponsor who regrets his choice of director; musicians whom the maestro had publicly insulted; the glamorous society woman who had been his frequent companion. As always, Wolfe solves the puzzle without moving from the famous brownstone on 37th St.