A shake-up in the NYPD homicide squad following a high-profile murder is bad for business for private investigator Nero Wolfe.
When wealthy and popular crusader and reformer Lester Pierce is gunned down in front of his Park Avenue residence, the public outcry forces the NYPD to restructure its homicide department. As the deceased was highly critical of Inspector Lionel Cramer, the longtime head of homicide is temporarily relieved of his badge. But it seems Cramer was not just a scapegoat: He was seen dining in Little Italy with mob kingpin Ralph Mars.
All of which amounts to little more than conversational fodder for PI Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. But if Cramer’s provisional replacement, Capt. George Rowcliff, becomes permanent, Wolfe’s future dealings with the force will be much compromised. Loath to depart from his routine, Wolfe makes the unusual decision to take on a case without an actual client.
His investigation quickly points toward Pierce’s organization, Good Government Group, where high-minded idealism is often trampled under the competing ambitions of the staff—several of whom would clearly have benefited from Pierce’s demise. Despite the burgeoning list of suspects, Wolfe hasn’t ruled out the involvement of the underworld and its connection to Cramer. But in order to untangle an abundance of motives and end the inspector’s forced furlough, Wolfe may have to venture out of his comfort zone—and the premises of his brownstone.
Continuing his beloved series—which also includes Archie Meets Nero Wolfe, Murder in the Ball Park, Archie in the Crosshairs, and Murder, Stage Left—Nero Award–winning author Robert Goldsborough “demonstrates an impressive ability to emulate Rex Stout’s narrative voice” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
The Battered Badge is the 60th book in the Nero Wolfe Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.