A professor’s death lures the reclusive detective and his sidekick to a bucolic crime scene: “Goldsborough does a masterly job with the Wolfe legacy” (Booklist).
An academic so conservative he thought Ronald Reagan was a pinko, Hale Markham rules Prescott University like an intellectual tyrant—until the morning he's found dead at the bottom of one of Prescott’s famously beautiful ravines. Every liberal on campus hated the crotchety old crank, but which one is responsible for giving Markham his final push to the right? The case so intrigues the incomparable, reclusive master detective Nero Wolfe that he takes the unusual step of leaving the confines of his home. With man of action Archie Goodwin at his side, Wolfe examines jealous professors, a fanatical assistant, and a university president with an ego that—like the school itself—will not stop growing. Though they're far from the city, Wolfe and Goodwin will find that no back alley is as dangerous as the shadowy corridors of the Ivy League.
The family of the late Rex Stout bestowed an imprimatur on Goldsborough's previous re-creations of Nero Wolfe. This third mystery carries as well a charming memoir of her father by Rebecca Stout Bradbury. Related again by the tubby orchid-grower's majordomo Archie Goodwin, this story starts with a phone call from Professor Cortland of a university in upstate New York. Cortland wants the genius detective to investigate the ``fatal accident'' of a colleague, rabidly conservative Professor Hale Markham. Surprising Archie, Wolfe actually leaves their Manhattan brownstone and accompanies him to the alleged crime scene. Although the detective empathizes with academics who loathe Markham's ``Neanderthal'' politics, he doesn't condone murder. Settling in to solve the case, he questions two women who loved the victim, student Gretchen Frazier and Professor Elena Moreau, as well as Markham's male associates, including his one friend, Cortland. The suicide of one suspect presents the vital clue that gives Wolfe the opportunity he invariably relishes: to announce his triumph over the guilty party at a gathering of astonished listeners.