The Red Box (Nero Wolfe, Book 4)

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A young boy approaches Wolfe to report to him about a disturbing scene he witnessed of a woman driving a car but she was being disturbed by a co-passenger.

Publication Order of Nero Wolfe Books (Rex Stout)

The boy is murdered the following day as he was washing windows of a car. Both of them get taken up by events surrounding the sudden death of a boy called Pete who reported a suspicious happening and another death of a woman, Laura, who came and offered to pay retainer charges to enable the investigator unravel the murder mystery of the boy. Archie obtains a list of people who dined with Laura, the night before her death while Wolfe assigns duties to Saul Panzer, Fred Durkin, and Orrie Cather to look into and pursue different angles of the case. From then on, things get mysteriously interesting and the readers are captivated by unfolding events until the end.

It is also classified under the genre of detective fiction. The readers are introduced to psychologist Andrew Hibbard who seeks protection from Wolfe since he fears for his life. Much earlier on, Hibbard, in the company of his other friends, played a prank on Paul Chapin in their college days which left him permanently crippled.

Soon after speaking with Wolfe, Hibbard disappears and is found dead. At this point, Wolfe begins to suspect Chapin as the one behind the murders of the group of men who scarred him those early days in college.

The Red Box

The other character that we are introduced to is Paul Chapin who is the main suspect in this murder mystery. He has denied his involvement in the murders but has declined to assist Wolfe and Archie in investigating them. After the murder of Dr Burton, Wolfe and Archie are shocked when Chapin is taken into custody by the police as the main suspect. However, Wolfe and Archie also suspect one Dr Elkus, whom they believe to be sympathetic to Chapin and is probably helping him with the murders.

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The book begins by the mysterious death of a model named Molly Lauck who had eaten a poisoned Jordan Almond from a certain Red box containing different types of candies. Wolfe is approached by Llewellyn Frost who insists that Wolfe investigates the murder and also helps to free his ortho-cousin, Hellen from her employer Boyden McNair at whose fashion boutique, Molly Lauck died. Wolfe and Archie delve into the investigations which get really interesting with time. Boyden McNair, one of the suspects tells Wolfe that he has made him an executor of his estate including a certain red leather box which had information about certain regrettable dealings from his past.

Wolfe is presented with a very intriguing situation which he must help unravel. He believes that the red leather Box contains some information about this murder mystery which will enable the story move forward. Unfortunately, Boyden died before telling him the exact location of the red box and so Wolfe must work hard to find where it was.

Interesting information is later revealed about the true identity of Hellen and the audience is treated to an interesting twist to this story pointing to the fact that nothing is really what it appears to be.

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Rex Stout started his writing career in and wrote for various magazines. He also authored two novellas on murder with elements of stories from Wolfe. By , Rex was tired of writing stories to get money for upkeep and decided to look for money through other means. He resumed writing fiction but lost his hard earned savings in during the depression. It was published by Vanguard press.

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It was a thrilling story about politics. He turned towards detective fiction in the s with the characters of Wolfe and Goodwin among his major contributors to his stories. That is what he concentrated on for the rest of his literary writing. Conclusion Rex Stout was a renowned and prolific author of his time who fascinated his readers and later his wide screen audiences with complicated murder mysteries that seemed hard to solve. He took readers on a winding path through the complexities and puzzles of his stories but eventually brought out the truth which would not have been discovered had the murders not happened in the first place.

He had a way of plotting his stories that was uniquely his own and which many other authors could borrow a leaf from. As with Doyle and Wolfe is essentially Sherlock Holmes's older brother Mycroft transplanted to modern America , Stout forever deals in unlikely or absurd crimes, but so charmingly that we scarcely notice the implausibilities, for we are reading to see Nero Wolfe and the intimate supporting cast--notably Archie Goodwin, his chief aide and the first-person narrator of the tales--in action.

Archie is the paragon of manly American virtues--smart, handsome, personable, witty, brave, and so on--just as John Watson was the paragon of British manly virtues. Archie is therefore also a smartass, but an intelligent and witty one. And Wolfe? Well, he's eccentric--in too many ways to list here-- and he's a genius; and he's both things in ways we can believe.

Moreover, the Wolfean household is a model of carefully civilized life: one can learn a lot about the decencies of human behavior from Wolfe and Archie:. There were 33 Wolfe novels plus 13 to 15 depending on how one counts collections of novellas and stories, most as trios; not included in those counts are some "peripheral" books featuring characters from the Wolfe saga, but without Wolfe himself or his regular entourage.

Fortunately, there is virtually zero overlap, so one can acquire the collections without duplication the sole exception is the novella "Bitter End", which first appeared in a Wolfe tribute book Corsage , then later in a peculiar collection titled Death Times Three.

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  • There have also been numerous Wolfe omnibus volumes, but there is no uniform edition or complete set. Note that I emphatically do not include here any of the dreadful Wolfe imitations by Robert Goldsborough, produced after Stout's death. Whoever is the Stout estate the property of now?


    Whoever it is should be ashamed. In these lists, the links are all to used-book searches for the title via Abebooks. Some few can still be found in print new, but not many.

    Nero Wolfe Mysteries by Rex Stout

    As usual, the search results are sorted from lowest price up note that, as always in used-book searches from this site, the price sort is by actual book price, not total shipped price, though each listing also always shows the true total shipped cost; occasionally, a slightly more expensive title will be slightly cheaper shipped--but the differences are never much and you can easily eyeball those cases.

    Most titles represent a number of varying editions, from original hardcovers to late paperback reprints. There are 13 "regular" books that include Wolfe novellas and short stories, and two special items. The "special" items are these. First, the tribute book about Stout, Corsage , which included the previously uncollected story "Bitter End"; that story was a cobble-up--Stout had written it as a Tecumseh Fox tale see "Stout's Other Detectives" farther below , but was persuaded by double the fee to revise it to a Wolfe tale.

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    It's not bad, but one can still see occasional signs of the cobbling. Second, Death Times Three includes not only "Bitter End" making it unnecessary to acquire the now rare and expensive Corsage to be a completist , but two materially differing version of tales appearing elsewhere in print--so different that they are virtually different stories.

    Nero Wolfe - Wikiquote

    So I suppose the count of novella collections is best put at These are they:. There have so far been a dozen Wolfe omnibus volumes published. For reasons best known to publishers, these--as with so many omnibuses--jump all over the place chronologically. Also regrettable is that there is some overlap between volumes.

    In the list below, I have put hash marks before all included titles that appear in more than one volume. Generally, if you stick to the "poker-hand" omnibuses, you will avoid duplication; I have put a little line in to separate them from the others. Even in Rex Stout's day, there were such things as "spin-offs".

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