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Fer-de-Lance (1934)

de Rex Stout

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Sèrie: Nero Wolfe (1)

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1,566578,299 (3.76)283
A case of multiple murder sends super sleuth Nero Wolfe and his quick-witted legman Archie Goodwin on a desperate hunt for clues, but they soon discover that they may be getting too close to a killer when someone sends them a fer-de-lance, one of the world's most poisonous snakes, as a deadly "gift."… (més)
  1. 00
    Seeker de Jack McDevitt (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Alex Benedict stays at home handling sales and research while Chase Kolpath is the leg (wo)man in the field
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It's certainly dated, but I enjoyed giving old Nero Wolfe another shot. I hadn't read any of these since I was a kid. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Rex Stout's books about Nero Wolfe were recommended to me during the Goodreads mystery week, and as a big fan of mystery novels, primarily in England, I couldn't resist taking a look.

Fer-de-Lance is the first book about Nero Wolfe, an obese immobile money motivated mysterious detective genius in New York. The book is told from the angle of Archie Goodwin, his assistant and legs. The concept of a detective and his less able helper is not new, nor is this book, written in 1934, only a decade after the first Hercule Poirot Novel, and the last Sherlock Holmes short story.

As a mystery novel this one is not great, but I see it as the start of a longer journey. The main story in Fer-de-Lance is a mysterious death on a golf course of a person with no enemies. The main flaw in the novel is probably the deus ex feeling. It would have been really hard as a reader, probably impossible, to figure out the solution before it was more or less presented.

One thing I do like with the novel is that people have common sense. They don't overlook the obvious to make the mystery easier to weave. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
The death of an honorable man is at the heart of this mystery, the first Nero Wolfe. We met him and his assistant, Archie Goodwin, 7 years into their "partnership" of Wolfe's brain and Goodwin's legwork, the they have a tantalizing $50,000 fee dangled in front of them. The case, find out who killed a man no one wanted dead? The answer, no one did, a death by misadventure and now they had to protect another man, the intended victim. A firing on all guns debut. ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
I wanted to like this more than three stars. I mean, hot (Rex Stout's description says Archie is next door to movie star looks), street-wise assistant and brilliant mastermind detective? Yes please. By unfortunate coincidence, though, I happened to read Why Do People Read Detective Stories? in [b:The 40s: The story of a decade|18310234|The 40s The story of a decade|The New Yorker|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1393792128s/18310234.jpg|27961571] at the same time, and while I don't agree with Wilson on the whole, he has a knack for pointing out shortcomings that I usually ignore in these old mysteries. He spends half of his review skewering a later Nero Wolfe book, and I spent most of this one rolling my eyes every time Archie, Mr. Rough Stuff, knocked back a pint of milk.

As for the storyline of this one in particular, I'm not sure it's satisfyingly mysterious enough OR demonstrates Wolfe's brilliance quite impressively enough. But imagining Archie as played by William Holden was enjoyable, so maybe I'll try another some time. ( )
1 vota beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Fer-De-Lance (1934) (Nero Wolfe #1) by Rex Stout. When her brother goes missing, a young woman who is a friend of one of Wolfe’s regular hirelings, manages to convince Wolfe and Archie to look for him. Through a source they learn that the young man in question had been interested in a news story about the apparent death by stroke of a local college president. Then the young man is found dead.
This being the first of the Nero Wolfe stories, Mr. Stout has introduced his cast of characters to a good degree. But it would seen that he also then listened to his family, friends, editors and critics as to the characters themselves. In subsequent novels each of the players have been altered into the people we have come to know. Archie for one has become more of the smooth fixer in later books rather than the… well I suppose goon strikes me as an apt description. Most of the others have been refined into more or less agreeable characters which make the ensuing novels so much more fun to read than this one. Not to say it isn’t a good book, but the troupe of actors upon the page are more likable in later stories, letting the reader to be more capable of enjoying the mystery to a fuller degree.
Back to the story. Wolfe comes up with the idea that a rigged driver must have been used to kill the man as he was teeing off during a golf game. The bag he used, and the clubs, have gone missing. Archie starts to look into the dead man’s family and the people he had been golfing with. But when Archie and Wolfe get too close to the guilty party, the killer retaliates with a deadly surprise that is planted within Wolfe’s Brownstone.
The case is resolved with a fiery conclusion.
This is a great introduction to the methods, habits and style that will carry through the vast majority of the Wolfe books. This was a very enjoyable read. And who knew that Nero Wolfe would be such a trend setter. Self quarantining might not have been created by Stout’s characters, but he certainly set a fine example on how to do it. And pocket a hefty fee at the same time. ( )
  TomDonaghey | Jun 7, 2020 |
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (4 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Stout, Rexautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Estleman, Loren D.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Golinelli, AlessandroTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kalvas, ReijoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Krieger, Ellen E.Pròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
McAleer, JohnIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Prichard, MichaelNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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There was no reason why I couldn't have been sent for the beer that day, for the last ends of the Fairmont National Bank case had been gathered in the week before and there was nothing for me to do but errands, and Wolfe never hesitated about running me down to Murray Street for a can of shoe-polish if he happened to need one.
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Wolfe speaking to the golf club salesman with delusions of superiority......

You know, Mr. Townsend, it is our good fortune that the exigencies of birth and training furnish all of us with opportunities for snobbery. My ignorance of this special nomenclature provided yours; your innocence of the elementary mental processes provides mine.
Archie..............I hated to hear him (Wolfe) curse. It got on my nerves. The reason for that, he told me once, was that whereas in most cases cursing was merely a verbal explosion, with him it was a considered expression of a profound desire.
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A case of multiple murder sends super sleuth Nero Wolfe and his quick-witted legman Archie Goodwin on a desperate hunt for clues, but they soon discover that they may be getting too close to a killer when someone sends them a fer-de-lance, one of the world's most poisonous snakes, as a deadly "gift."

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