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And Four to Go

de Rex Stout

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Sèrie: Nero Wolfe (30)

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Nero Wolfe must track down a killer who murders his victims only during holidays and who, so far, has left Wolfe with four puzzling cases to unravel.

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Es mostren 1-5 de 10 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Always solid - easy to read and enjoyable when you're looking for a little escape. ( )
  tgraettinger | Oct 28, 2020 |
Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries are my go-to books when I need the familiar. Archie's wit never fails to amuse me, Nero's irritability towards his fellow human beings also amuses me. And Four to Go is a collection of the stories; Christmas Story, Easter Parade, Fourth of July Picnic and Murder is no Joke. If you like to read holiday themed stories at the holidays, this is a good book to have on hand.

In Christmas Story, Archie gets into a bind, and Wolfe must rescue him. Easter Parade has Wolfe in a bind, and Archie helps him out. Fourth of July Picnic has them both in a bind, and they must solve the murder before they end up in detention themselves. Murder is no Joke is a more traditional Nero Wolfe mystery, but again, no client, and Wolfe must show that he is not a patsy. ( )
1 vota MrsLee | Sep 25, 2018 |
Here we've got a set of four short stories, three of which revolve around holidays:

Christmas Party finds Archie trying to teach Wolfe a lesson about making assumptions, which embroils them both in murder when a textile designer (and former client) is poisoned at his firm's holiday fête.

Wolfe goes to drastic lengths to secure a sample of a rare orchid hybrid in Easter Parade, once again landing Archie in hot water when a wealthy woman is killed right in front of him on Fifth Avenue.

Fourth of July Picnic takes Wolfe out of the brownstone and into the wilds of Long Island when he reluctantly agrees to be the keynote speaker at a gathering of food-service union members. When a union official is killed, it's up to the big man and his sassy sidekick to finger the culprit before the law fingers them.

And finally, in Murder Is No Joke Wolfe uses a clever (and now obsolete) telephone trick first to prove that a murder occurred and then to solve it.

Generally speaking, I don't love the Wolfe shorts as much as I do the full-length novels. They put an emphasis on plot that Stout's abilities can't always carry off, his strength to me lying in his well-drawn characters and ear for dialogue. But there's nothing really wrong with any of these, other than they leave me wanting more. ( )
2 vota rosalita | May 14, 2018 |
Four short stories with Nero Wolf and Archie Goodwin. I like the longer books rather than the short stories. These four stories did not give me the satisfaction of watching Nero and Archie outwit the police and solve the murders. Three of the stories revolve around holidays and the last is based on Cramer's quote. I liked Murder is No Joke the best because it showed more of Archie and Nero figuring out what was wrong with a series of events in the story ( )
  Sheila1957 | Nov 4, 2016 |
Review of And Four to Go by Rex Stout

And Four to Go is a collection of “Nero Wolfe” mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published in 1958. The four stories included are "Christmas Party," "Easter Parade," "Fourth of July Picnic," and "Murder Is No Joke." The first three of these had appeared in 1957 in magazine form (respectively under the titles "The Christmas-Party Murder," "The Easter Parade Murder," and "The Labor Union Murder.)" The remaining selection was expanded as "Frame-Up for Murder," which was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in 1958.

In each of the first three stories, detective Nero Wolfe faces potential trouble with the police due to his involvement with a murder. In “The Christmas Party,” Wolfe’s assistant Archie Goodwin – tired of being taken for granted -- fools his corpulent employer into thinking that he’s planning to marry his female friend and dance partner, Margot. Worried at the prospect of losing Goodwin (and appalled at Archie’s proposal that the couple move in with him at his New York penthouse), Wolfe attends an office party incognito to observe Margot and Archie together. When the party’s host is murdered by cyanide in his drink, Wolfe disappears, and naturally, is sought by the police investigators. Wolfe must sidetrack the police investigation, stymie an attempt at blackmail by one of the attendees, and trick the murderer into revealing his/ her identity.

In "Easter Parade," Wolfe has Archie hire a man to steal a valuable orchid from a woman’s corsage as she exits the church on Easter Sunday. When the woman dies at the moment of the theft, Wolfe faces real trouble. His challenge is to figure out who has done the evil deed and why. When first published in Look magazine, this story was accompanied by four color photos that provided Wolfe with an essential clue. In And Four to Go, the photos were presented (adequately) in black and white, but they reportedly have been omitted in more recent publications. The interested reader can view them at the Wikipedia page for this story.

In "Fourth of July Picnic," Wolfe serves as an invited speaker at a Long Island celebration sponsored by United Restaurant Workers of America. One of the organizers is murdered, and Wolfe hastily leaves the scene so as not to be detained by the police – a departure that brings him under suspicion, since only he or one of the other speakers could have done the crime. Having no idea what the motive could have been, Wolfe manages to bluff the murderer into revealing his identity.

Finally in “Murder is No Joke,” the sister of a clothing designer hires detective Wolfe to investigate a mysterious woman (Bianca Voss) who has an unaccountable hold over her brother’s business affairs. As Wolfe speaks to Bianca by telephone, he apparently hears her being murdered, and sure enough, she is found dead of strangulation. Matters grow more mysterious when a local actress is likewise found dead of cyanide poisoning. True to form, Nero Wolf traverses red herrings and deception to figure out which of several suspects is the perpetrator as well as the motives involved.

As is common in the Nero Wolfe stories, the dynamic between Archie and his employer is amusing. Likewise, Wolfe manages to solve each of the murders from the security of his penthouse, and brings all of the suspects together for the finale where he reveals the perpetrator’s identity. Overall, I found these stories mildly entertaining but nothing especially memorable. I rate stories individually, and award each of these 3 stars.

Here are a few quotes from the stories:

In “The Christmas Party,” the host proposes a toast: “There are times when love takes over. There are times when all the little demons disappear down their ratholes, and ugliness itself takes on the shape of beauty; when the darkest corner is touched by light; when the coldest heart feels the glow of warmth; when the trumpet call of good will and good cheer drowns out all the Babel of mean little noises. This is such a time. Merry Christmas! Merry merry merry!”

In "Fourth of July Picnic," Archie describes himself telegraphically: Born in Ohio. Public high school, pretty good at geometry and football, graduated with honor but no honors. Went to college two weeks, decided it was childish, came to New York and got a job guarding a pier, shot and killed two men and was fired, was recommended to Nero Wolfe for a chore he wanted done, did it, was offered a full-time job by Mr. Wolfe, took it, still have it.

And in “Easter Parade”, when Wolfe asks Archie Goodwin to find a way to purloin a valuable orchid, Archie refuses: “Nothing doing... I am not an orchid snatcher. For what you pay me I do your mail, I make myself obnoxious to people, I tail them when necessary, I shoot when I have to and get shot at, I stick around and take every mood you've got, I give you and Theodore a hand in the plant room when required, I lie to Inspector Cramer and Sergeant Stebbins whether required or not, I even help Fritz in the kitchen in emergencies, I answer the phone. I could go on and on. But I will not grab an orchid from a female bosom in the Easter parade.” ( )
3 vota danielx | Jun 18, 2016 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Rex Stoutautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Haddam, JaneIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hallman, TomAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Prichard, MichaelNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Nero Wolfe must track down a killer who murders his victims only during holidays and who, so far, has left Wolfe with four puzzling cases to unravel.

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