Wolfe Pack fan siteI’ve read all of the books in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe Mystery Series. One of my favorite authors, Rex Stout was born in 1886 and died in 1975. The books can be read in any order without confusion, which is wonderful in a series. In the approximately 40 year span of the series, the main characters didn’t age or change significantly. The books are still in print and many can be ordered as e-books. You can also often find these books at second hand book stores. There is also a Wolfe Pack fan site with a great deal of information concerning Nero Wolfe and Rex Stout.

The strength of the Nero Wolfe series lies in the two main characters which have a testy, but symbiotic relationship – Nero Wofe and Archie Goodwin. Nero Wolfe is an eccentric genius who rarely leaves his brownstone in New York City. He follows a rigid schedule of attending to his beloved orchids from 9:00 to 11:00 and from 4:00 to 6:00 with the exception of Sunday. Wolfe employs Theodore Horstman to care for his orchids. Wolfe, a foodie, employs Fritz Brenner as his chef. Fritz serves three meals a day of culinary delights. Nero Wolfe is the brains, solving mysteries through logic as in a good cozy mystery.

Archie Goodwin, Nero’s employee, who lives in the brownstone as well, offers a wisecracking Private Investigator. He carries out Nero’s investigative research outside of the brownstone and is often tasked with bringing a person of interest to the brownstone for a more thorough interview by his boss. Archie is the muscle in the relationship. Archie and Nero often do not see eye to eye and the relationship is sometimes abrasive. Both are men of the world, but two very different worlds. The series reflects the synthesis of the cerebral cozy with the private eye mystery form.

Fer-de-Lance is the first book in the Nero Wolfe Mystery series and was first published in 1934. I was surprised in re-reading this book, how relevant it remains. The mystery revolves around the timeless topics of greed and betrayal.

The story begins when Maria Maffei, a housekeeper comes to get help finding her brother Carlos who is missing. A few days later University President Peter Barstow is found dead on a golf course and the headlines proclaimed that it was due to a stroke. Are these two situations related? When a surprise gift of the fer-de-lance, one of the most deadly snakes known to man, occurs, it may be a sign that Wolfe is getting too close to the truth.

All mystery lovers, should acquaint themselves with some of the classic mysteries in the field. From time to time, I will attempt to highlight some of my favorites and would love to hear about yours as well.

Five Stars out of Five.