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Book Note: Rex Stout, A Right To Die

I read this book about 9-Feb-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1964. This note was last modified Wednesday, 03-Mar-2004 11:06:07 PST.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


Well, I think it's a reread. I really didn't seem to remember anything about it, and I'd have thought I would.

This one's a period piece. It's a follow-on from Too Many Cooks, where years earlier Wolfe dealt (rather intelligently and sensitively) with a bunch of black employees of a hotel to get a fact he needed to finish an investigation (and get back home). Both published and set in 1964, the racial attitudes are interesting. Wolfe wasn't born or raised in the US, but Stout was. I'm not completely sure what things are right for the period and what aren't; probably most are right. Wolfe still acquits himself decently; he really doesn't seem to care about skin color. It still makes slightly uncomfortable reading at times, because there are characters from many parts of the spectrum of attitudes on race from 1964 present, and some of those attitudes really grate on me now (and even then).

Wolfe performs some frantic thrashing, and does manage to finally crack the problem, but only by following up on ideas with no evidence at all to support them.

The cover features a telephone with a clock for the dial. I have no idea why. I don't see what the rose is about, either.

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David Dyer-Bennet