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Book Note: Rex Stout, Death of a Dude

I read this book about 4-Sep-2002. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1969. This note was last modified Wednesday, 03-Mar-2004 11:06:55 PST.

This note contains spoilers for the book.

 

Now a jump into the far future -- this one is set in 1968, so I've jumped 32 years from the previous one I read. Archie and Wolfe are no older, and neither is Lily Rowan (um, I'm not sure when she appeared, I don't think she was actually in the 1936 book).

Once again, Wolfe leaves home. This time he shows up unannounced at Lily Rowan's ranch in Montana, to help Archie crack a local murder and get an innocent man (Lily's foreman) freed. He takes over, of course. Archie considers resisting him for most of 10 seconds at one point.

As usual, there's another murder before the first one is solved. As is often but by no means always the case, the real clue comes from checking previous connections between apparently unconnected people. Saul does that. He does a lot more actual detective work than Archie, but then Archie's real job is to herd Wolfe and fetch people.

I wish we could have heard Wolfe's honest opinion of the real Montana trout deal.

It's strange to have a whole book without the office, with Inspector Cramer, without Fritz. Saul never actually turns up on stage either. But Stout does take the opportunity to create another bunch of quirky interesting people, including Woody, who runs the hall of culture there. I can't figure any way to make this Woody compatible with Heinlein's Woodrow Wilson Smith, which is probably just as well. Besides, I'm pretty sure Wolfe operates in the timeline where Neil Armstrong was first on the moon.


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David Dyer-Bennet