I read this book about 30-Aug-2001. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1951. This note was last modified Thursday, 19-Dec-2002 16:36:44 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Maybe a little Nero Wolfe will make me happier. "Home to Roost", "The Cop Killer", and "The Squirt and the Monkey" are from 1951 and 1952. Nero Wolfe deplores the tendency to accuse people of communism baselessly, but also deplores communism.
These have the required convoluted plots, but none of them seems to have the level of clarity in characterization that live in Rex Stout at his best.
In "Home to Roost", a mother and her son are both communists, secretly. (Remember that this was published in the very early 1950s.) The mother complains to her son, and threatens his job with the family business, for behaving a bit like a communist. He explains to her, secretly, that he is working for the FBI against the communists (a lie to divert her). She believes him, and murders him in terror at being exposed herself. Then she goes to Nero Wolfe for help in finding the murderer of her son. He succeeds, of course. There's just a slight bit of nice characterization of the mother when it comes out; she shows as having some strength and commitment. A little. But mostly the characters are fairly pale. I suppose simply having several communist characters with admirable traits might be viewed as a risky statement of support in the climate of the times.