Review: Stout’s Fer-De-Lance

Fer-de-Lance (Audio Editions)
Rex Stout

I am no Rex Stout expert. Matter of fact, this is the first of his books I have read. I have, however, read my fair share of mysteries, and this one is a hoot. The plot of is more than a bit fantastical, since it involves darts flying out of golf clubs, and exotic snakes threatening to kill our protagonists, but the character are outrageous, well-constructed, and fascinating. It seems like now a days few modern mystery fans (myself included) dip into these older books. That’s a shame. The writing and plot construction, and especially the characters, here are top notch.

This is the novel that introduced the world to Nero Wolfe, is an orchid enthusiast, gourmand, and shut in. He is the brilliant and arrogant. He is a Sherlock Holmes updated to 20th Century New York, all the wit and charm, plus a fair amount of New York neurotic. His right hand man Archie Goodwin is an odd construction – more hard boiled than Wolfe, he ventures into the tough neighborhoods, occasionally carries a gun, but prefers milk to whiskey on most occasions. Somewhere between Watson and a noir style P.I. He is fascinating, and I am look forward to seeing he and Wolfe develop as the books go on.

Definitely worth reading for anyone interested in a well-built mystery inhabited with some compelling characters.
Recommended for the enthusiast.

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