Thursday, December 6, 2012
Review: ARCHIE MEETS NERO WOLFE A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries by Robert Goldsborough
Thanks to Les Blatt at Classic Mysteries for the heads up on this little gem. Upon reading Les's review, I had no choice but to order ARCHIE MEETS NERO WOLFE. It arrived a couple of days later and I immediately dropped everything and read it straight through.
While I'm not overly fond of Robert Goldsborough's Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe re-incarnation (he just doesn't have the writing verve of Rex Stout, or the brilliance - but then, who does?), I did enjoy reading this prequel. I'd always wondered how Archie and Wolfe came to their lifelong partnership and now I know.
The thing I like best is that Goldsborough used clues dropped by Stout in his stories over the years to augment his tale of a fresh faced nineteen year old college drop-out arriving in NYC direct from Ohio. Archie is lucky enough (it's the Depression era) to get a job as a night-watchman but does too good a job. So good, in fact, that he's fired.
Next he talks himself into a job with private detective Del Bascomb (mentioned by Wolfe over the years as a reputable firm) who is still - at this point - a small time operation.
When a young boy is kidnapped and Nero Wolfe hired to get him back, Wolfe brings in Bascomb as well as Saul Panzer, Orrie Cather, Fred Durkin and Bill Gore. (Where was Johnny Keems?)
Bascomb brings his capable protege, Archie, along with him and there in the brownstone, with Fritz and Theodore already in place, we have The First Meeting.
It's a good enough case with a couple of murderous villains (though no child is harmed in the making of this story) who keep our heroes plugging along in their wake, up and down the streets of the Bronx that once was.
ARCHIE MEETS NERO WOLFE, a nice trade paperback published by Mysterious Press, is a must addition to any Nero Wolfe library and a great gift for any Nero Wolfe maven.