Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Homicide Trinity" by Rex Stout

I love Nero Wolfe mysteries.  They're never too sinister, too serious, too worrisome.  Neither are they light, fluffy, or predictable.  They make me happy, with Archie Goodwin's snappy patter and wry commentary, Wolfe's reluctant genius, and all those yummy dishes Fritz Brenner concocts.  I've noticed that whenever I finish a deep, serious book, I reach for a Nero Wolfe mystery to cleanse my literary palate.  In fact, that might be the best way I could describe them:  they're like sherbet.  Crisp, tangy, and delicious.

There are a lot of novel-length Nero Wolfe mysteries, and there are also a lot of collections of three shorter mysteries.  This is one of the latter.  The three stories are each about 60 pages, and each are delightful in their own way.

In "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo," Wolfe and Archie investigate the death of a woman who was strangled with Wolfe's necktie.  In his office.

In "Death of a Demon," a woman brings her husband's revolver to Wolfe for safekeeping because she's tempted to kill her husband with it.  Guess who ends up dead from a bullet of that gun's caliber?

In "Counterfeit for Murder," a quirky, determined woman named Hattie Annis hires Wolfe to make the NYPD eat dirt.  And solve a murder that involves a counterfeit ring.

The last story is easily my favorite in this collection, and Hattie Annis is possibly my favorite client of theirs ever.  I spent much of the story debating whether I'd rather have her played by Agnes Moorehead or Thelma Ritter, and decided in favor of Thelma Ritter because she's less bitter and more spunky.

All in all, a fine trio of murder mysteries, and it successfully washed Hemingway out of my head so I could move on to other books and not keep thinking, "This is nice, but it's not Hemingway."

Particularly Good Bits:

"The subconscious is not a grave; it's a cistern" (p. 66, "Death of a Demon").

A corner of his mouth twitched.  "That's why I put up with you; you could have answered with fifty words and you did it with one" (p. 76, "Death of a Demon").

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG for occasional, mild bad language, discussions of violent deaths, and the suspicion a dead woman had been sexually assaulted.

This is my seventh book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Challenge.


  1. " cleanse my literary palate...and it successfully washed Hemingway out of my head". Sounds like me and P.G. Wodehouse. :-) After reading something delightful and meaty and mind-boggling, it's so hard to come back down to anything else, isn't it? I guess that's where the good old standby's come in delightfully handy. :-)

    1. Exactly! And there are dozens of Nero Wolfe books. I've read maybe fifteen or so. The local used book store often has them for under $2 apiece, so I keep a list on my cell phone of what I have so I don't buy duplicates.


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