I've seen the Nero Wolfe Mystery version of this many times, so I was never in doubt of how Nero Wolfe would solve the mystery of who left a baby in a wealthy widow's vestibule and then killed a couple of women. I must admit that anymore, I don't read these books for the mysteries in them -- I read them to spend time with Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe and their cohorts. Hanging out with my imaginary friends for a hundred pages or so is what keeps me coming back for more, and the superb mysteries are simply a bonus. Because the mysteries are excellent too! If you love mysteries and haven't tried this classic series, you are missing out.
Archie is at his most charming here, romancing their client in his own delectable Archie way. He almost never enters a relationship with a client, and this one gets pretty serious, so you know this woman must be fairly special.
This one was written in the 1960s, and it does have a more modern feel to it than many of the earlier novels. The issues of unwed motherhood and marital infidelity are important parts of the case, and while no salacious details are shared, the word "abortion" does crop up once. Very edgy for the day, I'm sure. But as usual, Wolfe is not interested in who is hooking up with whom, except as it might have bearing on who murdered whom.
Particularly Good Bits:
He was tall and broad and handsome, with a big smile that went on and off like a neon sign (p. 58).
"Nothing corrupts a man so deeply as writing a book; the myriad temptations are overpowering" (p. 59).
No man with any sense assumes that a woman's words mean to her exactly what they mean to him (p. 98).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-13 for the content mentioned above, and for a few more swear words than I'm used to in a Nero Wolfe book.