First Line: In the old brownstone house which was the dwelling, and also contained the office of Nero Wolfe on West 35th Street near the Hudson River in New York, heavy gloom had penetrated into every corner of every room, so that there was no escaping from it.
In my never-ending quest to further my knowledge of Golden Age mystery writers, I downloaded Rex Stout's first Nero Wolfe novella as well as one of his short stories to my Kindle.
Bitter End concerns the family business and personal relationships of a specialty food manufacturer. Nero Wolfe's chef is ill and unable to cook, which-- being new to this series-- I gather is quite the catastrophe. When someone comes to ask Wolfe to investigate food tampering in a family owned and operated factory, the only reason why Wolfe accepts the case is because he's just tasted the paté in one of the sabotaged cans. Of course, Archie Goodwin is the one who does all the real investigating, and as I read I found that I really enjoyed Archie's voice. Bitter End is a fast-paced and rather easy-to-solve mystery.
The short story "Out of the Line" paints an atmospheric portrait of New York City that I found rather poetic. In it, a spoiled rich woman decides to make someone else happy on her birthday, and Stout has a nice little ironic twist at the end.
All in all, Bitter End and "Out of the Line" are exactly what I was looking for: a good, solid introduction to Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin. I wouldn't be surprised if I read more in the future.
Bitter End: The First Nero Wolfe Novella by Rex Stout
Book Revivals Press © 2015
eBook, 96 pages
Private Investigator/Novella, Nero Wolfe mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.