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Curtains For Three (1995)

Curtains for Three (1995)
4.02 of 5 Votes: 5
055376294X (ISBN13: 9780553762945)
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Curtains For Three (1995)
Curtains For Three (1995)

About book: Curtains for Three was published in 1951 and featured three Nero Wolve novellas published from 1948-50. As usual, we’ll review the individual story and then include an overall rating for the book:"The Gun with Wings": The title sounds similar to a Father Brown story (”The Dagger with Wings”) but the story has an unrelated plot. The police have included that an opera star committed suicide. However, his wife and her lover aren’t satisfied because they found the body and when they found the gun, it was across the room. When they returned and the police arrived, the gun had moved to the floor by his body. Wolfe has to find out how the gun was moved and he knows his clients are lying.The story is perhaps the most claustrophobic Wolfe case I’ve ready. Archie only leaves the house in one scene. Other than that one scene, all the on-stage action is confined to the office. This means that the vast majority of the story is composed of Wolfe questioning people. 2/3s of the way through, I was convinced this was going to be the first Wolfe story I gave a Pfui rating to. However, Wolfe recovers when he plays Inspector Cramer off of his lying clients in a hilarious way. Once the lies are cleared up, Wolfe provides a flawless sage solution. It’s not quite Before I Die or Help Wanted Male, but I’ll give it aRating: Satisfactory"Bullet for One": An industrial designer is shot to death and his daughter and associates hire Wolfe to solve the case. One big problem for Wolfe is that the man his clients believe did it has an airtight alibi.Some of the best Nero Wolfe novellas featuring a very memorable distinctive and it’s no different with Bullet for One and this one will always stand out as the one where everyone got arrested. One by one, Wolfe’s clients as well as their favorite suspect are arrested (most for issues not stemming from the murder investigation.) The story’s chocked full of humor and a solid conclusion typical of the best Wolfe stories.Rating: Very SatisfactoryDisguise for MurderThis one was adapted for A Nero Wolfe Mystery and it was also done for CBC’s Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. So, it’s a stand out whenever anyone looks at adapting the Wolfe canon, and for good reason.Wolfe has been talked into opening the Brownstone to a flower club. At the event, a woman takes Archie aside to confide him that she recognized a murderer at the party, but she’ll only confide it to Wolfe. It goes without saying that before Archie can get Wolfe back to the office, the woman is killed in Wolfe’s office.This is not only unfortunate, but very inconvenient for Wolfe as Inspector Cramer peevishly orders the office sealed and Wolfe just as peevishly refuses to divulge a key observation to Cramer. He uses Wolfe’s dining room to interrogate the witnesses and Wolfe orders Fritz to make sandwiches for everyone but the police. The novella is far more subtle than the Television version for A&E, as it quietly shows the tension between Wolfe and the official police.The story than features one of the most memorable climaxes in the Wolfe canon with Archie facing more physical danger than ever and a truly surprising solution. I’ve not read all the Wolfe novellas yet, but this one was the best so far. It makes the whole collection well worth reading.Rating: Very SatisfactoryOverall Rating: very satisfactory

This anthology consists of three novellas: The Gun With Wings. An opera singer with injured throat seemingly shot himself. The police is convinced it is a suicide, but a couple of lovers know one fact which turns this into a murder. The problem is they are not sure about each other's innocence. They hire Nero Wolfe to find the killer.This novel is very notable for the fact that the murder weapon was very busy travelling places seemingly all by itself without any outside help, thus the title. This made for a very nice and intriguing mystery.Bullet for One. A man liked riding his horse every morning. One day the horse came back without its rider who was found dead along the trail. The suspicion is centered on a group of people who are obviously not very happy about it, so Nero Wolfe has to do the work which police is unable to. It turns out, Archie Goodwin does not like horses (a new fact) and the police does not like Archie Goodwin (there is nothing new about it). The latter dislike is reinforced by Archie's wisecracks related to mounted police forces.Disguise for Murder. A big crowd gathered in Nero Wolfe's house with the goal to admire his orchids collection. Archie Goodwin, being Archie Goodwin took upon himself to entertain the most attractive woman of the crowd. She makes a small talk with him telling the typical things: she is a crook working on parting a rich woman with her money, her only friend was strangled and she was the only one who saw the killer, and finally she saw the same killer today among the guests and is afraid she would be killed. OK so this is not a typical small talk after all. To make a long story short, the woman is killed right in Nero Wolfe's house before she revealed the identity of the villain. Now it is personal for him and Archie. They biggest friend/enemy Inspector Cramer did it doubly so by sealing off their office where Nero Wolfe spends the majority of his time. To finally catch the killer Nero Wolfe devises a scheme which puts Archie Goodwin into a really dangerous situation. The latter actually volunteers being pissed off at overlooking the murder which happened right under his nose. Archie shows he can keep his wits in tight situations.This is the first time I read these novellas. They are quite on the level with the rest of the series with good mysteries and even better Archie's witticisms. The rating is 4 stars; usual for a book of the series.This review is a copy/paste of my LeafMarks one:
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Christopher Rush
Another enjoyable entry in the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin legacy (it will be difficult to find one we don't like, I'm sure). The three short adventures for me got successively less enjoyable, but that doesn't mean they weren't good. The first story, "The Gun with Wings," was very enjoyable and one of the more detective-engaging stories. By this I mean sometimes as the reader we aren't all that interested in the resolution to the mystery or murder or whatever the issue is - our main interest is time with Wolfe and Archie and seeing how they wrap it up, regardless of how it wraps up. This story, though, with the murder weapon's ability to change places multiple times, is so refreshingly different as a problem that Wolfe needs to be solved and we really want to know the answer - especially when we think we get the answer but, like Archie in the book, become incredulous when Wolfe says we are only halfway to the solution! It was a very good story."Bullet for One" was less enjoyable, but perhaps that's only because of how engaging the first story was, not because it is a dud itself. It has its irritating moments, especially when some nobody cop takes umbrage with Archie: even with their "hijinks," you'd think the police force would appreciate Archie and Wolfe by now - it's almost as irritating as Gotham policeman never trusting Batman (or Hogwarts kids not believing Harry from like the third book on), but it doesn't drag out at least. It was a decent story, I suppose."Disguise for Murder" has always perplexed me, and finally reading it hasn't alleviated any of that perplexion. The main twist, which I shan't mention here, never seems all that believable to me, which hinders my enjoyment of this story. The resolution scene, likewise seems rather bizarre and far-fetched and ... bizarre. Here's a dangerous murderer, who has killed two people, almost kills a third, comes close to killing Archie, but with a snap of the fingers the murderer is stopped and overcome and ba-ba-boo it's all over. Shrug. The Hutton/Chaykin version of this is somewhat different, connecting as it does to another story in the series, but some of those differences are improvements, especially the "For the police there will be no sandwiches!" line, one of my favorites, which is not in the book version. Still, it's a Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin story. It's worth it.
My enjoyment of these wonderful old mysteries continue. This one has three tales. The first is "The Gun With Wings". A young couple deeply in love comes to seek Nero Wolfe's help because the young woman's husband has died. She believes he was murdered but because of her affair is afraid to go to the police. The mystery clue seems to concern the movement of the murder weapon. It takes much persuasion by Wolfe to get the young man to admit that he moved the gun, placing it next to the body. Both he and she were afraid that that the other had committed the crime. Would Wolfe help them uncover the truth? He consents and begins to interview all who may have a motive to kill the husband, a famous singer. The second story, "Bullet for One", finds the daughter of a murdered man in Nero Wolfe's office requesting help because she believes that several of her father's acquaintances intend to frame her for her father's death. As Wolfe investigates the death he finds that each individual has a motive that could result in murder. His task is to determine which individual committed the deed. "Disguise for Murder" finds Nero Wolfe having a gardening group and their guests visiting his orchid collection. During the event, a young woman confides in Archie that she has recognized one of the guests as having killed a good friend whose murder has gone unsolved. She gives him no more details and Archie is called to assist with the guests. While he is gone someone murders the young woman. Wolfe has little to go on to discover who murdered the young woman. His only clue is that it had to have been a guest and he believes that the murderer did not leave the scene of the crime.
I'm a sucker for Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. This one has three stories: the first is about a dead guy whose death is ruled a suicide because the gun was right there next to him and he was shot the way a suicide would do it. But the widow and her boyfriend tell Wolfe that when they found the body, the gun wasn't there. Who moved the gun and who killed him? Who cares> It's the reading that's fun.The second story is about a mean rich guy who gets killed while riding his horse through central park. The people in his life have decided who did it, but Wolf and Archie decide otherwise.The third story is about Wolfe's orchid party, in which he invites 200 people from some flower club to come and look at his orchids. During the viewing, a woman sees the person who murdered her friend a few months before, but before she can tell Wolfe whodunit, she's murdered in Wolfe's office while everybody is upstairs.
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