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The Rubber Band (1995)

The Rubber Band (1995)
4 of 5 Votes: 2
0553763091 (ISBN13: 9780553763096)
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The Rubber Band (1995)
The Rubber Band (1995)

About book: Nero Wolfe's former client, Mr. Anthony D. Perry, President of Seaboard Products Corporation shows up with a problem. Miss Clara Fox, an employee and possibly more to Mr. Perry, is accused of stealing $30,000 from the company. Later that same day, Clara Fox herself shows up and wants to hire Wolfe for a totally different reason. She has come with others to engage him to track down a man who her father helped save from hanging long ago in Silver City, Nevada, who promised the gang that freed him, known as The Rubber Band, half his fortune. This problem stretches from the wild west to the English peerage, from a rich man's boardroom to a night watchman's lonely construction site. Is Wolfe going to be able to solve it or is he too bound up in reading Hungarian Poetry to the beautiful Miss Fox? Egad!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~SPOILERS WAITING TO SNAP YOUR FINGERSCover - ebook, so no cover on my version. Alas!A doozy! The threads in this plot are disparate and far flung. The coincidences that bring them all together take some swallowing. But it is an involving tale.One thing that bothered me a little. This guy they saved from hanging must have been awfully young when it happened or wouldn't Clara Fox now regard him now as just an old geezer? His compatriots are old, dead or dying. Clara is a daughter of the gang. Ah well. Maybe it was just his money she was interested in when she was flirting with becoming an adventuress?It is also a shame that Harlan Scovil didn't get to meet face to face with Wolfe. That would have been some great dialog. As for Wolfe being smitten - oh no, no, a thousand times no. But yet he does read Hungarian poetry to her and hums folk tunes and she is very beautiful. This is the softest that I've seen him get at a female. But he snaps out of it quick enough. Besides, she has her eye on someone else already. And you know that if she can charm Wolfe, she'll make a great diplomat's wife.

Nero Wolfe novels are quickly becoming comfort food reading for me, to the point where I'm neglecting other authors for more Rex Stout. I don't mind too much, though, since Stout employs a reliable formula with two great protagonists--and, unsurprisingly, The Rubber Band stands as yet another iteration of typical Nero Wolfe (and I mean that in the best way possible). I've been reading these novels in chronological order--not a necessity by any means--and The Rubber Band feels a lot more claustrophobic than the last two books. Typically, Wolfe is the shut-in, but since much of the plot involves keeping a wanted character in hiding, we don't leave Nero and Archie's residence all too often. That's okay, though, since Stout is still able to deliver a compelling mystery without many changes of location, and the resolution is surprising, but incredibly well-earned. We also see some hints about Wolfe's possible sexuality in The Rubber Band; I assumed he was completely asexual after reading the first two books, but here, he seems the tiniest bit taken (albeit reluctantly) by the attractive woman who serves as his main client. Again, even three books in, Wolfe series has become extremely formulaic, but Stout has yet to bore me--every trip to a used bookstore from here on out will have me scouring the shelves for more of his excellent work.
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This is the first Nero Wolfe book I've read and won't be the last! In 1895 , out west , an Englishman who had to kill a man in self defense was sentenced to hang. He makes a deal with his friends , who are in a gang called the Rubber Band , that he will share his inheritance with them if they help him to escape. They agree and bust him out. Now 30-35 years later the daughter of one the gang , who was killed during WW1 , hires Nero Wolfe to get her fathers share. How he does it without moving his ponderous bulk from his brownstone is part of the fun. Now I know why he has millions of fans all over the world.
Nero Wolfe (and by extension Archie Goodwin) is engaged in a boring case of stolen money from a company's executive desk while he is offered another case. This one is looks much more exciting. Its background reminds of a typical Western: Wild West settings, a guy who is about to be hanged, a last-minute rescue, a horse chase and a promise of a big monetary reward which remained unpaid by the time Nero Wolfe heard about it - almost fifty years later. It escalates very quickly from here.This book features a good mystery in addition to great characters. Speaking about the latter, all of the recurring characters of the series finally show up: these include Inspector Cramer, Sergeant Purley Stebbins, Lieutenant George Rowcliff, and Orrie Cather; the latter was only mentioned in the previous books. These guys make a fine addition to the colorful cast.Nero Wolfe has to hide his clients from time to time to save them from their enemies and from their untimely meeting with the police (he likes to arrange his own timing for such meetings). This book features one of the best ways in to hide a person right under the noses of a police squad doing a methodical search of Wolfe's house for the person in question.Great characters and a very good mystery which kept me guessing until the end give this book well-deserved 4.5 stars.This review is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one:
C.J. Prince
Sometime in the '60s, I became a devoted follower of Ruth Stout's grand gardening advice. ("How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back", etc.) I was curious to discover that her brother Rex Stout was also a writer.Fast forward a few decades. I'm perusing books at one of my favorite places in Seattle and notice the author, Rex Stout. It's a new old book, yellowing pages with a clean spine. Maybe fifty cents.The story is told by one of Nero Wolfe's devoted employees Archie Goodwin. I kept laughing as I read, thinking this was a grand spoof on detective literature. Then I checked the copyright date: 1936. This may have been one of the originals from which all old time radio dramas, etc, evolved.Hard to imagine a man who never leaves his house to be a detective. Nero Wolfe's red herrings may lie unnoticed in this mostly intellectual solving of a decades old mystery, blackmail, theft and international persons of interest, and of course, murder.I found it most engaging. The print is tediously small but hopefully newer editions will be easier to read. I think I'll look for book #1.
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