About Rex Stout
Rex Todhunter Stout was born in Noblesville, Indiana, December
1, 1886. After a brief time on campus at the University of Kansas,
Stout quit school to enlist in the Navy where he spent two years as
warrant officer on board President Theodore Roosevelt's yacht.
Author, Business Man, Sailor, Activist, Family Man, &
a person with many interests
After the Navy, he began to write for pulp fiction magazines and also tried his hand at a variety of jobs.
He published three novels before he turned to the mystery genre. The books received favorable reviews but were not best sellers. Following the 1929 stock market crash he lost a great deal of the money he had saved. He returned to the United States and continued to write serious novels for a few more years. In 1932 he moved from New York City to High Meadow, the house he built on the Connecticut-New York state line. In 1934 Rex Stout published his first Nero Wolfe novel, Fer-de-Lance.
More than seventy other Nero Wolfe books and stories followed. During World War II, Rex Stout waged a personal campaign against Nazism serving as chairman of the War Writers Board, wrote and broadcast the CBS radio program "Our Secret Weapon," and was a member of several national committees. After the war, he resumed writing Nero Wolfe novels. In 1959 he won the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award. Rex Stout died October 27, 1975 at the age of 88. A month before his death, he published his final Nero Wolfe book, A Family Affair.
For you edification:
Forty Years with Nero Wolfe, Terry Teachout
An Addictive Author, Laurence DiMaria
THE BLACK MOUNTAIN, Rex Stout
Although I was warned that this was an atypical Rex Stout novel, I had read enough of his books 25 years ago to be in the mood to read something different. And in many ways, it was a good choice. Wolfe steps out of his brownstone, out of his country, and out of his typical "you do the footwork, Archie and I'll do the brain work." setup
But in other ways, since it had been so long, I wanted that familiar setup. I am not even sure a man of Wolfe's girth and sloth could undertake this trip. But let's say he can.
But getting to the story...
When Nero Wolfe's close friend, a restaurateur is killed, followed by Wolfe's adopted daughter, the reason clearly lies in Montenegro (where both were involved in a protest movement), so much to all of our surprise, Nero abandons his usual methods of solving crimes and goes there, undertaking a difficult passage through the mountains. This is in 1954 and the geopolitics is difficult with Tito in power.
It was hard to know who your enemies were and indeed, Wolfe does not. This is not a whodunnit as much as it is how will Wolfe trip him up. And the real genius in it is that Stout gets to prove he could have written spy novels with as much grace as his mysteries. I enjoyed it but it was not as good as Fer De Lance, The League of Frightened Men or Too Many Cooks for me.
One review suggested that this was a way for Stout to clear out two characters that had been hanging around too long. I wonder.
Sergio Angelini, PRISONER'S BASE
Yvette Banek, MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD and CHAMPAGNE FOR ONE
Bitter Tea and Mystery, BLACK ORCHIDS
Cinch Review, TOO MANY COOKS
Bill Crider, TARGET PRACTICE, Rex Stout
Rich Horton, CURTAINS FOR THREE
Jerry House, THE GREAT LEGEND
George Kelley, THE GOLDEN SPIDER
Steve Lewis, THE LEAGUE OF FRIGHTENED MEN
J.F. Norris,THREE MEN OUT; ALPHABET HICKS
Matt Paust, THE DOORBELL RANG
Richard Robinson, CURTAINS FOR THREE
TracyK. SOME BURIED CAESAR
Brian Busby, THE QUEBEC PLOT, Leo Heaps
Scott Cupp, JACK OF EAGLES, James Blish
Martin Edwards, THE NECESSARY CORPSE, R. C. Woodthorpe
Curt Evans, R in the Month, Nancy Spain
Margot Kinberg, THE CONSTABLE'S TALE, Donald Smith
Rob Kitchin, DARKSIDE, Belinda Bauer
B.V. Lawson, I'LL SING YOU TWO-O
Todd Mason, ISAAC ASIMOV PRESENTS THE GREAT SF STORIES 18 (1956) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg ; SPEAKING OF HORROR: INTERVIEWS WITH WRITERS OF THE SUPERNATURAL by Darrell Schweitzer et al.
Terrence P. McCauley, THE HUNTER, Richard Stark
J. Kingston Pierce, ANYTHING BUT SAINTLY, Richard Deming
Gerard Saylor, DOUBLE BACK, Libby Fisher Hellman
Kevin Tipple, JOYLAND, Stephen King
TomCat, BONY AND THE MOUSE, Arthur Upfield
A.J,. Wright, William Bradford Huie
Zybahn, THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY, Horace McCoy