Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Archie Goodwin - Nero Wolfe's Legman

Born in Ohio. Public high school, pretty good at geometry and football, graduated with honor but no honors. Went to college two weeks, decided it was childish, came to New York and got a job guarding a pier, shot and killed two men and was fired, was recommended to Nero Wolfe for a chore he wanted done, did it, was offered a full-time job by Mr. Wolfe, took it, still have it.
— Archie Goodwin addressing the suspects in "Fourth of July Picnic" (1957)

I was introduced to Archie Goodwin first through reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series then watching the TV series starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton.  So it was with great pleasure that I had the opportunity to read two books featuring Wolfe's "legman" Archie in a new adaption of Stout's Nero Wolfe, now undertaken by author Robert Goldsborough.

The first was Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries which I though was a very well done introduction to a character that featured so prominently in Stout's "Nero Wolfe" novels - all the usual suspects are introduced in this prohibition era setting.

This was then quite recently followed by Archie in the Crosshairs, taking place in the late 1940s possibly early 1950s - about 20 years after their first meeting. And as for this outing, loved it!  This episode tackles yet another mystery to be solved by the almost reclusive Nero Wolfe with the aid of his side-kick, Archie Goodwin. I read this in one sitting as the pace and style of writing kept me intrigued to the very end. I read the complete Nero Wolfe series quite a number of years ago, and these new additions faithfully follow Stout's originals.

For further reading, could I suggest Goldsborough's Archie Meets Nero Wolf, then Stout's books, followed by Goldsborough's, possibly finishing with Archie in the Crosshairs. This would get you up-to-date with all things Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

Further Reading:
Nero Wolfe on wikipedia
Rex Stout on wikipedia
Robert Goldsborough on wikipedia

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