Not Quite Dead Enough (Nero Wolfe Series)

Not Quite Dead Enough (Nero Wolfe Series)

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The army wants Nero Wolfe urgently, but he refuses their clarion call to duty. It takes Archie Goodwin to titillate Wolfe’s taste for crime with two malevolent morsels: a corpse that refuses to rest in peace and a sinister “accident” involving national security. It’s up to the Grandiose Master himself, Nero Wolfe, to set the traps to catch a pair of wily killers—as Archie lays the bait on the wrong side of the law.
Introduction by John Lutz
“It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore.”—The New York Times Book Review
A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America’s greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of the greatest fictional detectives of all time. Together, Stout and Wolfe have entertained—and puzzled—millions of mystery fans around the world. Now, with his perambulatory man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth is back in the original seventy-three cases of crime and detection written by the inimitable master himself, Rex Stout.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553261097
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/1992
Series: Nero Wolfe Series , #10
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 127,633
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Rex Stout (1886–1975) wrote dozens of short stories, novellas, and full-length mystery novels, most featuring his two indelible characters, the peerless detective Nero Wolfe and his handy sidekick, Archie Goodwin.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
We swooped down and hit the concrete alongside the Potomac at 1:20 p.m. on a raw Monday in early March.
I didn’t know whether I would be staying in Washington or hopping a plane for Detroit or Africa, so I checked my bags at the parcel room at the airport and went out front and flagged a taxi. For twenty minutes I sat back and watched the driver fight his way through two million government employees, in uniforms and in civies, on wheels and on foot, and for another twenty minutes, after entering a building, I showed credentials and waited and let myself be led through corridors, and finally was ushered into a big room with a big desk.
It was the first time I had ever seen the top mackaroo of United States Army Intelligence. He was in uniform and had two chins and a pair of eyes that wasted neither time nor space. I was perfectly willing to shake hands, but he just said to sit down, glanced at a paper on top of a pile and told me in a dry brittle voice that my name was Archie Goodwin.
I nodded noncommittally. For all I knew, it was a military secret.
He inquired acidly, “What the hell is the matter with Nero Wolfe?”
“Search me, sir. Why, is he sick?”
“You worked for him for ten years. As his chief assistant in the detective business. Didn’t you?”
“All of that. Yes, sir. But I never found out what was the matter with him. However, if you want some good guesses—”
“You seem to have done pretty well with that mess down in Georgia, Major Goodwin.”
“Much obliged, sir. Speaking of Nero Wolfe—”
“I am about to.” He shoved the papers aside. “That’s why I sent for you. Is he crazy?”
“That’s one theory.” I looked judicious and crossed my legs, remembered who I was now, and uncrossed them. “He’s a great man, I grant that, but you know what it was that made the Australian wild dog so wild. Assistant is not the word for it. I was a combination accelerator and brake. I may mention that my pay was roughly three times what it is at the moment. Of course if I were made a colonel—”
“How long have you been a major?”
“Three days.”
He pronounced a certain word, just one word, very snappy.
“Yes, sir,” I said.
He nodded curtly, to signify that that was settled for good, and went on. “We need Nero Wolfe. Not necessarily in uniform, but we need him. I don’t know whether he deserves his reputation—”
“He does,” I declared. “I hate to admit it, but he does.”
“Very well. That seems to be the prevailing opinion. And we need him, and we’ve tried to get him. He has been seen by Captain Cross and by Colonel Ryder, and he refused to call on General Fife. I have a report here—”
“They handled him wrong.” I grinned. “He wouldn’t call on the King of China even if there was one. I doubt if he’s been outdoors since I left, two months ago. The only thing he has got is brains, and the only way to go is to take things to him: facts, problems, people—”
The mackaroo was shaking his head impatiently. “We tried to. Colonel Ryder went to try to get him to work on a certain matter of great importance, and he flatly refused. He’s no fascist or appeaser, according to his record. What’s wrong with him?”
“Nothing sir. Nothing like that. He’s probably in a bad mood. His moods never are anything to brag about, and of course he’s dejected because I’m not there. But the main thing is they don’t know how to handle him.”
“Do you know how to handle him?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Then go and do it. We want him on a day basis under Schedule 34H. We want him immediately and urgently on a matter that Colonel Ryder went to him about. Nobody has even been able to make a start on it. How long will it take you?”
“I couldn’t say. It all depends.” I stood up with my heels together. “An hour, a day, a week, two weeks. I’ll have to live in his house with him as I always did. The best time to work on him is late at night.”
“Very well. On your arrival, report to Colonel Ryder at Governor’s Island by telephone, report progress to him, and tell him when you are ready for him to see Mr. Wolfe.” He got up and offered me a hand, and I took it. “And don’t waste any time.”
In another room downstairs I found they had got me a priority for a seat on the three o’clock plane for New York, and a taxi got me to the airport just in time to weigh my luggage through and make a run for it.

Table of Contents

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Not Quite Dead Enough (Nero Wolfe Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
stormtost More than 1 year ago
Rex Stout's mystery novels are based on the world of New York circa 1940's and 1950's. Like the world created by Arthur Canon Doyle for Sherlock Holmes, Stout creates a world for Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe that form the basis for each mystery novel. The world is interesting and charming. Unlike Agatha Christie's novels, I've never been able to "chose the villain." Unlike Agatha Christie's novels, Stout gives you all the facts up front. Plots take interesting turns and twists. Archie Goodwin's wit will keep you laughing, but you can't help admiring both characters. The women who deserve it are always treated like ladies. Though there is murder, there is no "gore." Archie must fall in love at least once in every novel, but none of the ladies are ever able to capture him. Archie is incredibly clever and always charming. Stout's novels are a great vacation escape. I am attempting to collect them all. I recommend them to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is similar to his previous book, "Black Orchids", in that it is two completely different short stories joined by a small link in order to form a full-length book. In the last book, they were linked by black orchids and the whims of an eccentric detective. In this book, they are linked by WWII. In the 1st part, Archie is away with army intelligence. Wolfe is trying to get fit in order to go battle Germans as he did in WWI. The army needs Wolfe's brain not his brawn. So, they recall Archie so he can convince Wolfe he can best help his Country by resuming his old habits. The first mystery is the lever Archie uses to snag Wolfe. The second part of the book deals with the mystery surrounding the death of an army intelligence officer. As with the previous book, the mysteries aren't as hard to solve as they are in most of his other books. However, it's still a great read. The Wolfe/Goodwin dynamic; the great characters; and the smart and witty (and often humorous) dialogue hook you. During WWII, Stout was so busy aiding the war effort, it's a wonder he found any time to write. "Black Orchid" and "Not Quite Dead Enough" may not be his trickiest mysteries, but they are well worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The prose and attitudes may be very dated-they were written a long time ago-but the characters are clear, consistant and engaging. The dialogue may also be a little clipped, but it reflects another place and era. And with the Nook features you can really expand your vocabulary with this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rex Stout was a genus.
Gilbert_M_Stack More than 1 year ago
Even if there wasn’t two good mysteries, this book would be worth reading just to see Nero Wolfe not being Nero Wolfe. Archie is in the army and Wolfe had decided he wants to enlist as a common soldier so he can kill German so he’s given up beer and fine dining to—brace yourself—exercise. Yet the army wants Wolfe solving national security problems for them and Archie has to figure out how to get Wolfe back to being Wolfe. This one’s a lot of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had heard that Nero Wolf had Archie Goodwin do the legwork for him and I doubted that I would enjoy that type of detective. I was wrong and I can stoutly recommend this book to fans of good mysteries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cannot resist a Nero Wolfe /Archie Goodwin mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With the advent of WWII in America, Rex Stout threw himself into the War Effort, heading up the Writer’s War Board & appearing often on the radio in support of the War - all for the princely sum of $1 a year. Following suit, his series narrator Archie Goodwin enlisted right after Pearl Harbor and, using his detective skills in the service of his country, is quickly promoted to Major.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No matter how often read one keeps coming back again and again.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sometimes the title is enough on a Stout book. This story isn't memorable, but I know I never disliked a Nero Wolfe novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not only are the mysteries good, but the characters are unforgettable!
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