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Champagne per uno (Nero Wolfe #31)

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,890 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Faith Usher è una donna dalla personalità morbosa: gira con una fiala di cianuro in borsetta e racconta a tutti di volersi togliere la vita. Lo dice anche ad Archie Goodwin, il fedele aiutante del leggendario Nero Wolfe, che la incontra a una festa, ma il fiuto di Archie sente puzza di bruciato e il giovane si ripromette di tenerla d'occhio. Di lì a poco quando Faith cade ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published February 2006 by Mondadori (first published 1958)
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Mar 16, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sick friend asks Archie Goodwin to attend a charity dinner at a millionaire's widow home. One of the guests drops dead seemingly committing a suicide. The hostess does not want big publicity and thus she applies a lot of pressure on the District Attorney to conclude the investigation as soon as possible without looking at the suicide too closely - she has enough money to do it. Archie is the only person who is convinced he saw murder and he is ready to put his professional reputation at risk t ...more
Bill  Kerwin
Nov 01, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A young woman is poisoned during a dinner party held annually-- according the terms of the will of an eccentric benefactor--for the "graduates" of a home for unwed mothers. Archie--pinch-hitting as an escort for the the evening--is the only one convinced that the poisoning isn't suicide. Wolfe gets involved--of course. Reluctantly? Of course.

Ingeniously plotted, with some unusually vivid characters and scenes. One of the best of the series.
Mike Coleman
Mar 17, 2014 Mike Coleman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My father believed that, after the Nero Wolfe series, the world had no further need for new mystery novels. I tend to agree.

I enjoy the contemporary mysteries by Michael Connelly, Elizabeth George, Patricia Cornwell, Louise Penny and many others, but then I go back to the Rex Stout books and realize that much of what has come afterward in the mystery genre is just so much "look-at-me" shouting. "I can write about child abuse." "I can write about mutilation of women." "I can describe an autopsy t
May 25, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
CHAMPAGNE FOR ONE. (1958). Rex Stout. ****.
Once you get past the silly plot premise, you soon get wrapped up in a pretty good mystery featuring Nero Wolfe and his private secretary Archie. Archie gets a call from an old friend of his who needs a favor. His friend has a cold and can’t make it to a party that he was invited to by his aunt. The party was for the benefit of an organization for unwed mothers. Four of these young women had been invited to dinner, along with four young men who were to
Lukasz Pruski
Rex Stout's "Champagne for One" (1958) is the second Nero Wolfe mystery that I have randomly chosen to re-read in a quest to find out whether my reception of the novels that I highly praised when I read the entire set (46) of Wolfe mysteries in the Eighties and Nineties has changed. I review the first one, "The Mother Hunt" here .

Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe's right hand, is invited to sit in for the sick nephew of a very rich woman who sponsors a famous annual charity party for unmarried mothers
Jan 16, 2013 Sophie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
The best thing about any Nero Wolfe book for me is Archie's cynical, snarky commentary. Archie has no illusions about anyone, least of all Wolfe, and it is always entertaining to watch him doing his best to upset his boss's equanimity. Champagne for One is unusual in one respect, though, I don't think I've read a Nero Wolfe mystery before that didn't involve at least some love interest for Archie (not that "love interest" is exactly the right term for Archie's exploits, but it's Nero-Wolfe-perio ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rex Stout's Champagne for One comes garnished with an unhealthy dose of cyanide.

This outing for Nero Wolfe and his leg man Archie Goodwin doesn't begin with a client. No. It begins when Archie does one of his good deeds and acts as a stand-in dinner guest for an acquaintance, "Dinky" Austin Byne. Byne claims to have a cold and wants Archie to attend a black tie function at his aunt's house in his stead. Archie knows full well that Byne's cold is non-existent, but is curious enough about the dinn
Description: Faith Usher talked about taking her own life and even kept cyanide in her purse. So when she died from a lethal champagne cocktail in the middle of a high society dinner party, everyone called it suicide—including the police. But Nero Wolfe isn’t convinced—and neither is Archie. Especially when Wolfe is warned by four men against taking the case. Deception, blackmail, and a killer who may have pulled off the perfect crime…it’ s a challenge Nero Wolfe can’t resist.

The TV show episode
Jun 23, 2012 meeners rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
one of rex stout's better mysteries. i have a hunch that longtime fans of stout will like this book regardless, while non-mystery readers most likely won't see the appeal. but feel free to prove me wrong.

random note: the introduction to this particular edition starts with the following sentence: "I first met Rex Stout sometime in the early 1950s when our daughters were classmates at Oakwood School, a Quaker boarding school in upstate New York." didn't think much about it until i turned the page
May 07, 2014 Hope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haughty Mrs. Robilotti hosts an annual dinner for unwed young women who spend their pregnancies at Grantham House, the charitable institute founded by her millionaire first husband. By chance, Archie Goodwin is asked to fill in for one of the young society men at the dinner, which Wolfe calls a "burlesque of hospitality." The genius is right. Archie's social discomfort turns to horror when one of the young women is poisoned right in front of him. The other guests think it's suicide, but Archie ...more
The whole time I was listening to this story, I kept seeing the episode of "Nero Wolfe" starring Timothy Hutton that this book was based on. They were very true to the story.
At the beginning of the book, Archie is invited to be one of the swains at a philanthropist's party. The man (now dead) left money so that five girls from his home for unwed mothers could learn the social graces. At the beginning of the night, Archie's companion tells him that one of the other girls carries a vial of poison
Jun 06, 2015 Alger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let us be honest, Rex Stout wrote better dialogue and characters than mystery plots. It is the rare person who would read a Nero Wolfe novel for a brain teasing tale of murder most vile and cunning. Instead it is the comforting narration by Archie and his acid asides that make these books a joy to read. I have to assume Stout knew this as well, since so many of his late novels are exercises of style with a plot going on in the background. But such style!

There is a mystery going on in this book,
Apr 22, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Quintessential Wolfe and Archie. Archie is talked into attending a dinner; while there a young lady is murdered. Of course, he's upset that a murder is committed while he was standing right there! One of the suspects hires Wolfe to prove he didn't do it. I have to admit that the real murderer was not who I suspected; last minute revelations leave no doubt about the identity. My dad loved Rex Stout mysteries and introduced me to them. Wolfe is no Sherlock Holmes, but then who is? Wolfe is however ...more
Alexis Neal
Feb 11, 2014 Alexis Neal rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, mystery
It's just a fancy charity dinner for unwed mothers--what's the worst that could happen? Archie, roped into attending at the last minute as a favor for a sick friend, is about to find out. When one of the unwed mothers drops dead after sipping some cyanide-laced champagne, the police are ready to call it suicide. After all, the girl had cyanide with her, in her purse, and had threatened to kill herself with it in the past. But Archie saw the whole things, and he's positive the girl was murdered ( ...more
Nan Silvernail
Feb 18, 2012 Nan Silvernail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unwed mother, Faith Usher had some cyanide in her purse and told other unwed mothers and staff at Grantham House that she just might take it someday, so no one is surprised when she does so at a party - Except Archie Goodwin. He was there and was watching Miss Usher and her purse and he is willing to swear that she didn't poison herself. Now everyone's mad at him, but Archie is standing firm. He saw what he saw and didn't see what he didn't see. Can Nero Wolfe solve the mystery and vindicate his ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#31 in the Nero Wolfe series. In a familiar premise for a Wolfe tale, Wolfe and Archie have a contrarian position that a death was murder rather than accident or suicide.

Nero Wolfe supports Archie Goodwin's claim that a poisoned woman at a dinner he attended was murdered when everyone else would be happy to call it a suicide. The dinner was a charity affair for unwed mothers and the past of the poisoned woman provides Wolfe with a client and plenty of suspects.
Joan Schrock
Nero Wolfe, once again, solves what seems to be the impossible murder mystery with the help of his personal assistant, chef, and three investigators whom he hires to help with the leg work. Nero Wolfe never leaves his New York City Brownstone and rooftop greenhouse where he raises rare orchids. Rex Stout stories are a favorite of mine becuase they are light , easy reads with very little explicit violence or sex.
Надежда Маханова
There is limited supply of reading during the summer months in our country house. So The Encyclopedia of Mushrooms and A collection of Detective stories are read over and over again. This time I've come to the idea of bringing some summer fleur to winter months by downloading Champagne for One.
Nice for a bright Sunday morning, a glass of warm milk accompanying recommended
Archie is attending a dinner party annually given for a select group of unmarried mothers when one of the guests dies. Suicide, says everyone from the police commissioner on down. Murder, insists Archie. Fortunately, one of the guests is worried enough to hire Nero Wolfe, who must bend his mind to proving that someone at the dinner committed an impossible crime.
Mar 02, 2011 Apio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked up this book after watching an episode a Nero Wolf series in which a woman hires Wolf to get the FBI off her back after she mailed out 10,000 copies of a back exposing the FBI. After watching the episode, I decided to see what I could find out about Rex Stout. I learned that he had been involved in anti-atom-bomb activities, anti-McCarthyism activities and had himself been investigated by the FBI and a third of his file is for writing the book on which that episode was based. So I decid ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Chazzi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Archie does a favour for a past client's relative and it turns out to be murder in high society.

While filling in at a charity dinner for a select group composed of unwed mothers, well connected single men and the doyenne of high society, one of the mothers dies of poisoning right before everybody's eyes. Her comments of committing suicide were well known, but did she really do it? Archie says no, but won't say why. Even under pressure by the attendees, the police and the D.A.

Even though this is
Vaseem Khan
Straightforward mystery with the likeable Nero Wolfe, gourmand and meticulous. Very much in the Poirot mould. No great plot (the murder of an unwed mother at a social gathering) but still it keeps you interested and the dialogue is snappy. Possibly one for buffs of the era.
Anand Ganapathy
Another gem of a novel by Rex Stout. I don't post reviews of detective fiction generally as I might inadvertently divulge details of the plot. A must read for all fans of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I surely am looking forward to reading the 4 books from this series that I have just ordered
Jun 09, 2014 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a hopeless Nero Wolfe fan. In this book, Archie Goodwin (Wolfe's right hand man) attends a dinner party where a death occurs. Everyone says suicide except Archie, who is adamant that it is murder. Lots of suspects, as usual, with Wolfe snooping to help Archie.
Feb 07, 2016 Courtney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another classic Nero Wolfe, but this one was so focused on Wolfe trusting Archie's perception and I loved that aspect. All the characters wonderful and consistent, as always!
Oct 21, 2015 dredinol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: satisfying
So good when Archie forces Wolfe's hand. Dinky seemed straight out of a wodehouse novel. Felt very bad for Faith Usher. The cover is very beautiful.
Nov 12, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It constantly amazes me how Mr. Stout was able to slip in details about Nero and Archie so that anyone who hasn't read a Nero story will have the information they need, yet those who've read a great deal of them aren't bored with the same information being imparted. The man was a pure writing genius!
***Dave Hill
Dec 27, 2013 ***Dave Hill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
A well-crafted NW novel, featuring some of the best aspects of the series -- a focus on Archie (his attitudes, his social circle, his attitudes toward women, his determination, his ego), and on the Wolfe/Archie relationship (Wolfe's willingness to commit himself to Archie's cause, based solely on his assistant's testimony). It's also a nice exemplar of the society of the era -- one of the things Stout does so well in the 30-40 year range he wrote these characters.

This is one of the volumes I wo
Aug 03, 2014 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has all the elements of a great Nero Wolfe story. In my opinion, its one of the better books of the series.
May 06, 2015 Ruby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't resist sneaking in a Nero Wolfe mystery while reading the very lengthy "Dime quien soy"...
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Rex Todhunter Stout (December 1, 1886 – October 27, 1975) was an American crime writer, best known as the creator of the larger-than-life fictional detective Nero Wolfe, described by reviewer Will Cuppy as "that Falstaff of detectives." Wolfe's assistant Archie Goodwin recorded the cases of the detective genius from 1934 (Fer-de-Lance) to 1975 (A Family Affair).

The Nero Wolfe corpus was nominated
More about Rex Stout...

Other Books in the Series

Nero Wolfe (1 - 10 of 47 books)
  • Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe, #1)
  • The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe, #2)
  • The Rubber Band (Nero Wolfe, #3)
  • The Red Box (Nero Wolfe, #4)
  • Too Many Cooks (Nero Wolfe, #5)
  • Some Buried Caesar (Nero Wolfe, #6)
  • Over My Dead Body (Nero Wolfe, #7)
  • Where There's a Will (Nero Wolfe, #8)
  • Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe, #9)
  • Not Quite Dead Enough (Nero Wolfe, #10)

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“In a world that operates largely at random, coincidences are to be expected, but any one of them must always be mistrusted.” 11 likes
“You can't dance cheerfully. Dancing is too important. It can be wild or solemn or gay or lewd or art for art's sake, but it can't be cheerful.” 5 likes
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