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Family Affair: Nero Wolfe Mystery (Nero Wolfe #46)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,465 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
Published only a month before Rex Stout s death, this case is regarded as one of the author's truest. When Nero Wolfe's favorite waiter is murdered in an explosion just feet from him, the detective takes it as a personal affront and waives his trademark fee. As Wolfe and his sidekick Archie track down the culprit, a second murder is committed and Wolfe realizes that this c ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published December 7th 2005 by AudioGO (first published May 1975)
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May 05, 2015 Evgeny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Updated on 5/5/2015.

This is arguably the last Nero Wolfe mystery: there was a compilation of three Wolfe short stories published posthumously, so this makes the book the last novel of the series. I also need to mention Rex Stout was almost 90 year old at the time of its publication, and the story is still as good and sometimes is better than the other books about the most famous New York detective.

A scared waiter from Nero Wolfe's favorite restaurant came to the detective asking for help, but he
Bill  Kerwin
Mar 09, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This last Nero Wolfe is one of the best, a tribute to the professionalism and stamina of the eighty-seven year old man who wrote it. And, although I don't think Stout ever intended it as an official end to the series, it is a surprisingly moving and uncharacteristically melancholy work.

A waiter from Rusterman's is blown up inside Wolfe's brownstone, and Wolfe, outraged at the violation of his home, becomes his own client, determined to bring the murderer to justice. He does so, but not before he
May 12, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery readers, beer drinkers, snarky people, botanists, lovers of early 20th century America
Shelves: mystery, audiobooks
If you're at all inclined to read/listen to the Nero Wolfe mysteries, read A Family Affair last. For the most part, it doesn't really matter in which order you read them, but this one is most definitely the end, or at least will permanently alter your perception of a character who plays a key role in lots of other books. Furthermore, as the title hints, this book isn't a typical Wolfe whodunit; this one hits close to home and by the time you get to this case, you'll be more drawn in and more emo ...more
There is no question that Rex Stout was a master. I have read most of them and listened to the rest, all ably read by one of my favorite readers, Michael Pritchard.

This was Stout’s last novel, released in 1975. Some reviewers have suggested it’s not up to his earlier work. I disagree, although it’s a little jarring to find Richard Nixon as a central figure and tape recorders and Watergate. It’s clear Stout thought Nixon as head of state had perpetrated a great flummery on the people. I wonder i
Aug 15, 2011 Wealhtheow rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A favorite waiter surprises Archie one night and says he fears he'll be killed. Archie leaves him in a guest bedroom to sleep until the great detective, Nero Wolfe, wakes up. But only minutes after Archie goes to bed himself, the house is shaken. A bomb has gone off, and the waiter is dead.

So begins another mystery, set in 1970s New York and focusing on the sedentary gastronomer and genius, Nero Wolfe, and his bff and right hand man, Archie Goodwin. The mystery is solved through unbelievably ci
Jul 17, 2015 Cherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
I couldn't put it down and actually listened to most of the audio twice. Stout's last book?
I will be on a hunt for the others that are not available on audio on Overdrive. I would love to be able to hear them all. Michael Pritchard's reading is such a wonderful part of the stories for me now. Regardless, I am determined to enjoy them all, even if I have to read them.
Nov 16, 2010 Hobart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
and so my little Wolfe-a-week project ends, where Stout himself ended things. A fitting end to a great series. Unlike most of the series, I'd only read this one once--I think I was in junior high school, and figured that was enough. I honestly don't think I picked up on half of what really happened in it then, but I caught enough of it. I still understand the decision, and debated whether I should read it this year.

I'm glad I did. And not just because I got so much of what I didn't get before.
The last of the Nero Wolfe books, published after Rex Stout's death. Although the mystery itself is not compelling, lacking as we are a client to outwit, it is a suitable book to go out on, ending something, but also including a statement of continuance. It also shines a pleasing spotlight on Archie and Lily Rowan's relationship.

Stout deliberately did not age his characters, and apparently wished that they can go on forever - a nice change from the Reichenbach Falls solution! - and "A Family Aff
Oct 10, 2013 Rinnerl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, I’m a big fan of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books.


„A family affair“ is a story I wanted to read for a very long time but couldn’t get hold of the book. Finally I managed it (thanks a*azon :) and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

Orrie Cather, often hired to help in investigations and seen as a friend, became the murderer of three people. And not only that, one of the victims was murdered right under Nero Wolfes nose, at his home.

Even though I knew whodun
Jan 05, 2009 Popvoid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the last Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout (which makes it the last Nero Wolfe novel as far as I'm concerned). I do not recommend reading this one until you have read all the others because some of the regular characters in it play very important roles that would either be lost on someone new to Nero Wolfe, or may taint their experience of earlier novels. That said, this may be the most powerful Nero Wolfe novel of them all and a very fitting end to the career of one of American's best crime ...more
A FAMILY AFFAIR. (1975). Rex Stout. ***.
This was the forty-sixth and last adventure of Nero Wolfe that Stout wrote before his death in 1975. He had a long career and gathered a wide readership over the years. Through his writing and his other activities in support of mystery writing, he garnered the title, “The Grand Master of Detection.” Not all of his cases were terrific. This novel is a case in point. The plot is slap-dash and depended heavily on a totally unexpected ending that kept several
Greg McClay
Mar 29, 2010 Greg McClay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-agains
As everyone has said, save this for last. Its not my favorite in the series and actually I found this to be the closest an author can get to killing off his main character without actually doing it. There's a certain poignancy to it that felt like Stout knew this was his last novel. If you've read them all you'll appreciate this but I think it best to go back and re-read your favorite afterward.
Oh, Rex Stout. Oh heckfire. What a good, but unexpected ending to this story.
I really had no clue that the books made it into the 1970s. The characters talk about Watergate quite freely.
A favorite waiter of Wolfe's comes to the house late one night (early one morning, really) and, after Archie shows him up to a spare bedroom, is killed by a bomb. Of course, Wolfe takes this personally.
I talk about the killer in the spoiler so, really, really don't open it unless you've read the book.
(view spoil
Feb 20, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Archie was (understandably) not very good humored or humorous in this story, but his humorous outlook is one of the major reasons I like this series. The story was a lot of getting nowhere with some very subtle clues that only readers of the entire series will likely catch. I caught the clues, just not the significance until Archie and Saul vaguely discuss it. I would have given the book 3.5 stars except I didn't like how they dealt with the murderer. I don't think their self-centered reasons (N ...more
Jul 04, 2010 Jerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite some inconsistencies, last Rex Stout Nero Wolfe an outstanding pleaser !

We read the entire (and considerable) collection of Nero Wolfe stories nearly forty years ago, some contemporaneous with their original publication. "Family Affair", released in 1975, turned out to be Rex Stout's last novel, even though his estate paid Robert Goldsborough to do a credible job of writing seven more entries in the Wolfe series. Stout was in his early 80's as of this writing, but his plot and vocabulary
Adam Graham
Jun 06, 2014 Adam Graham rated it it was amazing
This is the very last Wolfe novel written by Rex Stout. The book begins with a literal bang as a favorite waiter of Wolfe's comes seeking Wolfe's advice in the middle of the night. Archie puts him up in the South Room for safety, only for the man to be blown up by a bomb that rocks Archie and Wolfe's world.

This case is personal for Wolfe who is determined to catch the killer himself. It's an unprecedented case where we get a whiff of Watergate, Wolfe turns down a one hundred thousand dollar fee,
Nan Silvernail
Apr 05, 2012 Nan Silvernail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the middle of the night, Nero Wolfe's favorite waiter comes to the old brownstone for help. Someone is trying to kill him. Since Wolfe is asleep, Archie puts him in the south room for the night and goes to bed. But before Archie can get his head on the pillow there is a tremendous explosion that will rock Wolfe's world and nothing will ever be the same.


Cover Art - I had a different version. Just words on mine. It
Perry Whitford
Oct 07, 2015 Perry Whitford rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nero Wolfe completists, not so much initiates.
A waiter from Wolfe's favourite restaurant, Rusterman's, is murdered virtually under the mardy Montenegrin's nose, placing himself and Archie - not for the first time - on the wrong side of a police investigation.

Matters are further complicated by an additional murder, one which may have an indirect connection with the Watergate scandal (the book was written in 1975).

The final Nero Wolfe mystery that Stout would complete before his death, it's a fitting if flawed finale to what must be just ab
Jul 31, 2013 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this one last, or nearly-so. It will have its greatest impact on you as a reader when you've come to really know Wolfe, Archie, and the others. It may change your opinion of them.

There have been other murders in the brownstone, and Nero Wolfe has taken them all personally. And his friends and relations have been involved in murders before; he has taken those involvements personally as well. He's dealt with the iniquities of the federal government before, and taken great joy in thwarting tho
Apr 26, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#46 in the Nero Wolfe series. This 1975 mystery is Rex Stout's final novel, the 89 year-old novelist died the same year. The final Nero Wolfe publication came with the novellas published posthumously in Death Times Three (1985). A Family Affair is an intensely personal look into the world of Wolfe and serves as a fitting end to the canon.
Nero Wolfe (and by extension, Rex Stout) felt very strongly, and unfavorably, about Richard Nixon and the Watergate gang. For much of the novel, it appears that
Dec 02, 2011 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bev by: Richard Nash
A Family Affair is Rex Stout's last entry into the Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin mystery series. A word of warning...if you haven't read the other Stout books, you should save this one for last. Most of the stories it really doesn't matter what order you read them in. This one it does. There are several events that will absolutely change how you read the previous novels and perceive some of the characters in them if this book is read out of order. Given the final scenes, you might even think tha ...more
Sometimes the adversarial relationship between Nero/Archie and Cramer/DA's office gets so much in the middle of the story.

From the distance of 2015 it's difficult for me to understand why the threat of or actually arresting a detective is going to make him more willing to tell what he knows. In this particular story, it's critical that Nero, Archie, Saul, Fred and Orrie refuse to speak. But I've recently been reading a lot of these, and the threat has become annoying as a plot device.

A Family Affair (The Rex Stout Library)

A Family Affair (The Rex Stout Library)
by Rex Stout

5.0 out of 5 stars The last but NOT the least, August 17, 2013

This review is from: A Family Affair (The Rex Stout Library)

"A Family Affair" kept me riveted to my seat throughout. A favorite waiter from Rusterman's Restaurant comes to the Brownstone for refuge but from what and from who? Archie provides a room to stay in for the night. Then a bit later an explosion. When all is revealed a death in that ro
This was published a month before the author's death, and is the last Nero Wolfe novel. It was quite engaging.I was unsure how it would turn out...and I was within the last six or seven pages when I "lost" the book. I was irritated. By then, of course, we know "who" but we didn't know what would happen to Wolfe. Thankfully I found the book under the seat of the car and finished it up today. As always, I adore Nero Wolfe...even when he was "out of control" as he was in this book.
Paul Unruh
Aug 02, 2016 Paul Unruh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished the entre series, excluding the posthumous collection Death Times Three. 46 books containing 72 stories. Wow. Stout has produced an impressive contribution. They are well worth reading. The first story was written over 80 years ago. Technology has changed the way many things are done today and inflation has certainly had its effect on prices since those days, but the stories are still entertaining and the characters captivating.
David Miller
Oct 17, 2015 David Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last Nero Wolfe book published while Rex Stout was still among the living; he died only a month or so after publication. I loved this one; I think it's among the best of the series. The ending raised the hairs on the back of my neck. As other reviewers have noted, this is a book to be read last in the series; the end of the book could spoil some of the earlier books in the series.

What a great series. Now I have a gaping whole in my reading life.
Monica Willyard
Jul 20, 2014 Monica Willyard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookshare, nls
As others have written, save this book for last. Don't read this book, unless you have read others in the series. I enjoyed reading it , and yet I feel a little sadness in coming to the end of a wonderful series. No matter how many times I read these books, I love to escape to that delightful brownstone . This book features the banter, plotting, and mystery for which Rex Stout is known. This novel is different, more intimate and immediate.
Vicki Cline
Jun 22, 2013 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-mysteries
This is the last Nero Wolfe novel, written 41 years after the first one. What I like about this series (aside from the engaging characters and clever plots) is that each book is independent of all the others - the characters don't change and you learn everything you need to know about the situation at Wolfe's brownstone in NYC in each book, so you can read them in any order. It seems as though Stout meant this to be the last one because something rather terrible happens to one of Wolfe's extende ...more
Apr 19, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was running low on my Erle Stanley Gardner 'Perry Mason' books, so I went to re-read some of Rex Stout's 'Nero Wolfe'. I had forgotten how enjoyable these were, and I am going to run through the entire series. I don't think anyone has come up with anything to equal the team of Wolfe and Goodwin. The dialogue is so much fun! The characters are amusing, the stories are intriguing...and they're 'clean'. Gardner does have another series using a pair of detectives 'Cool & Lam'-they bear a passi ...more
CJ Reader
May 07, 2015 CJ Reader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew what was coming, and it was still a surprise (although this time a couple of the clues I caught in time). An amazing novel. If you consider that Rex Stout must have known he was coming to the end of his career writing Wolfe, he gave him such a note to go out on and didn't miss another opportunity to gloat at how he had outwitted Cramer, and the fact that the consequences would not be long-lasting because of how well he had gone about it. Wolfe is the same, and it is glorious.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 2 12 Jan 31, 2015 04:57PM  
  • The Last Coincidence (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe)
  • Flynn (Flynn, #1)
  • The Big Sleep  and Other Novels
  • In the Midst of Death (Matthew Scudder, #3)
  • The Case of the Long-Legged Models
  • The Zebra-Striped Hearse
  • Double Deuce (Spenser, #19)
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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