Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Please Pass the Guilt (Nero Wolfe, #45)” as Want to Read:
Please Pass the Guilt (Nero Wolfe, #45)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Please Pass the Guilt (Nero Wolfe #45)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,087 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
A bomb explodes in the desk drawer of a top TV executive. But was the death trap intended for him or for the man who opened the drawer? Each man had a host of enemies, so was it the ambitious business partner, the jealous wife, the office secretary, or the man with blood on his hands? Nero Wolfe finds himself up to his corpulent neck as he and Archie Goodwin sort their way ...more
Hardcover, 150 pages
Published September 24th 1973 by Viking Books (first published 1973)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Please Pass the Guilt, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Please Pass the Guilt

Sleeping Murder by Agatha ChristieElephants Can Remember by Agatha ChristieThe Cater Street Hangman by Anne PerryA Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis PetersAn Unsuitable Job for a Woman by P.D. James
Best Mysteries from the 1970s
23rd out of 84 books — 39 voters
The Princess Bride by William GoldmanBreakfast of Champions by Kurt VonnegutBurr by Gore VidalA Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'EngleGravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Best Books of 1973
56th out of 57 books — 28 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,589)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 07, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Wolfe's personal friend and doctor asked him to see a patient of one of his colleagues - the latter seems to need a professional help from a private detective. The guy has a delusion his hands are always bloody and he cannot wash out the blood:
bloody hands
Wolfe reluctantly agreed, but nothing came out of this visit. Well, almost nothing: it gave Archie Goodwin an idea.

Wolfe had not had a paying client for a while and his bank account was somewhat in bad shape - to put it mildly. The visitor was working at
Archie è preoccupato dalla mancanza di guadagni del suo capo. Quando il dottor Volmer si presenta col caso di un paziente anonimo che si vede sangue sulle mani, Wolfe continua a non far niente, così Archie prende in mano la situazione. Scopre che un noto dirigente televisivo è morto per l'esplosione di una bomba mentre era nell'ufficio del diretto rivale. Chi ha piazzato la bomba? E a chi era diretta?

Un po' troppo frettolosa la conclusione, insomma, io voglio sapere cosa succede dopo la parola F
Bill  Kerwin
Sep 07, 2015 Bill Kerwin rated it liked it

This is the penultimate Nero Wolfe novel, published in 1975 when Stout was 87 years old, and it is a solid work of craftsmanship with all the familiar pleasures a Wolfe fan could desire, including a delightful bonus: Lieutenant Rowcliff finally gets what's coming to him.

Stout throws in a few contemporary touches--LSD, Arab Terrorism--but the real delight is of course in a familiar type of tale told well, with the same old cast of characters we have come to love.
Jill Hutchinson
Jan 13, 2015 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
Need I say that I love Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin? Another goody from Rex Stout; short and cleverly plotted, it concerns a bomb in the drawer of a high placed executive of a television station which kills the wrong man......or does it? Wolfe is actually puzzled 2/3 of the way through the book which is unusual for the genius detective but of course he prevails. This is my alternate book from my 500+ plus page main read about King Edward VII. And, as usual, it is superb. I may be one of the wor ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Shireen rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction, 2013
The rating should be a 4, but I was thinking more about the act of reading than reading the book itself. Let me explain.

I had this conversation, not the first, with several members of my brain health care team who said it's not normal to read a book in one day, that that's unusual. Really?! Before my brain injury, I'd take out three of these kinds of books -- mystery or Star Trek, mass paperback, usually longer than a Rex Stout book -- per week, five if I could get away with it, and read one in
Oct 24, 2012 Jon rated it it was ok
Possibly the least satisfying Nero Wolfe novel I've read. Archie and Wolfe are stumped through three quarters of the book. Archie even apologizes several times for the fact that the story is getting nowhere. There are some red herrings, such as the possibility of international terrorism, which not only go nowhere, but are apparently forgotten. Then a new fact, never even hinted at before, is discovered, and Wolfe uses some very tenuous logic prompted by that fact to identify the murderer. The ne ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Marvin rated it it was ok
This might have made for an okay (not great, just okay) Nero Wolfe short story/novella, but stretched out to novel length, Please Pass The Guilt is interminable. After the first 20 or so pages, nothing really happens again until well after page 120 -- just a seemingly endless loop of listlessly rummaging around for clues, and discussing the idea that this case isn't going anywhere. Then a new clue is finally discovered offstage by Saul Panzer (beating Fred Durkin by only 20 minutes), and the pac ...more
Rena Sherwood
Feb 01, 2015 Rena Sherwood rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
Not one of Stout's best. He seemed to be churning them out mechanically by the end of his life. It's hard to care who did what to whom by page 100.
David Miller
Oct 09, 2015 David Miller rated it really liked it
This book came out 4 years after the previous one, an unprecedented gap in the series. Only one more Nero Wolfe book was published in Rex Stout's lifetime; 3 stories were found after he died and published posthumously. In this book it is very clear the culture has changed: the words "prick", "pecker", "grass", "LSD", "vagina" all find their place here. One thing about reading these books: since the Wolfe household basically stays the same over the 40+ years of the series, it's easy and interesti ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Tim rated it liked it
In a recent speech I attended by Walter Mosley, author of, for example, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” “The Man in my Basement,” and “Bad Boy Brawley Brown” (see my review), he cited Rex Stout as one of his “mystery genre” influences. Mr. Stout was a prolific writer of mystery novels and stories. His most famous character is a private detective, Nero Wolfe, a rotund, well-read, opinionated, man with a penchant for orchids and for gourmet cooking (indeed, Mr. Stout published a cookbook with recipes fro ...more
Alexis Neal
Sep 27, 2012 Alexis Neal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, mystery
Kenneth Meer has blood on his hands. Not that anyone else can see it, mind you. But he's convinced that it's there all the same. Is he just crazy? Or could there be some actual murder afoot? When Doc Vollmer calls in a favor and asks Wolfe to look into the reason for Meer's delusion, the big man finds himself smack dab in the middle of a murder investigation--and murder by bomb, no less. But therein lies another mystery: the bomb was in the drawer of Amory Browning, a television mogul. But it wa ...more
Adam Graham
Jun 03, 2012 Adam Graham rated it it was amazing
Reading Please Pass the Guilt right after The Silent Speaker provided quite an interesting contrast. Both cases involve Archie and Wolfe drumming up business, but the times have changed in 25 years.

In the first place, technoligically things are quite different. In, The Silent Speaker, recording cylinders were a cumbersome yet important part of the case that Wolfe and Archie didn't really understand. By the time of Please Pass the Guilt, Wolfe and Archie are recording nearly every conversation to
Jul 24, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I am always excited when I find a Nero Wolfe novel that I haven't read before, an increasingly rare pleasure. I was even more excited when I found out that this one takes place in 1969, and the Miracle Mets are a constant backdrop to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, but I would not recommend it for someone who hasn't already read and enjoyed some of the other novels or short stories.

The Mets references are unusual, Stout has Archie talk about baseball in a few of the other stories (Arc
Jan 06, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
A bomb goes off in an office killing a man who shouldn't have been there. Nobody knows if he was the intended target or if he was killed accidentally. Wolfe's bank balance is exceptionally low so Archie convinces the man's widow that only Nero Wolfe can solve the puzzle.

It is 1969 in New York City. As usual, the characters are themselves, the orchids are beautiful, and the food delightful. I had a guess about who did it pretty early on, but not a clue as to why.
Dec 27, 2014 Derk rated it liked it
I always enjoyed Stout's Nero Wolfe stories when I read them many decades ago. (I probably stopped reading them before this one was published in 1973.) For old times sake I tried this one, his 45th of 72 Wolfe stories. It did not disappoint, but was probably not one of his better efforts if memory serves. The plot line was weak, but the characters and dialogue seemed quite familiar after all these years. i look forward to reading another one.
Auntie Pam
Dec 08, 2015 Auntie Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giallo, abc, 2015, sfida54
Ho scoperto Nero Wolfe grazie alla tv che praticamente non guardo mai. Dopo aver visto il bravissimo Francesco Pannofino (spero di ricordare bene il nome dell'attore) sono andata a leggermi un libro di Stout.
Per la prima volta forse mi è piaciuta più la versione televisiva che quella cartacea, o meglio.. forse quest'indagine non mi ha tenuto troppo col fiato sospeso.
Rimane comunque un grande investigatore, amante della buona tavola e delle orchidee.
Apr 06, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it
#45 in the Nero Wolfe series. This 1973 entry in the series begun in 1934 is the penultimate novel. Anyone following the series through 40 years is accustomed to the eccentricities of Wolfe and the standard cast of characters with which he peoples his novel - Stout has no surprises for the reader but he provides a comfortable, familiar reading experience for fan.

Nero Wolfe series - A bomb explodes in the desk drawer of a top TV executive. But was the death trap intended for him or for the man wh
Archie wangles a wealthy client after a corporate executive is killed in a bomb explosion--in one of his rival's office. Frankly, to me this is not one of Wolfe's best, as he starts off with an advantage over the police, and still can't find a clue, until Archie (again!) persuades the client to make a move. Even then, the case doesn't make too much sense to me.
Feb 16, 2015 Debbie rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, historical
Archie wasn't very humorous in this one, IMO. The mystery wandered around going nowhere. The conclusion was either obvious or was unguessable from the clues until we're told, depending on how you look at it. The characters used a lot of bad language and had some crude, sex-related conversations. I wouldn't have missed anything if I'd skipped it.
James Fearn
Apr 21, 2014 James Fearn rated it it was ok
Not one that is a good reader. Hard to follow and not very interesting for me. Did not show much of the characteristics of Wolfe or Goodwin to the degree of other works. Perhaps I have accustomed myself to the pieces of Goldsborough.
Cyn Mcdonald
Nov 26, 2014 Cyn Mcdonald rated it liked it
Hard to believe there are 47 Nero Wolfe novels. Also hard to believe that I have read most of them, though they're not logged in Goodreads.

This is #45, copyright date 1973. I'd say it's about average.
A man is in the grips of "Lady MacBeth" syndrome. He sees blood on his hands and it's sent him to a local psychiatry center. One of the doctors knows another doctor who knows Nero Wolfe and the man is sent to the house. When it turns out he's connected to the death of a man who died when he opened a desk drawer. Only, it wasn't his desk drawer that he opened. Who was the intended victim? No one can be sure and it's causing the police to run around in circles.
Archie takes matters into his own han
Ruth J Hanson
Mar 08, 2015 Ruth J Hanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reading.

I ALWAYS enjoy Nero Wolfe books. I re-read them. My daughter does the same. I will loan them, but never give them away.
Hudson Murrell
Dec 23, 2014 Hudson Murrell rated it it was amazing
So good. A little dated--heck, anything without cellphones is dated now--but the writing style, the content of the mystery, the clues and their notch.
Mar 17, 2016 Bernadette rated it it was ok
finished 2016-03-17. can't say exactly why but I had a real struggle to make it through this book. it just didn't hold my interest
Apr 14, 2012 Lynne rated it it was ok
This is a thin book, but a slow read....I keep falling asleep! That would be great if I had trouble sleeping. I know someone who loves this series, but this will be the only one I read.....famous last words? I WILL finish this book!

Decided life is to short, so I'm NOT finishing this book. I read the ending and have spent enough time, so I am moving on.

I did end up finishing this book. I was home and sick and wanted something that would put me to sleep. Of course then it didn't work as quickly as
Dec 27, 2009 Sun rated it liked it
Shelves: bookaweek2009
A man with invisible blood on his hands goes to a psychiatrist - sounds like a good setup for a joke - but ends up seeing Nero Wolfe, fat detective and genius gourmand. A TV producer has been blown up by a bomb in a desk drawer and of course Wolfe wants no part of it. But the bank balance is low, so Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's legman, prods him into action.

This feels like an unusual Nero Wolfe mystery: bombs are atypical weapons in the series, the tone is less cheery than usual, and in place of the
Peggie Ross
Jun 05, 2015 Peggie Ross rated it really liked it
Not his best work, but then again the author was well into his 80's when he wrote this one. It was amusing though to have a Nero Wolfe set in the late 60's since most were set up to 30 years earlier.
Steven Freeman
Feb 02, 2016 Steven Freeman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The side plots in this one were quite unique - but Archie and Wolfe come out on top in the end.
Apr 18, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Since Nero Wolfe's bank balance is getting perilously low, his cocky legman Archie Goodwin takes it upon himself to insert the indolent detective into the investigation of the murder of a man with a very wealthy widow. Peter Odell got himself blown up while poking around in another man's desk, and office politics were such that either made a perfectly good target for murder. The police are stumped and so, for the longest time, is Wolfe. My enjoyment may have been hampered by the fact that my edi ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 52 53 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Murder in E Minor
  • The Case of the Lucky Loser
  • Flynn (Flynn, #1)
  • Slight Mourning (Inspector Sloan #6)
  • The Return of the Black Widowers (The Black Widowers, #6)
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)

Share This Book

“I try to know what I need to know. I make sure to know what I want to know.
(Nero Wolfe)”
More quotes…