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GAMBIT (Nero Wolfe #37)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,061 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A private club is the setting for murder when Paul Jerim, playing chess with twelve opponents, is poisoned. When her father is accused of the murder, beautiful Sally Blount calls on gourmet detective Nero Wolfe to find the real killer.
ebook, 155 pages
Published August 3rd 2011 by Bantam (first published 1962)
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A murder happened right in the plain view of a lot of people: a chess master is killed in the middle of his simultaneous play with twelve members of an exclusive club. A man is arrested, he is the only person who was able to commit the crime - it was physically impossible for everybody else. Everything is against him, but his daughter is convinced in her father's innocence and she hires the only person who might able to help him: Nero Wolfe (and Archie Goodwin, obviously).

Usually a typical Nero...more
Bill  Kerwin
A chess whiz is fatally poisoned during a blindfold match and the club member who brought him the pot of hot chocolate is arrested and charged with murder. His daughter hires Wolfe to clear her father, and soon we are absorbed in another fine Rex Stout mystery. Fans of the series take note: this is the novel that opens with the not-to-be-missed scene of Wolfe burning Webster's Third International Dictionary a page at a time.
GAMBIT. (1962). Rex Stout. ***.
A murder occurs at a prestigious chess club in the city. Only well-to-do men are allowed to participate in membership. When it is arranged for a chess maven to visit as a guest and to challenge twelve members simultaneously an unexpected event occurs: the visiting chess master suddenly falls over during play, clutching his throat, and dies. It is later determined that he died of arsenic poisoning. The police determine that the arsenic was somehow introduced into hi...more
This was a fun Nero Wolfe mystery. As far as I am concerned they are all fun. My favorite ones are the titles that were written in the 1930's and 1940's. They give a good picture of the New York city of a bygone era, a time when men all wore hats, and you could get a spaghetti dinner at an Italian restaurant for $1.60.
This one was published In 1962.

The premise: a man (Paul Jerin) alone in a room, playing 12 games of chess with the boards and players in another room. Paul Jerin is drinking hot c...more
Richard Hemingway
Nero Wolfe, “the grand master of detection” will always solve the unsolvable. But before he does his loyal legman – Archie Goodwin – will do all the hard work and take all the chances. He also must convince Mr. Wolfe to take the case and convince all the suspects that they have to go to Mr. Wolfe’s townhouse for questions from the great detective. In-between expect to find out about Mr. Wolfe’s Manhattan townhouse complete with five star cook, Gardenias that Mr. Wolfe is obsessed with and the b...more
Tedde Bear
Rex Stout did not write classic, Ellery Queen-type "whodunits" - his mystery plotting was often pedestrian. We visit West Thirty-fifth Street not for intricate plotting, but to visit a wonderful mise en scene for homicides to be resolved (a place up there with the Quai des Orfevres of Simenon's Maigret).

I could say something that would be a spoiler - but I won't.

Just trust me, the atmosphere of Nero Wolfe's brownstone, the chivalrous conduct of sharp-witted man-of-action Archie Goodwin, the infu...more
Bev Hankins
The Gambit Club is an exclusive New York establishment for men interested in the strategic board game. Paul Jerin, a non-member, chess expert, is invited to take on twelve members of the club in simultaneous "blind-fold" games. In other words, he will sit in a room separate from all the players--with no boards in front of him--and relay his moves through messengers to the players in a central room. During the course of the evening, Jerin is served hot chocolate--his drink of choice--and becomes...more
Brenda Mengeling
The Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout are some of my all time favorites, and Gambit is a good one. The story opens with Wolfe trying to get out of an appointment for a job because he is busy burning, page by page, the new, third edition of Webster's New International Dictionary, Unabridged. It is subversive. But since his appointment, Miss Sally Blount, agrees with Wolfe that "infer" and "imply" may not be used interchangeably, he agrees to take her case (she also refers to him as a wizard who c...more
Carl Alves
Gambit is the first Nero Wolfe mystery that I've read. The thing that I found most interesting about it were the characters. Nero Wolfe is every bit the enigmatic genius that he is purported to be. It was hard to imagine a private detective who never leaves his house, and has another detective who does all of his leg work, but Wolfe manages to make it work. I also enjoyed the character of Cramer, who comes off as the cool, tough guy. He's a bit more stereotypical than Wolfe, but he is still well...more
Adam Graham
A prominent citizen is accused of murdering one of his daughter's suitors by poisoning his drink while he's engaged in a blindfolded chess match with 12 different chess players. Wolfe is hired by the daughter of the accused who believes that her father's lawyer is up to no good due to being in love with her mother. The lawyer opposes hiring Wolfe which means Wolfe must free his client's father without his cooperation.

The language of Chess figures prominently in the story. Indeed, the title of th...more
Marilyn Maya
This is a hard review to write because I loved the characters of the book and the writing and even the mystery is a well plotted on yet I can't give it more stars because of the old fashioned and even contemptible idea of women.
I was born in 1962 but was too young to realize that women were not expected to be able to handle money their husband leaves them or work in any meaningful way and worse are judged solely by how good looking and witchy they are with men.
Yes, Nero Wolfe hates women but t...more
In the early 2000s there was a show on A&E called A Nero Wolfe Mystery (or sometimes just, Nero Wolfe) starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton. I was a loyal watcher of the show, not only for the acting and writing, but also because of the general look of the show. The costumes and sets were amazing. The show also had an usual set up in that while the main characters and the actors playing them stayed the same from week to week, the rest of the cast played a different character each week d...more
Positive her father is innocent of murdering one of his associates at a chess club, a young manhattan socialite engages Nero Wolfe to prove his innocence. But why does her mother wish her to fire Wolfe? And her father's attorney wish the same? And virtually ALL of her father's associates? and … even her father? Another fun whodunnit with all of the flummery and lip-exorcises one expects from Stout's private detective team of Wolfe and Goodwin.
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
This, unlike the other mystery I just read, is as familiar as an old, comfortable pair of boots. This is one of the better, dark Nero Wolfe mysteries. Chess is the motif, but the real core of the story is solving a mystery where, at both first glance there appears to be no mystery at all. Nero moans about that Archie should have stopped him from taking this impossible assignment, but we, the readers, can all be glad that he didn't.
#36 of the Nero Wolfe series. The story opens with Wolfe in the front room burning Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 3rd Edition because, among other atrocities, it says that "infer" and "imply" may be used interchangeably. In typical byplay with Archie Goodwin, Wolfe asks if the buckram covers will burn. Archie replies that they will and accuses Wolfe of knowing when he bought the dictionary that he was going to burn it, or he would have purchased the leather binding.

Nero Wolfe series - A chess...more
An enjoyable locked-room mystery that takes a couple ingenious turns. The setup itself is a bit on the contrived side and the characters somewhat on the cardboard side: this is a puzzle book, not a character or ensemble book, at heart. Still, it's very clever and the puzzle itself works well (even if the solution is a tad flimsy, in my opinion).

It has one of the funniest openings of a Wolfe book -- Wolfe seated in front of an open fire (despite the stultifying effects on the intellect) tearing p...more
Nan Silvernail
Paul Jerin, Chess Master planned to show up 12 foes simultaneously at "blindfold" chess - meaning he would have to keep 12 games in his head at once. He was sequestered in the library of The Gambit Club with runners to carry news of the moves back and forth and a fortifying pot of hot chocolate. But there was a 13th game that he lost - with Death, for in the middle of this amazing feat, he was poisoned. The daughter of the man accused comes to Nero Wolfe. It looks hopeless. The police have it al...more
One should never play chess blindfolded against 12 men and drink hot chocolate at the same time. Paul Jerin did and died from arsenic poisoning. The police arrest Matthew Blount, president of a textiles corporation. Bount's daughter Sally hires Nero Wolfe to prove her father's innocence.

This is one of those cases where it's impossible to prove anything but Wolfe takes a good stab at the probabilities. Interesting snippets are: the figure of Mrs Blount, a recipe for skewered kidneys, and the boo...more
Dave Peticolas

Nero investigates the murder of a chess wizard.

Gambit (1962) A gambit, in Chess, is when you sacrifice a pawn in order to achieve your ultimate strategic goal. In this Rex Stout mystery, a young woman approaches Nero and Archie because her father has been imprisoned and faces execution for the murder of a young chess prodigy. There were others at the Chess club with the opportunity to kill the guy, but only her father had the motive. Again, the full length Wolfes are more engaging. Wolfe, it is made painfully clear in this novel, is not attr...more
Anand Ganapathy
detective fiction at its very best :)
Alexis Neal
A solid enough Nero Wolfe story. Nothing too earth-shattering here, but then again, with these books it's all about the journey, not the destination. The usual Stoutian tropes--a damsel in distress, a wrongly imprisoned man, a suspect cleared by his own inconvenient (and violent) demise . . . plus a smattering of delicious bon mots, the best of which is Wolfe burning a dictionary because it claims "infer" and "imply" can be used interchangeably. Not the best entry in the series, but not a bad wa...more
I felt like such a dummy when I found out whodunnit. I shoulda seen it sooner. A great read! I don't know anything about chess except I can't plan ahead that far, so I can't play. This book reminded me that I'd be a lousy detective, too.
Vicki Cline
A chess player is poisoned, and it seems the only one who could have done it is the man whose daughter has hired Wolfe to prove he didn't do it. Lots of seeming dead ends in the investigation, but in the end, the murderer is fairly obvious, although I didn't pick up on it.
The mild language was unfortunate. Story line was fun. Favorite line: "Whenever Wolfe sent me on an errand without specific instructions the general instruction was that I was to use my intelligence guided by experience."
You can only love Nero Wolfe and this is Rex Stout classic. Not the trickiest, not the prettiest, not the most creative, but a satisfying read, a lovely cast, and a woman in the house. Can't complain about any of that!
Greg McClay
This is one of a handful of Wolfe books that enforce the view that he is separate from the law, almost above it. Its not the actions of a vigilante simply a puppeteer pulling strings to bring about a certain justice.
Fredrick Danysh
Chess master Paul Jerim is poisoned while playing chess against twelve opponents at a private club. Sally Blount hires Nero Wolfe to discover the true killer after her father is accused of the crime.
This was a second reading, but it remained just as good. I love the Nero Wolfe mysteries for their clever language and the wonderful reader (Michael Prichard) Great escape reading.
One of the best of the series...I've read this more times than I can count, and Stout still fooled me this last time (obviously been a few years since my last read)
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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
More about Rex Stout...
Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe, #1) Some Buried Caesar (Nero Wolfe, #6) Too Many Cooks (Nero Wolfe, #5) The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe, #2) Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe, #9)

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