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The Sound of Murder

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Meet the Amazing Alphabet Hicks... Disbarred lawyer, uncommon cabby, and investigator extrordinary. Who confronts cynical cops and conniving corporations as he pieces together a complex series of confusing clues to trap a cold-blooded killer.
Published January 1st 1983 (first published January 1st 1941)
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May 19, 2015 Tony rated it liked it
THE SOUND OF MURDER. (1941). Rex Stout. ***.
Originally titled “Alphabet Hicks,” this was one of Stout’s attempts to develop an alternative character to Nero Wolfe in a crime series. Stout tried to flesh out Alphabet Hicks, and almost made it. The real problem was not with the character; it was with the plot. Hicks lacked the infrastructure that Wolfe gave his other characters, and found himself doing things that were usually done by assistants or other key characters. Bearing this onus, Hicks ha
Jul 09, 2012 Nancy rated it liked it
Clearing out my bookshelves I found this vintage paperback of this 1941 Rex Stout mystery that features a new detective, not Nero Wolfe. I am such a fan of Wolfe and Archie Goodwin that Stout's other detectives couldn't possibly compete successfully for my affection.

The character, Alphabet Hicks, shows promise and perhaps if he were developed over dozens and dozens and dozens of stories (like Wolfe and Goodwin) he could emerge as a fascinating character. He has all the makings of an interesting
Christi Holman
Aug 27, 2013 Christi Holman rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
One of Stout's strengths is certainly his engaging first-person narration. That's part of why Archie Goodwin is such a wonderful character. Sadly, this book has neither Archie or first-person. "Alphabet" Hicks is a rather flat character with some artificial quirkiness (such as business cards with ridiculous acronyms printed on them - a detail which seems completely at-odds with the matter-of-fact character). There were small touches that maybe made Hicks a more engaging character in later books ...more
Feb 11, 2011 Sloweducation rated it really liked it
Decent book with typically thin Rex Stout plot. Two women with identical voices threaten to upset a conspiracy in the plastics industry. Sure, Rex. However, Alphabet Hicks is a quite full character, although he hews a bit close to Nero Wolfe, and the dialogue is of first rate. I found the ending flat. Notably, it copies the typical Wolfe move of assembling all of the characters for a round of dramatic false but logical accusations in order to uncover the real killer. In fact, most of the thrills ...more
Lisa Kucharski
Oct 01, 2013 Lisa Kucharski rated it it was ok
The copy I read was called Alphabet Hicks, which I guess was an earlier edition but the same book as- The sound of Murder. A pre-Wolfe story by Stout shows how he was searching for a detective that could use wit, braun and brain all in one.

My rating of okay is mostly due to the fact that it lagged in momentum. The fact that I could put the book down and not come back to it for a day or two was not a good sign. The book shows Stout as the diamond in the rough - he had the humor and command of th
Featuring "Alphabet Hicks" this is a partially successful mystery revolving around the new potential of recorded sounds to complicate motives and murder. Unfortunately much of the drama revolves around Hicks realising something which should be plainly obvious to a group of people working in the field of sound technology.

There's a romantic plotline which was teeth-gritting to me (male in ardent pursuit and female having transparent NononononoI'mnotinterestedatall "protests too much" fits is not a
Oct 27, 2014 Joel rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Title: Alphabet Hicks.
Edition: Dell mapback #146, 1947.
The murderer is obvious less than halfway in, but that was somewhat due to the use of a new technology that to us seems quite dated. The Stout writing is fun to read again, but the character is nowhere as memorable as Nero Wolfe. Too bad there was no second outing, however.
Jan 02, 2013 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
This was clever and fun to read, but the plot was confusing and totally contrived, and hinged on preposterous coincidences. The Alphabet Hicks character was cute, but way too quirky, and the romance subplots were (typically) unbearable.
Mar 18, 2011 Babete rated it liked it
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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...

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