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Might as Well Be Dead (Nero Wolfe #26)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  1,045 ratings  ·  59 reviews
His lawyer said he was innocent. His girlfriend thought he was guilty. P. H. though he Might As Well Be Dead .

What happens when the condemned man doesn’t want to be proven innocent? You’re up to your thick neck in a case of murder, embezzlement, murder, national scandal, and much more murder…

(Publisher’s description)
Paperback, 154 pages
Published October 1980 by Bantam Books (first published 1956)
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I would like to start my review with a question which should be very easy for any serious fan of mysteries. What would happen if you cross this:
with this:
and with this:
Sherlock Holmes
The almost but not quite right answer would be a lazy hippo with good crime-solving skills. The right answer would be Nero Wolfe of cause.

This time a wealthy businessman (only very wealthy people can afford the fees Wolfe charges for his services) from Omaha asked the detective to find his son who disappeared 11 years ago after
Alexis Neal
James R. Harold is looking for his long-lost son. The Missing Persons Bureau thinks it's a hopeless case, but that doesn't stop them from referring Harold to Wolfe (mostly so they can watch Wolfe stub his toe on it). And it certainly seems like a fairly impossible task. Paul Harold is a veritable needle in the haystack that is New York City. But as it turns out, finding him is easy. Overturning his recent conviction for first-degree murder, on the other hand--that will be a challenge. But Wolfe ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Another goodie from the master of detective fiction, Rex Stout. In this book, Wolfe and Archie take on a missing persons case which has a bit of a twist which I won't reveal here. Additionally, a continuing character who only appeared periodically is murdered. Being a Nero Wolfe fanatic, I am extremely biased but if you haven't read this series you are missing something and the interaction between Wolfe and Archie is priceless.
Stephen Osborne
"When a hippopotamus is peeved, it's a lot of peeve." Archie Goodwin, the narrator of the Nero Wolfe tales, has a lovely turn of phrase. His employer does as well, although in a totally different way. When a lawyer suggests there should be a written agreement, Wolfe says,"There won't be. I take the risk of failure; you'll have to take the risk of my depravity." Wolfe often sends me to the dictionary, which isn't a bad thing. I've learned meanings to words I never would have known had that orchid ...more
Another good Wolfe--I never remember this one, but I like the widow and the plot, even if the solution is rushed. And I'll forget them all again in another five years. And it doesn't matter, since I'll read it again and enjoy it.
Perry Whitford
Nero Wolfe unusually decides to take a case gone cold from a 'cold-fish' businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, looking to find his exiled son after eleven years banishment for being wrongly accused of stealing funds from the family hardware company.
Perhaps insulted into action -if anything the slothful Wolfe ever roused himself to could be called by that name- the copious detective fires 'a random shot at an invisible target', planting an add and sending out Archie and Saul to be his bidding.

They re
Pure mid-career bubblegum.

An example of the Nero Wolfe formula in its prime. The premise is contrived, and is obviously worked backward from an idea that Stout had at some point for a story. Think of this as a novel inspired by Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil".

The set-up is the same, and the outcome is comes close to being the same. The trick Stout pulls is finding a client that involves Wolfe in the effort to assist the condemned man, and then contriving a
Alison C
Might as Well Be Dead, by Rex Stout, is another Nero Wolfe novel, this one from 1956. Wolfe is approached by a man who, years ago, accused his son of theft; the son left their Midwest home and headed for New York City, after which the family heard nothing from him. The father has recently learned that the son was not guilty of the crime and wants Wolfe to find him and, hopefully, restore him to the bosom of his family. But when Wolfe investigates, he quickly learns that the son has just been con ...more
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
One of the truly good Archie Goodwin/Nero Wolfe mysteries. It was a pleasure to revisit it.
Steven Meyers

Stout’s long-running riff on Sherlock Holmes is brilliant fun. In some seventy books and novellas written from 1934 to Stout’s death in 1975, Nero Wolfe is the brainy detective, Archie Goodwin his sidekick and housemate who writes up the stories. They are wonderfully readable entertainments, written in impeccably clean and propulsive prose. The usual setting is the great world city that was New York during Wolfe’s career, where Wolfe lives in an old brownstone from which he seldom stirs. He live

Anirban Das

The book was the first Rex Stout novel, featuring Nero Wolfe, I have read. I had heard a lot about the author, high recommendations, which were justified, as he was nominated for the greatest Mystery Writer of the Century, and his series the Best Mystery Series of The Century at Bouchercon 2000, the world's largest mystery convention.
The book starts when Wolfe gets a visit from James Herold asking him to find him his son, Paul Herold. The son was banished from his family and business when he was
Adam Graham
In Might as Well Be Dead, Wolfe is hired by a Nebraska businessman to find his son, Paul Herald. The older Herald had exiled his son eleven years earlier on the belief his son had stolen $11,000 from the business but had since learned that someone else committed the theft. He turns to Wolfe as a last result after having contacted the police and submitting a classified ad to get his attention.

Because Herald had monogramed luggage that he took with him, Wolfe supposed the that Paul retained the sa
"Might As Well Be Dead" is a mystery set in 1956 in New York City. Archie Goodwin's humorous view of events always makes the story fun to read, and the mystery kept me thinking. This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Whodunit was on my suspect list and was guessable, but I didn't put all the pieces together until Wolfe explained it. There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this to fans of humorous historical mysteries.
Nan Silvernail
A father who kicked his son out because he thought the lad stole money from him and his business many years ago comes to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to find him. They find him all righty - on trial for the murder of the husband of a woman he has fallen in love with! Has he really gone that bad? Can Wolfe and Goodwin save him and reunite the lovers and the family?


How unlucky can a guy ge
I'm not as a rule sensitive to feminist issues, but this is the limit. Not one of the characters, and neither, probably, the author, ever supposed that P.H. might be understood not as a Paul Harold, but as a Patricia Halliday or someone like that. Why didn't one call and ask if the advertisement was aimed at her?

That said, I liked everything else about the book.
Shirley Worley
Another very enjoyable session with Nero Wolfe and his loyal assistant, Archie. Set in the mid-1950s, Nero agrees to find the missing son of a wealthy Nebraska businessman, who had gone missing years ago after his father accused him of a large theft. Having now discovered the true culprit, he wants to find his son and make amends. Nero eventually finds his son, only to learn that he has been convicted of murder, a crime for which his lawyer believes was set up. As the case develops and Nero send ...more
Lisa Kucharski
Wolfe takes on a missing person who is found, and has also been convicted of murder. Taking the task to uncover a wrongful conviction as well as reuniting son to family.

In this book one of the team becomes a victim. It's written on the book cover's description. However, as one who is trying to read the books in order, and having had to read the series missing two of them due to waiting for them to get to the library... I discovered in this one the mention of another demise. So, if you have not r
I enjoyed the larger than usual presence of secondary Stout characters, like Saul, Fritz, and Lon, in this mystery about a man wrongly convicted of murdering his love's abusive husband.As usual with Wolfe books, you read for the characters more than plot.
#26 is a fun, quick read. I just loved the descriptions of the players, how they interacted, and how I actually guessed who-dun-it this time. (A rare enough occurrence that I get excited.) I get the impression that Rex Stout actually didn't like women, himself, from this book. The description of the mother of the condemned man was particularly unkind.
That said, i still liked the book as another period piece. Archie's descriptions of the clothes worn, especially by the men, are so vivid. I'm sur
Nero Wolfe is hired to find a man's missing son, but in doing so he becomes wrapped up in trying to clear a man who has been convicted of murder.

This one really kept me guessing as the body count continued to mount. Excellent mystery and some of Wolfe's sacred rules are broken during the course of the investigation.
Audrey Southorn
Well in a way this one was different but it was a good read. I like the character Archie Goodwin he does not pull any punches and is a straight shooter. I like the way he tells the stories almost like doing it first person singular.
A man from Nebraska comes to hire Nero Wolfe to find his long-lost son, Paul Harold. Some years ago they had a falling out when the son was suspected of stealing a lot of money, but now the father knows Paul was innocent and would like to make amends. Archie sets out to investigate and discovers some information which leads him to believe that a man currently on trial for murder, Peter Hayes, is really Paul Harold - and he may have been framed again for this crime!

I found the story engaging and
Kate  K. F.
Might as Well Be Dead is an incredibly compelling Nero Wolfe because one of the main characters is in jail and choosing to not be found. Wolfe is hired by a relative to try and find this person as well as by someone who cares for them. The mystery is complicated but what makes this such a good book is how real all of the characters are and how they have to figure out what they want. I'd recommend this to someone who is curious about Nero Wolfe since the mystery, characters and interactions are w ...more
Book #28 in the Nero Wolfe series. Nero fight the dual challenge of reuniting a man with his son and getting the son out of prison - all without stirring from his W. 35th St. brownstone.

Nero Wolfe series - Nero Wolfe is employed by a Nebraska businessman to locate his missing son. The young man left his family in shame after being accused of embezzling from the family business. Now, after more than a decade, the family learns that the son was falsely accused, and they wish to make good on the m
David Miller
Another tip-top Nero Wolfe story. A cut above the last few books, I think; definitely a return to form. You can never go wrong with any Stout book.
I was fortunate enough to find a pile of Rex Stout books at a used book sale and this was in the mix. More violent and sinister than previous books of his I've read, I still enjoyed the layering of the plot created by Stout. The body count is pretty high but the cast of characters is too, so it all works together in the end. The one thing that struck me about this particular Wolf novel is the no-question-about-it illegal sleuthing done by Archie and Saul. I found myself wondering if I agreed wit ...more
I read one or two Nero Wolfe mysteries when I was young and don't recall thinking they were anything special. Now I think I was just too young to appreciate them at the time. I rediscovered the series a couple of years ago and went on an absolute binge, reading up every last volume on the library shelves, including the ones I had to send them to fetch out of storage. I love the interplay between Nero Wolfe & Archie, and Rex Stout's witty, intelligent writing. I was glad to run across this on ...more
Sharon Eudy Neufeld
good but not great Nero Wolf.

A midwest businessman hires Wolfe to find his son whom he disowned some 11 years earlier. He had believed his son had stolen $28,000 from his business. In 1956, that was enough for two nice houses or 10 nice cars! Now having found he is mistaken, he wants to locate his son and make amends. No Lily Rowan, virtually no orchids, less of Archie's wit than I enjoy, but a more believable denouement that some
What a great, convoluted story! It starts with a missing person who is found by Nero and Archie, who has also just been found guilty of murder, but, of course, he's most likely innocent. In trying to puzzle out the real killer, THREE more murders occur, much to Nero Wolfe's consternation, but, he gets the bad guy/gal in the end.
Quite a good mystery - probably my favourite of the more than half-dozen I've read so far!
This one was okay-not a great as the others. It didn't really hold my attention, and the solution kind of came out of no where.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 2 12 Feb 03, 2015 12:17PM  
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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)
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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