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If Death Ever Slept
Rex Stout
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If Death Ever Slept (Nero Wolfe #29)

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  1,160 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The legendary Nero Wolfe is hired by a despicable millionaire named Otis Jarrell who is trying to prove that his daughter-in-law is an information-leaking, double-crossing snake. In spite of Wolfe's reluctance, his assistant Archie brashly agrees to perform as Jarrell's personal secretary — under an assumed identity; to gather information about the possible misdeeds of sai
Hardcover, Large Print, 277 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by G. K. Hall & Company (first published 1957)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,610)
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A millionaire came to Nero Wolfe asking him to get a proof his daughter-in-law is - to use his own expression - a snake. He suspects her of selling his business secrets to outsiders, among other things. Usually even Archie Goodwin who is always eager to get a client does not touch such cases with a ten foot pole, but this time he just had fallout with Nero Wolfe and they were not on speaking terms.

So Nero Wolfe knowing Archie would have to impersonate the millionaire's secretary agrees hoping A
Mary Holm
OK, when I was younger, I used to like to read the same books over and over, but these days I try not to do that. There are too many wonderful books waiting for me, taunting me, in my "to be read" pile. However, when it comes to Rex Stout, I make an exception. Visiting with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin is such a pleasure, I can't help going back to them again and again. I have already read every one of the 33 Nero Wolfe books and 39 short stories at least once. Except for the last one. It sits ...more
Alexis Neal
A clash of wills between Wolfe and Archie (compounded by mutual fits of stubbornness) results in Archie masquerading as a secretary in the home of millionaire Otis Jarrell-- a situation that neither Wolfe nor Archie relishes overmuch. Officially, Jarrell hired them to prove that his daughter-in-law stole (and sold) business secrets. But when Jarrell's gun turns up missing and his previous secretary winds up with a hole in the back of his head, the case rapidly escalates into a full-fledged murde ...more
Alison C
A 1957 entry in the long-running Nero Wolfe series, Rex Stout's If Death Ever Slept features more Archie Goodwin and less Nero Wolfe than usual. A wealthy businessman comes to Wolfe to ask him to find proof that his daughter-in-law is a "snake" who is giving bits of business information to his rivals, who then can take advantage of the information and undermine his business. Wolfe sends Archie to the wealthy man's home, a large apartment on two floors, where Archie poses as the man's new secreta ...more
Jacqueline O.
I read all, or almost all the Nero Wolfe mysteries when I was in junior high, having finished reading Nancy Drew. I found this title in a box of old paperbacks, and decided to re-visit the old brownstone on West 35th Street. Somehow, the edition I happen to have is a British printing - which was strange to read to say the least. In amongst all of Archie's slang some of the terms had British spelling. It was weird. But that's only for the edition I found, an American edition shouldn't have that p ...more
"If Death Ever Slept" is a mystery set in 1957 in New York City. Archie Goodwin always has a humorous view of events which makes the mystery fun to read. This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. I guessed some aspects correctly, but whodunit did end up surprising me. Bad assumption on my part. There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this to fans of humorous historical mysteries.
If Death Ever Slept (1957)

This Rex Stout novel begins with a spat between Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. A rich man shows up and asks to hire Archie to move in as his secretary to help catch his daughter-in-law who is “a snake.” Nero considers the offer to piss off Archie and Archie takes the offer to piss off Nero. Archie does and soon is involved in two or three murders, I forget which. There is a ritual denouement scene in most of these novels where Detective Cramer (with his annoying sideki
David Miller
This book takes Nero Wolfe into the 2nd half of the 1950's. As always the plot is fine and the characters are interesting. Stout's take on the 1950's film noir trope of the bad killer woman is as intelligent as you'd expect.
A large cast of unlikeable characters! Archie and Wolfe are having a spitting match, and Archie goes to work outside the brownstone. The office gets a very full house, and even Dol Bonner joins in.
Nero Wolfe and the characters who appear again and again in his stories make you want to read more and more of his work.
Mark Harding
Quite strange. The hero detective never leaves the house, for starters. But there’s something children’s novelish about the food, Daddy Nero’s routines, the same characters living in the big boarding school of Nero’s house. In the 50’s was it normal to have these extended families living together? (such as Jarell’s). Maybe it was.

I have no idea why Susan wasn’t ‘a snake’ in the opinion of Nero and Archie. There must be some subtle terminology I’m missing.

I read the book through quickly enough bu
Nero Wolfe's latest client is a big millionaire investor, what we'd call a venture capitalist today. He's convinced his daughter-in-law is stealing inside info and sharing it with his rivals. He calls her a snake, and he wants Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to get rid of her. Archie moves into the millionaire's penthouse disguised as the new secretary to get the dirt on her. But he hasn't turned up anything when the former secretary turns up murdered. Wolfe needs to find out what happened, and soon.

Jan 20, 2013 Sarah rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sarah by: Livia P
I liked the idea of 1950s NYC's answer to Sherlock Holmes, but I didn't really like this novel. Maybe I picked the wrong one to start with. But I didn't care about the characters, and the mystery seemed pretty pointless and was solved in a boring, unconvincing way.

However...check out some of the foods they ate during this book:

- shad roe with créole sauce
- bread triangles fried in anchovy butter
- "hedgehog omelet"
- avocado, whipped with sugar and lime juice and green chartreuse
- fresh strawber
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
A good mystery, but to paraphrase Nero Wolfe, the clients really are a repulsive lot.
it entertains me when archie goes undercover as the client's employee, especially when archie gets to interact with the ladies.
The mystery in this one is just so-so, but Archie was a star and kept me totally entertained. I think I am in love with Archie! And, I definitely want him to take me dancing.

Fritz's menus were a bit on the wild side in this one - avacado whipped with sugar and lime juice and green chartreuse (whatever that is), shad roe with creaole' sauce, fresh strawberry omelet, hedgehog omelets (I hope that is just a nickname for something else), bread fried in anchovy butter. He is certainly original, as al
Loved this one! Really Loved this one! Great mystery-obnoxious suspects-just a lot of fun. Nero sounded very Falstaffian in this one.
#29 in the Nero Wolfe series.

Nero Wolfe series - Millionaire Otis Jarrell can't even trust his family, it seems. He hires a reluctant Nero Wolfe to find out if his daughter-in-law is double-crossing him. Wolfe and Archie encounter a rogue's gallery of Jarrells and associates and discover one, then two, men killed by the old man's gun. But even Wolfe's distaste for everyone involved doesn't prevent him from assembling the guests and masterfully declaring - to everyone's surprise - "whodunit."
Nev Thomas
Usual Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe fare.A good whodunnit
I'm not sure how to read this series--am I supposed to be paying close attention to the clues to solve the crime or not? Though it was a tangle of suspects and details, it wasn't very interesting--perhaps a result of it being #29 the formula was pretty stale. So, didn't love it, didn't hate it and maybe I'll come across one of the more famous ones in the series in the future and see if they're more interesting.
Nan Silvernail
Archie Goodwin goes undercover as a rich man's secretary at his home to find out if his Daughter-In-Law is a snake or not. Soon strange things begin to happen. A rug makes a robbery (yes, you read that right!) and then the secretary before Archie makes a return visit and is soon dead. With a daughter who wrote a poem about shooting a squirrel this may be one of the strangest cases Nero Wolfe has ever looked into.
Vicki Cline
Archie has to go undercover at a rich man's house as his secretary in order to find out if the man's daughter-in-law is plotting against him. After a gun is stolen from the house, a couple of people turn up murdered and the police think Archie knows more than he's telling. It's interesting how all these mysteries are different and yet still very similar, at least in structure.
Aug 10, 2008 Heather rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nero Wolfe addicts
Shelves: mystery, audiobooks
This was not my favorite. It wasn't bad, but it just wasn't the same caliber I'm used to. I'm working my way through the entire series, but not reading them in any particular order. I chose this one this time because the blurb promised lots of witty Archie Goodwin banter and entertaining interactions with this volume's cast of characters, but was a little disappointed.
Lisa Kucharski
This was one of those slippery mysteries that started with Wolfe and Archie being snarky toward each other. Next thing they know, they are trying to find out who spilled business info and end up having to solve a murder (then 2 murders.)

The best thing about this mystery is the description of the people. Wow.
3.5 stars! Another engaging, amusing mystery with the best narrator ever, Archie Goodwin, the best adversaries in the police force, interesting plot/characters and the massive brain to solve the whodunit, Nero Wolfe. I would never say "pfui" at any of these books by the inimitable Rex Stout!
This one was okay. Rex Stout's later books just aren't as good, but this one wasn't painful to read. I did really like the old maid daughter's poem about shooting the squirrel. I felt that listing where everyone was and when in the form he did was tiresome, so I didn't read it. A waste of space.
A typical Nero Wolfe mystery, with the usual cast of characters. This is not one of my favorites. I also found it was harder to follow parts of the story on audiotape than in the hardcopy book (example-- a sequential listing of all the characters' alibis for a three day period).
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think this is a series better enjoyed as a TV show than as a novel. It was slow and boring. Even after the first murder was committed, I still wasn’t hooked.

Full review here:
Beth Stillman Blaha
This one was fun with all the characters involved. Its like Too Many Women when Archie goes to be among his clients but Nero features more in this one than he did in that one. Typical fun Nero novel.
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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) Too Many Cooks (Nero Wolfe, #5) Some Buried Caesar (Nero Wolfe, #6) The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe, #2) Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe, #9)

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“All there was to it, he was in a panic. He was scared stiff that any minute a fact might come bouncing in that would force him to send me down to Cramer bearing gifts, and there was practically nothing on earth he wouldn't rather do, even eating ice cream with cantaloupe or horseradish on oysters.” 3 likes
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