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Trio for Blunt Instruments (Nero Wolfe #39)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  1,284 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Nero Wolfe, a genius at detection, prefers gourmet food and prize-winning orchids to damsels in distress. But at the prodding of his confidential assistant, Archie Goodwin, he opens his office door to three beautiful women, who usher in three of the most intriguing cases of Wolfe's career. With them come three baffling clues -- a shoeshine, an ear of corn, and a bloodstain ...more
Paperback, 185 pages
Published February 28th 1979 by Bantam Books (first published 1963)
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Apr 14, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The anthology consists of three novellas:

Kill Now - Pay Later.
Nero Wolfe's favorite bootblack witnessed a crime and he hinted at it to the detective while working on his shoes, but he did not give any details. He was later killed, but the police decided it was a suicide, so it is up to Wolfe to prove it was a murder and find the culprit. I need to remind you at the time the book was written bootblacks were a big deal: just take a look at the picture above for the proof. I will give extra bonus p
Bill  Kerwin

Not Stout's best.

The first of these three novellas "Kill Now--Pay Later"--in which Wolfe's bootblack witnesses a murder and is subsequently murdered himself--is a rehash of the typical Stout corporate crime tale, and actually contains the cliche of a victim writing his murderer's name in blood. (Stout was almost eighty by this time; maybe he just didn't give a damn.)

The second tale "Murder is Corny"--in which Wolfe solves a crime by meditating on the unorthodox way his weekly delivery of gourm
Jill Hutchinson
If you see that I have read a Nero Wolfe book by Rex Stout you can bet that it gets a high rating. This series and the characters are my favorites of classic mystery. It is not so much the plotting of the mystery which sometimes is a bit weak as much as the ambiance of life in the rather luxurious old brownstone with Wolfe, his assistant/confidant Archie Goodwin, and Fritz, the best cook in NYC. The stories are eccentric and sometimes humorous and they hold your interest from beginning to end. T ...more
Nov 18, 2016 MK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
My first Nero Wolfe and still my favourite. I fell in love with Archie Goodwin through this book, as well as discovered an excellent way to cook corn-on-the-cob. The mysteries are straightforward but interesting, peopled with fun characters. Overall, Stout's strength was the short story and this showcases him at his peak.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
While not Stout's best work, these three novellas do keep the pot a-boiling (pun intended). I learned to oven-roast corn from the story "Murder is Corny", which I first read as a reprint in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine back in the 1970s. We tried Wolfe's method with fresh-picked sweetcorn from the backyard garden and it was unbelievable. The recipe is the best part of the story--but it's definitely worth it. Angels sing softly in the distance when you eat corn roasted this way.

"Kill Now, Pay La
Jan 02, 2016 Maya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Обичам случаите на Ниро Улф и се радвам, че издателство Ера е решило да пусне поредицата на Рекс Стаут, която си е класика в криминалния жанр. "Кръвта ще покаже" е четвъртата книга от нея и обединява повестите "Убий сега, плати после", "Случаят "Сладка царевица" и "Кръвта ще покаже", в превод на Юлия Чернева.
Имам обаче сериозни забележки относно оформлението и на тази книга, и на цялата поредица. Ако читателят случайно забележи, че на гръбчето на книгата му стои число, може евентуално да се сет
Sep 21, 2010 Ginna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
mom and bob have gotten me into these silly books~ makes you say things like "pfui!" and wishing i had an orchid room at the top of my brownstone home..
Jennifer Berg
Feb 10, 2017 Jennifer Berg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? I love Nero. I love Archie. Two great detectives at their best. (and the banter!)
Nan Silvernail
Mar 05, 2012 Nan Silvernail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kill Now - Pay Later
A chunk of petrified wood started the murder. A push through a high window finished it. Nero Wolfe's Grecian shoe-shiner is accused. His lovely daughter appeals for help. Wolfe must solve this or lose the best and most punctual bootblack he has ever employed. Intolerable!

Murder is Corny
A length of iron pipe ended the delivery man's life, so Wolfe's special order of fresh picked corn never arrived. Worse, the farmer's lovely daughter, semi-engaged to the deceased told the poli
Monica Willyard
Sep 19, 2016 Monica Willyard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nls, mysteries
Three great short mystery stories set in the sixties.
Oct 24, 2012 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#39 in the Nero Wolfe series. 3 novellas featuring the rotund detective:
"Kill Now — Pay Later" has Nero's bookblack accused of murder and suicide. His daughter begs Wolfe to clear her father's name and tells him her father had referred to Wolfe as "a great man, the greatest in the world." How could Wolfe resist.
"Murder Is Corny" has the deliveryman of Wolfe's weekly shipment of sweet corn bludgeoned to death at his prior stop and the police have found his notebook with Archie Goodwin's name list
Brenda Margriet
Critics have said some of the best NW's stories are the novellas, but I've always preferred the longer novels. That being said, I've never met a NW/AG story I haven't liked.

"Kill Now — Pay Later" - Nero is furious when his bootblack is killed - now he has to find a new one. So when the dead man's daughter asks for help, it doesn't take Archie much prodding to get him involved.

"Murder Is Corny" - Once again, Nero is affronted when his delivery of corn is completely wrong - never mind the fact the
Aug 23, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three novellas and the first "Kill Now - Pay Later" was just plain bad. It was formulaic with Archie having to supply the tired plot of having difficulty rounding up the suspects into Wolfe's office. It felt like the characters were A, B and C with the names inserted when the story was finished.

The other two novellas, Murder is Corny" and "Blood Will Tell", extends the partnership of Wolfe and Goodwin, by having the suspicion fall Archie with Wolfe having to decide to extend himself or not and t
May 14, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three stories in this volume -- "kill now--pay later," "murder is corny," and"blood will tell," with the middle one being the weakest of the bunch. The stories are grouped due to the murderers' use of blunt instruments to do the deeds, but there are much stronger links binding them--the reputations of young women, and, in the first two, the relationships good and bad between fathers and daughters. As always, Archie is both astute and gallant, both with the players and his readers. Ther ...more
Dec 12, 2012 Jessi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun trio of mysteries from the always awesome Rex Stout.
Kill Now- Pay Later -- Nero's shoeshine man may be involved in a murder. He was the first on the scene and the murdered man was involved with the shoeshine's daughter. But when the shoeshine ends up dead, Wolfe believes that the daughter might be next.
Murder is Corny -- Murder once again comes to Wolfe's house when a girl that Archie once dated discovers a body and claims that Archie was the man she was supposed to meet. Her father supplied
Ronnie Justice
Oct 20, 2014 Ronnie Justice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you haven't read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe you should. If you have there is no need to keep reading this review.

Stout's work spans decades and reviewing each Nero Wolfe story is a little unnecessary and I intend to publish this same review as I finish the volume it appears with.

First, they all hinge on the amiable narration of Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's assistant. Second, Wolfe rarely leaves his house. Third, the mysteries are usually solved not by chance or obscure knowledge of some hideous poiso
Vicki Cline
May 23, 2010 Vicki Cline rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-mysteries
Another set of three novellas, no one stands out. I keep wondering why Inspector Cramer keeps pulling Archie in for questioning, holding him overnight in many cases, when he knows full well, after having been involved with dozens and dozens of cases with Wolfe, that Wolfe is always right and anyway, Archie is not going to give him anything useful. I guess there wouldn't be any conflict without Cramer's amnesia.
Jul 18, 2013 Mike rated it it was ok
My first Rex Stout read. Mildly entertaining, quirky character.

11..He thought she was going to flop, and a woman off the rail is not only unwelcome, she is not to be borne.
17..Wolfe to woman who offered wad of bills to hire him:"Your money. Take it. It is, as you say, nothing for a job like this, and if I am quixotic enough to to undertake it I don't want a tip. Archie (his Watson) "It will take dexterity. Your intelligence guided by experience."
May 21, 2011 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
There are a few good things about weaker memory as you age: you forget plots quicker so you can reread your favorite mysteries more often.

This is good Wolfe. Testy Wolfe and testier Archie, sufficient Cramer, pretty good plots, Wolfe stays home, some well formed characters for short works (especially the last, Blood Will Tell). For some reason I gave it a 3 before; definitely a four.

Perfect reading for convalescence from holiday flu.
Kate  K. F.
Trio for Blunt Instruments is a classic Wolfe collection with a mix of stories that are sad, tricky and charming. As I write up this review I can't remember any of the stories in particular which means it wasn't one of the more memorable collections. Stout has written so many Wolfe stories and I always enjoy them since I love going back into that particular vision of New York. A good read but not a stand out.
Jan 05, 2008 Billy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nero-wolfe
The last trio of novellas published during Rex Stout's life ("Death Times Three" was published posthumously, but the stories were much older): "Kill Now - Pay Later", "Murder is Corny" and "Blood Will Tell".

The first two tales are classic Archie & Wolfe. I felt the third one lacked the usual humor and energy.
Dec 24, 2013 JZ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, own
I particularly liked the last one. Yes, again, I should have gotten it. So what? I like all the stories of Rex Stout, but some are better than others. The one about the corn didn't move me, on screen or in print. So what? I still get to spend some time in the presence of Archie and Mr. Wolfe. It's all good.
Stout nagu Stout ikka. Nero Wolfe ja Archie Goodwin, ei miskit erilist. Sama ladus stiil nagu tavaliselt. Tõlge ka täitsa kobe. Konkreetse üllitise keskmisest suuremaks kasuks kõneleb see, et kokku on kogutud kolm lühijuttu, mis tähendab, et linnas ühistranspordiga ringi kolistades jõuab parasjagu ühe lookese päevas läbi lugeda.
Stephen Osborne
May 28, 2016 Stephen Osborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three stories, three deaths by blunt instruments. Not Stout's best, but there's still some fun here. Murder is Corny is the best of the three, with Archie the suspect in a murder investigation. Wolfe has to take the case on in order not to lose his sidekick.
G Steve
Aug 11, 2008 G Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contains one of my favorite Nero Wolfe stories: Murder is Corny. It has everything: a girl, Archie being grumby, Nero being contankerous, Fritz whinging, dynamite, and the recipe for Sweet Corn.
Nancy Butts
Jun 29, 2016 Nancy Butts rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
#39 in the Nero Wolfe series, and another trilogy made up of Kill Now - Pay Later, Murder is Corny, and Blood Will Tell. In the second novella, I learned yet another cooking lesson from Wolfe–that corn on the cob should never be boiled!
Archie Pieplow
Mar 31, 2013 Archie Pieplow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rex Stout is one of my favorite authors and I love the Nero Wolfe series. Thanks to a brain injury I don't have a very good short-term memory, so I can re-read a mystery over and over again and it's always like reading it the first time.
Sep 16, 2010 Astraia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of Nero Wolfe short stories that are perhaps the best of the orchid loving detective.
Courtney Golden
Jul 03, 2012 Courtney Golden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
rereading the classics
Jun 04, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only increases my admiration for Rex Stout, if that's possible.
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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)

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“More people saying what they believe would be a great improvement. Because I often do I am unfit for common intercourse.-Nero Wolfe in "Blood Will Tell” 4 likes
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