Tom Brosz's Reviews > Fer-de-Lance

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
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Jun 16, 2012

it was amazing
I own a copy

The books in Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series are one of my "comfort food" reads. I can re-read them endlessly. Fortunately my memory is bad enough that, given a year or so, I forget most of the mystery endings and who a lot of the bad guys were.

Fer de Lance is the first book in the Nero Wolfe series, and sets the reader down right in the middle of the Wolfe household, just as though this was the fifteenth book instead of the first. No "origin story" here. You'd think Stout had been writing about these characters for years.

The snappy and humorous delivery of Archie Goodwin, who tells these stories in first person, is a lot of the appeal. Like Holmes without Watson, Wolfe without Archie would end up being mostly annoying. As you read the series, you get the impression that both Wolfe and Archie know this themselves.

Most of the books in the series stand on their own quite well, but there are a few "arcs" that make it worth reading the books in order of publication.

A side note: Rex Stout was known for finishing his books in a single draft, which he then simply submitted for publication. As a writer who has to polish and rewrite over and over again, I'm envious.

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Reading Progress

07/18 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Kyle Steele Do you need to read the books in any order?


message 2: by Tom (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tom Brosz Kyle wrote: "Do you need to read the books in any order?"

Not particularly, but there are enough changes in the series that it helps. There are many online sources that give a list of the books in the order published.


Kyle Steele Tom wrote: "Kyle wrote: "Do you need to read the books in any order?"

Not particularly, but there are enough changes in the series that it helps. There are many online sources that give a list of the books in..."


Thanks for the information. I wasn't sure. I mean, he obviously released the books in a certain order so I assumed that I'd need to read them in that order, but you never know. I'm a big fan of noir and found 8 of these old paper backs at a garage sale for a dollar! Thankfully the first one was included. I'll buy the others if I end up liking him.


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