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The Final Deduction

(Nero Wolfe #35)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  1,850 ratings  ·  111 reviews
When the seemingly safe return of an abducted millionaire ends in his murder in his own home, Nero Wolfe sends Archie Goodwin to do his usual legwork, while Wolfe uncovers corruption and greed among Manhattan's elite. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 144 pages
Published March 1st 1992 by Crimeline (first published October 13th 1961)
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Bill Kerwin

A rich woman comes to tell Wolfe that her husband's been kidnapped. The ransom is paid, the husband quickly released, but soon two people are dead--and Wolfe and Archie begin to suspect the kidnapping is not what it seems.

Not a particularly memorable Wolfe adventure, but still entertaining.
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wealthy woman came to Nero Wolfe asking him for help. Her husband was kidnapped for ransom:
Well in this case a tiny sum of just half a million dollars was requested; may I remind you that the book was written in the early sixties when this kind of money could buy a lot of happiness. She was obviously was afraid to notify the police and Nero Wolfe seemed to be the obvious choice.

I have yet to see any story from the series without at least one dead body. So judging from the beginning I was very
Jill Hutchinson
I will say the same thing that I always say about Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books..........fantastic!! It is not the plot that is the attraction but the interaction between Wolfe and Archie that makes these books so appealing. The plot here concerns a rich woman's husband who has been kidnapped and Wolfe is hired to get his back safely. He does but that is when the story takes a sudden turn to the deadly. Lots of fun.

If you haven't tried Rex Stout and you are a mystery fan, get busy and find one i
Mark Baker
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2007
Nero is hired by actress Althea Vail when her current husband is kidnapped. She pays the ransom and everything seems to be going well - until someone is murdered.

I'm not super familiar with this series, something I should definitely change. I found Nero a little egotistical at times, but it certainly helps that we are spending time away from him thanks to Archie's narration and trips outside Nero's home. The plot is fast paced with plenty of twists to keep me engaged. The suspects are a bit weak
Pamela Shropshire
Another solid installment in the Wolfe & Archie adventures. Wolfe is originally hired by Mrs. Vail, a wealthy woman whose husband, Jimmy Vail, has been kidnapped. She brings him Wolfe the ransom note, the writer of which identifies himself as Mr. Knapp. She refuses to tell him the instructions she received on paying the ransom of $500,000 which is pocket change to her, apparently. So the note itself, a typewritten one, is the only clue. However, it turns out to be moot; the husband returns home ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Always a delight to discover yet another Nero Wolfe I haven't read yet. Stout has written so many novels with our beloved misanthropic detective of size, bless him, that it will be a long time before I will have read all of them.

Brief synopsis: A woman comes to Wolfe, a very, very rich woman I might add, but aren't they all?-to offer Wolfe about five years' salary worth of green backs to find her kidnapped husband.

If you've read any Wolfe, you know the routine. Wolfe and the lady argue back and
Vicki Cline
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nero-wolfe
A rich woman whose husband has been kidnapped comes to Wolfe, not to find her husband, but to make sure he's returned safely. Wolfe has a notice put in the paper addressed to the kidnapper to make sure of this outcome, which does happen. But then the husband turns up dead the day after he returns. Was it murder or an accident? The son of the woman next hires Wolfe to find the ransom, which his mother has told him he can keep if he finds it, with Wolfe getting one-fifth as a fee. How he finds the ...more
Cindy Vincent
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Quintessential Nero Wolfe. I always enjoy the interplay between Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe, representing the young and old, the wisecracking and the serious. This book especially grabbed my attention, since we had three good, solid suspects early on in the story. And though I found it a smidge on the easy side to figure out, I didn't have the motive exactly right, and the ending was perfectly satisfying. Though in all honesty, I don't really read these books for the mystery, ...more
COUNTDOWN: Mid-20th Century North American Crime
BOOK 237 (of 250)
There is a good reason the 2 library systems I utilize (City, County) has one copy of this book. Read on, if you will:
HOOK - 1 stars: >>>"Your name, please?"<<This is a sub-standard opener: a woman goes to Nero Wolfe's office for help, as her husband has been kidnapped but, naturally, she can't go to the police. But by 1961, we have 2 overused cliches here. And nothing much happens for several chapters.
PACE - 1 star: Stupendously
Kevin Findley
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, rex-stout
A solid Nero Wolfe book with a twist that only becomes obvious at the very end. Exactly where it should be, so the reader can say "Oh yeah! That is obvious!"

Archie Goodwin should certainly tie, or even beat, Dr. Watson as the best sidekick / legman in detective literature. OK, maybe they both come in second to Velda over at Hammer Investigations.

We also got to see Saul and the other West 35th Street Irregulars in this adventure, and that always makes for a better tale. If you enjoy the world's
This review of the Final Deduction by Rex Stout may be a bit sketchy. I listened to this one as a book on CD during my road trip this past weekend and I've mentioned before how much harder it is for me to do a full review when I listen. I just sit back and enjoy the performance. Speaking of...Michael Prichard does an excellent job bringing Nero Wolfe and, especially, Archie Goodwin to life.

The story opens with Archie losing a little bet with himself. Althea Vail, wealthy, society lady, arrives a
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
While the outcome was rather predictable, I was so pleased to discover a Nero Wolfe book I had never read or listened to that I was disposed to be generous. Rex Stout rings the changes on the old home-grown kidnapping trope, but even that wasn't enough to damp my pleasure in the little things. Which is good, because when we are told the reason for it all...well I just sat there, saying, "What? What kind of reason is that?" (It is, however, one Wolfe himself can relate to.)

Wolfe never leaves the
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#35 in the Nero Wolfe series. This is one of the instances in which I wish Goodreads had a rating system with .5 star gradations. Almost all of the Nero Wolfe mysteries have received a 4 star rating (The Black Mountain (1954) got 5 stars); This 1961 entry is above average and I would like to give it a 4.5 rating - but not a 5 (I give that to fewer than 1% of the books I read).

Nero Wolfe is hired by Althea Vail to insure her kidnapped husband, Jimmy, is returned alive. Wolfe and Archie become co
Cameron Toney
The Final Deduction is, I'm afraid, not Nero Wolfe at his very best.
It sets up promisingly enough. Theres the kidnapped husband of an older wife, who just so happens to be quite rich. Theres a whimsically named kidnapper, and a whole host of people who look ripe for pinning the crime on. Its all a very good set up. And then it just sort of flops its way through the rest of the story.
I wish this had committed to its plot a little more thoroughly. The mystery only just hangs together in the end,
Lisa Kucharski
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stout hitting his stride in this book. The characters are vivid and again, Wolfe and Archie go as far as they can legally before solving murder! Great dialogue here as well. I feel that in this book, both Archie and Wolfe know each other well enough that they need each other, and even though Archie pesters, Wolfe realizes that the gamble Archie sees, is worth it. And it is.
Jeffrey Marks
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had been saving back this particular Wolfe book for a some special occasion and I decided that my 55th b'day was as good an event as any. The book lived up to my expectations. Unlike some of the cases, the deductions were slowly revealed so that at the end Wolfe only needs to resolve one issue, but it's incredibly well done. Satisfactory, he might say! ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
This was definitely not my favorite of the Nero Wolfe books. I thought the plot weak, and Archie not up to his usual standard of wit. Glad it was a library book.
Diane K.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It's a little different in several ways.

First, the kidnapping. There's only one other reference to a kidnapping case, in the first book, FER-DE-LANCE (Goldsborough makes it the subject of one of his books). Technically, Wolfe and Archie are not involved in the kidnapping per se; they are on standby just in case the victim doesn't get safely home. Essentially, Wolfe has been hired to flex his detectival muscles and state: "Ignore me at your peril." The job is not as si
Lukasz Pruski
"As I helped myself to clams I held my breath because if you smell them, mixed with shallots, chives, chervil, mushrooms, bread crumbs, sherry, and dry white wine, you take so many that you don't leave enough room for the duckling roasted in cider with Spanish sauce as revised by Wolfe and Fritz, leaving out the carrot and parsley and putting anchovies in."

Ms. Althea Vail, a rich socialite and a retired actress, offers Nero Wolfe an exorbitant fee if he manages to get her kidnapped husband back,
Rick Mills
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Major characters:

Althea Vail, wealthy client
Jimmy Vail, her husband, a kidnap victim
Ralph Purcell, her brother
Margot Tedder, her daughter
Noel Tedder, her son
Andrew Frost, her attorney
Dinah Utley, her secretary
"Mr. Knapp", alias of the kidnapper
Nero Wolfe, private detective
Archie Goodwin, private detective

Locale: New York City

Synopsis: Wealthy Althea Vail approaches private detective Nero Wolfe to take on a case. Her husband, Jimmy Vale, has been kidnapped. She has received a ransom note from "Mr
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a real treat, thanks to a completely different type of plot - kidnapping AND murder! We haven't seen Wolfe take on a kidnapping case yet, and this one was very interesting and twisty. Add in a treasure hunt and I dare to say that this book is unique in the Nero Wolfe corpus (although I haven't quite finished the series yet so I could be wrong :) ).

I've started collecting witty sayings, mostly from Archie, but sometimes from Wolfe, too. Here are a couple from this novel.

Wolfe: "You have
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Grade = 85% - B

Published 1961. - 140 pp.

I really love this series of books which I just discovered sometime in the present decade (2010’s). They are especially handy when I need just a pocket book to tote along on travels where I might have a bit of waiting.

Rex Stout wrote these (33 novels and 39 novellas and short stories) and published them between 1934 and his death in 1975. Since then Robert Goldsborough has continued the series with the approval of Stout’s estate. In them, the characters
Virginia Tican
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Jimmy Vail, the much younger second husband of millionairess Althea Vail was kidnapped, Mrs. Vail went to Nero Wolfe for help. Wolfe did what he had to do given the facts? and/or information? given to him by the victim's wife. Then Vail was released by his kidnappers? after the half million ransom was paid BUT the detectives were already suspicious of Mrs. Vail's secretary's involvement of the kidnap plot, which was further enforced when she was murdered... then Jimmy Vail was also dead app ...more
Christopher Rush
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nero-wolfe
This fine adventure feels like a slightly longer short story - the pace is among its strengths, for sure. It could have worked very well trimmed a bit to a short story, but it doesn't have any obvious "that's not necessary" bits in there except for a few character moments that add the good flavor we enjoy from this series. The hook into this story is fresh, which is impressive considering how late this is in the series - it's a kidnapping this time, not a murder, but that's not how it ends. Some ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For me, even a mediocre Nero Wolfe mystery is a worthwhile read because I enjoy Wolfe and Archie so much. I can't pinpoint why I found this book less entertaining than most of the others in the series, but it just was less appealing to me.

As one of the later books (#35 as noted above), it doesn't have as much of the "old New York" charm as some of the books from the 1940's or very early "50's. I enjoy Archie dancing at the Flamingo and flirting with the endless supply of pretty girls in a Rex St
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are no surprises, here, with Rex Stout's 1961 novel "The Final Deduction (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 35)." It's the 35th novel in his "Nero Wolfe" series and, once again, it's very well done, with excellent characters, wonderful dialog, and good pacing. I will note, though, that I found the tone of this book to be just slightly different from earlier books: Archie's just a bit more independent and Nero Wolfe is actually just a tad more polite than normal. But, for anyone who's read the prev ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Stafford
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! The first Nero Wolfe I have ever read. Rex Stout has a great style that I loved and was close to my personal perfect writer, Stephen King in his style. The only complaint is Wolfe's thesaurus-like dialogue that I would have to look up from time to time. Lots of twists and turns and a lot of characters to remember but I kept them all clear in my head! Archie Goodwin is the best and I loved his narration through out. Highly recommended! ...more
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Nero Wolfe is asked to help guarantee the safe return of a woman’s kidnapped husband. Soon people start to die and Archie feels obligated to get involved while Wolfe would, as always, prefer to read a book.

While it was fairly easy to guess who was responsible I always love the interaction between the regular characters.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will always like this one because I have read enough true crime to think one plot point was extremely unlikely... and then it turned out that the being unlikely was DELIBERATE! I also always enjoy Archie the expert typist.
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Rex Todhunter Stout (1886 – 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 Best Mystery Series of t

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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