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Plot It Yourself (Nero Wolfe #32)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,435 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
In this novel, considered one of the liveliest Rex Stout titles, detective Nero Wolfe delves into the literary world to discover why a group of distinguished authors and publishers has been framed and accused of plagiarism . . . and more. Listeners who are curious about publishing will enjoy a host of barbed stereotypes: suffering publishers, greedy agents, depressed autho ...more
Audio, Abridged
Published January 6th 2003 by Audio Partners (first published October 30th 1959)
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Mar 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the big mess that is modern intellectual property laws. Do not believe me? Take a look at the following as an example:

These laws were not any easier to understand almost 60 years ago when this book was first published. A group of publishers and authors came to Nero Wolfe for a consultation. Somebody devised a good blackmailing scheme involving bestselling books. Basically as soon as a book reaches bestselling status a person - different every time - comes out and claims he/she submitt
Bill  Kerwin

Nero Wolfe is hired to get to the bottom of a suspicious series of plagiarism suits in which established authors are being framed and successfully sued because of the "evidence" of planted plagiarized manuscripts manuscripts. Wolfe determines all these manuscripts are the work of one person, and soon the bodies (of the supposed original authors of those manuscripts) start piling up..

This novel is notable for its treatment of the interdependent yet hostile relationship between author and publish
Dec 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Some light reading after a couple of tomes. Not Stout's best--Wolfe commits an egregious oversight that a dedicated Wolfite just can't credit. Archie doesn't turn Rowcliff inside out. And the byplay among the regulars doesn't measure up. But mediocre Stout is still an enjoyable couple of hours.

Since it's about the publishing world, one supposes an insider could identify at least some of the characters.
Jennifer Stevenson
This is one of my favorite Nero Wolfe books. The food in it is only so-so, but the story, where (SPOILER ALERT) an author is the villain, and everyone in it is an author or a publisher, and all the clues are literary, is irresistible to me. Wolfe pulls a mutiny early on, then he gets over it. The killer keeps staying ahead of him to the point where he's roaring.

I always say a good series is not about whodunit but about the relationships of the main continuing characters. The question in these bo
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
As one of the later of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels Plot It Yourself has been said by some to not be one of the best, however I think it stands up alongside Some Buried Caesar, The Doorbell Rang, and Death of a Doxy. There is some fine prose as to be expected by Stout and all the desirable cast is present including Sal Panzer, Orrie Cather, Fred Durkin, and even Theodolinda "Dol" Bonner (the female detective who appears occasionally in the Wolfe stories and once in her own novel The Hand in the ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As usual, not a wasted word. I was completely flummoxed, as were Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin through most of this one. Three times Archie directly addressed me the reader and admitted that the answer may seem obvious to me, but that it was much more difficult when he and Wolfe were actually living it, as opposed to having it all organized and laid out between the covers of a book. Of course at no point did I actually have a clue. And when the clues were finally revealed, I had missed all of th ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite a few of the Nero Wolfe mysteries are not really 'solvable' in the same way e.g. Agatha Christie's mysteries are, but this one definitely is 'solvable', which is part of the reason why I liked it a lot; the fact that I did manage to figure it out may also have been a contributing factor to my giving the book five stars. A very enjoyable read.
Jul 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not an actual mystery, more of a premise that Stout had for the perfect crime. To demonstrate this the bulk of the novel is a chronicle of frustration, with bodies piling up and no way forward in the case. Up to the point of resolution these frustrations reveal new sides to the business relationship of Archie and Nero, with Archie being the one who is creative, making decisions, and recognizing when some path is a dead end, while Nero only emerges from the background at the point when he pinpoin ...more
E.M. Lynley
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, mystery
Another Nero Wolfe story set in the world of publishing, this one revolving around plagiarism. As a writer, it's a topic close to my heart, and the story takes an interesting perspective on the issue, because it's a form of reverse plagiarism. A set of authors are accused of plagiarism and sued, to end up settling the cases for large sums of money. In fact, it's all a scam and the accusers are all in on a conspiracy.

As a mystery this one falls short of Stout's best efforts. The culprit is fairly
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, mine, audible
Oh Rex, why couldn't you have written 100 more?

In this volume plagiarism plagues the NY literary industry in the 1950s, and Nero leaves the brownstone, if only briefly. For a man who never leaves his home, I seem to gravitate to every book in which he does.
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little spoiler - Wolfe denies himself beer for several days. That alone is a sufficient reason to read this story.
Anil Shrivastava
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typically wonderful and entertaining

True to the form, the whole cast is there. A good mystery to the end. Not up to the best of the series.
Adam Graham
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Plot It Yourself, Rex Stout follows the old writing axiom of, "Write what you know."

A joint writers-publishers committee turns to Wolfe to stop a plagiarism swindle. Four authors created successful novels and plays were sued by others writers who claiming that the successful works were stolen from them. The unknowns all cashed in with settlements or court victories which cost writers and publishers in money and reputation.

Wolfe gets hold of the fraudulent manuscripts and by comparing the styl
Chris Collins
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the last couple of years I've been reading nothing but "libertarian porn"; books on economics, history, sociopolitical philosophy, heck, even sci-fi, by various authors and representing various viewpoints. As a welcome palate cleanser, I was happy to find that a new batch of Nero Wolfe mysteries had hit the ebook shelves. The deciding factor in my making the leap from pbooks to ebooks was Nero Wolfe. I had found out about Rex Stout, ironically, shortly before the brilliant and, as often is t ...more
Yosef Shapiro
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A classic Nero Wolfe mystery. This one was average. It does not really highlight any brilliant deduction by Wolfe. A fun read. But, not one of the best in the series.
Stout, Rex. PLOT IT YOURSELF. (1959). ***.
Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are engaged by a committee of writers and publishers to look into the rash of charges of plagerism that has beset their industry. It’s a new crime for Wolfe and his assistant, and they have trouble coming to grips with what the job actually entails. Once that is over, Wolfe embarks on a critical study of the books in question – the published edition and the comparable book offered up as the one having been copied from. He f
Alison C
In Plot It Yourself, by Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe is hired by a group of authors and publishers to discover the identity of a plagarist and blackmailer: over a period of five years, a number of authors and playwrights have published novels and plays to good response, only to have someone claim that they were the original authors of the storyline, idea, characters, etc., in short story form. When those short stories are found in various offices and other places where the targeted author could have se ...more
Tristan MacAvery
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like so many of Stout's brilliant works, the secret to this mystery is carefully placed in plain sight, gently obfuscated by a series of facts that only seem to be unconnected or irrelevant. When the ending is revealed (no spoilers!), it's not so much merely obvious as it is clear all the way back to page one. Stout is hailed as "The Grand Master of Detection." I would add that he may have been the creator of the "facepalm." With each book, I smack myself, crying, "OF COURSE!"

A quick note of amu
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fiction, 2012
Loved this book! I think it's because Rex Stout had obvious fun writing it, and as a writer and long-time reader of Stout's, I enjoyed the plot very much. He took swipes at publishers; he gleefully exploited the endless author-publisher tension; he was self-deprecating in his choice of pet words by "X" like "aver" (I chortled over that one because it is most definitely Stout's pet substitute for "said" in many of his books); and the ending was stellar.

Oh sure, typos were liberally sprinkled thro
Alexis Neal
Aug 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Nero Wolfe solves a mystery by reading books--what's not to love?

In addition to providing a bit of an inside look into the world or writers and publishers, Stout lambasts false plagiarism claims in what may well be a cathartic piece for him. At any rate, it makes me wonder if he or any of his acquaintances were ever falsely accused of plagiarism. It also makes me wonder about the way I paragraph writing. (If you read the book, you'll understand).

Archie doesn't get to be quite as witty this tim
Christopher Rush
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nero-wolfe
My wife and I listened to this during a long car trip years ago, so moments of it felt vaguely familiar, but I could not remember any of the important things. It's nothing to brag about, considering it isn't a very long novel, but I read this in one day; I say that not to brag but to emphasize how gripping it is, especially after the first shocking twist about 24% into the novel. It starts out rather dry, admittedly, and even Wolfe is bored by what is being offered him at the beginning, but once ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy, detective, reviewed
My first Nero Wolfe, I read it because it was available from my library as an ebook. I love the characters, and the narrative style is superb. I absorbed a lot about life in New York in the late 1950s---good restaurants, where to find cabs, dwellings in different neighbourhoods, and so on. There was humor throughout: the analysis of the style of the three plagiarized stories, Nero Wolfe giving up beer and meat until he solved the case (the characters were new to me, but I picked up enough to kno ...more
By new I've read most of the Rex Stout fiction featuring Nero Wolfe and his tart narrator/protégé/feet-on-the-ground employee Archie Goodwin. I think I'm about ready to start re-reading the novels again, as there are so many of them that I have long ago forgotten the plots of most of them, and they are so delightful. They are such a nice break from the seemingly endless tsunami of of bloody, graphic, serial-killer detective fiction series that are now flooding the market. Perhaps one of the most ...more
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
It seems a relatively simple case at first. Nero Wolfe is hired to by an association of authors to prove that a writer is not guilty of plagiarism. Several similar false charges against other authors have been made recently and they are hoping Wolfe can make something of the pattern. Then the bodies start to pile up. Wolfe is so angered by being outwitted by the murderer that he swears to give up meat and beer until the case is solved.

This was another great Rex Stout mystery. I did not figure o
Jan 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Nero Wolfe case which starts as a run-of-the-mill plagiarism/extortion plot against best-selling authors and their publishers...until the bodies start piling up. I've been actively looking for this book since it was mentioned in Francine Prose's Reading Like A Writer, so it was a genuine surprise to find it in a library sale stack. I don't usually get that lucky rooting around in second-hand piles, so this could be a good omen for the future.

Plot It Yourself is supposed to be one of the best
Nan Silvernail
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe is approached by a group of publishers and authors with a problem. But this time, known authors are being accused of plagiarism by unknowns. It's hard to prove the authors couldn't have lifted another person's stories when the manuscripts in question turn up in their possession. Worse, one of the victims is now being targeted again. Clearly someone has hit on a killer scheme to rake in money, with the emphasis on killer.

Brenda Mengeling
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, ebook, 48
Plot it Yourself is classic Nero Wolfe. Wolfe is hired by a committee of authors and publishers to figure out how a plagiarism racket is operating, however, soon the bodies start piling up. Wolfe even admits he has "bungled." He gives up beer and meat. He even leaves the brownstone on business.

I thought I had this one figured out, but I was wrong. I felt like Inspector Cramer, who, when Archie gives "verbatim" the whole interview with one of the "people of interest" that told Wolfe who was the
Nancy Butts
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
#32 in the Nero Wolfe series, and one of my favorites because it has to do with an organized campaign of false [but successful] plagiarism claims against four best-selling writers and a Broadway playwright. As a writer myself, I love books that are about the publishing business, and it tickled me that the writers guild expressed such animosity towards the publishers guild. Even in the 1950s, the alleged Golden Age for writers, they felt that publishers held all the cards and wielded them against ...more
Cameron Toney
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Ah, Nero Wolfe vs. a plagiarist book ring. That's more like it!
Sometimes the constraints of Nero Wolfe, the housebound, gigantic detective, make the plots have to work hard to get in the ending. But this is a mystery about books, and the brilliant gourmand is well suited to handle it. Even when some of the accused plagiarists start ending up dead.
I really enjoyed this one. It moves fast, it keeps you guessing, and it has a lot of the signature humor element to it.
While I can always recommend N
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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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