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Black Orchids (Nero Wolfe #9)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  3,544 Ratings  ·  150 Reviews
A remarkably rare black orchid at a flower show lures Nero Wolfe from his comfortable brownstone. But before the detective and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin, can stop and smell the roses, a diabolically daring murder puts a blight on the proceedings. The murderer to be weeded out is definitely not a garden-variety killer.

Wolfe must also throw his considerable weight into a
147 pages
Published (first published May 21st 1942)
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Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book consists of two novellas - Black Orchids and Cordially Invited to Meet Death - with black orchids being the only connection between them.

Black Orchids. Anybody familiar with the series knows Nero Wolfe grows orchids and would go to any lengths to acquire rare specimens, including the unthinkable like leaving his house. It is easy to imagine what he would do to get his hands on the rarest of the said plants: the black orchids. Somebody managed to grow them and put them in a big plant ex
Una Tiers
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I so love the manners of the 1940s and the digs by Archie on Wolfe.

The second story had one redeeming line: A scream is a scream.
Diamond Cowboy
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an other great Nero Wolfe novel by the master story teller Rex Stout. This book features two investigations by the way overweight master armchair detective Nero Wolfe and his smart assed, lady killer assistant Archy Goodwin. Both investigations concern murder and are very intreagueing to the reader.
Enjoy and Be Blessed.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, read-audio
I updated my stars to five on this story. I listened to the audio again last night. This story really is one of the funniest ones I have heard! Archie's comments are over the top.

Nero actually goes out and attends a flower show. He has done it before, but Archie has never been so acerbic.
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one's actually a twofer. In the first novella ('Black Orchids'), an obnoxious young gardener is murdered at a flower show, where Nero Wolfe just happens to be on hand, having made one of his once-in-a-blue-moon excursions out of doors to ogle the world's only black orchids, which are on display at the show. Fortunately, the owner of these precious plants--fellow orchid aficionado and millionaire Lewis Hewitt, a familiar face to Wolfe fans--wants Wolfe to solve the murder (and keep Hewitt's ...more
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
4.5 Stars

"I don’t know how many guesses there have been in the past year, around bars and dinner tables, as to how Nero Wolfe got hold of the black orchids. I have seen three different ones in print—one in a Sunday newspaper magazine section last summer, one in a syndicated New York gossip column a couple of months ago, and one in a press association dispatch, at the time that a bunch of the orchids unexpectedly appeared at a certain funeral service at the Belford Memorial Chapel. So here in thi
Feb 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this books from my mom for Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a big mystery fan --Agatha Christie and Murder She Wrote in particular. I have found a new favorite! Stay tuned for more Nero Wolfe mysteries as I read them. The characters of Nero and Archie are so compelling, and I love Archie's sense of humor. This volume actually has two mysteries in it- Black Orchids and Cordially Invited to Meet Death. The mysteries are full of great period details, Wolfe's obsession with his orchid ...more
Lindsay Boitnott
This is my FAVORITE Nero Wolfe story! I am sitting here grinning from ear to ear because I am so excited to share it with you! I would be dancing but I'm waiting until I finally get home to do so.

Nero Wolfe is an amateur horticulturist who strictly specializes in orchids. The entire top floor of his brownstone has been converted to a green house and he spends precisely four hours a day attending to his plants. The Black Orchids starts with Archie stuck at a Flower Show examining the main exhibit
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Scott and I are big fans of mystery movies and have watched many of the classic detective series (Poirot, Marple, Morse, Holmes, Campion, Allen, etc), some in all versions available. Nero Wolfe was one we recently came across and we LOVED the A&E adaptation. I had never read a Rex Stout until this week but after having finished this one, I am very impressed with the screenplay writers and directors who managed to capture the essence of Stouts characters perfectly. The DVD episodes are some o ...more
Oscar Despard
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent pair of novels. The first was interesting, but not superb. The story started enjoyably, and the flower show scenes with Wolfe were quite comedic,
But it lagged a little in the middle, only coming back to its former intrigue at the denouement. However, the second was excellent throughout, and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Wolfe was irascible and ingenious again, and on the whole, Black Orchids was an excellent, easy read.
Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Grade = 85% - B

Another good one.....

Short and sweet.....

Murder at a flower show.....

One interesting note: At one point Archie [Goodwin] was supposed to go somewhere, but he wouldn't because he was hungry, so he went to the kitchen and ate two (cereal) bowls of saltine crackers and milk. I never heard of that one before, so I googled it and found it was a traditional Southern favorite (even though Archie was from Ohio). Another variation is to use graham crackers.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This is a two story book. The first story is about how Wolfe acquired black orchids and the second is about a client to whom he sent black orchids.

The first one, in particular, is wonderful. It's Archie at his best. He has breezily decided he is in love with one of the models at a flower show. And his descriptions and behavior are quintessential. Also, the moment he gives her up and his reasons for it are so Archie.
Ok, ok, mi manca metà libro ma in valigia non ci sta...
Nero Wolfe non delude mai, e nel primo dei due racconti, in cui si parla proprio di queste orchidee, troviamo un Archie sempre più affascinante e un Nero sempre più burbero e... morbido!
Consigliatissimo, naturalmente, anche con il secondo racconto a scatola chiusa!
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe books never disappoint. This one was unique in that Wolfe actually left his home to attend a flower show. The crime was at the show, but the solution was again revealed in Wolfe's drawing room with the parties involved assembled. I love the 'revealing' of the murderer.
I liked Black Orchids much better than the Cordially Invited to Meet Death story. One of the major differences between Stout and Christie is that Stout's books are funny, and BO was definitely in my opinion more amusing than the average Stout story - it's one of the best Stout stories I've read so far, I think. Close to four stars overall, but CItMD just wasn't interesting enough to justify that rating.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The series is still developing. Stout isn't so noticeably. Always creating Goodwin and Wolfe because they exist clearly now, and Stout can just write about them. They are more rounded characters than most others in this genre. I enjoyed the story.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Black Orchids is really good. The second story bundled with it, not so much.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Nero Wolfe mysteries, this one I think I actually liked Archie better than Nero, which is different for me.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Standard Stout
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two stories in one book; both having black orchids in part of the story (the second one was a bit of a stretch). Enjoying Nero Wolfe's quirkiness. (And Archie is so suave and debonair!)
Helen Thompson
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as some of his other stories but 2 for the price of 1 & still really enjoyable.
Brook Settle
Fun, lighthearted entertainment.
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lower-tier Wolfe stories.
Charles H Berlemann Jr
I have had an interest in the crime novels of old and specifically those from the 30s on to the mid 70s where the hard boiled detectives of Chandler, Hammett, Ross MacDonald (his character is Lew Archer); just to name a few. These sort of books have become my guilty pleasure. I enjoy them because the characters are so interesting from the strong anti-hero that is Phil Marlowe and his ethics about cases on over to the burned out Nick Charles who just wants to get drunk and enjoy time with his wif ...more
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Worth the effort, and more of a 3.5 rather than a clear 3 stars.

The fundamental problem with the short story as part of a series is that the format almost demands that the author use the established idiosyncrasies of the characters as a motor for propelling the plot. With Rex Stout this requires that he put the byplay and banter that makes the usual Wolfe novel cohere on a diet and thereby turns Archie and Nero into pallid stereotypes of themselves. This reduced bulk also accentuates the thin bo
Jennifer Berg
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Black Orchids has everything you'd want in a classic detective mystery. Like most Nero Wolfe stories, this is set in New York city, in the 1940s or early 1950s, and it's a thoroughly engaging read.
Adam Graham
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe had twice as many novels published as Sherlock before he ever broke into short fiction. However, author Rex Stout would create some of his most memorable stories in the Wolfe novellas. The first two of these are collected in Black Orchids.

Black Orchids

The title story for the collection was originally published as Death Wears an Orchid. Archie has found himself assigned to flower show duty to watch a new Black Orchid bred by Lewis Hewitt to see whether it wilts or not. Wolfe finally ma
Nan Silvernail
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe leaves his brownstone for a flower show. But not just any flower show. Someone is displaying three true Black Orchids! He has sent Archie there all the week, but he must see them himself and attempt to obtain them at any cost. Unfortunately, the cost may be far too high when a murder occurs. The Big Man may lose Archie Goodwin and more in the bargain. Great Hounds and Cerberus!

Later, a upper-society party arranger who had once insulted Wolfe by asking him to come to a theme party and
Larry Piper
This edition actually contains two novellas, along with an introduction by Lawrence Block, a noted author of crime novels. Black orchids (the flowers) appear in both novellas, but they are otherwise unrelated, other than having in common Nero Wolfe and his able assistant, Archie Goodwin. I read this book to get a handle on real Nero Wolfe stories so as to see if some of the stylistic tics that appeared in Alan Vanneman's Three Bullets , were Vanneman's own stylistic tics or actual mimicking of ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I have listened to this pair of novellas twice; once read by Michael Pritchard, and more than once by Saul Rubinek (who played newspaperman Lon Cohen in the A and E TV series). I definitely prefer Rubinek's reading. While Pritchard reads clearly, his voice is metallic and lacking in inflexions.

While not my favourite of the Wolfe mysteries, Black Orchids is better than its companion piece, Cordially Invited to Meet Death. We all know what diehard gardeners can be like even if it's just at the flo
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine new edition of an already existing book 3 20 Jul 01, 2014 06:24AM  
  • Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries (Nero Wolfe Novels by Robert Goldsborough #8)
  • Out on the Cutting Edge (Matthew Scudder, #7)
  • Cat of Many Tails (Ellery Queen Detective, #20)
  • The Case of the Baited Hook
  • Death and the Dancing Footman (Roderick Alleyn, #11)
  • Chandler: Later Novels and Other Writings
  • Death of a Ghost (Albert Campion Mystery #6)
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)
  • Not Quite Dead Enough (Nero Wolfe, #10)
  • The Silent Speaker (Nero Wolfe, #11)

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“I saw them. It was impossible to snitch a sample."
He grunted, lowering himself into his chair. "I didn't ask you to."
"Who said you did, but you expected me to. There are three of them in a glass case and the guard has his feet glued."
"What color are they?"
"They're not black."
"Black flowers are never black. What color are they?"
"Well." I considered. "Say you take a piece of coal. Not anthracite. Cannel coal."
"That's black."
"Wait a minute. Spread on it a thin coating of open kettle molasses. That's it."
"Pfui. You haven't the faintest notion what it would look like. Neither have I."
"I'll go buy a piece of coal and we'll try it.”
“I suspected the movies, considering her cheap crack about me being a ten-cent Clark Gable, which was ridiculous. He simpers, to begin with, and to end with no one can say I resemble a movie actor, and if they did it would be more apt to be Gary Cooper than Clark Gable.” 3 likes
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