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The Silent Speaker (Nero Wolfe, #11)
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The Silent Speaker (Nero Wolfe #11)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,337 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
When a powerful government official,scheduled to speak to a group of millionaires, turns up dead, it is an event worthy of the notice of the great Nero Wolfe. Balancing on the edge of financial ruin, the orchid-loving detective grudgingly accepts the case. Soon a second victim is found bludgeoned to death, a missing stenographer's tape causes an uproar, and the dead man sp ...more
Paperback, 271 pages
Published January 1st 1994 by Crimeline (first published October 21st 1946)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 16, 2007 rated it really liked it

A very good Nero Wolfe, involving WW II era price controls, bureaucratic double-dealing and cutting edge technology--the dictaphone cylinder, that is.
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Archie Goodwin literally forces Nero Wolfe to take a case as the bank account of famous detective is practically empty (so, what else is new?). What is the most suitable case? The most talked-about at the moment, of cause. A government official (he worked for BPR: Bureau of Price Regulation) was killed just before he was about to give a speech in front of a millionaire group (they are members of NIA: National Industrial Association). By using some very unconventional methods Nero Wolfe makes NIA ...more
Classic Rex Stout. The dialogue is scintillating and in this one Archie may have met his female match. Part of its charm today is the anachronistic flavor with 3-cent stamps, dime phone calls from real phone booths and the battle between wartime price regulators and industry shills. Some of the dialogue is LOL funny. If you haven’t read any Nero Wolfe I urge you to do so. For audiobook fans, my favorite reader is Michael Pritchard who perfectly captures Archie’s sardonic wit.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 11th Nero Wolfe book has Wolfe at his best (though remarkably little mention of food!).
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, which has a lot of humour and great interaction between Wolfe and Archie. However, I have to say the intricacies of the plot were too much for me and I frequently got lost and forgot who the various suspects were!

Interestingly, although it's always said that you can read these books in any order, this one is set just after the war with Archie as an ex-major, and he also mentions in passing that he has been working for Wolfe for more than ten years - so perhaps Stout
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Nero Wolfe mysteries I've read. A thoroughly enjoyable page-turner.

Like The Doorbell Rang, in which Wolfe tangles with J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, this book has political undercurrents of the day. It was published just after World War II, and key plot elements reflect the lingering effects of the war: housing shortages and restrictions on consumer goods, including government regulation of prices, featuring the conflict between a federal price regulatory body and a national busin
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This was my first Nero Wolfe book. For some reason, I'd always thought Rex Stout was pure trash--a case of judging a book by its cover, I guess. I probably never would have read a Nero Wolfe mystery if BYT hadn't set up a Wolfe hot read.

I'm so glad I finally gave Stout a try. Within the first couple of pages I was enjoying myself greatly. How can you go wrong with comments like these....
"I tossed and turned for a full thirty seconds before sleep came." "There were a dozen letters to be typed and
Nan Silvernail
Jan 30, 2012 rated it liked it
The National Industrial Association (NIA) and the Bureau of Price Regulation (BPR) hate each other to a man. But when the director of the BPR is asked to make a speech at and is murdered backstage at a NIA dinner things might have gone too far. A missing Stenophone cylinder may crack the case but the case it is supposed to be in doesn't have it. It's button, button, whose got the button in a case costing enough money in man power to drive Archie frantic. Maybe this time the wit of a clever secre ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, reread
This is one of my favorite Rex Stouts and a reasonably good place to start with the series -- one of the best of the first 15 books, and it features most of the canon's main and supporting characters. Best of all, the relationships in this book are great. This series' charm and lasting appeal comes from the characters and the relationships between them, and this book has great interactions between Archie and Wolfe, Wolfe and Cramer, Wolfe and his client, and Archie and pretty much the whole grou ...more
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Richard Schwindt
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This has a veneer of a post war issue oriented story over a solid detective mystery. The conflict between private industrial concerns and government regulators could have been written yesterday. That said, who killed Cheney Boone? This book has all the elements of a classic Wolfe mystery. Which to mean that they may lack flash bang but slowly work their way to a satisfying conclusion. This book also shows Inspector Cramer at his best as he too looks about desperately for the last words of the Si ...more
Katie Bee
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love Phoebe Gunther. She's amazing - one of my favorite female characters in the Wolfe books, definitely. I also like the backdrop of the two warring factions, which is a dynamic Stout often does well, but never more so than here.

And who could forget the high drama of Wolfe's "breakdown", or him rescuing Cramer from Purgatory (or, for that matter, Cramer having been taken off the case in large part because he was simpático with Wolfe's vision of it - aka the obsession with the cylinder)? Plus
Ray Otus
Dec 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
The murder of a keynote speaker highlights the ongoing feud between a big business consortium and a government agency. Wolfe steps in to try and collect a fee.

I was some pages into this one before I invested in the story. I'm not sure if I was distracted, or if there is too much running around early on, or if the large number of characters made the story a little hard to follow. In any case, it gets really good at some point and continues to be exciting until the end. Some things you may look fo
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I had been craving another chance to spend time with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin (the detective and his assistant). I have read quite a few of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, and I always enjoy them. This one is set in New York, at Nero Wolfe's brownstone, a few years after World War Two. Like all the Nero Wolfe books, there are well-drawn, believable, colorful characters and complexities in the plot. There is also the daily routine and meals within Nero Wolfe's household, which m ...more
Rebecca Mulligan
Corporate Murders Prevail

How I love this series! Once again Red Stout, via Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, delivers a first class, fascinating mystery that I literally could not put down. This time, the dynamic duo solve two murders and nearly upend the NYPD in the process. The intricate plotting combined with edge-of-your-seat scenes and witty dialogue results in another first class read, not to be missed by any true mystery fan!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Another Rex Stout novel that appears to have disappeared from my goodreads shelves sometime in the past ten years or so.

I haven't read this one as often as some of the others because it's often so fresh in my head from re-watching the Nero Wolfe tv series that ran on A&E. The series is great, and they do this book well, but there's a lot of extra detail they don't have room for even with a double episode. It was great to revisit that.
Douglas Smith
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Given the number of people who've recommended the Nero Wolfe books over the years, maybe I went into this one (my first) with too high expectations. I had to push the 3-star rating, just as I had to push to keep reading this. It was boring. And dated, as well, especially regarding the female characters and their treatment. I won't be going back for more.
Dakota McCoy
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a particularly good Nero Wolfe book- my favorite of five that i have read so far. It had the perfect combination on bread crumbs and twists, suspense and mystery, character and humanity. Well worth a read!!!!
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good Wolfe novel, this one adds a few twists to the usual formula. As usual, the point of a Wolfe novel is not to figure out the killer but to spend time in the company of Wolfe and Archie and this fits the bill well. The wrinkles of this one include Cramer being temporarily removed from command and Wolfe being forced to go to the police station for questioning. Both, nice touches to and enjoyable book in the series.
Robert Henry
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it
These books are growing on me.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are better things to read. The story is very dated and the quality of writing is not good enough to keep it relevant. The murder mystery revolves around a missing dictating cylinder.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ficton, 2018
My only real critique is that this drags a fair bit in the middle.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the best Wolfe novels.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites so far. Not only because Wolfe is, as usual, extremely clever, but also because in this one, so is Archie Goodwin. Great fun.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Archie gets brighter, and Wolfe performs in some new situations- a nice story with organic humor.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Again, a good one. Some creative twists in this mystery story. Enjoy.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good classic mystery.
Legal, porém não fiquei com a impressão que os detetives estivessem realmente investigando alguma coisa durante boa parte do livro.
Michael Dunn
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
perhaps the best so far in the series.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it liked it
A good murder mystery tale with Nero doing what he does best, but Archie being too much of a "blatherskite".
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Around the Year i...: The Silent Speaker, by Rex Stout 2 11 May 24, 2017 05:20PM  
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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)
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“Frankly, I wish I could make my heart quit doing an extra thump when Wolfe says satisfactory, Archie. It's childish.” 9 likes
“Nothing is obvious in itself. Obviousness is subjective.” 3 likes
More quotes…