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Might as Well Be Dead (Nero Wolfe #27)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,483 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
His lawyer said he was innocent. His girlfriend thought he was guilty. P. H. though he Might As Well Be Dead .

What happens when the condemned man doesn’t want to be proven innocent? You’re up to your thick neck in a case of murder, embezzlement, murder, national scandal, and much more murder…

(Publisher’s description)
Paperback, 154 pages
Published October 1980 by Bantam Books (first published October 26th 1956)
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Bill  Kerwin
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it

James Herold hires Wolfe to find his son Paul, who broke off all contact with the family eleven years ago after his father unjustly accused him of theft. Archie finds him after his only a couple of days--at the very moment a jury convicts him of murder.

Another good entry in the series.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would like to start my review with a question which should be very easy for any serious fan of mysteries. What would happen if you cross this:
with this:
and with this:
Sherlock Holmes
The almost but not quite right answer would be a lazy hippo with good crime-solving skills. The right answer would be Nero Wolfe of cause.

This time a wealthy businessman (only very wealthy people can afford the fees Wolfe charges for his services) from Omaha asked the detective to find his son who disappeared 11 years ago after
Alexis Neal
Jun 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, mystery
James R. Harold is looking for his long-lost son. The Missing Persons Bureau thinks it's a hopeless case, but that doesn't stop them from referring Harold to Wolfe (mostly so they can watch Wolfe stub his toe on it). And it certainly seems like a fairly impossible task. Paul Harold is a veritable needle in the haystack that is New York City. But as it turns out, finding him is easy. Overturning his recent conviction for first-degree murder, on the other hand--that will be a challenge. But Wolfe ...more
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This books starts with a request to find a missing son who had been falsely accused by his father of stealing from his company. The investigation leads to a murder trial where the defendant has just been convicted. It seems for a while that Nero Wolfe would not be able to solve the intricacies of the case, but never underestimate the cunning and genius of Wolfe.

In this book, Archie seems to be highly critical of marriage and he gives his scathing critique of every marriage he sees. When a young
Stephen Osborne
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
"When a hippopotamus is peeved, it's a lot of peeve." Archie Goodwin, the narrator of the Nero Wolfe tales, has a lovely turn of phrase. His employer does as well, although in a totally different way. When a lawyer suggests there should be a written agreement, Wolfe says,"There won't be. I take the risk of failure; you'll have to take the risk of my depravity." Wolfe often sends me to the dictionary, which isn't a bad thing. I've learned meanings to words I never would have known had that orchid ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another goodie from the master of detective fiction, Rex Stout. In this book, Wolfe and Archie take on a missing persons case which has a bit of a twist which I won't reveal here. Additionally, a continuing character who only appeared periodically is murdered. Being a Nero Wolfe fanatic, I am extremely biased but if you haven't read this series you are missing something and the interaction between Wolfe and Archie is priceless.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Great little whodunit. I was introduced to Nero Wolfe through the excellent TV show "A Nero Wolfe Mystery" and have found the original books as enjoyable as the show. Full of fascinating characters, dry wit and deadpan humour, this detective story from the 1950s neatly straddles the line between noirish hard-boiled detective fiction and cozy mystery.
I'm not as a rule sensitive to feminist issues, but this is the limit. Not one of the characters, and neither, probably, the author, ever supposed that P.H. might be understood not as a Paul Harold, but as a Patricia Halliday or someone like that. Why didn't one call and ask if the advertisement was aimed at her?

That said, I liked everything else about the book.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-reread
Another good Wolfe--I never remember this one, but I like the widow and the plot, even if the solution is rushed. And I'll forget them all again in another five years. And it doesn't matter, since I'll read it again and enjoy it.
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the truly good Archie Goodwin/Nero Wolfe mysteries. It was a pleasure to revisit it.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I haven't read a Nero Wolfe book I didn't love, but this wasn't the greatest mystery. It was good but not great. What I did love though was how Archie felt about Mrs. Molloy and how that played out the entire book. Archie is my favorite character, loved him in this book.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very good Nero Wolfe mystery. I love to read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. It features Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, the brownstone, New York, and an intriguing mystery with a satisfying ending. I greatly enjoy reading Nero Wolfe mysteries.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
An awareness of why you feel the suspense and fear does not stop the feelings.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Strains from coincidence that Edgar Rice Burroughs would think was too much. Not one of the better entries in this usually dependable series.
Mary  Lewys
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As always, Archie Goodwin provides the best narrative to a twisty-bendy mystery that had me on the edge of my seat! Loved it all the way through.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
I always find these stories take a long time to get somewhere. However, rule of thumb "cherche le femme".
Adam Graham
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In Might as Well Be Dead, Wolfe is hired by a Nebraska businessman to find his son, Paul Herald. The older Herald had exiled his son eleven years earlier on the belief his son had stolen $11,000 from the business but had since learned that someone else committed the theft. He turns to Wolfe as a last result after having contacted the police and submitting a classified ad to get his attention.

Because Herald had monogramed luggage that he took with him, Wolfe supposed the that Paul retained the sa
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Grade = 92% - A

It appears that is #27 in the series, first published in 1956.

Another good one!
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Not Wolfe's most entertaining mystery, but not his worst by a long chalk. Michael Pritchard is not the best audiobook reader I've ever listened to; unfortunately, he seems to have cornered the market on Rex Stout's novels. Bodies galore, and it all starts with the good old "she didn't do it, I did" trope. A man is found standing over his beloved's husband's corpse with a gun in his pocket. Is this the same young man who went missing a decade before? And why should Wolfe care either way? Archie d ...more

The book was the first Rex Stout novel, featuring Nero Wolfe, I have read. I had heard a lot about the author, high recommendations, which were justified, as he was nominated for the greatest Mystery Writer of the Century, and his series the Best Mystery Series of The Century at Bouchercon 2000, the world's largest mystery convention.
The book starts when Wolfe gets a visit from James Herold asking him to find him his son, Paul Herold. The son was banished from his family and business when he was
Steven Meyers
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Stout’s long-running riff on Sherlock Holmes is brilliant fun. In some seventy books and novellas written from 1934 to Stout’s death in 1975, Nero Wolfe is the brainy detective, Archie Goodwin his sidekick and housemate who writes up the stories. They are wonderfully readable entertainments, written in impeccably clean and propulsive prose. The usual setting is the great world city that was New York during Wolfe’s career, where Wolfe lives in an old brownstone from which he seldom stirs. He live

Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure mid-career bubblegum.

An example of the Nero Wolfe formula in its prime. The premise is contrived, and is obviously worked backward from an idea that Stout had at some point for a story. Think of this as a novel inspired by Johnny Cash's "Long Black Veil".

The set-up is the same, and the outcome is comes close to being the same. The trick Stout pulls is finding a client that involves Wolfe in the effort to assist the condemned man, and then contriving a
Perry Whitford
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe unusually decides to take a case gone cold from a 'cold-fish' businessman from Omaha, Nebraska, looking to find his exiled son after eleven years banishment for being wrongly accused of stealing funds from the family hardware company.
Perhaps insulted into action -if anything the slothful Wolfe ever roused himself to could be called by that name- the copious detective fires 'a random shot at an invisible target', planting an add and sending out Archie and Saul to be his bidding.

They re
Mark Lisac
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nicely constructed mystery with a stronger than average cast of characters — possibly one of Stout's best, although I'm a long way from having read all his Nero Wolfe stories. A Midwestern businessman hires Wolfe to find an estranged son in New York City, probably living under a different name; the son turns out to be a man about to be convicted of murder, but Wolfe is soon convinced of his innocence. Serious events and psychological portrayals follow. To reveal more would be injudicious. Love ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-5-sterren
Een oude detective die ik vond in de, ooit fenomenale maar ondertussen fel uitgedunde, pocketcollectie van mijn vader. Een boekje dat je mits wat inspanning wel op een dag kan uitlezen. Een traditioneel detectiveverhaal zoals je er duizenden vindt maar ik heb er toch van genoten. Het verhaal zit goed in mekaar en is zorgvuldig opgebouwd. Het zit zo in mekaar dat de lezer zelf mee kan speuren naar de verdachten en de uiteindelijke dader.
Maar meer nog dan dat heb ik genoten van de taal. Ik heb de
Alison C
Might as Well Be Dead, by Rex Stout, is another Nero Wolfe novel, this one from 1956. Wolfe is approached by a man who, years ago, accused his son of theft; the son left their Midwest home and headed for New York City, after which the family heard nothing from him. The father has recently learned that the son was not guilty of the crime and wants Wolfe to find him and, hopefully, restore him to the bosom of his family. But when Wolfe investigates, he quickly learns that the son has just been con ...more
Nan Silvernail
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A father who kicked his son out because he thought the lad stole money from him and his business many years ago comes to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to find him. They find him all righty - on trial for the murder of the husband of a woman he has fallen in love with! Has he really gone that bad? Can Wolfe and Goodwin save him and reunite the lovers and the family?


How unlucky can a guy ge
Christopher Rush
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nero-wolfe
Another very enjoyable and clever Nero Wolfe mystery, this tinges on the sadness from the era of Prisoner's Base, Golden Spiders, and Black Mountain, yet it maintains an exuberance those lack. The entry into it is very clever and unusual: Wolfe puts an ad in the newspaper and inadvertently wades into another case, infuriating Lon, Cramer, and many legal people of society ... without even trying to this time! (Or does he...?) I feel a little bad enjoying this one so much, since some truly dishear ...more
Michael Brown
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: series-reading
Wolfe undertakes a missing person case. Not that he needs the work but he does not like the client so takes it on for the challenge and the cash. Almost at once the missing person is linked to a murder trial in progress. And we now have a bigger challenge. All info in the papers convinces Wolfe that the man found guilty was framed and he is the missing person. After a string of deaths the police are finally convinced they got it wrong and with the usual confrontation of suspects and interested p ...more
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, own
#26 is a fun, quick read. I just loved the descriptions of the players, how they interacted, and how I actually guessed who-dun-it this time. (A rare enough occurrence that I get excited.) I get the impression that Rex Stout actually didn't like women, himself, from this book. The description of the mother of the condemned man was particularly unkind.
That said, i still liked the book as another period piece. Archie's descriptions of the clothes worn, especially by the men, are so vivid. I'm sur
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 2 13 Feb 03, 2015 12:17PM  
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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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