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The Rubber Band/The Red Box 2-in-1

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  590 ratings  ·  46 reviews
A grand master of the form, Rex Stout is one of America’s greatest mystery writers, and his literary creation Nero Wolfe is one of fiction’s greatest detectives. Here, in Stout’s third and fourth complete Wolfe mysteries, the arrogant, gourmandizing, sedentary sleuth and his trusty man-about-town, Archie Goodwin, solve two of their most baffling cases.

The Rubber Band

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Paperback, 446 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Bantam
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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 ·  590 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Jan C
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sleuth, 2018
Third and fourth volumes in the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin saga.

I liked both stories although they each tended to start out a little slow. But they catch you in the end.

I like milk but I have never seen so much drinking of milk as Archie seems to be doing, at least in The Red Box.

Archie is the wisecracker and Nero is just wise and never (almost) leaves the house.

On to Too Many Cooks as soon as I can find it.
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Jane
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Read The Rubber Band Jan 3-5, 2020
Stout hits his stride in the third book. Wolfe is more "fully formed" so to speak, if that's possible. The banter between Archie and Wolfe kicks up a few notches. The brownstone shines as its own character. All the puzzle pieces combine to create a compelling picture. The city, the dialogue, the plot, the time period, and the clarity and pace of the writing are all superb in this series, there's just one caveat.
Personally, I enjoyed this installment because Wolf
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Mark
Jan 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I was a kid, I was a murder mystery junkie. I read some Rex Stout/Nero Wolfe short stories in Ellery Queen Magazine (which I used to subscibe to) but they didn't really do it for me. I was more into the Agatha Christie brit-crime than the American model. I picked this up at the library and now I realize I was totally too young to get it. There's a reason why certain authors/characters are considered classics in the genre and I get it now. Where to I start? Archie and Nero Wolfe are great ch ...more
Terri Weitze
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe stories are great

I can usually figure out most mystery books but when it comes to the classics like Nero Wolfe, I may get a glimmer but there's always a surprise waiting at the end.
Ari
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A pair of Nero Wolfe books (both excellent.) The Red Box has a number of allusions to The Rubber Band, so they are a good pair to bundle together under one cover. They are also united by the fact that in both of them, Archie does quite a bit of bullying of Wolfe to take the case and move it forwards -- this is atypical for the series generally.

I was struck how snappy and clever Archie's dialogue and thoughts are. The surface view is that Wolfe does the thinking and Archie is just the hands, but
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Kate
Aug 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Nero Wolfe leaves his house!
Marybeth
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I only read The Red Box in this particular double edition because my library's app (Libby) took to eating my bookmarks and notes. Since I now take copious notes for a trivia spreadsheet, this became a major issue and I ended up having to borrow the ONLY copy available at any library in my state! Thankfully, this is the second time I've read it so at least I was able to enjoy the story, despite having to weight down the paperback book just to get a glimpse of the pages in their entirety.

Now that
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Ray Otus
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
The Rubber Band.
This is the third story in the series and while it's very entertaining, it has some problems.

For one thing there is some far-fetched moments in the explanation. I didn't find it nearly as satisfying as the first two, though I enjoyed the large number of moving parts. Also, a lot of things happen "off-screen" with agents other than Nero and Archie (specifically with Saul Panzer and the other erstwhile employees). I think Stout was trying to create a whirlwind of activity and it
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Sue
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another Nero Wole and Archie Goodwin masterpiece. I think I enjoy the dialogue between Archie and Nero the most. Each mystery, the well noted scenes, the characters, and the situations that evolve through these twostories, is well done and witty and keeps the reader involved in trying to out-think the detectives. I sure can't out guess Rex Stout and his wonderful characters. These are top of the line mysteries done with care and I have enjoyed them for years.
Mira A. Wilson
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nero Wolfe is always a pleasure and these two early novels are no exception. The main adjustment is getting used to Archie not yet having developed his photographic memory and Inspector Cramer actually lighting his cigars. The cleverness with which the titles are worked into the stories is also a joy.
Hobart
Jul 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010-reads
With the third installment of many series, you can see the author settling into the world he's creating and while there are hints of it, Stout's been pretty at home since Day 1--he just adjusts the furniture a bit in The Rubber Band.

I have a pretty good sense of history, but it consistently throws me when someone in an early 20th century novel makes a reference to something in their recent past (or, in this case, the past of their parents) which is straight out of a Western movie. I can look at
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Mary Corso
I guessed the 2nd conclusion!

Not all of the details, but enough to know who did it and why. I liked the red box better than the rubber band. The ending was like something Hercule Poirot would do more than Nero Wolfe.
Carol
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Classic Wolfe and Goodwin
Lori
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Both of these were definitely better than the first set. It's nice that I have difficulty guessing everything until the end.
Julie
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I just love Archie and the snappy writing
Ruth Ann
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
263 pages
Patricia Clouatre
Best books ever

Just started reading this series and already feel like I live in Nero Wolfe's house. I kinda wish I did!!!
Lori
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even better than the previous books.
Jay Walsh
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Two separate books in one paperback. Very interesting mysteries set in the 1930's.
janetandjohn
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some authors give me so much pleasure in the reading.... and here are two wonderfully told crime novels in one cover where Nero Wolfe (aided of course by Archie) solve another couple of crimes.
Stephanie
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love me some Nero Wolfe! I wish they had kept the show going. Best part of these two stories was the one where Nero actually left the house! LOL
John
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A good classic pair of Wolfe mysteries that happen to go well back-to-back. Both mysteries are Byzantine enough that I felt like I almost had a grip on the solution, but in the end fell short. Both made me laugh out loud at some of the banter between Wolfe and Goodwin and Cramer. Both mysteries had long memories back into the past, and both featured a bunch of corpses.

The Rubber Band was the more clever of the two mysteries on a technical level, I felt, weaving a number of strands together into
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Alicea
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it


The Rubber Band follows a young woman on a quest to solve a mystery and fulfill a promise owed to her father (recently deceased). Of course, nothing is every simple in a Nero Wolfe mystery so from the beginning there is murder, intrigue, and suspicion on all sides. Wolfe (and Archie!) are at their best in this novel and culminates in a shocking ending that left me with my mouth agape in wonderment.


The Red Box started out in the style of a whodunit except where the suspects were numerous but the
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Helen
Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Spending time with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin is always a good time. The Nero Wolfe mysteries are always enjoyable, even if, as with these two stories, the reader can guess by the end who the killer is and how he or she managed it. The fun comes from Archie, narrator and assistant to the orchid-loving genius detective. The A&E series of 15 years ago introduced me to the pair, and the books keep them alive in my memory. The series is good for times when you want a mystery to read where you kno ...more
Carolyn
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My mother and I collected every Nero Wolf mystery. I have them safely stored away. Then I reread these two goodies. I had forgotten the quotable bits of humor and the incredible vocabulary. In The Rubber Band, the method of murder is the standard shot which a gun; in the Red Box the method is less direct. Authorities on these matters say that women prefer the more indirect. I guess Stout agrees, and that is as much as I am going to give away. Though I had read both, I forgot who did it, and sat ...more
Alison C
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Two more entries in the Nero Wolfe series, these from 1936 and 1937 respectively. Told as always from the perspective of Archie Goodwin, who manages as usual to fall for the girl in each case (though, of course, they do not fall for him). And Nero Wolfe is magnificent as always, too. I only discovered this series in the last couple of years, when a number of 2-in-1 omnibus editions began to appear, and having read I think six so far, I'm quite enamoured of Stout's depiction of people and attitud ...more
Lisa
Oct 24, 2014 rated it liked it
I've only finished the first in this 2-novels-1-book collection; I want to save the other for another moment when I'm feeling classical mystery inclined. I always enjoy Nero Wolfe, his mannerisms and love of language, Archie Goodwin's attitude and observations, the description of glorious meals provided by Fritz. The Rubber Band was a fun read, as ever with Rex Stout, dealing with an adventuress searching for the fortune her father said her deserved, an English Marquis, some characters from the ...more
Leesa
Feb 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another amazing Nero Wolfe mystery. The Rubber Band was incredible, possibly the best mystery I have read from Rex Stout in the Nero Wolfe series so far. It had lots of fun twists and turns, and the ending was quite unexpected. Likewise, the Red Box had some fun twists, with a surprise ending. It is testament to the talent of Rex Stout that I can never tell who the culprit is--he hides it well. Wolfe always surprises, with his shenanigans and tricks to force the villian to show him/herself. High ...more
Deb W
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
The Rubber Band was an interesting, if dated, mystery that had me guessing to the end.

The Red Box was pretty much the same.

I don't think I will be looking for more by Rex Stout. Basically Archie runs around doing the fat man's bidding, and reporting back his observations, while the fat man drinks beer with his eyes half closed and attends to his orchids. After two hundred pages of that he solves the mystery, which he's figured out by his sheer mental capacities.

I don't think I could take a thir
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Hollidae
Apr 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read and love the Nero Wolfe books mostly for the relationship between Archie and Nero. They are like an old married couple, but of course they are not. Both of these titles do not disappoint, and I thought the mysteries were interesting. I would highly recommend Nero Wolfe to anyone - what a great character!
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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
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