Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death of a Dude (Nero Wolfe, #44)” as Want to Read:
Death of a Dude (Nero Wolfe, #44)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death of a Dude

(Nero Wolfe #44)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,193 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Sedentary sleuth Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin, leave West Thirty-fifth Street for a Montana dude ranch to clear an innocent man of a murder charge.
Paperback, 210 pages
Published January 2nd 1995 by Bantam (first published August 20th 1969)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Death of a Dude, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Death of a Dude

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,193 ratings  ·  140 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Death of a Dude (Nero Wolfe, #44)
Bill Kerwin
Nov 29, 2009 rated it really liked it

Archie, while visiting gal-pal Lily Rowan's Montana estate, takes a leave of absence from his job with Wolfe in order to clear Lily's foreman from a charge of murder. Wolfe, rather than be deprived of his invaluable assistant, endures the perils of plane flight and canned tomato soup in order to get his trusty Dr. Watson back home.

The plot's not much, but it is serviceable, and Nero roughing it in the Wild West is something no Rex Stout fan will want to miss.
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would like to ask a quick question before I begin speaking about plot: what is dude? Please do not use a dictionary. I will explain this in terms of popular movies and this would probably be the first time I tried to describe a book using unrelated movies. So the first idea of dude is probably this one:

The second idea coming to mind when somebody mentions the word is usually the following:
Bill and Ted

The definition the book uses however is this:
City Slickers
In other word, city slickers.

For another bit of trivia - v
While Archie is vacationing with Lily Rowan on her ranch in Montana, he becomes involved in a murder. Wolfe decides to travel to Montana to assist in order to get Archie back to New York more quickly!

While I liked the Montana setting, I felt that the mystery was not as good as I expect from Rex Stout.
Una Tiers
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a nice chance of pace since Archie was in Lamehorse, Montana and the murder happened when a dude was picking huckleberries. Nero Wolfe leaves New York and faces a completely different lifestyle. He doesn't like not being in charge. ...more
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Not Stout's best work, although the mystery was fine enough.

Archie Goodwin is staying in Montana to investigate the murder of a man a lot of people would have liked to see dead. The main suspect is a man whose daughter was impregnated by the murder victim, the previous year.

Archie and Nero believe this man is innocent, but they are the only ones who do. We meet a lot of people through Archie who interviews anyone and everyone connected to the man who was murdered and might have a motive.

The endi
Jill Hutchinson
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
See my comments on "Full House" for review ...more
Pamela Shropshire
I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this one much. Wolfe and Archie belong in New York City; the city is as much a character as Inspector Cramer and Lon Cohen are. Nevertheless, it was fun although it will never be my favorite.

Archie is visiting Lily Rowan at her Montana ranch when Phillip Brodell, a guest at a neighboring ranch, is shot and killed. The county sheriff has it in for Lily’s foreman, Harvey Greve, and arrests him. It’s true Harvey has adequate motive; last year Brodell seduced Grev
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Talk about a fish out of water! Nero Wolfe in Montana!!!!! When a man is killed near Lily Rowan's ranch, and Archie is ineffective getting the populace to talk, Nero leaves his creature comforts and arrives in Montana to help (well to get Archie to come home really, but if he has to solve the murder, so be it). Add in a couple of lawyers, a rude sheriff, a fascinating character named Woody and several trout and you've got yourself a Nero Wolfe mystery to savor! ...more
Bryan Brown
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
This might be my lowest rated Nero Wolfe book of them all. There were a couple of reasons why I like it less than many of the others.

The primary reason, I have mentioned before, is that the solution of the mystery relied entirely on information known only to Wolfe and not revealed until the final scene. That feels like a cheap trick to me. As usual it was conveyed by having Archie have no success in his tasks and at his being kept away from the investigation being done.

The second thing that bu
Jun 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kyra-sponsored
Maybe 3.5 but I really missed Wolfe in the first quarter of this book. And I wish this had been one to make it to the screen- Wolfe wandering around Montana, shaking hands, removing his shoes... priceless.
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, read-audio
Interesting that this was published in 1958 but takes place in 1968? Nero and Archie in Montana, near Helena. Archie doesn't call him but Nero shows up and goes to work. Poor Archie in jail again. The smart remarks are toned down in this story and Nero is a much nicer person than normal. He even takes his shoes and socks off and gets his feet wet in the creek. ...more
Katie Wright
Apr 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Hm. Well, I certainly read that. It was an easy enough read, but I don’t really remember there being any clues and when the murderer was revealed at the end I was like, i don’t remember who that is
May 25, 2021 rated it liked it
Honestly, these books put me to sleep. It's just so...comfortable...reading about Nero Wolfe's interviews and Archie's reports! ...more
Darius Murretti
Aug 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Pretty lame
Oct 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, reread
This book isn't one of the shining stars in the Wolfe firmament, but it features Wolfe going to MONTANA because ARCHIE, so I enjoy it very much. ...more
Lenny Burnham
May 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
I was very charmed by the Nero/Archie ship dynamic and the fact that Archie cannot stop mentioning how dummy thicc Nero is. But man the actual mystery is terrible. Oof.
Peter Parziale
Oct 09, 2020 rated it liked it
For a Nero Wolfe mystery, the best that can be said is that it is just OK. By the barest margins a three-star book, interesting for the dialogue and somewhat because Wolfe is outside of New York City at a small Montana ranch.

Author Stout, through sidekick character Archie Goodwin, tries to make a distinction out of that feature...and it rings hollow, because Wolfe has left his NYC townhome at least twice previously (Too Many Cooks, Black Mountain). The bloom is off that rose.

The mystery isn't
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
#44 in the Nero Wolfe series. Nearing the end of his career, Stout comes up with a show-stopper. Wolfe leaves his NYC, W. 35th St. brownstone for one of his very few acceptable reasons, in this case rescuing Archie Goodwin. This 1969 novel takes place entirely away from home and to the best of my recollection this is the first time that happens since Too Many Cooks (1938) and Some Buried Caesar (1939), #s 5 & 6 in the series.

Nero Wolfe series - Archie Goodwin was on vacation at Lily Rowen's ranc
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2013
Boy, is this ever a different kind of Nero Wolfe book. There's no brownstone, barely any fine cooking, no orchids, and most amazing of all, Wolfe is out and about. The book is set in Montana, so Wolfe having to travel is a given. But it's fun to read how Wolfe conducts himself and copes with this unexpected turn of events.

Archie Goodwin really comes into his own here, and we get a deeper glimpse into his private life than we normally would. A thoroughly enjoyable read for Goodwin fans like me.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a complex book in which Archie Goodwin (That is the main character and the detective's assistant), is forced to stay in Montana instead of returning to his beloved New York to get a friend charged with murder out of jail. This so annoys Nero Wolfe (Archie's Detective), that he leaves his house for the first time in six years. This book is full of elements of intriuge, mystery, and local politics. It seems short, but it is fairly complecated, and is not your average detective story. It is ...more
Greg McClay
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-agains
Its all in the timing but if you've never read a Nero Wolfe book don't start with this one. If you've read 3-4 of them I'd still suggest waiting. There's something about having read most of the books in the series that makes this that much more enjoyable and Stout probably knew it when he wrote it. Where as The Black Mountain involved heavy travel by Wolfe it was much more serious and personal, this is strict whimsy and all the better for it. ...more
Mar 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Sorry to give such a low rating to this Rex Stout mystery, but it didn't deliver like previous efforts. The language wasn't there, nor were Archie's great observations about women (fun), and the mystery was just flat. ...more
Diane K.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very entertaining book, if only for the change of pace.

Everyone, including the blurb writer for my hardback copy, comments on Wolfe being out of his element in this book. Actually, Archie is more the fish out of water. He has been coming to Lily Rowan's ranch (presumably) every year since she acquired it. He knows the people and town well. He is close friends with Harvey Greve, the accused, enough to state categorically that Harvey absolutely would never kill a man under the circumstances in w
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
It's a truism in Wolfe World that Nero never leaves the house on business. This trope is not borne out in the canon; it seems Archie is always dragging him away from his custom-made chair, either by chicanery or because he really needs help. This time he even gets the Big Boss to take an airplane out to the sticks of Big Sky Country, spend a couple of days in Lily Rowan's luxury "cabin" and eat soup out of a tin!

I had confused this book with another in which Lily invites some of her cowboy frien
Tom Donaghey
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Death Of A Dude (1969) (Nero Wolfe #44) by Rex Stout. Mr. Stout must have gone on vacation out to a ranch, probably in Montana or thereabouts, just before he wrote this mystery. Here Archie is on a ranch owned by a friend of his, Lily rowan. A nice place, big house and there are several guests staying there also.
A man, a dude, has been killed. Shot from behind. The local sheriff has pulled in Harvey Greve, foreman at Lily’s Bar JR Ranch. The dead dude had managed to get Harvey’s daughter pregn
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one had some great differences from other Nero Wolfe stories. Archie is out in Montana, staying at Lily Rowan's ranch, for a start. The setting brings in new jargon and slang that sounds strange coming from New-York-based Archie. I also noticed that the tone of the writing in general was looser and more vulgar than I'm used to seeing. Stout always incorporated the language and atmosphere of the time the story was written, and this one shows clearly that we're well into the late 1960s. I'd n ...more
Virginia Tican
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Archie was in Lily Rowan's Montana ranch where he was just a guest and an outsider (to the county people) so such labels would not be any help while trying to extricate Harvey, Lily's ranch manager from a murder charge specially when the victim impregnated his daughter and was also a dude... and an outsider and as far as the grudge bearing sheriff was concerned... an open~and~shut case given the plausibility of motive and opportunity. Archie wrote Wolfe about the situation and the Wolfe had the ...more
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2021
Having read only book club books this year, and having to get through three really difficult ones, I indulged in a little re-reading. Rex Stout himself said that the test of a book was if it could be re-read, and his own books are very much in that category. This is one of the best of the bunch, though I would recommend that you begin with Some Buried Caeserif you are just making the acquaintance of Nero, Archie, Fritz and the gang. They are not great literature, and they are not politically cor ...more
Richard Schwindt
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Few literary characters were as ripe for a fish out of water story as Nero Wolfe. This in part because, outside of his New York brownstone he was out of water almost anywhere. A ranch in Montana more than fills the bill. Archie goes there every year with gal pal Lily Rowan but (of course) there is a murder. Ordinarily, that would not begin to interest Wolfe but pain (the prospect of Archie staying in Montana until the murder is solved) and gain (succulent trout from a nearby stream) combine to m ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Death of a Dude was very good. While on vacation, Archie Goodwin finds himself in the middle of a mystery and Nero Wolfe eventually “comes to the rescue”.

Sigh. The truth is, I’m sad. I’m nearing the end of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe saga and I hate to see it end! I’ve put off reading the last few books in the Nero Wolfe series because I want to prolong my enjoyment of them. I’ve become so attached to these characters, that I want them to keep going on and on. I love the way Rex Stout weaved the cur
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Murder in E Minor (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #1)
  • Death on Deadline (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #2)
  • Death of an Art Collector (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #14)
  • Archie Meets Nero Wolfe (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #8)
  • The Bloodied Ivy (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #3)
  • Silver Spire (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #6)
  • The Battered Badge (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #13)
  • Stop the Presses! (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #11)
  • The Last Coincidence (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #4)
  • Fade to Black (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #5)
  • The Missing Chapter (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #7)
  • Murder, Stage Left (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #12)
  • Murder in the Ball Park (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #9)
  • Archie Goes Home (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #15)
  • The Case of the Lonely Heiress (Perry Mason, #31)
  • Nerve
  • Archie in the Crosshairs (Nero Wolfe Mysteries #10)
  • The Case of the Mythical Monkeys (Perry Mason, #59)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

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)

Related Articles

We all have our reading bucket lists. James Mustich's 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die is bound to seriously expand that list...
123 likes · 54 comments
“guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality.” 0 likes
“My favorite spot on earth is only a seven-minute walk from where I live, Nero Wolfe’s house on West 35th Street: Herald Square, where you can see more different kinds of people in ten minutes than anywhere else I know of. One day I saw the top cock of the Mafia step back to let a Sunday-school teacher from Iowa go first through the revolving door of the world’s largest department store. If you ask how I knew who they were, I didn’t, but that’s what they looked like.” 0 likes
More quotes…