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Three Witnesses

(Nero Wolfe #26)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  2,431 ratings  ·  101 reviews
In three cases--a millionaire who writes his own death warrant, a dog who becomes a killer's worst enemy, and an answering service which refuses to talk about a murder--three witnesses hold the solution for detective Rex Stout.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Crimeline (first published March 10th 1956)
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Bill Kerwin
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it

Three enjoyable Nero Wolfe novellas. In the first, Wolfe must testify for the prosecution during an innocent man's murder trial, in the second a man who died twice leaves a clue from beyond the grave, and in the third the behavior of a Labrador retriever holds the key to a murder committed with his leash.

All excellent entertainments. I love the Wolfe novels, but the novellas at their best are even better.

Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The anthology consists of three novellas:

The Next Witness.
Nero Wolfe is called to testify in court as a witness. He almost never leaves his house, but being a PI he has to do it in such cases. This time he really hated a smell of perfume of a woman sitting next to him so much that he stood up and left before his testimony. To justify his childish act and avoid a fine for court contempt he decided to take a close look at the case presented in court. Some unexplained peculiar things came up right
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: who-done-it
The Nero Wolfe team consists of two parts of a whole detective – Archie Goodwin, Wolfe’s leg man, narrator and jack-of-all-trades and Nero Wolfe, the pompous, sedentary (read: fat) brains behind the team. Wolfe is known for his love of food, orchids, money, deductive powers and the ability to confound those around him, including the cops. Archie has the quick wit and people skills.

I’ve never been a big fan of the short fiction; they’re over before they can gain any momentum. These three tales
Jill Hutchinson
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Nero Wolfe fanatic! I love the whole corpus and will tell you so over and over again. It is not necessarily the plots that fascinate me; instead it is the wordplay and interaction between Mr. Wolfe and Archie that are the joy in Stout's writing. This book contains three short stories, two of which (The Next Witness and Die Like A Dog) were also filmed for the excellent A&E series starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton, using the dialogue from the ...more
Jan 05, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
003 - "The Next Witness"
067 - "When A Man Murders"
129 - "Die Like A Dog"

All three stories originally appeared in the American Magazine.

Dust jacket design by Bill English.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really fun book containing three short mysteries. Each story can be read in one sitting. None are disappointing but are full of Archie's wise guy cracks and Nero's drollery all wrapped up in good little whodunits.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, mysteries

I found these 3 novellas or short stories quite pleasurable. However the second story (When a Man Murders) left me puzzled - I had guessed the correct person as the murderer but couldn't figure out what made it clear to Wolfe, even after the denouement!
COUNTDOWN: - Mid-20th Century North American Crime
BOOK(Novella) 201 (of 250)
Stout 'vogues' with the best of them-at least one pose per work here ! This is actually 3 novellas by Stout: "The Next Witness", "When a Man Murders" and "Die Like a Dog". I'll focus on "The Next Witness", as it has Nero doing the oddest things...
HOOK -3 stars: Archie Goodwin narrates the opening paragraph: "I had had previous contacts with Assistant District Attorney Irving Mandelbaum, but had never seen him perform in
Victoria Lees
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Rex Stout’s book entitled Three Witnesses is a three-novella collection from the Nero Wolfe mystery series. As I’ve said before, I don’t enjoy blood and guts or horror. Stout’s murder mysteries are more cozy-ish, which I enjoy.

Reading Stout’s Wolfe mysteries, I’m reminded of other mystery authors I’ve read. It seems part of the genre to have an underling narrate the story of great detectives. Dr. Watson narrates Sherlock Holmes’ many adventures. Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings narrates
Riju Ganguly
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a truly signature collection of Nero Wolfe mysteries. I enjoyed all three of them.
First one was "The Next Witness". Nero Wolfe, while sitting in a Court to act as a witness for the prosecution, realises that something is amiss in the way facts are being presented. Risking contempt, and facing a warrant as well as stiff penalty, he undertakes actual physical movement. Rest assured, he doesn't die. Instead, by next morning, he has found the actual killer.
Second novella, i.e. "When a Man
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I reread this for the first time in a long time. On the whole I like the novels better than the short stories which means I read them more often. That said, how can I not like a story in which Archie brings home a dog. He does it in part to annoy Wolfe, and discovers that Wolfe would be happy to have the dog there as long as it was *Archie's* dog. All the benefits of having a dog, but he can blame someone else for any inconvenience. Sometimes Stout shows a very clear understanding of human ...more
Koen Kop
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rex Stout in excellent form - concur with other reviewers that the third story, "Die Like a Dog", is the best.
Pamela Shropshire
This is another anthology of 3 novellas, all quite enjoyable. As the title suggests, all 3 focus on the testimony of a particular witness, not necessarily an eye-witness, to a murder.

In the first one, Wolfe disappears from the courtroom where he has been called to testify in a murder trial. He has suddenly got the idea the defendant didn’t do it, and goes off to try and prove it.

The second one is a classic mistaken death scenario: when a man is thought to have been killed in the Korean War, his
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-reread
Or have I read this before? The trouble with Stout’s three-novella sets is that the titles don’t really connect to the stories, so I constantly get them mixed up. I think I would have remembered the first story (“The Next Witness”), because it’s terrific, Wolfe is sharp, Archie funny, and you get to see Saul’s apartment. And the last (“Die Like a Dog”), because it features a dog that wins Wolfe’s heart—and it’s a pretty sloppy, clumsy, subpar story. All told, though, all three are well worth ...more
Jefferson Searle
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sleuthiness
Thee good stories. I like the last where Nero gains a dog as a pet. I haven't read about the dog in any other stories though.
Christopher Rush
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nero-wolfe
This is a very enjoyable trio of short stories that move with great rapidity. The first story, "The Next Witness," has been one of my favorites for several years, thanks to the series, and I was glad to finally read it for myself (fifteen years after seeing it on the screen). Mr. Stout still finds engaging ways to bring us into these mysteries: here, Wolfe and Archie are finally called to testify in a courtroom, something they've managed to escape almost every other time it seems. Wolfe finds ...more
Nan Silvernail
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Three Nero Wolfe Mysteries

1) The Next Witness - Confound it! Nero Wolfe is stuck sitting in court, waiting to be a witness for the prosecution along with Archie Goodwin. But it wasn't the perfumed woman he had to sit next to that made him get up and leave, even with the threat of being in contempt of court and maybe facing jail for it. It was an idea... a very compelling idea that will flip the case on it's ear and expose the truth.

2) When a Man Murders - When a soldier who was supposed to have
Adam Graham
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The Next Witness" finds Wolfe called as a witness to a peripheral matter in a murder trial. While being out and watching the trial, he becomes convinced that the prosecution's case is wrong and leaves the courtroom with Archie, with going on the run from the law while Wolfe tries to find the truth.

"The Next Witness" is truly a top notch story and it shows Wolfe at his wiliest and most resourceful as he's forced to stay in a strange house, travel around in a car, and question witnesses in
Katie Bee
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-books-read
Another of the three novella books. I generally tend to like these a lot - the novella length is great for Stout. This collection isn't the absolute best, but it's very pleasant.

In "The Next Witness", Wolfe and Archie are witnesses in a murder trial. Waiting for his turn to testify, Wolfe decides the prosecution has got it all wrong, and absconds from the courthouse (guaranteeing himself a contempt of court charge) to do some detection and bring the actual murderer to justice. I absolutely love
Kevin Colwell
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodwin-wolfe-co
A collection of three Nero Wolfe novellas.

The first story, "The Next Witness", opens with Wolfe and Goodwin in a courtroom waiting to testify in a case where the defendant tried to engage Wolfe, but was declined because of Wolfe's policy refusing to take relationship-based cases. Recognizing that his testimony will support the prosecution's faulty case, Wolfe leaves the courtroom to investigate, becoming a fugitive in the process. There are a handful of very good situations here. Wolfe's
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I started reading Rex Stout’s books back in 1997 when I got a couple of the books as Christmas gifts. Now I am not much of a mystery reader except a couple of the Sherlock Holmes books. I couldn’t put down this book. It is one of the few books Rex has written that has not one story but three short cases that Nero Wolfe has worked. The stories in general are the best Stout as an author has ever done. This shows how his skill in handling characters and a plot in novelette form. The dialogue is ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Nero Wolfe experience but I'll definitely read more. Written in the hard-boiled detective styles of Travis McGee and even the Maltese Falcon, Rex Stout also imbues a dry wit and subtle humor in his stories. This book has 3 separate novellas about Nero Wolfe and his sidekick Archie Goodwin. Each story has a unique plot line and twist. As Archie gathers the clues and suspects, Nero puts them all together and the reader can try his hand at matching Nero's deduction. I figured out ...more
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rex Stout's "Three Witnesses" (first published in 1956) is the 26th book in his "Nero Wolfe" series. Like his other "Three [x]" books, this is a compilation of three short stories: "The Next Witness" (1955), "When a Man Murders" (1954), and "Die Like a Dog" (1954). In this case, I found each of the three stories to be about equally (very) good. My only issue is that I found the ending of the 2nd story ("When a Man Murders") to be a bit abrupt. Other than that, it's the usual Rex Stout "Nero ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Rex Stout was recommended to me during a writing class, and I just randomly picked this book up from the store. I've never really ventured into the mystery genre, thinking that most of plots were formulaic and overdone. I have to say Rex Stout does fit into that category. Stout's great detective, Nero Wolfe, solves the case by simply asking a few questions and listening to the stories of the suspects involved. It is usually a detail that the Wolfe figures out on his own but doesn't share with ...more
Perry Whitford
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is superlative stuff from Stout, as usual. It features three short stories, and I generally prefer his three-fers to his single, extended stories because the mysteries are more distilled and Wolfe's presence is less rationed (if you can mention Wolfe in the same sentence as the word "rationed" that is!).

Of the three witnesses I remember that one of them was Wolfe himself in a story which was unusually intense and quite brilliant, and that another of them was a dog, so what's not to like?
Lisa Kucharski
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Loved these three shorts. The first one is a rare occurrence- Wolfe is out of the house. He has been called to testify and after hearing enough decides (right before he has to gone on) to leave the smelly woman beside him and solve the case. Archie explains that the smelly woman was wearing Passion's Flower and it costs 80 bucks an ounce. The second one is a case of the dead come back to life to die again. The third one gives us a surprise from Wolfe. A dog follows Archie home, and to Archie's ...more
Nancy Butts
Apr 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Book 26 in the Nero Wolfe series, and another trio of novellas: The Next Witness, When a Man Murders, and Die Like a Dog [in which the dog, a Labrador, does NOT die]. Nero has to leave his office in the first novella, having been subpoenaed to testify in a murder case, but he leaves the courtroom before being called to the stand and risks a bench warrant because he’s suddenly convinced that the defendant–who is not a client—is innocent. And in the third novella, it’s not the dog but a raincoat ...more
Vicki Cline
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nero-wolfe
This is another collection of three novellas, and I don't like those quite as much as the full-length novels, but the third story was pretty good. A dog follows Archie home from a crime scene, and that fact turns out to be the key to solving the murder. Also, Wolfe actually likes the dog and lets him stay. Although I don't think the dog turns up in any of the subsequent novels.
Joshua Milligan
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nero-wolfe
Three shorter stories that have you shocked at sudden developments that give Wolfe the final piece of the puzzle
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Understanding Wolfe and Archie 10 23 Jul 09, 2013 06:47AM  

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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

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)
“You can’t have women working in an office building after two a.m. unless it’s a public service, but I have to give my clients all-night service, so there on Sixty-ninth Street I’ve got four operators for the three switchboards, and they all live right there in the apartment. That way I can have one at the boards from eight till two at night, and another one from two o’clock on. After nine in the morning three are on, one for each board, for the daytime load.” 1 likes
“He looked uncomfortable. He saw that a pencil on his desk was not in its proper place, and moved it, and studied it a while to decide if that was the best spot after all. At length he came back to me.” 0 likes
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