Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Doorbell Rang (Nero Wolfe, #41)” as Want to Read:
The Doorbell Rang (Nero Wolfe, #41)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Doorbell Rang

(Nero Wolfe #41)

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,288 ratings  ·  307 reviews
Hired to help society widow Rachel Bruner foil bothersome Feds, Nero Wolfe and his able assistant Archie get in over their heads with highly trained G-men who are adept at bugs, tails, and threats.
Kindle Edition, 193 pages
Published (first published October 8th 1965)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,288 ratings  ·  307 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Doorbell Rang (Nero Wolfe, #41)
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Doorbell Rang" by Rex Stout is a Nero Wolfe mystery novel.

The book is considered a controversial book in some circles in that it painted the FBI. in a very unflattering light. Rex Stout was never one to shy away from controversy and was familiar with the recent book by investigative journalist Fred J. Cook, "THE FBI NOBODY KNOWS". Cook's book published in 1964 was highly critical of J. Edgar Hoover and how he used the FBI for political purposes. Stout also had a low opinion of Hoover.

Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The plot of this book can be summarized in just two following pictures. It is just this guy:
Nero Wolfe
going against these:
Oops sorry, wrong picture. I mean against these:
Men in Black

If you are to take a bet, who do you think would win in the open confrontation? Do you even have any doubts at all?

Cast your mind back in time and recall FBI of J. Edgar Hoover era - an almighty spooky organization uncontrollable even by the White House, but with carefully maintained image of relentless justice keepers.

There was a
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Im not surprised at Wolfe. With his ego, theres no one and nothing he wouldnt take on if you paid him. But, Im surprised at you. You know damn well the FBI cant be bucked. Not even by the White House. And youre hopping around pecking at peoples scabs. Youre asking for it and youll get it. Youre off your hinges.

I put both Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the golden age of detective fiction. I have recently decided to revisit both. I chose The Doorbell Rang because it relates to some
David Monroe
Rex Stout was born in Noblesville, IN and grew up in Kansas. Though never active himself, he was raised by Quaker parents. He was a brilliant child - he read by the time he was four and won a state spelling Bee when he was 13. He must have been somewhat influenced by his families' Quaker activism: He served on the original board of the American Civil Liberties Union and helped start the magazine The New Masses. At the time of the Depression, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the New Deal. ...more
S.P. Aruna
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller-mystery
A swift, crisp, clean read - entertainment with minimal effort. Deftly written.

The book is told in the first person by Archie Goodwin, who is the right-hand man of the main character, Nero Wolfe, a brilliant, rather rotund, eccentric gourmand who raises orchids, certainly one of the most memorable private investigators in crime fiction, ranking with other notables such as Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

In this one, Mr. Wolfe tackles J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, as well as solve a related murder, two
This is the 41st, and one of the later books, in the Nero Wolfe series. This particular story takes place in 1965 and is more contemporary (to me) than other stories. I am used to stories that take place in the 1940's during a time period when I have no memory. Here we have a story about the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover was in charge and struck fear into everyone. Even the White House.

A wealthy socialite widow, Mrs. Rachel Bruner, hires Wolfe because she is being harassed by the FBI. She read a
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read Nero Wolf's books several times. This book is the 41th book in the series. It is the Second favorite book of all times. The other is Helen MacInnes' REST AND BE THANKFUL.
A woman sent 10,000 books about the FBI to many leaders as governors and police offacials. The FBI is now harassing her, family, friends and empolyees. She wants Wolf to stop the harassment. She offers him $100,000 retainer and all expenses plus he can name his own fee in any amount he wishes. How Wolf goes about it
Diane K.
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is likely the best-known of all of Rex Stout's books. There is just something appealing about a citizen going up against an established institution.

While I have nothing against the F.B.I, and feel that the country would quite possibly go to hell in a handbasket without them, they, like any other institution, need their checks and balances. Old J. Edgar was given far too much power and way too little checks. While the incident that sets off the plot was fictional, I have little doubt that
Bryan Brown
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
OK, can I just admit something? This is just between you and me right? I really really really like old time detective stories. I have hundreds of old time radio programs of this type and I've started to collect classics in book form as I find them. One of my favorites are the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout. Someday I hope to have a full collection. I'm up to about 20 or so in my library.

This is, by far (so far), the best one I have read.

If you are not familiar with the premise it is that Nero
Gayle Francis Moffet
My copy of The Doorbell Rang came with an introduction that informed me that the book came about because Rex Stout was offended by what the FBI had become under Hoover and had read a book titled The FBI Nobody Knows. While I knew The FBI Nobody Knows featured prominently in The Doorbell Rang, I had assumed it was a fake book, created by Stout for the purposes of his story. Finding it was not only deepened my appreciation for Stout's storytelling. Yes, his personal politics were on display in the ...more
DeAnna Knippling
A pair of detectives--one cantankerous genius and one amiable nose-to-the-grindstone type--investigate the possible involvement of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI in a murder, because who doesn't love stirring up a wasps' nest for a hundred grand?

Nero Wolfe books are always smooth, competent, and fun: feet up and relax murder mysteries. The mystery is never all that mysterious (called this one ahead of time), yet you never feel disappointed when you get it before the big reveal. Someday, Imma read all of
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, audiobooks
2020 reread/relisten: Last time I listened to this audiobook, it was my first experience of the Nero Wolfe series in audio. As you can see from my review below, I had some problems with Michael Pritchard's narration. Now that I have listened to many of the books in this series, I am comfortable with Pritchard as Archie Goodwin so I am restoring this to its full 5*
4.5 * for this audiobook edition. Michael Pritchard did a decent job narrating but his voice just didn't
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe tangles with the FBI in 1965s The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout. Mrs. Rachel Bruner, a wealthy socialite widow, comes to Wolfe to hire him because she is being harassed by the FBI. She read the book The FBI Nobody Knows, about the abuses of J. Edgsr Hoover, and being scandalized, she decided to spread the word about the problem by purchasing 10,000 copies of the book to send to all the important and influential people she could think of. Now she is being harassed, with people tailing ...more
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2019-read
Wolfe and Goodwin v. The FBI and its head.

Wolfe did a lot of work for the government, and knew that j. Edgar Hoover was the biggest threat to democracy at the time. He couldn't attack him directly, so this is it. Excellent use of story-telling.
Sarah83 L
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litsyclassics
A great classic detective story
David Guy
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cant help wondering whats happened to the Rex Stout readership. I went to two good used bookstores, in two cities, and didnt find a single one of his books. Used bookstores used to be stacked with them. I think that reading detective fiction is often an addiction, and you constantly need new authors. I suppose that means the old ones disappear.

Thats a shame, because I loved all the Nero Wolfe books (and dont read other crime fiction these days, other than Elmore Leonard). I think I was drawn
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
"The Doorbell Rang" is a historical mystery set in New York City (though it was a contemporary mystery when it was written in 1965). This story was more a challenge to Nero Wolfe to do the impossible rather than a complex mystery. A murder mystery was involved, but Archie Goodwin figured out whodunit fairly quickly. I enjoyed the humorous tone of Archie as he told the story, and Wolfe did, indeed, come up with a clever way to best the FBI.

There was no sex. There was some bad language. I'd
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can only read this one if you give your word of honor not to look at the end until you have arrived there by reading and relishing every previous page.
Pamela Shropshire
For sheer entertainment, this Nero Wolfe book cannot be beaten. A wealthy widow, Mrs. Bruner, hires Wolfe to get the FBI off her back when J. Edgar Hoover was the director. Mrs. Bruner had read a (fictional) book called The FBI Nobody Knows, and was so impressed by it that she bought 10,000 copies and sent copies to governors, bankers, members of Congress, Supreme Court Justices, and more. Since that time, she and her family and other close associates have been followed 24 hours a day.

P D MacMillan
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I own ALL the Nero Wolfe novellas so I can recommend a few to you to try. I have too many favourites to pick just one! The definitive story is The Doorbell Rang about how Wolfe got back at the FBI, but you also may enjoy Too Many Women where Archie goes undercover in an enormous typing pool (hilarity ensues given how Archie loves attractive women). Too Many Cooks, followed by A Right To Die, gives you a historical perspective on black workers and the civil rights movement. And Four To Go is a ...more
Oct 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective, audio, 1960s
A likeable installment in the genial and virtually infinite detective franchise. Having marched through them roughly in order, it's odd to have the lads still doing their Depression-era thing in the era of the Beatles, who get a passing mention as pop culture figures with too much hair. This one is interesting in that it makes a sudden lunge at the FBI's throat, which is not what you expect from a Nero Wolfe novel but is kind of fun to watch.
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of elements you might recognize from similar kinds of books, creating a familiar revenue satisfying to the mystery fan.

A big case, a famous detective and his partner working against long odds, lies, hidden things found, and a grand unveiling at the end. Everything well executed, with some wry humor thrown in. More a battle of intellect than brawn, though there's some of that in here, too.
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Our English teacher made us read this because it's about New York. Book 41 in a series is not a good one to start with :))
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin vs the FBI! Is this Wolfe's most challenging case? I don't know but it was fun to read and the end was not a foregone conclusion.
Heidi Burkhart
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of old 1950's film noir mysteries! I was quite entertained by the story, and the reader's voice was perfect for this story!
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never having read a Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin book before (why not start with #41 of the series?), I found it very enjoyable. Wolfe is a famous detective who cogitates privately over cases, while his gumshoe Goodwin runs around talking to people and digging up facts for him. In this one a very wealthy woman thinks she is being harassed by the FBI and seeks their help ending it. Also, a murder is investigated. The book seems to be well-known for having the title of the book as its last sentence. ...more
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mistery
Not my cup of tea, the problem might be that this was the 42 outing of Wolfe and Goodwin with a somewhat outlandish premise. I dont think Im going to try Rex Stout anytime soon again. ...more
Dec 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who suffered happily through an episode of "Jake and the Fatman"
Recommended to Bruce by: Bill Kerwin
Shelves: fiction
Seeking for a way to cool off my brain from Social Physics, I followed a suggestion from GoodReader Bill Kerwin and returned to Rex Stout. Stout paired Arthur Conan Doyle's lazy, deductive powerhouse Mycroft Holmes with Raymond Chandler's hardboiled Philip Marlowe to create dynamic detective duo Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Nero's the near-300 pound gourmand who stays and thinks (and cultivates orchids) in his New York brownstone while sending Archie about to do all the legwork. The ...more
Jul 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like a good mystery. Not necessarily cloak and dagger or murder mayhem, but a puzzle to solve. I like books that make you think. This is my first encounter with Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe. I don't know if I like Nero very much as a man with this one book, but Mr. Stout got me thinking for sure. Part of the thinking was looking up words that may have been popular at the time the book was written, or could be a lack of a huge vocabulary on my part, but nonetheless, I had to use a dictionary on ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Brasil: Semana 3 (10/06 - 16/06): Capítulos 10 - 15 4 16 Jun 20, 2019 08:41PM  
Goodreads Brasil: Semana 2 (03/06 - 09/06): Capítulos 6 - 9 3 10 Jun 10, 2019 11:41AM  
Goodreads Brasil: Semana 1 (27/05 - 02/06): Capítulos 1 - 5 3 24 Jun 03, 2019 11:52AM  
Goodreads Brasil: * Informações gerais 4 33 May 30, 2019 08:14PM  
Around the Year i...: The Doorbell Rang, by Rex Stout 1 10 Nov 28, 2016 08:14AM  
Goodreads Librari...: a lot of missing info 6 26 Dec 31, 2013 10:25AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Murder in E Minor (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #1)
  • Death on Deadline (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #2)
  • The Bloodied Ivy (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #3)
  • Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #8)
  • The Missing Chapter (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #7)
  • Fade to Black (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #5)
  • The Battered Badge (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #13)
  • The Last Coincidence (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #4)
  • Stop the Presses! (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #11)
  • Silver Spire (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #6)
  • Death of an Art Collector (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #14)
  • Murder in the Ball Park (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #9)
  • Archie in the Crosshairs (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #10)
  • Murder, Stage Left (Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries #12)
  • Clutch of Constables (Roderick Alleyn #25)
  • Final Curtain (Roderick Alleyn, #14)
  • The Case of the Terrified Typist (Perry Mason #49)
  • Traitor's Purse (Albert Campion Mystery, #11)
See similar books…
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)

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 wit...
102 likes · 53 comments
“Genius is fine for the ignition spark, but to get there someone has to see that the radiator doesn't leak and no tire is flat.” 29 likes
“Afraid? I can dodge folly without backing into fear.” 28 likes
More quotes…