Tracyk's Reviews > Fer-de-Lance

Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout
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's review
Nov 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: mystery, favorites
Read in June, 2012

Fer-de-Lance was not Wolfe's first book, but it was his first mystery. It amazes me that it was so well done. The story is complex and entertaining. From the beginning, he had the relationships of Wolfe and Archie developed. The other characters (the client, the acquaintances and relatives of the victim) are all well developed.

The books are full of great quotes, I will select just one from this book:
"I understand the technique of eccentricity; it would be futile for a man to labor at establishing a reputation for oddity if he were ready at the slightest provocation to revert to normal action."

I like that the Nero Wolfe series is really about a family. Archie is Wolfe's employee, and he is definitely his own man. They disagree on a lot. But both of them look out for each other and will go to great lengths to help when the other is in trouble. Throughout the series, the same group of characters inhabit the brownstone on West Thirty-fifth Street: Fritz, the cook; Theodore Horstmann, the orchid expert. There is also an established group of operatives that work with Archie and Wolfe when cases demand more manpower: Fred Durkin, Saul Panzer, Orrie Cather. They each have their strengths and idiosyncrasies. This is not true so much in Fer-de-Lance. But even at this point, Fred Durkin has been working with Wolfe long enough to ask him for a favor, and Fritz and Theodore's quirks are evident.

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