Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Archie Meets Nero Wolfe

The Kindle Deal of the Day today:

Amazon.com: Archie Meets Nero Wolfe: A Prequel to Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Mysteries

It is not to be held against Goldsborough that he's not Stout - after all, there was only the one. So to say that the voice isn't quite right is both true and unnecessary. Obviously, the voice isn't quite right - it's not Stout. The genius of the Nero Wolfe books is how easy and effortless they look, when clearly, the achievement was neither easy nor effortless. Nor, apparently, reproducible.

So it's an interesting effort for those of us who love Nero and Archie, to go back and look at one possibility of how they may have gotten together. And it's always nice to re-visit the brownstone.

The problem that Goldsborough faces, the reason that this effort, like all of the others, is ultimately so disappointing, is that, good as Stout's plots were, that's not the reason for reading Nero Wolfe. The joy is in the telling and so the books are as good the second, fifth, even fifteenth time through as they were the first. Nero and Archie and the others are old friends, and time spent with them is a joy. Reading a new book in an almost-Archie voice featuring an almost-Nero is, in the end, less enjoyable, less pleasant, than another trip through Some Buried Caesar or The Silent Speaker.

So, it's an interesting but not fulfilling experience. If you love Nero and Archie, it's worth making your way through it. But once is enough.

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