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The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout

Posted by Gilbert Stack on May 9, 2022 at 9:50 AM

The Golden Spiders by Rex Stout

When Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin have a spat over Wolfe’s rudeness, Archie tries to get back at Wolfe by permitting a 12 year old street kid who shows up with a “case” for Wolfe to join them at dinner, Wolfe uses the arrival to get back at Archie, making him take notes and treat the interview as a serious case. Both men are shocked a couple of days later when the boy is killed—probably by the man he came to get Wolfe’s help regarding. To make matters worse, the boy’s mother arrives and gives Wolfe the dead child’s life’s savings (a couple of dollars) because it was her son’s last wish. Angry at himself, but also (without acknowledging it) clearly feeling some responsibility toward the dead boy, Wolfe spends the money on a one in a million gambit that pulls him firmly into a fascinating case in which the major clue is a pair of bizarre spider earrings.

 

I love this novel because it shows a touch of humanity in Nero Wolfe that the great detective would clearly prefer that no one knows he has. It also shows him and his team of operatives at their best taking one impossibly small clue and using it to solve three murders. I didn’t figure this one out, but I certainly enjoyed watching Wolfe do so. This novel shows once again why Nero Wolfe deserves to be counted among the greatest of fictional detectives.

 

Categories: Reviews