this is the 229th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Curtains For Three by Rex Stout © 1950, this copy Bantam Books July 1980 mass market paperback, mystery – Nero Wolf
In the first story, “The Gun With Wings”, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin must prove that a death which has been ruled a suicide by the police is actually a murder, and who committed the crime. The problem is the murder weapon, a gun, seems to have moved from place to place between the time the crime was committed and the time the witnesses came upon the scene. If it’s a murder, who moved the gun and why? As usual, the suspects are gathered in Wolfe’s office at the conclusion, and the genius detective manipulates things in such a way as to reveal the killer. A fine story.
“Bullet For One” concerns the murder of a top drawer industrial designer, and claims that he had been stealing work of a competitor, who is suspected of the crime, though he has a perfect alibi. The murder took place on an equestrian riding trail, a single bullet fired, the body hidden in shrubs, the horse left to return to it’s stables. Three men want Wolfe to find the killer, each of them dislikes the others but they all need the crime to be solved.
The third story, “Disguise For Murder” was my favorite of the three, both for the characters and the situation; the murder takes place in Wolfe’s brownstone, in his office, while there are over a hundred visitors. The occasion is a visit from members of a Garden Club, there to see the orchids, of course, but things go badly awry. All that is extremely unusual, and this is the only Wolfe story I can recall where the crime is committed at Wolfe’s home. [see Art Scott’s comment, below] A really good one.
It was a pleasure to drop by the brownstone and spend time with Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. It had been far too long. There are still a very small number of Wolfe books I’ve not read (this had been one of them) but I need to remedy that.
For those who decide to try one a Nero Wolfe story for the first time, I’d suggest Fer-de-Lance or Too Many Cooks.