If you are a mystery lover, then you have likely heard of Rex Stout. He was a master of the genre, and his novels have stood the test of time. Whether you are new to his work or a seasoned reader, this article will help you discover the best Rex Stout books to read now.
Who is Rex Stout?
Rex Stout was a literary giant, known for his sharp wit and clever mysteries. He was born in 1886 in Indiana, and from an early age, he showed a talent for writing. He went on to become one of the most famous authors of his time, particularly for his Nero Wolfe novels.
Stout’s writing career began in earnest when he moved to New York City to pursue his dreams. He quickly established himself as a writer of both short stories and novels, and his work was widely read and admired. His first novel, ‘How Like a God’, was published in 1929, and it set the stage for his later success.
Stout’s greatest achievement, however, was the creation of Nero Wolfe. This brilliant detective quickly became one of the most beloved characters in all of fiction. With his incredible deductive skills and encyclopedic knowledge, Wolfe was able to solve even the most complex of crimes. He was assisted in his work by his loyal sidekick, Archie Goodwin. Goodwin was the narrator of the stories, and his witty banter with Wolfe was one of the highlights of the books. Together, the two characters made an unbeatable team, and they captured the hearts of mystery fans everywhere.
A Brief Biography of Rex Stout
Rex Stout was a man of many talents. In addition to his writing, he was also an avid gardener and a passionate advocate for civil liberties. He was deeply involved in politics, and he used his platform as a writer to speak out on issues that were important to him.
Stout was born in Indiana in 1886, but he spent much of his childhood in Kansas. He attended college for a time, but he ultimately decided to pursue a career in writing. After moving to New York City, he quickly found success as a writer of mysteries and thrillers. His work was widely read and admired, and he won many awards for his writing over the course of his career.
Stout was known for his sharp wit and his love of wordplay. He was a master of the English language, and his writing was characterized by its cleverness and its humor. He was also known for his strong sense of justice, and he used his writing to draw attention to social and political issues that he felt were important.
The Creation of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin
The character of Nero Wolfe was born out of Stout’s love of puzzles and riddles. He was fascinated by the idea of a detective who could solve even the most complex of crimes using only his intellect. Wolfe was the embodiment of this idea, and he quickly became one of the most beloved characters in all of fiction.
Wolfe was not alone in his adventures, however. He was assisted in his work by his loyal sidekick, Archie Goodwin. Goodwin was the narrator of the stories, and his witty banter with Wolfe was one of the highlights of the books. Together, the two characters made an unbeatable team, and they captured the hearts of mystery fans everywhere.
Stout’s writing was characterized by its cleverness and its humor, and his stories were filled with richly drawn characters and intricate plots. He was a master of the mystery genre, and his work continues to be read and enjoyed by millions of readers around the world.
Top Rex Stout Books to Start With
If you are new to the Nero Wolfe series, there are a few books you should start with. These novels are some of the best examples of Stout’s writing, and they will give you a good sense of the tone and style of the series.
Fer-de-Lance is the first novel in the Nero Wolfe series, and it is a great place to start. In this book, Wolfe is hired by a wealthy man to find his missing daughter. The case quickly takes a dark turn when the daughter is found dead. Wolfe has to use all of his skills to solve the crime, and the book is a great example of the clever plotting and witty dialogue that makes the Nero Wolfe series so popular.
Set in 1930s New York, Fer-de-Lance takes readers on a journey through the city’s seedy underbelly. From high society parties to back alley bars, Wolfe and his trusty assistant Archie Goodwin navigate the city’s different worlds in their search for the truth. Along the way, readers are treated to vivid descriptions of New York’s different neighborhoods and the colorful characters that inhabit them.
Stout’s writing is sharp and witty, and his characters are fully realized and memorable. Wolfe, with his love of gourmet food and aversion to leaving his home, is a unique and fascinating protagonist. His relationship with Archie, his street-smart assistant, is one of the highlights of the series.
The League of Frightened Men (1935)
The League of Frightened Men is another classic Nero Wolfe novel. This book sees Wolfe being hired by a group of men who were all members of a college club together. One of the men has been accused of murder, and the rest of the group is convinced that he is innocent. Wolfe has to use all of his skills to uncover the truth and clear the man’s name.
The novel explores themes of loyalty and betrayal, as the members of the college club grapple with their own secrets and motivations. As Wolfe and Archie dig deeper into the case, they uncover a web of lies and deceit that threatens to destroy the entire group. The book is a masterclass in suspenseful storytelling, with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
The Rubber Band (1936)
The Rubber Band is a classic example of the “locked room” mystery. In this book, a wealthy man is shot and killed in his office, but there is no sign of a struggle or anyone entering or leaving the room. Wolfe is hired to solve the case, and he has to use all of his skills to figure out how the murder was committed.
As Wolfe and Archie investigate the case, they encounter a colorful cast of suspects, each with their own motives for wanting the victim dead. The novel is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, and Stout’s descriptions of the economic struggles of the time add depth and realism to the story.
Like all of Stout’s novels, The Rubber Band is filled with clever dialogue and memorable characters. The banter between Wolfe and Archie is as sharp and entertaining as ever, and the novel’s surprising conclusion will leave readers satisfied and eager for more.
The Best Nero Wolfe Novels
The Nero Wolfe series is made up of 33 novels and 39 novellas. If you are a fan of the series, you have likely read many of them. However, there are a few books that stand out as some of the best examples of the series. These novels are must-reads for any fan of Nero Wolfe.
Some Buried Caesar (1939)
Some Buried Caesar is one of the most popular Nero Wolfe novels, and for good reason. In this book, Wolfe and Goodwin find themselves investigating a murder at a farm show. The book is full of memorable characters and clever plotting, and it is one of the best examples of Stout’s writing.
The book is set against the backdrop of a farm show, which provides an interesting and unique setting for the murder mystery. As Wolfe and Goodwin delve deeper into the case, they encounter a cast of eccentric characters, including the victim’s family members and the other exhibitors at the show. The tension builds steadily throughout the book, leading to a thrilling conclusion that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
The Silent Speaker (1946)
The Silent Speaker is another classic Nero Wolfe novel. In this book, Wolfe is hired to investigate a murder at a political convention. The book is full of political intrigue and clever plotting, and it is one of the most suspenseful novels in the series.
The book is set against the backdrop of a political convention, which provides an interesting and unique setting for the murder mystery. As Wolfe and Goodwin navigate the complex world of politics, they encounter a cast of characters with their own agendas and motivations. The tension builds steadily throughout the book, leading to a thrilling conclusion that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Too Many Cooks (1938)
Too Many Cooks is another great Nero Wolfe novel. In this book, Wolfe is hired to solve a murder that takes place at a gathering of famous chefs. The book is full of witty banter and clever plotting, and it is one of the most popular novels in the series.
The book is set against the backdrop of a gathering of famous chefs, which provides an interesting and unique setting for the murder mystery. As Wolfe and Goodwin delve deeper into the case, they encounter a cast of characters with their own culinary expertise and personalities. The tension builds steadily throughout the book, leading to a thrilling conclusion that will keep readers hungry for more.
Intriguing Standalone Novels by Rex Stout
While the Nero Wolfe series is the most famous of Stout’s works, he also wrote several standalone novels that are worth checking out. These books show a different side of Stout’s writing and are just as entertaining as his detective novels.
The Hand in the Glove (1937)
The Hand in the Glove is a gripping tale of suspense. In this book, a young woman named Dol Bonner finds herself in possession of a stolen diamond. She hires a private detective to help her return the diamond to its rightful owner, but things quickly take a dark turn. The book is full of twists and turns, and it is one of Stout’s best standalone novels.
Red Threads (1939)
Red Threads is another great standalone novel by Stout. In this book, a man named Noel Hawthorne becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit. He goes on the run, hoping to clear his name and find the people who have framed him. The book is full of suspense and action, and it is a great example of Stout’s talent for writing thrillers.
The Mountain Cat Murders (1939)
The Mountain Cat Murders is a classic whodunit. In this book, a wealthy man is found murdered in his mountain lodge. The suspects are many, and it is up to Wolfe to figure out who committed the crime. The book is full of atmosphere and clever plotting, and it is one of Stout’s best standalone novels.
Rex Stout was a true master of the mystery genre. His Nero Wolfe novels are some of the best examples of detective fiction, and his standalone novels are full of suspense and intrigue. Whether you are new to his work or a seasoned reader, there is always something new to discover in Stout’s books. We hope this guide has helped you discover the best Rex Stout books to read now.
What is Rex Stout famous for?
Rex Stout was known predominantly for detective fiction. He brought the characters Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to life and was awarded the Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award in 1959.
What genre did Rex Stout write in?
He was best known for crime and detective fiction.
Is Rex Stout still alive?
No, Rex Stout died in 1975, at the age of 88.
How many Nero Wolfe books are there?
Stout’s famous protagonist appears in 33 novels and 39 novellas. These were all written between 1934 and 1975.