Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Too Many Women

Too Many Women. Rex Stout. 1947/1985. Bantam Books. 176 pages.

It was the same old rigmarole. Sometimes I found it amusing; sometimes it only bored me; sometimes it gave me a pronounced pain, especially when I had had more of Wolfe than was good for either of us.  

With Rex Stout, it's merely a matter of determining if I liked a book or loved a book. There was never a question of if I would like it at all. For I've never read a Nero Wolfe mystery that I didn't at least like. There's just something enjoyable and wonderful about the detective team of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. I love and adore both characters. In Too Many Women, Archie is the dominant character. While Wolfe is present in the novel, to a certain degree, it is Archie who is doing most of the work. (Now Archie would probably be the first to point out that he's always the one doing all of the work.) Too Many Women sees Archie Goodwin going undercover (well, at least at the start) at a company. He's been hired to investigate a death. One of the company's employees was killed in a hit and run accident. A few fellow employees at least feel that this was intentional and no accident. So Archie's job is to talk with just about all the employees--well, the ones who had dealings with the victim--and find out if it was murder, to catch the murderer if he is to be found. (The premise of this one reminded me of Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers, in that mystery the detective, Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover at an agency to find a murderer.)

Was it enjoyable? Yes. Definitely. I never regret spending time with Nero and Archie.

Was it the best, best, best Wolfe mystery ever? Not really. I mean it was a good book, a good mystery. I think for those who like to see Archie flirt with women--he does have a way with women--this one will appeal, or not. (I did find it a little odd that so many women were begging for Archie's favors.) For those looking for great banter between Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, well, this one isn't as good as some of the other novels I've read. In fact, it's probably my least favorite of the Stout novels I've read.
I don't regret reading this one. Perhaps because I would LOVE to read each and every Nero Wolfe novel, novella, short story ever published.

Read Too Many Women
  • If you're a big fan of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. If you already love the characters and are just looking to spend more time with them. This wouldn't be my first choice for a first introduction to Nero and Archie.
  • If you're a fan of mysteries and are looking for an office/company setting.
  • If you're not bothered by the stereotypical representations of women--especially secretaries.

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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