Wow! What a book, what a mystery! I absolutely loved, loved, loved Second Confession, but, I think I loved this one just as much. Three Nero Wolfe mysteries are closely linked together: And Be A Villain, Second Confession, and In the Best Families. Second Confession and In the Best Families especially fit together well. They introduce a character, Nero Wolfe likes to call "X" because he doesn't want to casually drop this bad guy's real name too often. X made threats in And Be A Villain and Second Confession, and in Second Confession X knew just how to make Nero suffer: by destroying his orchids. But nothing compares to the danger in In The Best Families.
It starts with a client, of course, all of his mysteries start with a client! Mrs. Rackham wants her husband investigated. She doesn't want to expose him, she's not out to publish any wrong-doings, she just wants to know herself what her husband has been up to. He used to ask her for money, now, he has his own resources, and she's doubtful that he's coming by them through honest hard work. They arrange for Archie Goodwin to come to her estate disguised as himself, he'll be "investigating" the poisoning of her cousin's dog. He'll be asking questions, lots of questions. Some are naturally suspicious. Who is paying for this investigation? The poor cousin (Leeds) or Mrs. Rackham herself? Since the dog survived and ultimately no harm was done, and since this all happened over a month ago, why pay Nero Wolfe prices for the answers?!
Goodwin was to spend the night at the cousin's small home (he's just a "quick" walk away from Mrs. Rackham's quite-large estate). But does Archie get a good night's sleep?! NO!!! When Archie calls Nero Wolfe with the details--Mrs. Rackham is dead--something unexpected happens. After much aggravation with the local police, still without any sleep, Archie returns home and discovers something shocking: NERO WOLFE IS GONE! Arrangements have been made for his orchids, for his cook, Fritz, and for Archie himself.
Archie all on his own?! Archie solving his own cases? Yes this book is quite unique!!!
I would love to tell more, because it's lovely through and through, but I won't. This book has so many great, great scenes!!!
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews