Monday, May 14, 2012

Champagne for One

Champagne for One. Rex Stout. 1958/1995. Random House. 224 pages.

If it hadn't been raining and blowing that raw Tuesday morning in March I would have been out, walking to the bank to deposit a couple of checks, when Austin Byne phoned me, and he might have tried somebody else. But more likely not. He would probably have rung again later, so I can't blame all this on the weather. As it was, I was there in the office, oiling the typewriter and the two Marley .38's for which we had permits, from the same can of oil, when the phone rang and I lifted it and spoke. 

 Last year I discovered mysteries, and I also discovered that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. While I haven't spent as much time in the mystery genre this year as I did last year, I do plan on reading some this year. I have got plenty of Rex Stout mysteries that I just can't wait to read!!!

Reading Champagne for One was an interesting experience for me since I had already seen the adaptation of it. (I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Nero Wolfe series--that show ended much too soon!!!) To read a mystery when you have a vague remembering of the details--the clues--is a different type of experience. Not a bad one necessarily. Just different.

In Champagne for One, Archie Goodwin attends a party in the home of one of Wolfe's former clients, Mrs. Robilotti. The dinner party is to "benefit" four single unwed mothers that had (in the past year) been helped by the charity (Grantham House) started by the woman's first husband, Mr. Grantham. Four gentlemen are invited to entertain the four young "unfortunate" women. Archie Goodwin was substituting at the last minute. Dinner and dancing. That's what is supposed to happen. Unfortunately, this year it is dinner, dancing, and murder. Of course, Archie Goodwin is the only one that KNOWS it was murder and not suicide. Why? Well. He was warned by one of the ladies that Faith Usher had a bottle of cyanide in her purse, so he keeps his eyes on that purse throughout the evening. Faith never goes near it. Yet, she still ends up dead--poisoned.

Who is the murderer? Can Goodwin and Wolfe outwit the murderer?

I loved this one. I think this is a GREAT Nero Wolfe mystery. It would be a great choice if you're new to the series. (The series can be read in any order, for the most part, I've been told there is a trilogy that go together, but the rest do stand alone.)

Read Champagne for One
  • If you're a mystery fan
  • If you're looking for mysteries set in the U.S. (as opposed to all the BRILLIANT British mysteries written by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers)
  • If you're a fan of Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin
  • If you're a fan of books set in the 1950s
  • If you like some comedy (banter) in your mysteries
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Tasha B. 9:18 PM  

I loved the Nero Wolf series, too. I've never read the books, though--I'm always worried a TV series or movie I love won't be as awesome in book format or vice-versa.

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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