Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Second Confession (1949)

The Second Confession (Nero Wolfe). Rex Stout. 1949. 256 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

The Second Confession might just be my new favorite, favorite Nero Wolfe novel. I didn't think it was possible to love Wolfe and Goodwin more than I already did, but spending two days with this book proved that I had more love to give. I loved, loved, loved every minute of this mystery.

Mr. Sperling hires Wolfe as a private detective "to prove" that his daughter's boyfriend is a communist. Wolfe is reluctant to take on a case with those terms. He argues that what Sperling desires is not proof that this Louis Rony is a Communist, instead what he wants is his daughter to end things with him, period, Communist or not. Wolfe agrees to take the case on his own terms. He will help find proof that will convince this young woman that Rony's not the man for her; he'll even strongly encourage Archie to flirt with the daughter in question and distract her.
"Get invited to his home, socially. Meet Mr. Rony and form an opinion of him. More important, form one of the daughter, as intimately and comprehensively as possible. Make appointments with her. Seize and hold her attention. You should be able to displace Mr. Rony in a week, a fortnight at the most--and that's the objective."
"I'll be damned." I shook my head reproachfully. "You mean to make a pass at her."
"Your terms are yours, and I prefer mine. Mr. Sperling said his daughter is excessively curious. Transfer her curiosity from Mr. Rony to you."
"You mean break her heart."
"You can stop this side of tragedy."
"Yeah, and I can stop this side of starting." I looked righteous and outraged. "You've gone a little too far. I like being a detective, and I like being a man, with all that implies, but I refuse to degrade whatever glamour I may--"
"Archie!" He snapped it.
"Yes, sir."
"With how many young women whom you met originally through your association with my business have you established personal relationships?"
"Between five and six thousand. But that's not--" (9-10)
But the case doesn't go exactly as planned. The relationship is ended. That part was a success. Then again, it's hard to have a relationship with a corpse. Yes, Rony ends up dead, apparently run over by a car in the Sperling driveway. Who murdered him? What was the motive?

This case was very exciting and intense. I loved following it from beginning to end. It was a lot more exciting than most of Wolfe's cases. I love how full of personality it was. It was also very quotable!!!

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Carol said...

Came via Semicolon. I just reviewed my first Nero Wolfe book and linked it there. I didn't see yours when I linked originally. Sounds like a cracker.

Bev Hankins said...

This one is on my TBR pile. Sounds like a really good one.