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Bitter End (The First Nero Wolfe Novella)

av Rex Stout

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
453572,735 (3.81)5
* After author background information, the introduction to this book presents the history of publication and a discussion of Nero Wolfe novellas in general and concludes with a summary of the story. This eBook includes also the illustrations of the magazine publication."Bitter End" is the first of almost 40 novellas featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, mostly published in "The America Magazine."The story, which is dark and complex, explores the family, business and personal relationships of the owners and employees of a specialty food manufacturer. Wolfe has a personal encounter with one of their products that has been poisoned and feels compelled to investigate.… (mer)
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Review of eBook

When portly Nero Wolfe discovers the tampering of jars of pâté, he sets out to discover who is behind the dastardly deed. Archie Goodwin helps in the investigation; they discover some nefarious dealings in a family business. But will this lead to the discovery of the person who tamped with the food?

First published in “The American Magazine” in November 1940, the telling of this dark tale, the first novella in the series, is as Nero Wolfe fans would surmise with all the expected characters in place and Nero at his curmudgeonly best. Astute readers may identify the miscreants before they the reveal, but fans of the series are sure to enjoy the adventure.

A short story, “Out of the Line,” follows. In it, an unhappy widow makes a birthday decision that leads to an unexpected revelation and a twisted ending.

Recommended. ( )
  jfe16 | Jan 26, 2021 |
First things: If you already own Rex Stout's Death Times Three, you don't also need this version of Bitter End. They're the same. So this is less a review of the story than of the edition.

This is a fine mystery story, and the backstory about how Stout came to write it is also worth a read. Reading this book has also resulted in me rereading Stout's closely-related Tecumseh Fox story Bad for Business, which is fun. But:

The reasons to prefer this copy of Bitter End to the Death Times Three copy amount to: It's inexpensive. They've included the illustrations from the magazine publication. The (author-unknown) introduction covers the backstory (it also appears to be the full extent of the "annotations")--though not as well as John McAleer covers the same information in Dx3's intro.

There's a slight hidden price to this option, too: Several paragraphs are repeated in mid-story. Looks like a cut-and-paste error. I'd have given the book four stars without this error, but I don't really think it's significant.

Reasons to buy Dx3 instead: You get three novellas. McAleer's intro, as noted above, is better.

The Death Time Three option costs more, of course. But I recommend it. I also recommend this story. ( )
  joeldinda | Mar 6, 2020 |
In my never-ending quest to further my knowledge of Golden Age mystery writers, I downloaded Rex Stout's first Nero Wolfe novella as well as one of his short stories to my Kindle.

Bitter End concerns the family business and personal relationships of a specialty food manufacturer. Nero Wolfe's chef is ill and unable to cook, which-- being new to this series-- I gather is quite the catastrophe. When someone comes to ask Wolfe to investigate food tampering in a family owned and operated factory, the only reason why Wolfe accepts the case is because he's just tasted the paté in one of the sabotaged cans. Of course, Archie Goodwin is the one who does all the real investigating, and as I read I found that I really enjoyed Archie's voice. Bitter End is a fast-paced and rather easy-to-solve mystery.

The short story "Out of the Line" paints an atmospheric portrait of New York City that I found rather poetic. In it, a spoiled rich woman decides to make someone else happy on her birthday, and Stout has a nice little ironic twist at the end.

All in all, Bitter End and "Out of the Line" are exactly what I was looking for: a good, solid introduction to Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe, and Archie Goodwin. I wouldn't be surprised if I read more in the future. ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 12, 2015 |
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* After author background information, the introduction to this book presents the history of publication and a discussion of Nero Wolfe novellas in general and concludes with a summary of the story. This eBook includes also the illustrations of the magazine publication."Bitter End" is the first of almost 40 novellas featuring Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, mostly published in "The America Magazine."The story, which is dark and complex, explores the family, business and personal relationships of the owners and employees of a specialty food manufacturer. Wolfe has a personal encounter with one of their products that has been poisoned and feels compelled to investigate.

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