MINI-REVIEW: The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout

129. The Silent Speaker by Rex Stout
Publication: Crimeline (January 1, 1994), Paperback, 288pp / ISBN 0553234978
Genre: Mystery
Read: July 9-10, 2012
Source: Bought

Author’s site | Goodreads | LibraryThing

Summary from Amazon:

When a powerful government official turns up dead, the great Nero Wolfe takes notice. On the edge of financial ruin, the orchid-loving detective grudgingly accepts the case. Soon another victim is found, a stenographer’s tape disappears, and the dead man speaks — after a fashion. As the business world clamors for a solution, Wolfe patiently lays a trap.


This is the first Rex Stout book I’ve ever managed to finish! For some reason, though I love the TV show based on his books, it’s weirdly difficult for me to make it through an entire book. What’s worse is that they’re SHORT books– less than 300 pages, usually, and they move very quickly. So I don’t know why I feel like I’m running up a mountain every time I pick a Nero Wolfe book up!

Anyway, this one’s pretty good for it being the first Nero Wolfe novel I’ve finished reading. It’s got a somewhat complicated plot, with multiple suspects and a near-twist reveal at the end. That was fun. What wasn’t fun was when I started noticing just how many intelligent/funny/beautiful women characters Rex Stout kills off in his books1— at least one in what seems to be every single book! Why? To make the reader depressed? Because almost all 1940s noir mysteries had dead dames in them? Because Rex Stout had something against sexy intelligent women? Hm.

In conclusion: I liked it, eventually. But the dead women make me nervous.


I liked it!

  1. based on my watching the TV show versions, of course

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