‘If Death Ever Slept: A Nero Wolfe Mystery’ Book Review

Mount Readmore Book Review, 2017 72/100


If Death Ever Slept By Rex Stout

Audiobook edition, Narrated by Michael Prichard

Finished on 7/25/2017


Description: Millionaire Otis Jarrell can’t even trust his family, it seems. He hires a reluctant Nero Wolfe to find out if his daughter-in-law is double-crossing him. Wolfe and Archie encounter a rogue’s gallery of Jarrells and associates and discover one, then two, men killed by the old man’s gun. But even Wolfe’s distaste for everyone involved doesn’t prevent him from assembling the guests and masterfully declaring � to everyone’s surprise � “whodunit.”

Genres: Mystery, Crime, Detective, Noire-Light, Whodunit

Our heroes Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe must puzzle out who is a) leaking information and b)killing people.

Spoiler-tastic review

The Nero Wolfe books are a series of mystery books which blend the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ end of the genre with ‘The Maltise Falcon’ end of the genre. More, there are a lot of these books (namely 47 of them). This book is #29.

By this point in the series the characters of Archie and Nero are very fleshed out. Nero is a morbidly obese, orchid loving gourmand who solves crimes to pay for his incredibly expensive lifestyle. Archie is a streetwise gumshoe who does Nero’s dirty work, and also plays the role of Nero’s conscience. Like many ultra-long series there is little to no character development in it’s books. Nero and Archie are established and unchanging.

The plot of ‘If Death Ever Slept’ is a whodunit of epic proportions. Nero is hired to puzzle out who is leaking industrial secrets, until people start dropping like flies. Mr. Stout employs the unrealistic trope of a ‘Summation Gathering,’ meaning all the suspects are gathered in a single room wherein the heroes then publicly accuse the murderer of murder.

I liked this book. I listen to old school mystery books as a form of passive relaxation, and this is very old school. I’ll never say this was the best mystery novel I’ve ever read, but it was good.

Audiobook notes: Michael Prichard does an excellent job, as always.

Stay Sunny!

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