This is the book that started it all, the first in the Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin team-ups. The characters are not quite so fully formed and the relationship between Nero and Archie is a bit more tentative than it will be in, say, three years. This beginning is the right place to start. Highly recommended.
I'm on the hunt for a good replacement after finishing all the Agatha Christie books and was trying this one based on a recommendation.
The style isn't for me though, I'm not a fan of the characters at all and that seems to be important in this type of book.
In the Introduction to this edition, Loren D. Estleman writes that popular crime literature is divided between the manorial "English School" of puzzle mysteries and the two-fisted American urban variety, and that Stout weds these two forms. I do not like the English School, and this book leans too heavily in that direction. I also cannot suspend my disbelief enough to believe in an obese armchair detective. I gave up after ten pages.
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