Dracula’s Coffin

Dracula's-Coffin

Last Of The Summer Wine
Series 3, Episode 7: “Isometrics and After” (1976)

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Stop The Presses!

Stop The Presses! is Robert Goldsborough’s latest addition to the Nero Wolfe series and I was eagerly counting the days till its release last week.

Stop The Presses

Here’s what it’s about:
Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are tasked with protecting the most hated columnist in New York City.
There are few people Nero Wolfe respects, and Lon Cohen of the New York Gazette is one of them. So when Cohen asks for a favor, the famously brilliant—and notoriously lazy—detective is inclined to listen. According to Cohen, someone wants to kill the Gazette’s gossip columnist, Cameron Clay. Death threats are a regular hazard for Clay, who’s hurled insults and accusations at every bold-faced name in the five boroughs. But the latest threats have carried a more sinister tone.

The columnist has narrowed his potential killers down to five people: an egomaniacal developer, a disgraced cop, a corrupt councilman, a sleazy lawyer, and his ex-wife. But when Clay turns up dead, the cops deem it a suicide. The bigwigs at the Gazette don’t agree, so they retain Wolfe and his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin, to figure out which of the suspects had the mettle to pull the trigger.

I finished this in about three days and really enjoyed the trip back into Nero Wolfe’s world.  But I’d have to say this is probably my least favorite of his Wolfe books.  I had a hard time staying interested in the mystery and I think it was the middle part of the book that did it to me. It was pretty repetitive: Archie would find a way to get one of the suspects to come to the brownstone, Wolfe would question them (after they were supplied with their favorite drink), the suspect left and Archie asked Wolfe what he thought about them… the same thing happened with all five suspects. And I know in an investigation that’s probably how it would actually happen but a little bit of variety would have helped.

For some reason, Fritz and Lily both bothered me in this as well.  They seemed a little off from the original books… but it could just be me remembering them wrong.

With that being said, I loved the ending!  It was different and I really didn’t expect it. And as I was still smiling from the big reveal in the office, we got another great part with Inspector Cramer and Wolfe at the end.  That may just be one of my favorite parts between the two of them from any of the books, Stout’s included.  (It’s scenes like this that really make me miss the A&E Nero Wolfe TV series. They would have done a great job with it!)

Wolfe

I started re-reading the Nero Wolfe series last year but I only made it up to The Red Box.  I’ll have to get back at it and hopefully we’ll have another book to look forward to from Robert Goldsborough.  Despite the issues I had with parts of Stop The Presses! it’s far outweighed by how much I enjoy getting new cases for some of my favorite characters to solve.

If you’ve read Stop The Presses! or any other of Goldsborough’s Nero Wolfe books I’d love to know what you thought about them!

This Edition: Paperback published by Mysterious Press/Open Road Integrated Media (2016)

Other Nero Wolfe books by Robert Goldsborough: Murder In E Minor, Death On A Deadline, The Bloodied Ivy, The Last Coincidence, Fade To Black, Silver Spire, The Missing Chapter, Archie Meets Nero Wolfe, Murder In The Ball Park, Archie In The Crosshairs

The Railway Detective

Whenever I make the trip over to Half Price Books I’ve always got a list of books to look for.  It’s usually just wishful thinking though because about 95% of the time they don’t have what I want.  But it’s never a wasted trip… I just wander the aisles until a book or two (or ten) catches my eye.  I was browsing the mystery aisle a few months ago when I noticed this one:

The Railway DetectiveAnything about trains, particularly in the mystery aisle, is bound to catch my attention and The Railway Detective by Edward Marston (Keith Miles is his real name) did just that.  I was pretty excited to find this one, especially after reading the description:
London 1851.  With the opening of the Great Exhibition at hand, interest is mounting in the engineering triumphs of the railways, but not everyone feels like celebrating…
In an audacious attack, the London to Birmingham mail train is robbed and derailed, causing many casualties.  Planned with military precision, this crime proves a challenge to Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck who fights to untangle a web of murder, blackmail and destruction.
As Colbeck closes in on the criminal masterminds, events take an unexpected turn when the beautiful Madeleine, daughter of the injured train driver, becomes a pawn in the criminal’s game.  With time running out, good and evil, new and old, battle against each other.  But will the long arm of the law have speed on its side?
Full of historical detail, The Railway Detective is an action-packed dip into murky 1850s London.

As excited as I was to read this one, I was a little disappointed by the time I finished it.  I liked the plot and the details given about the different types of trains but it just wasn’t enough to set it a part from the many other mystery series I read.  While the main characters, Detective Inspector Colbeck and Sergeant Leeming, are likable enough all the characters felt a little flat, especially the main “criminal mastermind”. The dialogue seemed to be pretty repetitive in parts too.

The Railway Detective did keep me interested enough to finish it though and I really do like the idea of a mystery series focusing on trains and railways.  I’ll probably try one or two more books in the series.  A lot of times a series improves with each new book and hopefully this one will too!  If you’ve read The Railway Detective, I’d love to know what you thought about it!

This Edition: Paperback published by Allison and Busby (2005)

Other books in The Railway Detective series: The Excursion Train, The Railway Viaduct, The Iron Horse, Murder On The Brighton Express, The Silver Locomotive Mystery, Railway To The Grave, Blood On The Line, The Stationmaster’s Farewell, Peril On The Royal Train, A Ticket To Oblivion, Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook, Timetable Of Death

Coming Soon: Stop The Presses!

Rex Stout is my favorite mystery author and I love his Nero Wolfe series.  So I was a little hesitant the first time I picked up a Nero Wolfe book written by Robert Goldsborough.  There was nothing to worry about!  I’ve really enjoyed his additions to the series.  After receiving permission from the estate of Rex Stout, Goldsborough published seven Nero Wolfe books in the 80s & 90s.  He then took a break from the Wolfe books to focus on his own series featuring Steve Malek.

He turned his attention back to Nero Wolfe with the publication of Archie Meets Nero Wolfe in 2012 (my favorite of his books so far!) and has followed it up with three more books, including the one being released next week.

Stop The PressesStop The Presses! will be released on March 8th.  Here’s what it is about:

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are tasked with protecting the most hated columnist in New York City.
There are few people Nero Wolfe respects, and Lon Cohen of the New York Gazette is one of them. So when Cohen asks for a favor, the famously brilliant—and notoriously lazy—detective is inclined to listen. According to Cohen, someone wants to kill the Gazette’s gossip columnist, Cameron Clay. Death threats are a regular hazard for Clay, who’s hurled insults and accusations at every bold-faced name in the five boroughs. But the latest threats have carried a more sinister tone.

The columnist has narrowed his potential killers down to five people: an egomaniacal developer, a disgraced cop, a corrupt councilman, a sleazy lawyer, and his ex-wife. But when Clay turns up dead, the cops deem it a suicide. The bigwigs at the Gazette don’t agree, so they retain Wolfe and his indefatigable assistant, Archie Goodwin, to figure out which of the suspects had the mettle to pull the trigger.

Other Nero Wolfe books by Robert Goldsborough: Murder In E Minor, Death On A Deadline, The Bloodied Ivy, The Last Coincidence, Fade To Black, Silver Spire, The Missing Chapter, Archie Meets Nero Wolfe, Murder In The Ball Park, Archie In The Crosshairs

Website: www.robertgoldsborough.com

Vintage Finds: Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Front

strawberry pic

Strawberry Back

I found this cute Strawberry Shortcake book at a Goodwill.  We’ve had a pretty mild winter so far compared to some of the others we’ve had in recent years… but there is just enough snow on the ground right now to make this title seem appropriate.  Strawberry Shortcake and the Winter That Would Not End was written by Alexandra Wallner and illustrated by Mercedes Llimona.  It was published by Scholastic in 1982.