Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Review: The Rubber Band


The Rubber Band (1936) is Rex Stout's third mystery featuring the corpulent Nero Wolfe.   As always, Archie Goodwin narrates and handles the leg work, while Wolfe orchestrates the detecting while tending his orchids or drinking beer.

This time around, Wolfe drops a long-time banker client to take the case of a beautiful woman accused of stealing from the bank.   With gunmen on the loose and the police closing in, Wolfe hides the lovely new client in his brownstone long enough to sort through a mystery that began with a near-lynching in the Wild West and could end with the murder – or arrest – of a visiting British nobleman.

The plot is complex, the conclusion tidy, and the prose lively.  Goodwin is as wise-cracking a gum shoe as Sam Spade and Stout plays him off the eccentric pomposity of Wolfe perfectly.


If you would like your review of this or any other Rex Stout book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


This counts as one of my my "Cherchez le Homme" choices for the Vintage Mystery Challenge hosted by My Reader's Block.


  1. I haven't read any of these. Thanks for posting.

  2. One of the high points of The Rubber Band is how well Stout characterized Harlan Scovil in just a few pages -- he appears at Wolfe's office, says a few words, waits for a while, and then leaves only to be shot on the sidewalk, and yet is a complete and believable character.

  3. Cozy: I only started reading the series last year. Great stuff!

    Isaac: Good point! Harlan was central to the story and I can picture him even now, but he was really only in one scene.


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