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The Doorbell Rang Hired to help society widow Rachel Bruner foil bothersome Feds, Nero Wolfe and his able assistant Archie get in over their heads with highly trained G men who are adept at bugs, tails, and threats My copy of The Doorbell Rang came with an introduction that informed me that the book came about because Rex Stout was offended by what the FBI had become under Hoover and had read a book titled The FBI Nobody Knows While I knew The FBI Nobody Knows featured prominently in The Doorbell Rang, I had assumed it was a fake book, created by Stout for the purposes of his story Finding it was not only deepened my appreciation for Stout s storytelling Yes, his personal politics were on display in the My copy of The Doorbell Rang came with an introduction that informed me that the book came about because Rex Stout was offended by what the FBI had become under Hoover and had read a book titled The FBI Nobody Knows While I knew The FBI Nobody Knows featured prominently in The Doorbell Rang, I had assumed it was a fake book, created by Stout for the purposes of his story Finding it was not only deepened my appreciation for Stout s storytelling Yes, his personal politics were on display in the work, but Nero Wolfe is a man who very much dislikes bullies, and so it was a perfect fit to have Wolfe go after the FBI for illegal wiretapping.It is very interesting how that same topic has come into relevance in the last few years, and it speaks to the timelessness of Stout s work There are no computers, no cell phones, no e mails to search through and no overly descriptive blogs to slog through What Stout gives readers is a cast of great characters in interesting situations that stand the test of time because the interactions are interesting, fast paced, and sometimes hilarious Archie Goodwin maintains as a top example of the hard working assistant behind the lazy genius because he s as interesting as the man he works for.One of the greatest strengths of the Nero Wolfe series is that Stout wrote stories that can stand alone There are mentions to previous books, but the circumstances that get discussed are done in a natural way, like when you first meet someone and they tell you funny stories from various points in their life It allows readers to jump into Stout s work at any point with the expection of A Family Affair, which should not be read until you ve read at least some of the rest of the library and simply enjoy the mystery and the interactions and the picture of mid century New York that Stout paints so well The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout is a Nero Wolfe mystery novel.The book is considered a controversial book in some circles in that it painted the FBI in a very unflattering light Rex Stout was never one to shy away from controversy and was familiar with the recent book by investigative journalist Fred J Cook, THE FBI NOBODY KNOWS Cook s book published in 1964 was highly critical of J Edgar Hoover and how he used the FBI for political purposes Stout also had a low opinion of Hoover From The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout is a Nero Wolfe mystery novel.The book is considered a controversial book in some circles in that it painted the FBI in a very unflattering light Rex Stout was never one to shy away from controversy and was familiar with the recent book by investigative journalist Fred J Cook, THE FBI NOBODY KNOWS Cook s book published in 1964 was highly critical of J Edgar Hoover and how he used the FBI for political purposes Stout also had a low opinion of Hoover From the Wikipedia entry on this novel Nero Wolfe is hired to force the FBI to stop wiretapping, tailing and otherwise harassing a woman who gave away 10,000 copies of a book that is critical of the Bureau and its director, J Edgar Hoover The Doorbell Rang generated controversy when it was published, due largely to its unflattering portrayal of the FBI, its director and agents It was published at a time when the public s attitude toward the FBI was turning critical, not long after Robert F Kennedy and J Edgar Hoover clashed and the Bureau was coming under fire for its investigations of Martin Luther King The plot of this book can be summarized in just two following pictures It is just this guy going against these Oops sorry, wrong picture I mean against these If you are to take a bet, who do you think would win in the open confrontation Do you even have any doubts at all Cast your mind back in time and recall FBI of J Edgar Hoover era an almighty spooky organization uncontrollable even by the White House, but with carefully maintained image of relentless justice keepers There was a fict The plot of this book can be summarized in just two following pictures It is just this guy going against these Oops sorry, wrong picture I mean against these If you are to take a bet, who do you think would win in the open confrontation Do you even have any doubts at all Cast your mind back in time and recall FBI of J Edgar Hoover era an almighty spooky organization uncontrollable even by the White House, but with carefully maintained image of relentless justice keepers There was a fictional book covering the agency s abuse of power which came under the radar of the majority of public just as it is usually the case One wealthy woman read it and was so impressed that she ordered a bunch of copies that she distributed literally everywhere Her rewards for the troubles were quite expected apathy of her readers and very close scrutiny of the said agency in the name of security of cause did you notice that some things never change, including ones done in the name of security She was harassed by every imaginable way until she came to Nero Wolfe asking him to make the impossible and somehow force the FBI to stop their security checks on her She did two things to convince the detective to take the case the retainer check was for 100,000 please recall the time and dollar s buying power when this took place and her mentioning of Wolfe s being the only man on Earth who could possibly do it As I already mentioned this was quite possible one of the first book both fiction and non fiction which was highly critical about FBI s usual work methods As such it has historical value in addition of being a good mystery and fear not, there is a good mystery in there This is the reason I give the highest rating to this novel and incidentally it has the highest average rating of all books of the series I m not surprised at Wolfe With his ego, there s no one and nothing he wouldn t take on if you paid him But, I m surprised at you You know damn well the FBI can t be bucked Not even by the White House And you re hopping around pecking at people s scabs You re asking for it and you ll get it You re off your hinges I put both Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the golden age of detective fiction I have recently decided to revisit both I chose The Doorbell Rang because it relates to I m not surprised at Wolfe With his ego, there s no one and nothing he wouldn t take on if you paid him But, I m surprised at you You know damn well the FBI can t be bucked Not even by the White House And you re hopping around pecking at people s scabs You re asking for it and you ll get it You re off your hinges I put both Rex Stout and Erle Stanley Gardner in the golden age of detective fiction I have recently decided to revisit both I chose The Doorbell Rang because it relates to some interesting issues in the USA during this part of the 21st Century.Nero Wolfe is a wonderful creation Stout has poured so many eccentricities into him that he would be a mere caricature if it were not for Stout s skill at plotting and the unusual cases that Wolfe and Goodwin tackle Wolfe always has his beer, before dinner and during any late night work sessions The beer and his orchids occupy a significant part of his daily routine Wolfe rarely ventures from his Manhattan brownstone, and only then with great reluctance that often is truculence He does not trust any woman to be reliable and he disdains work unless he needs the money or the problem intrigues him.Archie Goodwin is not his partner He is his assistant and sometimes cat s paw, and he lives, rent free in Wolfe s house and dines at no charge on gourmet food cooked by Wolfe s chef, Fritz Wolfe doesn t tell Goodwin everything, but we see everything from Goodwin s perspective Goodwin has been with Wolfe so long that he knows all his idiosyncrasies and can play on them to move things along Every so often, Goodwin will threaten to quit over some disagreement but that eventually is resolved and things continue on as they must.There are a host of regular characters that cover the NYC newspapers, police, taxis, and additional manpower for investigations To those who are regular readers of these stories, they add a level of comfort and predictability Yet, almost without a single exception, no one is every ahead of Wolfe in resolving the case at hand.I am going to quote from Jim s review to give you the essence of the plot A wealthy socialite widow, Mrs Rachel Bruner, hires Wolfe because she is being harassed by the FBI She read a book, The FBI Nobody Knows , and was so moved that she decided to purchase 10,000 copies and send them to prominent and influential people senators, congressmen, business leaders, etc Now she is being harassed by the FBI and wants Wolfe s help putting and end to it A 100,000 retainer helps persuade Wolfe to help her and take on the FBI Soon Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, and Fritz Brenner find themselves living under siege Is the brownstone bugged Are the phones tapped Archie is being tailed whenever he leaves the house There is a murder There always is a murder Wolfe prevails in a very satisfactory as Wolfe is wont to say when he is pleased way.Though this is 41 in Stout s series it is sharp and entertaining and can be read on its own It is one of my favorites 4 PS I want to add that Stout has opinions on everything but particularly food and books In almost every Nero Wolfe you will be treated to both a series of gourmet meals and to one orbooks that Wolfe is currently reading a bonus of delights

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