If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


July Interviews













7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets


Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson

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Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.


KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.


Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.


Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.


Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


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Friday, September 8, 2017

Champagne For One by Rex Stout: A Review by Warren Bull




Champagne For One by Rex Stout: A Review by Warren Bull

Champagne For One was published in 1958. It is one of thirty three novels Rex Stout wrote featuring his detective, Nero Wolf and his assistant, Archie Goodwin. Wolf was a stay-at-home detective, rarely venturing away from his New York brownstone home. Wolfe’s daily schedule was set up to include four hours each day with his orchids, gourmet meals, and as little physical activity as he can manage. It is not surprising that he weighed 1/7th of a ton. His luxurious home is also arranged to fit his interests and occupation with private space for him and built-in ways to listen to and watch visitors.

Champagne For One is an example of his detective style. He sends Archie out with the men he regularly uses as backup. Suspects come to his home for questioning and to plead their cases. The police cooperative reluctantly and with loud complaints, but they go along with the crime-solver. 
In this novel, as in many others, Wolfe solves an “impossible” crime by using Archie and others to do the legwork, by observation and by the use of his massive intelligence.  In the novel Archie is asked by an acquaintance to attend a formal dinner the mansion of a grand dame of society. Guests include six single men and six unmarried women who are in a charitable facility that helps unmarried women. At the dinner he discovers that one of the women has cyanide capsules in her purse. She has said that someday she may kill herself using the poison. Archie keeps his eye on the woman and on her purse. Nevertheless she dies in front of the group. Tests confirm she was poisoned.  Nearly everyone except Archie believes she committed suicide. Archie is convinced she was murdered. 

Was she murdered? If so how?  Archie watched her and her purse. Even if it was death by suicide, how did she get the poison? The questions are fair. Not having Wolfe’s brainpower, I did not guess the solution correctly.

 This is a series in which the characters do not grow or change. For example, Wolfe is the same age in every novel. However, I enjoyed visiting familiar characters in a setting I knew well. Nero Wolfe is one of the classic fictional detectives. This novel is well worth reading.


While working on this blog I learned about Rex Stout. The author was raised as a Quaker and had a strong sense of right and wrong. He supported civil rights and authors’ rights. Stout was on the original board of the American Civil Liberties Union. During the height of the McCarthy era he ignored a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee. Although Stout was a staunch anti-Communist, Herbert Hoover included Stout on his personal enemies list. Many writers were on his list. Stout included social commentary in his mysteries.

Rex Stout was one of those writers whose life was as interesting as his characters. What other writer fits that description?

3 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

Who knew Herbert Hoover had an enemies list? The Nero Wolfe mysteries were favorites of my fathers, and so I read a half-dozen at our summer cabin in the Cottage District of Ontario.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

Another fun review of one of the classics! I remember reading this years ago.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Dashiell Hammett. Love them both.