Archie Goodwin is chipper as he strolls home from his weekly poker game, money in his pocket and a smile on his lips. He has just reached Nero Wolfe’s stately brownstone on West Thirty-Fifth Street when a sedan whips around the corner and two gunshots ring out, nearly hitting Goodwin. It is a warning, and the message is clear: The next bullet will not miss.
Rotund investigator Nero Wolfe has made more than his fair share of enemies over the years, and it seems one of them has decided to strike, targeting Wolfe’s indefatigable assistant. Some might run for cover, but Archie Goodwin is not the type. With the help of Wolfe’s brainpower, Goodwin will find the man who wants him dead—unless the killer gets to Goodwin first.
Archie in the Crosshairs by Robert Goldsborough
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Archie in the Crosshairs ( Nero Wolfe Novels by Robert Goldsborough) is a 2015 Open Road Media/ Mysterious Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have been a fan of the Nero Wolfe mysteries for many, many years. So, I was happy to see someone came along and picked the series back up again. I confess that I have only read a few of the books not written by Rex Stout, and generally there are a few changes in the writing even if the author did his best to stay true to the original style. However, for me the few differences were not big enough to really matter, so I found I was just happy to get reacquainted with Nero and of course Archie Goodwin.
So, if you are a fan of the Nero Wolfe series sit back and enjoy this latest installment available in paperback and digital formats.
It would seem Archie's affiliation with the great and eccentric detective, Nero Wolfe, has finally caught up with him. A few shots were fired in his direction prompting Archie and Nero to trip down memory lane to revisit some old cases in which someone may be still be holding a grudge.
In conjunction with this investigation, a wealthy young woman finds herself the victim of a blackmail scheme she would rather not take to the police in fear her fiance might hear of it. Wolfe and Archie are once more in need of a cash infusion and agree to take her case.
I absolutely love Archie and his commentary as cases begin to take shape. The cast of characters we love are back to help Nero and Archie discover who is out to kill Archie. The blackmail scheme is a curious case and of course one must keep in mind the book is set during the mid-forties, a period in which a young woman's reputation could be damaged severely if certain implications were made public, even if she was entirely innocent.
The story unfolds in typical Wolfe fashion with Nero leaving much of the legwork to Archie, since he believes Archie is somewhat of an expert when it comes to women. But, in the end, as is always the case, all the suspects are gathered in Wolfe's home and interrogated one by one until the culprit is outed along with his or her motives.
These mysteries are as much about the characterization of Wolfe and Archie as they are about the cases they work. In this particular case, Wolfe is in a good mood, by his standards, and Archie is in rare form as he deals with being a target for murder. Wolfe's dark moods did not make an appearance here, and his orchids were only mentioned once, but Fritz and the heavy, rich meals were featured prominently. Occasionally, Archie steals the show away from Wolfe, and in this case he was particularly sarcastic and witty in his narrative of events as they unfold.
There is usually a moral to the story and this one was no exception. The dark side of the human condition is explored and brought into the light by the rare talent Wolfe has for reading people and exposing their lies and evil deeds.
This will be a much welcome installment for long time fans and hopefully with the new digital access new fans will climb aboard too. 4 stars