ARCHIE GOES HOME
A Nero Wolfe Adventure
By Robert Goldsborough
As we’ve said in
previous reviews, series such as this one appeal to readers not so much for the
actual mysteries, though it is fun to try and outguess the detectives before
the finale, but rather for the characters themselves. Aside from the team of
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, no other pair of fictional sleuths has ever
captured the imagination of readers in such an overwhelming way as that of Nero
World and his legman, Archie Goodwin. During the course of his chronicling
their adventures, creator/writer Rex Stout doled out very few facts regarding
Archie’s background. Now, much to our delight, Robert Goldsborough, having
picked up the series with the blessings of Stout’s daughter, has set about
filling in that history.
He began that task
with two previous books, “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe – A Prequel” and “Archie in
the Crosshairs.” Both excellent and recommended. He completes that trilogy with
“Archie Goes Home” and does so with humor and panache.
The tale begins when
Archie receives a call from his Aunt Edna, a local busy-body who collects
gossip like a bibliophile collects first editions. It seems a local banker has
committed suicide after the death of his wife. But a young female reporter
believes the man was murdered by one of half-a-dozen people the man cruelly
dealth with in the past. Obviously Aunt Edna is hoping Archie will come home
and look into the matter. As it turns out, things are slow in New York and Wolfe agrees it would be an
advantageous time for Archie to take a vacation and visit his mother.
Once back in the
sleepy little Ohio
burg, Archie soon finds himself corralled by both Aunt Edna and Katie Paget,
the lovely and ambitious newshound. Between them, they provide him with a list
of the most likely people harboring animus towards the late Mr. Mulgrew; the
dead banker. And so begins another formulaic tale with Archie methodically
interviewing all these suspects while at the same time irritating the local
sheriff. The joy of the tale is Archie’s Mom, Marjorie Goodwin, a truly
wonderful character with plenty of wit, charm and homegrown intelligence. The
moments with mother and son are warm and loving and offer up a great deal of
insight as to the Archie’s own nature; his loyalty and compassion for others.
As I said at the start, these books aren’t so much about the mysteries as the people. And still, Goldsborough use of Archie’s truly unique talent in solving the crime is totally apprapos. “Archie Goes Home” is a delight. Do we really need to say any more?