Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Mother Hunt by Rex Stout

book cover

The Mother Hunt
by Rex Stout

ISBN: 0-553-24737-9
Mass Market Paperback: 212 pages
Publisher: Bantam Books
Released: 1963, 1981, 1993

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description from Goodreads:
When a baby is abandoned on the doorstep of a young socialite widow, the woman thinks she knows the identity of the father: her deceased writer husband, the cad! But who is the mother? Reluctantly, Nero Wolfe accepts the case, and Archie identifies the first clue: unusual buttons on the baby's overalls. The case seems like child's play to Wolfe until the first dead body...

My Review:
The Mother Hunt is a humorous, historical mystery. Though this book is a part of the Nero Wolfe series, each novel is a stand-alone. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one.

The setting was Manhattan, NY, in 1963 (the same year it was written, though it's "historical" now.) The story was a fast-paced, quick read with some suspense created by the number of dead-ends they hit. While the whodunit was guessable, it could have easily been one of several people, and we're not told the vital clue until the "big reveal" scene.

The main characters have very vivid personalities, and the viewpoint character is a very jaunty fellow. The characters kept me coming back, though the mystery was interesting, too. I especially like the Nero Wolfe movies, which capture the novels well.

There was some talk about people having affairs, but no sex scenes. There was a fair amount of explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those who like mysteries and the 60's but don't mind explicit bad language.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
When the doorbell rang a little after eleven that Tuesday morning in early June and I went to the hall and took a look through the one-way glass panel in the front door, I saw what, or whom, I expected to see: a face a little too narrow, gray eyes a little too big, and a figure a little too thin for the best curves. I knew who it was because she had phoned Monday afternoon for an appointment, and I knew what she looked like because I had seen her a few times at theaters or restaurants.

Also I had known enough about her, part from public record and part hearsay, to brief Nero Wolfe without doing any research.

Read more of chapter one using Google Preview.

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