Fade to Black Author:Robert Goldsborough Publishers Weekly — Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe is arguably one of the two or three most beloved detectives in fiction, and this fifth volume of Goldsborough's authorized re-creations of the series hero provides yet another opportunity for purists to argue whether he has captured the spirit or merely the form of the originals. This flat and not very m... more »ysterious tale will probably support the latter argument. Wolfe and wisecracking Archie Goodwin are hired to find out who is leaking a small advertising agency's secrets to a large and powerful competitor. As is often the case, Wolfe is not terribly interested in the proceedings, not even when the investigation widens to include the murder of a young executive who apparently knew the truth--and he must be constantly cajoled by Archie to keep things moving. All the set pieces involving Wolfe's many idiosyncrasies, the various meals served at his West 35th Street brownstone and irate visits by the irascible Inspector Cramer seem forced, rather than familiar and comfortable, and the classic final gathering of all involved lacks drama and suspense. This one is strictly for fans who can't get enough of the fat man.« less
Inside flap: In cool Manhattan the ad game is both crisp and cutthroat. But when two competing agencies begin producing look-alike commercials for rival soft-drink companies. Mills, an executive with one of the firms, wants to see Nero Wolfe to discuss finding the leak. Then a young executive is found bludgeoned to death in a trendy Village apartment, and the search for an agency mole becomes a search for a murderer. Despite Wolfe's lack of interest in advertising, cherry colas, or work in general, funds are low and a little arm twisting by Archie persuades Nero to take the case. While Archie does the legwork needed to gather clues, Nero Wolfe must digest the facts of one of the most unappetizing and unsettling cases he's been served in a long time.