I can't express just how much I enjoyed "The Sound of Murder". All Nero Wolfe fans should stop in their tracks and come up with a practical plan on how to get a copy of this HTF book. The story may be one of Stout's canniest even in comparison to the Wolfe Canon.
A woman seeks the help of a recently disbarred, unemployed and infamous (throughout NYC for putting his honor before court rules) Alphabet Hicks because her industrialist husband has repeatedly accused her of being a spy for his main competitor. Her happy and peaceful home has become a hostile place. Why does her husband believe she is a spy? Each time he comes up with a major scientific breakthrough his competitor is just a few steps ahead of him.
Hicks quickly discovers an entertaining and intriguing cast of characters, a muddle of science, multiple murders, damsels stuffed in car trunks, a puckish and heroic youth, and missing chocolate. Hicks is startled to discover that her husband has proof of her espionage - a phonograph recording of a meeting between her and his competitor. You'll have to read the book to discover more.
I have read and enjoyed all three of the Tecumseh Fox (Dbl for Death, Broken Vase, & Bad for Biz (orig. version of the Tingley Tidbits short story)) novels. The Fox novels are very good. Fox reminds me of the male protagonist in the Thin Man. Fox is very entertaining, suave and wealthy and is surrounded by a coterie of very, funny oddballs. In a sense, he is definitely Archie's precursor.
Stout has two other novels featuring detectives from the Wolfe Cannon. I haven't read the Cramer (Red Threads) or Doll Bonner (The Hand in the Glove) novels but I tried each briefly and was tempted away by another book.
Stout offered us a rich universe of detective fiction. There was life before Nero Wolfe.
(Please see my Archie Goodwin Files review.)