Trio for Blunt Instruments was the last Nero Wolfe novella collection published during Stout’s lifetime and contained three stories.
“Kill Now-Pay Later” Originally published in 1961 sees Wolfe’s bootlack dead and suspected of murder. The police theory was that he committed suicide because he found his daughter had been sleeping around. His daughter doesn’t buy it and neither does Wolfe. Begrudgingly fears for the daughter’s safety and takes her in the brownstone.
He commits himself to solving the case. and he believes that the person who impugned the dead man’s daughter’s honor is no doubt the one behind it. His solution is to get his client to sue her co-workers and Inspector Cramer for spreading the rumor. Some great reactions from Cramer in this one.
“Murder is Corny” was first published in the Novella collection and was the last novella Stout wrote.
When a mutual acquaintence of Archie’s and a murdered man tells police that she and Archie were scheduled to meet in the alley where the murdered man is found dead, Archie finds himself in a pickle. Wolfe at first declares himself uninterested but when Archie going to jail becomes a real possibility, he digs in.
This one could have been better, but still has the mark of a master detective story with Wolfe insisting that a bad delivery of corn to Wolfe’s house is a vital clue, one that Cramer ignores.
In 1963’s “Blood Will Tell,” Archie receives a bloody tie in the mail and a mysterious phone call. When he inspires into the case, he finds a body and a house full of people with soap operatic lives. However, unlike in the other two stories, Wolfe finds a client and has to unravel this mystery with a good bit of detective work.
Overall, there were no great stories, but all of them good and solid Wolfe entries that delivered solid detection, and well-told plots with some great moments, particularly with Inspector Cramer.
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