Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Last Coincidence, by Robert Goldsborough

The Last Coincidence
By Robert Goldsborough

As of this writing, I've worked my way through about seventy-five percent of the Nero Wolfe canon. That is, the Nero Wolfe books that were written by his creator - Rex Stout. Until recently I had steered clear of the Nero Wolfe books that were written by Robert Goldsborough, after Stout's death, in the years between 1986 and 1994.

The Last Coincidence is the fourth of these seven books and for me it got off to a slow start, lacking for the most part the snappy writing - and particularly dialog - that Rex Stout was so good at. But about a third of the way through the book something seemed to kick in and I found myself drawn in. As for the plot, well, it's a Nero Wolfe book, so you could make the argument, as with any of them, that plot mechanics are subordinate to the interaction of the characters, particularly Wolfe, Archie Goodwin and the long-suffering Inspector Cramer.

Suffice to say that Lily Rowan's niece has been assaulted by a certain fast-living young fellow, who later turns up dead. While someone steps forward to confess to the crime it's up to Wolfe and company to determine whether they really committed it. Do you think they do? Come on...

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