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The Doorbell Rang

The Doorbell Rang - Rex Stout, Stuart M. Kaminsky The plot of this book can be summarized in just two following pictures. It is just this guy:
Nero Wolfe
going against these:
Oops sorry, wrong picture. I mean against these:
Men in Black

If you are to take a bet, who do you think would win in the open confrontation? Do you even have any doubts at all?

Cast your mind back in time and recall FBI of J. Edgar Hoover era - an almighty spooky organization uncontrollable even by the White House, but with carefully maintained image of relentless justice keepers.

There was a (fictional) book covering the agency's abuse of power which came under the radar of the majority of public - just as it is usually the case. One wealthy woman read it and was so impressed that she ordered a bunch of copies that she distributed literally everywhere. Her rewards for the troubles were quite expected apathy of her readers and very close scrutiny of the said agency - in the name of security of cause (did you notice that some things never change, including ones done in the name of security?)

She was harassed by every imaginable way until she came to Nero Wolfe asking him to make the impossible and somehow force the FBI to stop their "security checks" on her. She did two things to convince the detective to take the case: the retainer check was for $100,000 (please recall the time and dollar's buying power when this took place) and her mentioning of Wolfe's being the only man on Earth who could possibly do it.

As I already mentioned this was quite possible one of the first book - both fiction and non-fiction - which was highly critical about FBI's usual work methods. As such it has historical value in addition of being a good mystery; and fear not, there is a good mystery in there.

This is the reason I give the highest rating to this novel and incidentally it has the highest average rating of all books of the series.