I would like to start my review with a question which should be very easy for any serious fan of mysteries. What would happen if you cross this:
and with this:
The almost but not quite right answer would be a lazy hippo with good crime-solving skills. The right answer would be Nero Wolfe of cause.
This time a wealthy businessman (only very wealthy people can afford the fees Wolfe charges for his services) from Omaha asked the detective to find his son who disappeared 11 years ago after being unjustly accused of theft by his father. It only took 11 years for the latter to realize the truth and he now wants to correct his mistake. Nobody knew that this seemingly simple, but hopeless search would lead to a lot of dead bodies.
One of the interesting features of the series is that Rex Stout is not afraid to kill recurring characters. This novel is one example of this: I already mentioned a lot of dead bodies and its count is very high for an installment of the series and this time one of the familiar characters will supply his/her own.
The plot is fast-moving and Archie Goodwin had not lost his sense of humor and wisecracking. I thought about giving 5 stars as the rating, but this time Nero Wolfe was not too impressive with his mental deductions (it is more about action here), so 4 stars it is.