A perfume company held a contest through its advertising agency with the main prize being half a million dollars - we are talking about mid-fifties when this was a serious chunk of cash. The number of contestants was reduced to five people who had to solve five riddles created by a young promising employee by the advertising agency who also had a copy of the answers. The latter was killed and the answers were missing from his body. Nero Wolfe is hired by the agency to find out who took the answers worth a fortune. Was he enthusiastic about taking the job? Judge for yourself:
The book is unique in the sense that Wolfe is not working on solving a murder; his only concern is theft. He also spent most of the time doing practically nothing which drove Archie Goodwin - who is a man of action - crazy. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on the point of view) not only Nero Wolfe had to work hard at the end, he was also forced to do the unthinkable: he had to leave his house to finish up his investigations.
I am proud to say I was able to stay slightly ahead of Nero Wolfe and way ahead of Archie Goodwin in solving the mystery, but only during the initial stages. I was also able to second-guess Nero Wolfe at one point, something which does not happen often.
4 stars is the rating for a book of a series which never failed to entertain me.