Three Witnessess (Nero Wolfe, Book 26)
Original publication; 1956
In three cases--a millionaire who writes his own death warrant, a dog who becomes a killer's worst enemy, and an answering service which refuses to talk about a murder--three witnesses hold the solution for detective Rex Stout.
His saying he’ll report to the judge in the morning meant he didn’t intend to phone the DA now, but he might change his mind. I’d rather move a few blocks before phoning.” “Very well. Do you know the address of Mrs. Leonard Ashe’s apartment?” “Yes, Seventy-third Street.” “Go in that direction. I have to see her, and you’d better phone and arrange it.” “You mean now.” “Yes.” “That should be a cinch. She’s probably sitting there hoping a couple of strange detectives will drop in. Do I have to
abandon it to your decision.” “I deeply appreciate it,” I assured him. “Nuts. If I say no I won’t hear the last of it for months, so I’ll meet you all the way and say yes. I’ll take a shot at it.” “Very well. We’ll discuss it after dinner, and in the morning you can—” They drowned him out, both of them cutting in to protest. They couldn’t wait until tomorrow, they had to know. They protested to him and then appealed to me. Why put it off? Why not now? I do not react to emotional appeals the
behind me. “Wait a minute,” she said, barely loud enough for me to get it. She was standing facing Aubry, gripping his lapels. “Paul, don’t you think—shouldn’t we ask Mr. Wolfe—” “There’s nothing to ask him.” Aubry was up, with an arm across her shoulders. “I’ve had enough of Wolfe. Come on, Caro mia. We don’t have to ask anybody anything.” They came and followed me into the hall. As Aubry was getting his hat from the rack I opened the door, leaving the chain bolt on, and spoke to Purley.
hours were not so pleasing. The table talk in the dining room was mostly one-sided and mostly about dogs. Wolfe kept it on a high level—no maudlin sentiment. He maintained that the basenji was the oldest breed on earth, having originated in Central Africa around 5000 B.C., whereas there was no trace of the Afghan hound earlier than around 4000 B.C. To me all it proved was that he had read a book I hadn’t noticed him with. Nero ate in the kitchen with Fritz and made a hit. Wolfe had told Fritz to
agoraphobic, gynephobic Wolfe endures the discomfort of leaving home and suffers the intolerable sensation of finding himself seated next to a “perfumed woman.” In contrast, “When a Man Murders …” presents the Nero Wolfe most characteristic of the series, the at-home Wolfe who retains his distance from the human specimens that appear before him. Except in one respect, “Die Like a Dog” is also stock Stout. A murder occurs. So what? The mystery might have been written to illustrate the maxim that