Too Many Cooks (Nero Wolfe)
The guest at a gathering of the greatest chefs in the world, Nero Wolfe must practice his own trade--sleuthing--when he discovers that a murderer is in their midst.
Mondor, and the pop-eyed chap with a round face, maybe her age and as plump as her, was her husband, Pierre Mondor. She couldn’t speak English, and I saw no reason why she should. The third couple consisted of Ramsey Keith, a little sawed-off Scotchman at least sixty with a face like a sunset preserved in alcohol, and a short and slender black-eyed affair who might have been anything under 35 to my limited experience, because she was Chinese. To my surprise, when I had met her at lunch, she had
dinner at Pocahontas Pavilion that evening was elegant as to provender, but a little confused in other respects. The soup, by Louis Servan, looked like any consommé, but it wasn’t just any. He had spread himself, and it was nice to see his dignified old face get red with pleasure as they passed remarks to him. The fish, by Leon Blanc, was little six-inch brook trout, four to a customer, with a light brown sauce with capers in it, and a tang that didn’t seem to come from lemon or any vinegar I had
but I think he overplayed it. This morning I questioned everybody again, especially Berin and Vukcic, and I counted Vukcic out. I got various pieces of information. But I admit that the most convincing fact of all came through a suggestion from you. I compared those lists with the one we found in Laszio’s pocket. No one except Berin got more than two wrong.” He got papers from his pocket and selected one. “The lists of five of them, among them Vukcic, agreed exactly with the correct list. Four
“Thank you. I make this explanation because I don’t want unfriendliness from your father. I made the suggestion that the lists be compared with the correct list, not dreaming that it would result in implicating your father—in fact, thinking that it would help to clear him. Unfortunately it happened differently, and it became necessary to undo the mischief I had unwittingly caused. The only way to do that was to discover other evidence which would establish his innocence. I have done so. Your
Liggett impatiently brushed that aside. “It’s not much of a secret. A competitor has been after Berin for two years. Branting of the Alexander. I happen to know that Berin has an appointment with Branting in New York to-morrow afternoon. That’s the main reason I rushed down here. I have to get at him before he sees Branting.” “And soon after your arrival he was taken to jail. That was unfortunate. But he’s out now, and is this minute probably at Pocahontas Pavilion. He left here two hours ago.