Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-fifth Street

Baring-Gould, William S. Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street: the Life and Times of America’s Largest Detective. New York: Viking Press, 1969.

Reason read: Rex Stout was born in December. Read in his honor.

Right off the bat I need to tell you Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street is better read after you have consumed every Rex Stout mystery starring the portly private detective. I guarantee you will have many more ah-ha moments if you already know the cases. Baring-Gould fills his book with a mountain of facts but they are oddly assembled; a veritable mishmash of all things Nero Wolfe (and Archie Goodwin).  Everything from fashion, and facial tics to food and every case in between is scrutinized. It’s as if Baring-Gould combed the pages of every mystery, never missing a single detail, to build a character profile and biography of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
Baring-Gould also has some interesting theories. I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that Baring-Gould thinks Sherlock Holmes fathered Nero Wolfe. He draws thought-provoking connections between Holmes and Wolfe, including the similar phrases they utter.

Author fact: Baring-Gould’s first claim to fame was his analysis of Sherlock Holmes. He was the editor of the Annotated Sherlock Holmes among other publications.

Book trivia: in addition to the floor plan to Wolfe’s ground floor apartment, Baring-Gould also lays out an impressive chronology of Nero Wolfe’s movements from his birth in 1892 or 1893 to The Father Hunt case in August – September of 1967.

Nancy said: Nancy recommends reading Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street… if “the Nero Wolfe bug bites you” (p 226).

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe: Too Good to Miss” (p 226).



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