The Doorbell Rang
THE DOORBELL RANG by Rex Stout
I'm not a Nero Wolfe fan and expected to diss this effort tho almost every reader scores it 5 stars.
The story: A writer investigating the FBI is murdered and his material is stolen. The FBI then stalks and harasses the writer's most loyal fan and patron. She then hires Nero Wolfe to learn what's up with the murder and the FBI, the NYC Police haven't a clue, and Washington twists arms and titties against Wolfe; Hoover wants Wolfe's PI license and head.
Wolfe puts Archie Goodwin to work. Archie soon learns 3 FBI agents paid the victim a visit about the time he was shot, they took the book manuscript and notes, and they took the bullet that killed him. No pistol was found in the victim's apartment, and he had a permit.
Most of the book is about FBI harassment and Hoover's illicit pressure on all who mattered. President Johnson used Hoover to change hearts and minds.
The plot is perfect and flawless and works like a watch from start to finish. Wolfe is tireless and smarter than the average bear but no magic miracle worker. Some of his ideas and guesses work, some don't. To solve the murder and resolve the problem with Hoover he has to tiptoe down a path of criminal acts, snares, and traps like when Archie finds the pistol in a place he and it shouldn't be. What to do! Lotsa risk taking. The story is fulla puzzles and mysteries and suspense and tight corners. All under the eyes of the police and FBI. It's truly excellent and impressive, and the fruit doesn't fall off the tree.
What I dislike is what I always dislike about Nero Wolfe. His orchids and epicurean cuisine. And Archie Goodwin is a fool for milk and carrots. Given a choice of cold milk and hot pussy the milk wins every time. Its incredible when a police detective uses a quart of milk to get a confession and deal from Archie. I score it 4 stars for the bullshit.
Never show up at a gun fight with just a fat ass and big mouth.