past favorites: nero wolfe

So you’ve got your sunscreen on, your piña colada is cold, and you’re sitting by the pool. Now what?

This article I saw in the New York Times about different authors’ best summer reading experiences got me thinking of my own. Picking a beach read is an art, and one I’ll gladly devote time researching. Right now I’m reading Joyland by Stephen King–it’s good so far.

I like mysteries, and scary stories, and a good series. My favorite beach reads are the Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout, and they can encompass all those things.


Nero Wolfe is a brilliant detective who lives in New York. His assistant Archie narrates each book with sharp wit and a friendly tone. Wolfe can be a difficult man to work with: He takes one hour at 4 p.m. every day to care for his orchids, and don’t even think about interrupting his meal time.

But his cases are plenty and are plenty interesting. My favorites are the ones that have arcs over a few books, full of danger and intrigue for Archie and Wolfe alike. I like the recurring characters, like Inspector Cramer, who works with the local police and who chews on his cigars. Cramer and Wolfe have differing opinions on how to work a case, and it’s great fun when they work together–at least for the reader, if not for them.

I think I’ve read every single Nero Wolfe book, but I’d definitely reach for them again on a lazy summer day. What’s your favorite summer read?


  1. Roseann says:

    I love Rex Stout! My parents had almost all the Nero Wolf books and I read them a bunch of times when I was growing up. Definitely a great summer series.

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