Stop the Presses!
Review: Lon Cohen, one of Archie Goodwin's poker buddies and an editor of the New York Gazette, asks a favor of Nero Wolfe: speak to one of the paper's columnists, Cameron Clay, to determine if there might be any substance to a number of threats being directed his way, in Stop the Presses!, the eleventh mystery in this series by Robert Goldsborough.
Typically, Wolfe would wave off the request from anyone else, especially since there is no client and therefore no fee, but he respects Lon Cohen enough that he agrees to meet with the columnist, who writes the most popular feature of the paper, "Stop the Presses!". Cameron Clay has made a career out of exposing the secrets of the rich and famous, and when he meets with Wolfe he has a short list of those, who seem to hate him the most. Wolfe's advice is to (a) get the police involved and (b) hire private security. Clay rejects both suggestions out of hand. But then Clay's assistant finds him dead in his apartment one morning, shot in the head. The police call it a suicide, but the paper's owner can't believe that Clay would have killed himself. He proceeds to hire Wolfe to determine who killed Clay; Wolfe doesn't agree to do that, but instead, to determine what really happened in Clay's apartment.
For Nero Wolfe fans, there is a lot right about Stop the Presses!. The characters, time and place are spot on, as if Rex Stout had written it himself. What's missing here is a compelling mystery for Wolfe to solve. The plot is exceptionally thin, and there is an incredible amount of repetition in terms of potential motive. First Lon Cohen goes through why Clay chose this particular list of five principal suspects, then Cameron Clay consults with Wolfe and again goes through what he has said about the five suspects that landed them on this list, and finally Wolfe meets with each of the five and their motives are repeated once again, albeit from their perspective. But even occasional readers of the series will have figured out the most likely scenario surrounding the death of Cameron Clay long before Wolfe does. The usual way in which these books close, with a gathering of all involved in Wolfe's study, is wrapped up in record time (page-wise). There are so many different ways that this story could have been told that it is disappointing that the most obvious outcome was, in fact, the way it ended. Recommended for the faithful, if only because, well, it is Nero Wolfe, but not so much for casual readers.
Acknowledgment: Mysterious Press provided an eARC of Stop the Presses! for this review.
Review Copyright © 2016 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Archie in the Crosshairs
Mysterious Press (Trade Paperback), March 2015
ISBN-13: 9781497690417; ISBN-10: 1497690412
Location(s) referenced in Stop the Presses!: New York City
— ♦ —
Stop the Presses! by Robert Goldsborough — A Nero Wolfe Mystery
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: March 2016
List Price: $14.99
— ♦ —
Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
Mysterious Reviews is a Division of
The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books
and a Business Unit of the
Omnimystery Family of Mystery Websites