When Nero Wolfe comes up against murder in the advertising business it isn't surprising that the world's largest detective (one-seventh of a ton of orchid-loving, beer-drinking genius) should find himself involved with one of the world's largest advertising agencies. The agency is conducting the biggest prize contest ever, with prizes totaling one million dollars. Just one man knows the solutions in the million-dollar contest, and it's his disappearance that introduces Nero and Archie to the world of four-color spreads and TV spectaculars. It introduces them also to a murderer who has the audacity to kill in Nero's office and before Nero's very eyes. After Rex Stout unfolds this novel, it is possible that the advertising world will never be the same - and this may be a public service.
"No man should tell a lie unless he is shrewd enough to recognize the time for renouncing it, if and when it comes, and knows how to renounce it gracefully." (p. 99)
"I would appreciate it if they would call a halt on all their devoted efforts to find a way to abolish war or eliminate disease or run trains with atoms or extend the span of human life to a couple of centuries, and everybody concentrate for a while on how to wake me up in the morning without my resenting it. It may be that a bevy of beautiful maidens in pure silk yellow very sheer gowns, barefooted, singing Oh, What a Beautiful Morning and scattering rose petals over me would do the trick, but I'd have to try it." (p. 129)
Opens with a discussion of the "Pour Amour" perfume advertising campaign, followed shortly by the discovery that the man who created the campaign has been murdered. An exciting story, with some hilarious characters, and a markedly unexpected ending.