Three Witnesses: First Edition
Three Witnesses: First Edition

Each time a volume of three shorter Nero Wolfe novels is published, it serves as a reminder of how exceptional is Rex Stout's skill in handling "full-length" characters and plot in novelette form. The stories in Three Witnesses are at least as good as any Stout has ever done before, and one of them happens to be Stout's favorite among all the novelettes he has written.

In "The Next Witness" you will encounter the very timely case of the telephone answering service and the wiretappers, a case which Nero can solve only by taking the witness stand himself and exposing a murderer while under oath.

"When a Man Murders" tells of the Enoch Arden marriage which might have ended even more tragically than it did, had not Archie played a vital witnessing role.

Finally, in "Die Like a Dog," there is the story of the dog that led Archie and Nero into the case of the artist's missing model.

And which of these is Rex Stout's favorite? Why, the one with the most astonishing conclusion, of course.


"The Next Witness"
"'She's a philanthropist,' I told Wolfe. 'She donates dough to the cause of equine genetics.'"

"When a Man Murders"
"'Look,' I said, 'evidently you came to get Mr. Wolfe to help you. He can't stand hysterical women, and in another four seconds he would have been out of the room and would have refused to see you again. That's one angle of it. I am going on talking to give both you and Mr. Wolfe a chance to calm down. Another angle is that if you think it's undesirable to be kissed by me I am willing to submit it to a vote by people who ought to know.'" (p. 91)

"Die Like a Dog"
"He maintained that the basenji was the oldest breed on earth, having originated in Central Africa around 5000 B.C., whereas there was no trace of the Afghan hound earlier than around 4000 B.C."

A trio of murder by the master himself! Wolfe dismisses a court summons and must solve a case on the fly in the first story, a great read! The second story, although solid, is not one of my favorites, and why this book gets only four stars. However the final tale is and always shall be among the best! It involves a jet black dog for a client, whom Wolfe is desperate both to keep, and blame on Archie! Satisfactory. []