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When Archie Goodwin ushers former stage actress Althea Vail into Nero Wolfe's office, he assumes she will be dismissed in just a few minutes. Instead, Althea lays out a tale of kidnapping that Nero can't resist.
It seems that Althea's current husband, Jimmy Vail, has been kidnapped. Althea is more then willing to pay the ransom, but she wants to hire Nero in case something goes wrong.
The ransom payment goes fine and Jimmy returns. In fact, everything seems to be going well. Until the police call and ask Althea to identify a body. Nero has put his reputation on the line for this case, so he can't let it go. But what is really going on? Meanwhile, Nero is also hired to find the missing ransom money. Can he do that without leaving home?
This is only my second outing with Nero Wolfe, but I really enjoyed it. Nero is an interesting character. I must admit I tend to like him in spite of his harsh demeanor. I'm sure that Archie really helps in that regard. The plot moves swiftly from one event to another. The solution was obvious yet so covered with red herrings I never saw it coming.
The book was written in the 60's, so that makes the occasional reference dated. On the whole, this is a strong mystery that will please any fan of the genre.