A favorite waiter surprises Archie one night and says he fears he'll be killed. Archie leaves him in a guest bedroom to sleep until the great detective, Nero Wolfe, wakes up. But only minutes after Archie goes to bed himself, the house is shaken. A bomb has gone off, and the waiter is dead.
So begins another mystery, set in 1970s New York and focusing on the sedentary gastronomer and genius, Nero Wolfe, and his bff and right hand man, Archie Goodwin. The mystery is solved through unbelievably circumstantial clues, there's very little motive for the murders, and there's a completely unnecessary red herring that takes up a good half of the book. The other half is taken up by Stout's repetitive stock phrases: men are constantly sending their eyes round the room, palming the arms of their chair, walking exactly three streps into the room...Stout tells every single motion in absurd detail, none of which has anything whatsoever to do with the mystery or even much to do with character development. Between the unsatisfactory mystery, the stock phrases and unnecessary details padding out the slender plot, and Archie's unbearable sexism (he makes a joke at one point that the only way to get a feminist to listen is to rape her--which she'd like, btw), I really hated this book by the end.