Target Practice by Rex Stout

Target Practice by Rex Stout

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An invaluable sample of the early work of one of America’s finest mystery writers

Decades before detective Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin, first struck fear into the hearts of Manhattan’s criminals, Rex Stout wrote fiction for All-Stories Magazine. By the time the Wolfe series brought him fame, Stout had put his early work behind him, and made no effort to preserve it. At the time of his death, these early mysteries and suspense stories were thought to be lost forever, but deep in the Library of Congress lay copies of the original magazine. Published for the first time in 1997, these early gems show a writer deploying all the humor, style, and clever plotting that would make Nero Wolfe a star.

Included here are “Secrets,” Stout’s first mystery, “Target Practice,” a story of World War I, and “Justice Ends at Home,” whose main characters will look very familiar to fans of Nero and Archie.


“[Stout continues] to enchant readers of both sexes and all political persuasions.” —Susan Conant, author of the Dog Lover’s Mysteries

“[Stout’s] narrative and dialogue could not be improved, and he passes the supreme test of being rereadable. I don't know how many times I have reread the Nero Wolfe stories, but plenty. I know exactly what is coming and how it is all going to end, but it doesn't matter. That's writing.” —P.G. Wodehouse

“[Stout] raised detective fiction to the level of art. He gave us genius of at least two kinds, and a strong realist voice that was shot through with hope.” —Walter Mosley, creator of the Easy Rawlins series

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