An Officer and a Lady by Rex Stout

An Officer and a Lady by Rex Stout

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A collection of early stories from the man who created Nero Wolfe

Bill Farden is an experienced burglar. He gains entry to the house without effort, and his ears tell him the inhabitants are asleep. He pockets the silver and moves to the kitchen, to fill his stomach with strawberry shortcake. When the cook tiptoes downstairs, Bill disables her with chloroform. Upstairs, he ties the man of the house to his bedframe. In the next room he finds a little girl, and is touched by her helplessness until she pulls a gun on him. The nine-year-old is Major Wentworth, of the Girls’ Military Auxiliary, and the revolver is as long as her arm.

In these early stories, a young Rex Stout showed the talent for comic action that would make the Nero Wolfe novels enduring classics. In Stout’s world, there is no thug more dangerous than a determined little girl.


“Rex Stout has managed to pull off a feat unparalleled to this day: the perfect combination of deductive reasoning . . . with the hard-boiled attitude and dialogue of the more realistic tough guy writers.” —Otto Penzler, author of the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Suspense

“Those of us who reread Rex Stout do it for . . . pure joy.” —Lawrence Block, creator of the Matthew Scudder series

“[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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