Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Father Hunt

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of The Father Hunt (Viking, 1968).

There's a really tricky and bothersome challenge for Wolfe in 1968's The Father Hunt. This time, the great detective must determine the identity of a man who emphatically does not want to be named, who has left about a quarter of a million dollars for Wolfe's client amid a possibility that he might be her father, and who might have been behind the client's mother's recent death.

The focus of the book shifts somewhat when Wolfe decides to look into that hit-and-run death. He reasons that a three month-old murder will be easier to solve than a twenty-two year-old question of paternity, but this just makes elements of the business even less pleasant for everyone.

I really enjoyed this one, especially the greater emphasis paid to Archie's relationship with Lily Rowan. This had seemed to me in many earlier novels to be unimportant to Rex Stout, but by the time of this book, he really wanted to flesh out the supporting cast more. It's in this book that Saul, Fred and Orrie get their nickname "The 'teers," even though they only have two more New York-based novels left until the end of the series. This and the previous adventure, Death of a Doxy, really made the trio shine terrifically. I was very happy with it, and sorry to see the pile of books in the series left to read shrinking away.

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