The Final Deduction

The Final Deduction

Infobox Book |
name = The Final Deduction

image_caption =
author = Rex Stout
cover_artist = Bill English
country = United States
language = English
series = Nero Wolfe
genre = Detective fiction
publisher = Viking Press
release_date = October 13, 1961
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 182 pp. (first edition)
isbn =
preceded_by = Too Many Clients
followed_by = Homicide Trinity
"The Final Deduction" is a Nero Wolfe detective novel by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1961 and collected in the omnibus volume "Three Aces" (Viking 1971).

Plot summary

Mrs. Althea Vail tells Wolfe she intends to pay the half-a-million-dollar ransom to the kidnappers, but she wants him to be certain she gets her husband Jimmy back alive and in one piece.

The unfamiliar word

In most Nero Wolfe novels and novellas, there is at least one unfamiliar word, usually spoken by Wolfe. The word "subdolous" appears in chapter 5, when Archie informs Wolfe that Ben Dykes, head of the Westchester County detectives, is at the door. Wolfe speaks to Archie::"You haven't reported.":"I reported all you said you wanted.":"That's subdolous. Let him in.":As I went to the front I was making a mental note not to look up "subdolous." That trick of his, closing an argument by using a word he knew damn well I had never heard, was probably subdolous.

Cast of characters

*Nero Wolfe — The private investigator
*Archie Goodwin — Wolfe's assistant, and the narrator of all Wolfe stories
*Mrs. Althea Vail — Retired actress and weathy widow, married four years to Jimmy Vail
*Jimmy Vail — Handsome, younger husband of Althea Vail
*Dinah Utley — Althea Vail's secretary
*Noel Tedder — Twenty-three-year-old brat son of Althea Vail
*Margot Tedder — Althea Vail's daughter, Noel's younger sister
*Helen Blount — Friend of Althea Vail
*Ralph Purcell — Althea Vail's brother
*Andrew Frost — Althea Vail's attorney
*Clark Hobart — District Attorney of Westchester County
*Ben Dykes — Head of Westchester County detectives
*Capt. Saunders — State police
*Lon Cohen — Journalist at the "Gazette" and friend of Archie Goodwin
*Doctor Vollmer — Wolfe's neighbor
*Helen Gillard — Doc Vollmer's assistant
*Inspector Cramer — NYPD Homicide West
*Sergeant Purley Stebbins — NYPD Homicide West
*Mandel — Assistant District Attorney
*Saul Panzer, Fred Durkin and Orrie Cather — Detectives employed by Wolfe

Literary significance and criticism

"Archie not at his best and not amusing, though we do get information about his mother, and Wolfe has some fair repartee. The kidnapping and ransoming, for once, dully treated. ... Nero is ingenious in getting his fee, Archie subtle as well as useful, and Inspector Cramer able to work off his anger outside the house."Barzun, Jacques and Taylor, Wendell Hertig. "A Catalogue of Crime". New York: Harper & Row. 1971, revised and enlarged edition 1989. ISBN 0-06-015796-8]

Release details

*2006, USA, The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., Mystery Masters ISBN 1572705663 December 28, 2006, audio CD (unabridged, read by Michael Prichard)
*1995, USA, Bantam Books ISBN 0553763105 November 1, 1995, paperback


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