The writer who created a memorable Wolfe also came up with a fine Fox. In the late 1930s, when Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe was establishing his reputation among readers, Stout experimented with some other detectives as well. Most notable among these, perhaps, was Tecumseh Fox, whose first appearance, in 1939's Double for Death, is the subject of today's Classic Mysteries podcast. You can listen to the full review here.
Unlike Wolfe, Fox is a much more active detective, managing to contain both Wolfe's detective brilliance and Archie Goodwin's practical legwork. Fox finds himself involved in a most peculiar case: he is approached by a young woman whose uncle has been jailed as a suspect in the murder of a wealthy businessman. Unfortunately for the Westchester County District Attorney, there's no proof against the suspect and no motive. But things really get interesting when the supposedly dead businessman (or someone claiming to be him) turns up alive and well. Ultimately, we have a lot of doubles - victims, suspects, motives - and Fox has his hands full figuring out what really happened - and how to prove it to the police.
"Double for Death" contains some fine writing, with a lot of humor, along with a complex plot and interesting characters. Tecumseh Fox appeared in three novels before being retired to make room for a great many more novels and novellas starring Nero Wolfe. But "Double for Death" is more than just a footnote on Rex Stout's distinguished writing career - it's a very good late Golden Age mystery on its own, and it deserves your attention.