The police said the young woman's death certainly looked like suicide.
The people at the party where she died were sure it was suicide.
Only Archie Goodwin said it couldn't be suicide. That didn't help his popularity any with the people at the party - or, for that matter, with the police.
Nero Wolfe, of course, believed Archie. That's how he came to be involved, which proved to be most unfortunate for a cold-blooded killer. It happens in "Champagne for One," by Rex Stout, the subject of the Classic Mysteries podcast review this week. You can listen to the full review by clicking here.
The victim's name was Faith Usher, and she died after drinking a glass of champagne laced with cyanide. Faith was known to be suicidal, and she always carried a small bottle of cyanide around with her, so her death didn't exactly surprise the others at that party.
But Archie Goodwin had been warned about that bottle of cyanide, so he was watching when Faith's glass of champagne was poured, when it was handed to her, and when she drank it. He was willing to swear that she did not put anything into that champagne. The police, of course, pointed out that they were pretty damned sure nobody else put anything into it, so Faith must have done it.
Into that impasse wades Nero Wolfe - in part to protect Archie's reputation, but also because he has been hired by one of the other party guests to get to the bottom of the mystery. He does so, of course, much to the reader's delight. The final, inevitable, confrontation in Wolfe's office is one of the more interesting of the great detective's gambits. "Champagne for One" is a great deal of fun. For e-book readers, Amazon has Kindle edition available.