Long-time readers of Rex Stout's books about Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin will understand that there are some things one simply does not do in Wolfe's New York City brownstone. One does not, for example, use the words "imply" and "infer" interchangeably, nor should you use "contact" as a verb. Add to that list: murder. It is definitely not a good idea to walk into Wolfe's office and murder someone, especially not by strangling them with a tie Wolfe himself had worn and left on his desk. That is likely to upset Mr. Wolfe. And he is very likely to soothe his outraged ego by hunting you down.
And that is what happens in "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo," the first of three nicely polished gems in Homicide Trinity, a trio of Stout novellas originally published in 1963, and the subject of today's audio review on the Classic Mysteries podcast, which you may listen to by clicking here. "Nicely polished" indeed. Nero Wolfe, having spilled some sauce from his lunch on his tie, removes it and leaves it on his desk. While he is upstairs for his afternoon session with his orchids, Archie Goodwin admits a young woman to the office; she wants to see Wolfe and won't take "no" for an answer. So Archie goes up to the orchid room to consult with Wolfe (who echoes that "no," by the way). But when Archie comes downstairs he finds the visitor lying on the floor of the office, with Wolfe's tie knotted far too tightly around her throat.
The great man is not pleased. And I don't need to tell regular visitors to the series what Inspector Cramer will have to say about it. The only remedy for that bruised ego is for Wolfe to solve the murder himself. The problem is there are four equally-good suspects. How to find the guilty party? Hence that title, "Eeny Meeny Murder Mo."
There are two other stories here as well. In "Death of a Demon," a woman comes to Wolfe's office carrying a gun which she want to leave with him. She says it's the gun she will NOT use to murder her really awful husband. The only problem, of course, is that the husband is already dead. Shot to death. And here, once again, is Wolfe, drawn into a murder case despite his will, and forced to tread a very fine line between protecting his cient's interests and obstruction of justice.
In the third story, ""Counterfeit for Murder," we meet someone who may be one of the most engaging clients in Wolfe's career: a boarding-house keeper named Hattie Annis. She shows up at Wolfe's door with a bundle of counterfeit currency, apparently belonging to one of her boarders. When somebody tries to run her down with a stolen car, it becomes apparent that she is in considerable danger. But she's not a happy client - she hates the police, and wants Wolfe to solve the case without involving the police or (as quickly becomes apparent) the secret service.
Hattie Annis is also something of a law to herself, when it comes to dealing with the brownstone crew. Not only does she call Archie "Buster," but she astounds Wolfe by asking him to feed her lamb kidneys bourguignionne. I can think of very few characters in ANY of the Wolfe books, male or female, who has successfully astounded Wolfe. You will like Hattie Annis.
There we are. Three very good little Rex Stout novellas, in a tidy little package. Homicide Trinity is worth your time - particularly for Hattie Annis.