Archie Meets Nero Wolfe

From the time I began reading Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries some 60 years ago as a teenager, I was fascinated by how Wolfe and his irrepressible sidekick and chronicler, Archie Goodwin, happened to join forces. We don’t know the answer in Mr. Stout’s compelling mysteries because when Wolfe and Goodwin appear in their first novel, “Fer-de-Lance” (1934), there is no back story and little detail about their previous lives.

This fascination with the beginnings of the partnership continued when I became privileged to be the family-approved continuator of the Wolfe series after Mr. Stout’s death in 1975. During the 1980s and ’90s, I was author of seven Nero Wolfe mysteries for Bantam Books but never delved into the origins of the team. Still, I remained intrigued by the possibility of some day writing about how Archie came to meet Nero.

I became further enthused about the idea in 2009 with the publication of longtime mystery novelist Joe Gores’ “Spade & Archer,” a prequel to Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon.” Mr. Gores, who died in 2011, had captured the essence of Hammett’s characters and the noir flavor of his writing and his settings.

That sealed the deal for me, and I began to form what was to become “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe.” In developing the story, I made use of what few clues Mr. Stout had sprinkled around in his tales, including a brief reference to the kidnapping of a wealthy hotelier’s son. That kidnapping became a central focus of my book, along with young Archie Goodwin’s coming of age as a detective in the Manhattan of 1930.

Approved by Mr. Stout’s estate, “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe” will be released this fall, both in print and as an e-book, by Mysterious Press and its longtime head, Otto Penzler. Mysterious Press also will be re-releasing my seven earlier Wolfe novels as e-books. For me, working with Mr. Penzler seems fitting, because it was at his Mysterious Bookshop in New York that I had the launch of my first Nero Wolfe novel, “Murder in E Minor,” 28 years ago.




61 thoughts on “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe


      • Hi Sara,
        I know my ancestors came from either Scotland or extreme northern England, perhaps Yorkshire, but I’m ashamed to report that I don’t know exactly where Goldsborough is in the UK. As one who loves most things British, shame on me!

  1. I have discovered Nero and Archie only fairly recently – maybe a year ago. So far I’ve read
    maybe a dozen or fifteen. I also have wondered how Archie and Nero met. One of the stories says that Nero hired Archie for one job, and liked him and kept him on.
    Another question I have. Where does Theodore Horstmann eat?

    Quoting from Door to Death,
    “Four people live in the old brownstone house on West 35th Street. First, him. Second, me, assistant everything from detective to doorbell answerer. Third Fritz Brenner, cook and house manager. And fourth, Theodore Horstmann, tender and defender of the ten thousand orchids on the roof.”

    But I’ve never seen Theodore at the dinner table. Is there an explanation for this?

    • Theodore appears very rarely in the stories. In one of Rex Stout’s stories, it is mentioned that he eats in the kitchen with Fritz, who also never has meals in the dining room. Theodore sleeps in a room adjoining the plant rooms. He has a sister in New Jersey, and he occasionally visits her on Sundays.

  2. Hi Mr. Goldsborough,

    After quite the search, I managed earlier this summer to locate all your Nero Wolfe continuations, and I have promised myself that when I finish the Nero Wolfe series I will get around to them. This news has me very excited– I can read one of your continuations without fear that something will be revealed from later novels! Thanks for sharing and I hope the book does well! It’s delightful to see Nero Wolfe back!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Patrick. I had a great deal of fun writing this prequel. And you will find nothing revealed from later novels and novellas.

      Robert Goldsborough

  3. I feel so lucky to have “discovered” the Nero Wolfe books and am slowly working my way through the canon. Well, not very slowly, I read too darn fast–and I know by Christmas, I’ll have reached the end of the line–but then, lo and behold, I found the Wolfe website and saw your books –got a copy of the first one and now, Mr. Goldsborough, you have written the book I want for my birthday in October–A PREQUEL to Wolfe meeting Archie. Life is sweet! Thanks so much! I agree with your choices for best British TV mysteries–Foyle is my all-time favorite. Did you know that Anthony Horowitz has written three more episodes and they’ve been filmed and will be shown in 2013?!!!!

    • You may not get the prequel quite in time for your birthday–the pub date is Nov. 13, although it may be available a bit earlier on Amazon. And thanks for the information about Foyle’s War. That’s great news!

      • I have pre-ordered the Prequel on Amazon–so I’ll be set! Sherlock is also going to get another season. It’s fantastic. A reboot–but fantastic.

      • Hi, Bob, can’t tell you how exciting it is to have some more Nero Wolfe to enjoy. Only wish we still lived in Wheaton so I could get Gil to have you sign the new book for me.

      • Nice to hear from you, John! And thanks so much for your comments. It’s been a long time since I’ve written about Wolfe and Goodwin, and I’ve always appreciated your support on the books over the years..

        Robert Goldsborough

  4. Like everyone else, I am excited and delighted to be hearing about a new Wolfe/Goodwin book. In the article, you say the book will be available in print and e-book, but on Amazon, they seem only to be offering the paperback for pre-order. Will I be able to get your book on Kindle?

  5. Why don’t you write more nero Wolfe books? I have read all of Rex stout’s and yours on Nero Wolfe many times over the years. About every five years I get them all out and re- read them. I would really like to have some new ones.

      • Bought Archie meets Nero… Yesterday and read it last night and today. Bravo. I loved it.
        I have read the entire corpus many times, all of your work about Nero and have just bought the Kindle editions of your Snap Malek books today. I wanted to thank you for this body of great work. You have kept alive some of the best characters in mystery fiction, continuing the saga through ever changing times so that we fans can continue to enjoy them as they travel through time unaging yet still as witty and fun to read as Rex was. I have been to several of the Black Orchid dinners in NYC and was hoping you would get mentioned and honored for this latest endeavor of yours. Thanks again for your splendid work.

  6. I’ll second the ‘I’ll keep buying them” but please don’t forget the Snap Malek stories.
    I rather enjoy them also

      • Good Day Sir
        Due to circumstances Christmas was celebrated on New years eve at my home
        and ‘Archie Meets Nero Wolfe’ was a gift from my wife. It was quickly read and I must
        agree w/all the praise you have received. Adding my own will be;
        Satisfactory, Most Satisfacrory indeed Once again Thank you for your efforts
        and please keep up your excellent work

  7. Bought Archie meets Nero… Yesterday and read it last night and today. Bravo. I loved it.
    I have read the entire corpus many times, all of your work about Nero and have just bought the Kindle editions of your Snap Malek books today. I wanted to thank you for this body of great work. You have kept alive some of the best characters in mystery fiction, continuing the saga through ever changing times so that we fans can continue to enjoy them as they travel through time unaging yet still as witty and fun to read as Rex was. I have been to several of the Black Orchid dinners in NYC and was hoping you would get mentioned and honored for this latest endeavor of yours. Thanks again for your splendid work. I know I posted this twice but I wanted to make sure you got my thanks for your tremendous work. Thanks

  8. Mr. Goldsborough,

    I just finished reading Archie Meets Nero Wolfe. Twice. And enjoyed it VERY much. Many of us (fans?) are very glad that you have resumed your true calling. Only my opinion, of course.

    I have read all of Mr.Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels several times and am starting from Fer-de-Lance once again. I have also read your seven fine “continuations” (very fine indeed…remarkable, I think.) and have enjoyed them just as much as Mr. Stout’s fine work.

    I have several comments to make about Archie Meets Nero Wolfe but am reluctant to post them here as they might seem to be negative criticisms. Such is not the case. Far be it from me, I hope, to complain about such fine work that so many have, are and will be enjoying. Do you have an email address, or mailing address that you would be willing to share? I’ve tried to find some contact info on this site, with no success.

    Best regards,

  9. I’ve just finished “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe” and wanted to thank you for opening the brownstone door again. Not only was “Archie” a solid mystery, but it was Wolfe-worthy: the “voice” was right (early Archie, not late Archie!), the characters were there, especially your portrayal of Del Bascom, which broke new ground. Thanks for a great ride, and I’m delighted to see you are back–I’ll check out the Snap Malek books next, and wait for more Wolfe from your pen.

    By the bye, I have always wanted to tell you that in “Murder in E Minor” you rose to a challenge that Stout might have flinched from–the perfect autumnal end of “A Family Affair” had such a savor of finality to it, that almost any other answer–and book–than what you wrote might have cheapened it. It’s a long time ago, but bravo, bravo!

    • Thank you so much for your generous comments, Mr. Wirenius. And I particularly like the phrase “Wolfe-worthy”! I’m glad you thought the book was such. Also, I am also glad you’re interested in delving into my Snap Malek books, set in the Chicago of the 1930s and ’40s.

      Robert Goldsborough

      • So, then life happened, and I recently realized: I hadn’t tried a Snap Malek novel yet. Just finished “Three Strikes,” and I enjoyed it immensely. Snap is a well rounded, interestingly flawed character who gets you rooting for him. I admire how you took your time immersing us in his world, letting the mystery hang fire for a bit. Gutsy choice, and it worked. On to the next one! And thanks.

      • Thanks for your comment. A very wise editor read my initial manuscript of “Three Strikes You’re Dead” and suggested I add a prologue to give the story some action up front. That way, she said, it freed me up to move the narrative along at me own speed, knowing that the readers would stay with me, waiting to learn more about the details of the apparent murder in said prologue.

  10. Thank you so much for writing this book – the best Christmas gift ever and I’ve been around for a long time. I first meet Nero Wolfe when I was in college in the late 60’s when a friend suggested that I needed a break from studying and he handed me a copy of “Fer de Lance”. Since I find myself rereading all of the Nero Wolfe books about every four years. I can not describe how thrilled I was when “Murder in E Minor” was published – having old friends brought back to life – incredible! And then saddened when you stopped writing the stories after “The Missing Chapter”. Thank you thank you for bringing to life one more perfect story.

    Kate Cooch

    • Dear Ms. Cooch,

      I appreciate your comments, and thank you for taking the time to write. For years, I have wanted to write about how Nero and Archie might have met. Mr. Stout provided very few clues, so I did what I could to create what I hope will be seen as a plausable scenario. I am heartened by your reaction to “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe.”

      Robert Goldsborough

  11. I wrote this on Amazon, and I wanted to write it here as well; I absolutely loved the new Nero Wolf book and recommend it highly. I am happy and relieved that the series continues. I have read all the Snap Malek books, and enjoyed them a lot. The added plus is, being from Chicago myself, there is a lot to identify with in the stories. That being said, I hope, Mr Goldsborough, that you will continue to focus your considerable talent on Wolfe/Goodwin series. Possibly in the same timeline, so we can see how the relationship between Wolfe & Archie evolved into what it was when Mr. Stout started writing it. There must have been some pit-falls in their relationship along the way! The truth is, there is a lot of very good detective fiction out there, but there is only one Nero Wolfe. And only one writer who can keep bringing him to us.

  12. Good to hear from you again, Michaelle, and thank you so much for the review. It is very possible that there will be another adventure of Nero and Archie in the not-too-distant future.

    Robert Goldsborough

    • Hi, Bob, I just engulfed Archie meets Nero in one sitting, on my patio in a t-shirt catching some rays. It’s definitely in a 3 way tie for the best of your books and compares favorably with a lot of Stout’s writing. I particularly liked your attention to detail, such as the location of Wolfe’s room on the second floor at the time Archie joined the menage. By the way, I too loved Centuries and Sleuths and enjoyed visits with Augie. John Lenz

  13. Here’s one you didn’t expect. My husband the train nut and I just received as a gift the book, “Great Railroad Paintings” (published in 1976), which you edited and wrote the Intro for. It’s a glorious book, and available from the usual suspects used bookstores online. Highly recommended, especially but not only for train nuts.

  14. I am the lucky recipient of “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe” this Christmas! I was thrilled to get it and more thrilled to read it. Thank you for giving us another great Wolfe/Archie experience.

  15. Dear Mr. Goldsborough, I am enthusiast to find another Nero Wolfe novel, 18 years after “The missing chapter!” I am looking forward to read its italian translation, and to have soon other new stories of my favourite mistery saga! Thank you!

  16. Mr. Goldsborough,

    I have read your books continuing the Nero Wolfe corpus and admire the way you were able to keep to the essence of the characters and overall structure while still adding your own touches. Plus, selfishly, I was just happy to be able to read new Wolfe after so many years. I had not known about this one and am looking forward to it.


    • Thank you for your kind comments, Mr. Anderson. Later this year, I will be publishing another Wolfe story, tentatively titled “Murder at the Ball Park” and partially set in New York’s Polo Grounds in the 1950s.

  17. Mr. Goldsborough,

    Just finished “Archie Meets Nero Wolfe” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Like you, I’ve been reading the Nero Wolfe series since I was a teenager. One quibble, however: Mr. Wolfe would never, and I mean never, say “I do not mean to infer…..” when instead he meant, “I do not mean to imply….” Mr. Wolfe is a better wordsmith than that. Please see if that can be corrected in future editions. Keep up the Wolfe series. It takes me back to a former, simpler time. Thanks.

    • Re your comment regarding “imply” and “infer.”: You are right on. I can’t believe I made that mistake, which others also have pointed out. It already has been fixed in later editions. Thanks both for that and for your kind comments.

      Robert Goldsborough

      • I am not implying or inferring………I am flatly stating we are damn lucky to have you keeping our favorite characters alive. Rather than criticizing I’ll just go with thank you.

  18. Mr. Goldsborough, I have started working my way through your updates and hadn’t known about this book. I really look forward to it, and from the reviews I have seen, permit me to say it looks to be … satisfactory!

  19. Very much enjoyed this. I wanted to point out one erratum. I believe the one use of the word “infer” in the book should instead be “imply.”

      • Mr. Anderson,

        I would be happy to autograph a copy and inscribe it to you (if you wish). How would you like to handle it? I could sign and send a copy to you–the only charge would be the cover price of the book and the cost of mailing. Or if you already have a copy, you could sent it to me and I would sign it and send it back to you.

        Robert Goldsborough

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s