The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe

edited by Josh Pachter

In 2018, my friend Dale Andrews and I co-edited The Misadventures of Ellery Queen (Wildside Press). During the time that we were putting the book together, I was invited to lunch by Rebecca Bradbury Stout, the daughter of Rex Stout (who created Nero Wolfe in 1934). Why the invitation? Well, in 1971 I had a story, "Sam Buried Caesar," in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and the story was a loving spoof of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Rebecca knew about it, was visiting her daughter not far from where I live, and wanted to meet me.

We had a very nice lunch, Rebecca and her daughter and me. I don't remember how it came up -- I suppose I must have brought it up -- but I mentioned The Misadventures of Ellery Queen. Rebecca loved the idea and wondered if it might be possible to do a similar volume of parodies, pastiches, and other tributes to her father's most famous creation.

With her blessings, I set to work on The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe. Since Dale is a Queen scholar but not a Stout/Wolf scholar, I decided to go it alone this time around, though some of the same authors represented in the Ellery Queen book appear in this one, too: Lawrence Block, Jon Breen, Bill Brittain, Joe Goodrich, Thomas Narcejac, Norma Schier (writing again under an anagrammed pseudonym). Others are here who weren't in the EQ book, including Loren D. Estleman, Robert Goldsborough, John Lescroat, Marian Wainwaring, Mack Reynolds, and Dave Zeltserman. And where all of the stories in The Misadventures of Ellery Queen were reprints, for this book I enticed Michael Bracken and Rob Lopresti to write brand-new works. (Jon Breen's contribution, though it was written in the 1970s, appears in print here for the first time, so it is in a way also a new story.)

At Rebecca's request, we offered the collection to Otto Penzler at the Mysterious Press, and he jumped at the chance to publish it. It was released on April 14, 2020, and you can order the e-book here and the trade paperback edition here.

The book got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was the subject of Episode 10 of the "Like the Wolfe" podcast. In late October 2020, it was re-published by Center Point in a large-print hardbound edition with a different cover, apparently intended for libraries.

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