Plot It Yourself: First Edition
Plot It Yourself: First Edition

It was the most distinguished group ever to gather in Nero Wolfe's study: two of America's foremost novelists, a world-famous playwright, and the heads of three great publishing houses.  Somebody, or maybe a league of somebodies, was accusing America's most celebrated living writers of plagiarism - and getting away with it.

Nero had never encountered a case like this before - until the first body was found. And no other investigator could have cracked it, for the solution rested on determining who had written what manuscript, and this required an uncanny eye for literary style.

With Nero tracking down nuances while Archie encounters more than his usual quota of cool-looking girls and much cooler corpses, with both of them up to their raised eyebrows in the world of best sellers, smash hits, and the people columnists stay up to quote, Plot It Yourself is one of the freshest, liveliest, wittiest Rex Stout novel ever to challenge a reader.

"I shall drink no beer until I get my fingers around that creature's throat. And I shall eat no meat." (p. 126)

"I promise you, Mr. Cramer, that I will never plead your sanction to justify my conduct." (p. 94).

[Archie re Wolfe:] "He never puts off til tomorrow what I can do today."

Loved this book! I think it's because Rex Stout had obvious fun writing it, and as a writer and long-time reader of Stout's, I enjoyed the plot very much. He took swipes at publishers; he gleefully exploited the endless author-publisher tension; he was self-deprecating in his choice of pet words by "X" like "aver" (I chortled over that one because it is most definitely Stout's pet substitute for "said" in many of his books); and the ending was stellar. []