FROM THE FIRST EDITION:
One of America's foremost writers of intelligent, original and highly characterized mystery stories has here written his most engaging novel of that Falstaff of detectives, that lovable orchid-fancier, that gargantuan beer-drinker -- Nero Wolfe.
This is the story of the meeting of Les Quinze Maîtres, the select society of the world's most famous chefs. They were guests of Louis Servan of Kanawha Spa and they had gathered to choose three new members and to sample each other's creations. It was only natural that Nero Wolfe, gourmet as well as detective, should be invited as a special guest. But it was quite unnatural that one of the members, Phillip Laszio, should be deliberately and terribly murdered.
Nero Wolfe, reluctant to be anything but a visiting gourmet, refused at first event to try to solve the murder. But the arrest of his friend, Jerome Berin, the attack on his own life and the possibility of attaining one of his greatest gastronomic desires persuaded him to put his ponderous form and agile brain to the solution of the baffling case.
Special Note To Readers: Because TOO MANY COOKS whets the reader's appetite as well as his interest, Nero Wolfe has allowed us to include the recipes demonstrated by Les Quinze Maîtres at the end of the book.
"Each of us finds an activity he can tolerate. The manufacturer of baby carriages, caught himself in the system's web and with no monopoly of greed, entraps his workers in the toils of his necessity. Dolichocephalic patriots and brachycephalic patriots kill each other, and the brains of both rot before their statues can get erected. A garbage man collects table refuse, while a senator collects evidence of the corruption of highly placed men -- might one not prefer the garbage as less unsavory? Only the table scavenger gets less pay; that is the real point. I do not soil myself cheaply, I charge high fees."
"A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality."
Introduction of Marko Vukcic and Paul Whipple. Opens with Wolfe, driven by a mad longing for saucisse minuit, furiously lurching on-board the train to Kanawha Spa.
- A limited edition of the hard cover printing contained the recipes, with an introduction from Nero Wolfe.
- The American Magazine printing had available (optionally or as part of the purchase?) a recipe box with a book-like format.
- All recipes in both the hard cover and the American Magazine printings are reported to have the identical recipes that were later reprinted in The Nero Wolfe Cookbook.
- Here is a wonderful, first hand account of the preparation and pitfalls of preparing saucisse minuit: http://inspiredbywolfe.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/saucisse-minuit/