Review: Death Of An Art Collector

Death Of An Art Collector –
A Nero Wolfe Mystery

Author: Robert Goldsborough
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
2019
ISBN #978-1-5040-5754-7

“Death Of An Art Collector” is book fourteen in the Nero Wolfe Mystery series by Robert Goldsborough. The series is meant to be an homage to author Rex Stout, and the original Nero Wolfe mystery series. I am an ardent fan of Rex Stout and the original Nero Wolfe series, and was pleased to see the series continuing. That was before I read this book. I was very disappointed with what I was reading. I have only seen this one other time, and that was when I read two books from an author that I truly admired that were published posthumously. In that case, it was clear that the books were written by someone in the publishing company that had not actually read the authors previous books (this was a series also).

On the pro side, the original character are intact, and no new characters were added. The background, as far as era and the brownstone Wolfe lives in, were reflected realistically. That is about all the pro there is to talk about. Reading other reviews, I see that the original two books in this series were actually interesting and well written. I will go read them. I also see that the series went downhill from there.

This book very much feels like a template that was just filled in. There is no emotion to it, the storyline is good but not presented well, and the dialogue – well, all of the characters sound the same. Very boring.

The working premise is that art collector Arthur Wordell has fallen to his death from the 20th story window of the building he has his office in. Is it an accident, suicide, or murder? Coincidental that Archie Goodwin and his girlfriend attended a dinner at the Guggenheim, and sat at the same table as Wordell and his daughter Nadia, the night before Wordell’s death.

This could have been an interesting book. The Guggenheim wants Wordell’s extensive art collection, Wordell is not fond of the architect’s inclusion of a spiral staircase in the museum, Wordell’s estranged wife wants part of the collection, Wordell is at odds with the individual that he hired to curate his collection … the list goes on! Oh, and Mr. Wordell is notoriously not easy to get along with. And there is no will.

I will say that the ending does tie up the story – no one and nothing is left hanging. I will also say that unless you are an ardent fan of the original series, this book is not for you. It is not well written, will not draw you in, and will basically waste your time.

© July 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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