Rex Stout is an author who was born in the 19th century but lived and wrote through most of the twentieth century. He worked at a variety of jobs, but his other achievements are remembered primarily by those who knew him first as a writer.

Under the Andes is still a fun if implausible suspense novel from a time when mainstream and fantasy were closer together than they are today, and None Dare Call it Treason may have some lasting historical importance - it talks about congressmen who opposed Roosevelt's war preparations prior to Pearl Harbor. He wrote other works as well, but is mostly remembered today for a long series of mystery novels starring Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe.

It is hard to describe exactly the charm of this latter series. The mysteries are not always quite fair. The books are action packed, without being at all gory by today's standards. Part of the appeal is the personalities of the two protagonists, who are both extremely different and original takes on different aspects of the hard boiled detective of fictional fame. Part of it is somehow the unchanging routine and the brownstone house seen in minute detail from different angles. With all the things that stay the same, each little change or variation in routine becomes somehow important. Something about the two men is somehow old fashioned, yet the books are set in what was the present as they were written, with Nixon's impeachment and Hoover's FBI and many other current events playing a role. While this creates a certain realism, it also creates a certain cognitive dissonance as time passes and even most of the other characters age, but not Archie Goodwin or Nero Wolfe or a few close intimates.

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