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Plot it Yourself
By Rex Stout
Read by Michael Prichard

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Plot It Yourself

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Plot It Yourself
A Nero Wolfe Mystery
By Rex Stout
Read by Michael Prichard
The Audio Partners Publishing Corp., (2002)
An Unabridged Recording on Four Cassettes
ISBN: 1-57270-301-6
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 7, 2003

Plagiarism - the bane of the writing world - is the focus of Plot it Yourself, an uproarious Nero Wolfe mystery by Rex Stout. In this treatise on the evils of plagiarism, the literary macrocosm centered in New York is shocked by a plague of seemingly, obviously plagiarized works. As various publishers and writers are accused of this heinous crime, an even more insidious beast raises it head, and its name is Murder!

If you've never met Nero Wolfe, you are in for a treat. He is not your run of the mill fictional detective. He is glutenous - but only the best foods will do. He is by nature insulate, yet when necessary he can be gregarious. However, as with most factional detectives, he is brilliant and he has a side-kick. In this case his esteemed colleague is Archie Goodwin who is as brilliant as Wolfe, and his unique insights and ability to function more normally in society, aid in Wolfe's ability to fit all the pieces of the puzzle togther.

Wolfe is a perfectionist with a well-honed stubborn streak. Once he accepts a case, he'll tenaciously hang 'in there' until the case is solved, no matter what it takes. In this case, Wolfe's finds his motivation greatly enhanced by his declaration that he will touch neither meat nor beer until the case is solved - incentive never knew a better name for a man like Wolfe.

What started this whole case was that several authors claimed that they had submitted books to publishers, only to have their work rejected. Yet a short time later their books were published - only under someone else's name. The publishers, and the authors under whose names the book and plays where published, deny the allegations, of course. Yet after each allegation a copy of the original manuscript was found, secreted, in the home of the accused publisher. Could a conspiracy be afoot to cheat new writers out of their just deserts, or is something more sinister going on? This is a question that everyone wants answered, and to Nero Wolfe is hired to sort out the mess.

With due diligence, Wolfe begins to study the various literary works involved, and their respective writing styles and means of execution (i.e., the typewriters involved). Meanwhile, Archie ventures out into the untamed wilderness called New York to interview suspects and victims alike, and to gather evidence to take back to the reclusive Wolfe.

As the murder count increases, so does the tension in this well-plotted mystery. Red herrings and misdirections abound, as do literary allusion as Stout pokes fun at the literary and publishing world. This unabridged audio edition of Plot it Yourself is marvelously read by the actor, Michael Prichard. A skilled audio book reader, Prichard has more than 350 audio book recordings to this credit. In this case, his reading of this book is lively and engaging, and he brings to life the nuances that make Wolfe such an intriguing and loveable detective.

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