Reviews & Comments: 4 by Rex Stout, & Why Language Matters

And Four to Go (Nero Wolfe, #30)And Four to Go by Rex Stout
Review by CJ Verburg

Four short novellas or long stories, each fun in a different way. Rex Stout was at his (long-lived) peak in the late 1950s, so these are vintage Nero Wolfe capers. Oddly, the first three are holiday-centered, whereas the fourth opens on a random Tuesday in the fashion business. In “Christmas Party,” Archie Goodwin strikes fear into his boss’s heart by announcing he’s getting married. “Easter Parade” features (you guessed it) orchids. “Fourth of July Picnic”–in which Wolfe leaves home to make a speech–and “Murder Is No Joke” both involve women named Flora. My favorite moment comes in “Fourth of July Picnic,” when Wolfe and Goodwin give us brief impromptu autobiographies. A treasure for Stout fans; a good intro for newcomers.

View CJ Verburg’s other Goodreads reviews

Pen vs. Sword, or Why Language Matters

CJ Verburg signing 2 new mysteries on Cape Cod, Aug. 1-3

C J Verburg, author of the Edgar Rowdey Cape Cod mysteries and Cory Goodwin mysteries, will be on Cape Cod speaking and signing two new books Aug. 1-3:

Bourne Library, 19 Sandwich Rd., Bourne – 7 PM Tues., Aug. 1

Yellow Umbrella Books, 501 Main St., Chatham – 11 AM-1 PM Wed., Aug. 2

Yarmouth Port Library, 279 Main St. (Rt. 6A), Yarmouth Port – 3 PM Thurs., Aug. 3

Author C J (Carol) Verburg lived in Centerville, West Dennis, and Falmouth before settling in Yarmouth Port in the late 1980s. With her friend, neighbor, and fellow mystery fan Edward Gorey, she spent more than a decade writing and directing plays for Cape theater companies from Provincetown to Bourne. Her pivot to crime fiction began with a half-joking “idée du jour” over lunch at their local café. Gorey’s death left that project in Verburg’s hands. The result was Croaked: an Edgar Rowdey Cape Cod Mystery—with a thinly disguised Edward Gorey as a sleuth instead of coauthor. Now Cape artist “Edgar Rowdey” is back to steer the seaside village of Quansett through another disaster in Book Two, Zapped.

C J Verburg’s second mystery series grew out of her dream of traveling to exotic places where she could write novels. Narrator Cory Goodwin is the Boston journalist daughter of legendary New York private eye Archie Goodwin. Silent Night Violent Night finds Cory helping a frightened friend at a science publisher’s posh holiday party. In the brand-new sequel, Another Number for the Road, Cory’s off to Paris on the trail of an unsolved murder and a vanished ‘60s rock band. Another Number for the Road: a Cory Goodwin Mystery is a literary novel for music fans—complete with a live original soundtrack.

A Garden & Two Mysteries: Boom-Books Authors @ Work & Play

What are our authors up to this summer?

lavenderIrisCharisse Howard, who gave us the gripping American Regency novel Dark Horseman and the Britain-and beyond Regency Rakes & Rebels novella series, takes us on a musical tour of a botanical garden in “Flower Piano: a Regency Afternoon in San Francisco”:

“You don’t have to be a Regency fan to love Strybing Arboretum. But if you’ve ever dreamed of strolling under a parasol across a sunny greensward, over a rustic bridge, under a century-old magnolia tree, this place will light up your inner Jane Austen.”


Carol Verburg is getting ready for the Killer Nashville mystery writers’ conference in August, where she’ll present two new works-in-progress. Zapped is Book 2 in her Edgar Rowdey Cape Cod Mystery series, following Croaked. Another Number for the Road is Book 2 in her Cory Goodwin Mystery series, the sequel to Silent Night Violent Night.

onlywitnessBy day, Carol’s madly typing. By night, she’s reading (or watching) mysteries. Her latest blog post reviews two unusual additions to the genre.

Pamela Beason’s The Only Witness is “an ingenious & charming mystery, starring improbably sympathetic characters”: an abducted baby, its distraught teenage mother, an out-of-sorts detective, and a professional “family” that’s half human and half gorilla.

houseofsilkIn The House of Silk,  Anthony Horowitz (creator of Foyle’s War and many books for children and adults) steps into the role of Watson to add his own story to the Sherlock Holmes canon. It “starts out familiar & promising—Baker Street ambience, unnerved client, deductive legerdemain, bristly camaraderie (Holmes-Watson) & sibling rivalry (Sherlock-Mycroft)—& expands fluidly into a web of business, art, society, & politics.”

Want to know more? See 2 Mystery Reviews: Beason’s The Only Witness & Horowitz’s The House of Silk.