Since 1986, Robert Goldsborough has been writing the further adventures of Nero Wolfe, one of the most beloved detectives of all time. His pitch-perfect pastiches have been greatly informed by books both in and outside of the mystery world. These five books are just a few of those that helped Goldsborough hone his craft over the years.
The League of Frightened Men
This was the second book in Stout’s 40-year-long Wolfe series (1935), and my favorite, in part because Wolfe matched wits with a man, author Paul Chapin, who, although depraved, was close to his intellectual equal. This Wolfe book more than any other inspired me to be the continuator of the Wolfe series.
The Maltese Falcon
To me, this is the classic “golden age” noir detective mystery, well written and with lean, hard-edged prose and a jaded, world-weary private eye, Sam Spade. Cynical as he is, Spade retains a sense of justice and a code of honor.
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964
A well-researched and even-handed biography of World War II Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The book is filled with paradoxes about MacArthur, in many ways a brilliant soldier but one hampered and often blinded by his overarching ego, which proves to be his downfall.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of our second president, this book casts a new light on a founding father who was often derided in his own time. He comes alive in these pages, in part through the hundreds of letters he wrote home to his wife, Abigail. This volume gives one a new appreciation of Adams.
The first book in the author’s “Rabbit” series, this is a good prism through which to view the morals, mores, and values of mid-20th century America. The central character is very much a product of his times, for better or worse, and through him we get to more about the world of his era.
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