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Author Rex Stout created one of the best-known and popular fictional detective characters in history, Nero Wolfe, along with Wolfe's unforgettable and talented personal assistant, Archie Goodwin. With Nero Wolfe, Stout has been described as a puppet master who manipulated a character until it took on a life of its own.

Nero Wolfe became so real that he has spawned decades of study and analysis from reviewers, bibliophiles, academics, and fans who debate and speculate on every aspect of Nero Wolfe's life: the man himself, his assistant Archie Goodwin, his detective methods, his home, and his culinary preferences. Although Rex Stout the author was a fascinating man with a life history worth telling, he comes second to the characters he created in Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.

In each of the Nero Wolfe narratives, comprising almost 80 novels, novellas and short stories, the story is told through the eyes of Archie Goodwin. Wolfe is brilliant, eccentric, and lazy. Archie does all of the legwork, while Wolfe stays at home and solves the mystery. Some have speculated that the Archie Goodwin character was Rex Stout's idealized self-portrait. Others have suggested Archie was actually female, although there is little evidence in Stout's books to support that.

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