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A visitor approaches a door, as viewed through the peephole

A peephole is a small opening through which one may look.

In a door, a peephole allows people inside the security of seeing outside without opening the door. Glass peepholes are often fitted with a fisheye lens to allow a wider field of view from the inside and little to no visibility from the outside.[1]


A peephole in any sized wall is a notable feature in the brownstone house of the fictional detective Nero Wolfe. The peephole in Wolfe's office is covered by a painting that is actually a perforated panel. Anyone wishing to secretly observe what is happening in the office can stand in an alcove at the end of the hall, where everything can be seen and heard through a hole positioned at Wolfe's eye level. The peephole makes its first appearance in the novel, Over My Dead Body (1939), and undergoes various transformations and improvements thereafter.[2]


  1. ^ Peephole Is One Way Viewer Popular Science, July 1950, pg 153, right-side
  2. ^ Darby, Ken, The Brownstone House of Nero Wolfe. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1983 ISBN 0-316-17280-4 pp. 87–93. The detailed biography of Wolfe's home reviews the peephole's use in Over My Dead Body (chapter 6), "Booby Trap" (chapter 5), The Silent Speaker (chapter 25), If Death Ever Slept (chapter 7), Too Many Clients (chapter 16), Gambit (chapter 13), A Right to Die (chapter 7), The Doorbell Rang (chapter 13), Death of a Doxy (chapter 15) and The Father Hunt' (chapter 16).

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