Death of a Dude
|Cover artist||S. A. Summit|
|August 20, 1969|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||180 pp. (first edition)|
|Preceded by||The Father Hunt|
|Followed by||Please Pass the Guilt|
Archie Goodwin is part of a house party at Lily Rowan's vacation home in Montana when a murder brings Nero Wolfe from New York to take a hand. Uniquely for a Nero Wolfe novel, it takes place entirely away from the brownstone on West 35th Street. (Some Buried Caesar came close, but returned to the brownstone for a brief coda; Too Many Cooks similarly came very close, but includes a brief description of the departure from the brownstone, including the good-byes from Fritz, Saul and Theodore.)
- In his limited-edition pamphlet, Collecting Mystery Fiction #10, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part II, Otto Penzler describes the first edition of Death of a Dude: "Blue boards, dark blue cloth spine; front and rear covers blank; spine printed with green, blue, and white lettering. Issued in a mainly black pictorial dust wrapper."
- In April 2006, Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine estimated that the first edition of Death of a Dude had a value of between $100 and $200. The estimate is for a copy in very good to fine condition in a like dustjacket.
- 1969, New York: Viking (Mystery Guild), October 1969, hardcover
- The far less valuable Viking book club edition may be distinguished from the first edition in three ways:
- The dust jacket has "Book Club Edition" printed on the inside front flap, and the price is absent (first editions may be price clipped if they were given as gifts).
- Book club editions are sometimes thinner and always taller (usually a quarter of an inch) than first editions.
- Book club editions are bound in cardboard, and first editions are bound in cloth (or have at least a cloth spine).
- 1969, Canadian Magazine (abridged), November 1969
- 1970, London: Collins Crime Club, April 13, 1970, hardcover
- 1970, New York: Bantam #S-5487, August 1970, paperback
- 1972, London: Fontana #2673, 1972, paperback
- 1972, London: Book Club Associates, 1972
- 1995, New York: Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-76295-8 January 2, 1995, paperback
- 2000, Newport Beach, California: Books on Tape, Inc. ISBN 0-7366-5084-9 April 19, 2000, audio cassette (unabridged, read by Michael Prichard)
- 2010, New York: Bantam ISBN 978-0-307-75587-2 May 12, 2010, e-book
The unfamiliar word
"Nero Wolfe talks in a way that no human being on the face of the earth has ever spoken, with the possible exception of Rex Stout after he had a gin and tonic," said Michael Jaffe, executive producer of the A&E TV series, A Nero Wolfe Mystery. "Readers of the Wolfe saga often have to turn to the dictionary because of the erudite vocabulary of Wolfe and sometimes of Archie," wrote Rev. Frederick G. Gotwald.
Nero Wolfe's vocabulary is one of the hallmarks of the character. Examples of unfamiliar words — or unfamiliar uses of words that some would otherwise consider familiar — are found throughout the corpus, often in the give-and-take between Wolfe and Archie.
- Plerophory, chapter 6.
- Townsend, Guy M., Rex Stout: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography (1980, New York: Garland Publishing; ISBN 0-8240-9479-4), p. 43. John McAleer, Judson Sapp and Arriean Schemer are associate editors of this definitive publication history.
- Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #10, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part II (2001, New York: The Mysterious Bookshop, limited edition of 250 copies), p. 23
- Smiley, Robin H., "Rex Stout: A Checklist of Primary First Editions." Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine (Volume 16, Number 4), April 2006, p. 35
- Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #9, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part I, pp. 19–20
- Quoted in Vitaris, Paula, "Miracle on 35th Street: Nero Wolfe on Television," Scarlet Street, issue #45, 2002, p. 36
- Gotwald, Rev. Frederick G., The Nero Wolfe Handbook (1985; revised 1992, 2000), page 234
Quotations related to Death of a Dude at Wikiquote