Three Doors to Death

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Three Doors to Death
AuthorRex Stout
Cover artistBill English
CountryUnited States
SeriesNero Wolfe
GenreDetective fiction
PublisherViking Press
Publication date
April 21, 1950
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages244 pp. (first edition)
Preceded byThe Second Confession
Followed byIn the Best Families

Three Doors to Death is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1950 — itself collected in the omnibus volume Five of a Kind (Viking 1961). The book comprises three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

Publication history[edit]

In his limited-edition pamphlet, Collecting Mystery Fiction #9, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part I, Otto Penzler describes the first edition of Three Doors to Death: "Green cloth, front cover and spine printed with black; rear cover blank. Issued in a mainly reddish-orange dust wrapper."[2]
In April 2006, Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine estimated that the first edition of Three Doors to Death had a value of between $300 and $500. The estimate is for a copy in very good to fine condition in a like dustjacket.[3]
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).[4]
  • 1950, London: Collins Crime Club, September 18, 1950, hardcover
  • 1952, New York: Dell (mapback by Rafael de Soto), 1952, #626, paperback
  • 1961, New York: The Viking Press, Five of a Kind: The Third Nero Wolfe Omnibus (with The Rubber Band and In the Best Families), July 10, 1961, hardcover
  • 1966, New York: Bantam #F3154, June 1966, paperback
  • 1995, New York: Bantam Crimeline ISBN 0-553-25127-9 February 1995, paperback
  • 2010, New York: Bantam Crimeline ISBN 0-307-75623-8 June 9, 2010, e-book


  1. ^ Townsend, Guy M., Rex Stout: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography (1980, New York: Garland Publishing; ISBN 0-8240-9479-4), p. 81
  2. ^ Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #9, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part I (2001, New York: The Mysterious Bookshop, limited edition of 250 copies), p. 25
  3. ^ Smiley, Robin H., "Rex Stout: A Checklist of Primary First Editions." Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine (Volume 16, Number 4), April 2006, p. 33
  4. ^ Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #9, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part I, pp. 19–20

External links[edit]