One of the titles on my e-reader this spring break is Too Many Cooks, book five in Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series. I was in the mood for a classic mystery, and a conversation with a bus driver who happens to be an enthusiastic reader (not Mr. Lenticular Clouds) pointed me in this direction. Why the fifth book? That's what the library had for me to borrow. And jumping into the series already underway hasn't proven a problem -- probably a sign that Stout's formula is a winning one.
So far, I'm enjoying the book. Despite (or maybe because of) being published in 1938, it feels simultaneously familiar and witty and fresh. Stout ticks familiar boxes: prickly, idiosyncratic detective; remarkably perceptive second-fiddle sidekick; an inevitable murder perpetrated by someone in the cast of usual suspects, replete with at least one femme fatale and numerous red herrings. Plus, in what I choose to take as an added bonus, there are time-capsule expressions and beliefs that leave no doubt this sometimes politically incorrect story is situated in an era that pre-dates so much momentous 20th century history.
Every generation has its escapist beach reading, and I'm unexpectedly glad to be slumming with my grandparents'.