Three Doors to Death

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Three Doors to Death
Stout-TDTD-1.jpg
Author Rex Stout
Cover artist Bill English
Country United States
Language English
Series Nero Wolfe
Genre Detective fiction
Publisher Viking Press
Publication date
April 21, 1950
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 244 pp. (first edition)
OCLC 1650685
Preceded by The Second Confession
Followed by In 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 :

Nero Wolfe fictional character

Nero Wolfe is a fictional character, a brilliant, oversized, eccentric armchair detective created in 1934 by American mystery writer Rex Stout. Wolfe was born in Montenegro and keeps his past murky. He lives in a luxurious brownstone on West 35th Street in New York City, and he is loath to leave his home for business or anything that would keep him from reading his books, tending his orchids, or eating the gourmet meals prepared by his chef, Fritz Brenner. Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's sharp-witted, dapper young confidential assistant with an eye for attractive women, narrates the cases and does the legwork for the detective genius.

Mystery fiction genre of fiction usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved

Mystery fiction is a genre of fiction usually involving a mysterious death or a crime to be solved. Often with a closed circle of suspects, each suspect is usually provided with a credible motive and a reasonable opportunity for committing the crime. The central character oftentimes will be a detective who eventually solves the mystery by logical deduction from facts presented to the reader. Sometimes mystery books are nonfictional. "Mystery fiction" can be detective stories in which the emphasis is on the puzzle or suspense element and its logical solution such as a whodunit. Mystery fiction can be contrasted with hardboiled detective stories, which focus on action and gritty realism.

Novella written, fictional, prose narrative normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel

A novella is a text of written, fictional, narrative prose normally longer than a short story but shorter than a novel, somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words.

Contents

Man Alive (short story) short story by Rex Stout

"Man Alive" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in the December 1947 issue of The American Magazine. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Three Doors to Death, published by the Viking Press in 1950.

Omit Flowers short story by Rex Stout

"Omit Flowers" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in the November 1948 issue of The American Magazine. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Three Doors to Death, published by the Viking Press in 1950.

Door to Death short story by Rex Stout

"Door to Death" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in the June 1949 issue of The American Magazine. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Three Doors to Death, published by the Viking Press in 1950.

Publication history

Viking Press publisher

Viking Press is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim and then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975.

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]
Book of the Month Club subscription-based book buying club

The Book of the Month Club is a United States subscription-based e-commerce service that offers a selection of five new hardcover books each month to its members. Books are selected and endorsed by a panel of judges, and members choose which book they would like to receive, similar to how the club originally operated when it began in 1926. Members can also discuss the books with fellow members in an online forum.

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]
Collins Crime Club

Collins Crime Club was an imprint of British book publishers William Collins, Sons and ran from 6 May 1930 to April 1994. Throughout its 64 years the club issued a total of 2,025 first editions of crime novels and reached a high standard of quality throughout. In the field of crime book collecting, Collins Crime Club is eagerly sought, particularly pre-war first editions in dustwrappers with their vivid and imaginative images.

Dell Publishing, an American publisher of books, magazines and comic books, was founded in 1921 by George T. Delacorte Jr. with $10,000, two employees and one magazine title, I Confess, and soon began turning out dozens of pulp magazines, which included penny-a-word detective stories, articles about the movies, and romance books.

Mapback

Mapback is a term used by paperback collectors to refer to the earliest paperback books published by Dell Books, beginning in 1943. The books are known as mapbacks because the back cover of the book contains a map that illustrates the location of the action. Dell books were numbered in series. Mapbacks extend from #5 to at least #550; then maps became less of a fixed feature of the books and disappeared entirely in 1951. The occasional number in the series between #5 and #550 contains no map, but some sort of full-page graphic or text connected with the book's contents.

Related Research Articles

<i>Trio for Blunt Instruments</i> book by Rex Stout

Trio for Blunt Instruments is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published in 1964 by the Viking Press in the United States and simultaneously by MacMillan & Company in Canada. The book comprises three stories:

<i>Three for the Chair</i> book by Rex Stout

Three for the Chair is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1957, and by Bantam Books in various paperback printings beginning in 1958. The book contains three stories:

<i>Trouble in Triplicate</i> book by Rex Stout

Trouble in Triplicate is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1949, and itself collected in the omnibus volume All Aces. The book contains three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

<i>Curtains for Three</i> book by Rex Stout

Curtains for Three is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1951 and itself collected in the omnibus volume Full House. The book comprises three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

<i>Triple Jeopardy</i> book by Rex Stout

Triple Jeopardy is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1952. Itself collected in the omnibus volume Kings Full of Aces, the book comprises three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

<i>Three Men Out</i> book by Rex Stout

Three Men Out is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1954. The book comprises three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

<i>Three Witnesses</i> (book) book by Rex Stout

Three Witnesses is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1956 and itself collected in the omnibus volume Royal Flush. The book contains three stories that first appeared in The American Magazine:

<i>And Four to Go</i> book by Rex Stout

And Four to Go is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1958. The book comprises four stories — three appearing previously in periodicals, and one making its debut in print:

<i>Three at Wolfes Door</i> book by Rex Stout

Three at Wolfe's Door is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1960. The book comprises three stories, one of them published previously:

<i>Homicide Trinity</i> book by Rex Stout

Homicide Trinity is a collection of Nero Wolfe mystery novellas by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1962. The book comprises three stories:

<i>A Family Affair</i> (novel) book by Rex Stout

A Family Affair is the last Nero Wolfe detective novel by Rex Stout, published by the Viking Press in 1975. The prolific author, who had penned more than 70 stories in the internationally successful Nero Wolfe series since 1934, died at the age of 88, less than six months after publication of this last book.

"Method Three for Murder" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first serialized in three issues of The Saturday Evening Post. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Three at Wolfe's Door, published by the Viking Press in 1960.

"The Rodeo Murder" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in April 1960 in the short-story collection Three at Wolfe's Door.

"The Zero Clue" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published as "Scared to Death" in the December 1953 issue of The American Magazine. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Three Men Out, published by the Viking Press in 1954.

"Murder Is No Joke" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in the 1958 short-story collection And Four to Go.

Kill Now—Pay Later short story by Rex Stout

"Kill Now—Pay Later" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first serialized in three issues of The Saturday Evening Post. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Trio for Blunt Instruments, published by the Viking Press in 1964.

"Blood Will Tell" is a Nero Wolfe mystery novella by Rex Stout, first published in the December 1963 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It first appeared in book form in the short-story collection Trio for Blunt Instruments, published by the Viking Press in 1964.

References

  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