REX STOUT “Immune to Murder.” Novelette. Nero Wolfe. First published in The American Magazine, November 1955. Reprinted in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, February 1957, and Ellery Queen’s Anthology #12 (Davis Publications, 1967). Collected in Three for the Chair (Viking, hardcover, 1957).

   I think that Nero Wolfe left his Manhattan brownstone on business more often than Rex Stout wanted us to believe, and when it happened, a big deal was made of it. Strangely enough, though, when Archie and Wolfe make a trip in “Immune to Murder” of over 300 miles by automobile to a fishing camp somewhere up in the Adirondacks, the latter shows only a minor annoyance rather than his usual petulance at being away from home.

   That may be because he’s doing it out of some loyalty to his country, as what he’s been asked to do is cook some fish for lunch at a meeting of ambassadors and various high level financiers. Which he does, but it wouldn’t be a Nero Wolfe story if one of the high level financiers isn’t found dead in the water, having been hit over the head with a heavy stick of firewood.

   Brought in on the case are an Attorney General, a district attorney, a sheriff and three state troopers, all of whom badger Wolfe no end, thinking (improbably) that he, as the only “outsider,” had something to do with it. In his defense, Wolfe consults his own lawyer, some law books, and places a telephone call to the Secretary of State in Washington to make sure he’s on safe ground before identifying the killer.

   The story is fine, but I don’t think it was as much fun to read as those that take place in Wolfe’s own bailiwick. Archie, on the other hand, is Archie, no matter where Wolfe’s cases take them.