cover image The Last Coincidence

The Last Coincidence

Robert Goldsborough. Bantam Books, $16.95 (183pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05383-8

Fans of that fat genius, Nero Wolfe, and his indomitable sidekick, Archie Goodwin, will be gratified by this stylish revival. The mystery begins with a plea for help from Archie's longtime pal, Lilly Rowan. Noreen James, Lilly's niece, has been attacked by a vicious roisterer named Sparky Linville. But before Archie can intervene, Sparky is murdered, and Noreen's brother Michael confesses to the deed. The cops think this closes the case. Noreen isn't satisfied, however, and she hires Wolfe to clear her brother. This mostly credible renaissance has a few glitches, notably those having to do with Goldsborough's attempts to bring the 35th Street duo into the 1980s. It's jarring to find Archie updating the orchid germination records on a PC instead of the old Remington. It would have been better to stick to period, as Ed McBain has done with his ageless 87th Precinct cops. Still, this rates a Wolfean ``satisfactory,''--meaning, a job very well done. (Nov.)