Thursday, May 25, 2023

Audiobook Review: The Battered Badge by Robert Goldsborough

The Battered Badge

Robert Goldsborough
Narrator: L. J. Ganser
Series: Nero Wolfe Mysteries (Book 13)
Publication: Blackstone Audio (April 17, 2019)
Length: 6 hours and 31 minutes

Description: A shake-up in the New York Polic Department's homicide squad following a high-profile murder is bad for business for private investigator Nero Wolfe.

When wealthy and popular crusader and reformer Lester Pierce is gunned down in front of his Park Avenue residence, the public outcry forces the NYPD to restructure its homicide department. As the deceased was highly critical of Inspector Lionel Cramer, the longtime head of homicide is temporarily relieved of his badge. But it seems Cramer was not just a scapegoat. He was seen dining in Little Italy with mob kingpin Ralph Mars.

All of this amounts to little more than conversational fodder for private eye Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. But if Cramer's provisional replacement, Captain George Rowcliff, becomes permanent, Wolfe's future dealings with the force will be much compromised. Loath to depart from his routine, Wolfe makes the unusual decision to take on a case without an actual client.

His investigation quickly points toward Pierce's organization, Good Government Group, where high-minded idealism is often trampled under the competing ambitions of the staff - several of whom would clearly have benefited from Pierce's demise. Despite the burgeoning list of suspects, Wolfe hasn't ruled out the involvement of the underworld and its connection to Cramer. But in order to untangle an abundance of motives and end the inspector's forced furlough, Wolfe may have to venture out of his comfort zone - and the premises of his brownstone.

Continuing his beloved series, Nero Award-winning author Robert Goldsborough "demonstrates an impressive ability to emulate Rex Stout's narrative voice" (Publishers Weekly).

The Battered Badge is the 60th book in the Nero Wolfe mystery series, but all titles can be enjoyed in any order.

My Thoughts: A new Nero Wolfe story is concerned with the death of Lester Pierce who is a crusader and reformer who wants to change the police department. Inspector Lionel Cramer of the NYPD Homicide division has been a particular target of the reformer. He's been put on leave and Captain George Rowcliff has become his replacement.

Neither Wolfe nor Archie are looking forward to working with Rowcliff but they don't have a client to encourage them to investigate. Cramer's sergeant comes to ask Wolfe and Archie to look into the case but he doesn't have the money to hire them. Archie begins to investigate and discovers a bunch of potential suspects including the "other woman." the mob, and others. 

When Wolfe finally decides to get involved, it brings some changes to his normal pattern. He doesn't have a client and the climax has him actually leaving his home for the reveal of the villian. 

Goldsborough does an excellent job recreating Rex Stout's characters. They sound and act just like the originals. L. J. Ganser does a great job narrating the story. He does an excellent job with Archie as the narrator.

I received this one February 26, 2023 from the Audible Plus catalog. You can buy your copy here.

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