Blood Will Tell (short story)

"Blood Will Tell"
Author Rex Stout
Country United States
Language English
Series Nero Wolfe
Genre(s) Detective fiction
Published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
Publication type Periodical
Publication date December 1963

"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.

Plot summary

Archie Goodwin receives a blood-stained tie in the mail from the owner of a small walk-up apartment building in lower Manhattan, who also lives on the top floor. Archie investigates, only to find yet another dead body[1] and now has to sort out the mess, preferably collecting a fee along the way since the other adventures in this volume have not earned the costly Nero Wolfe operation a cent.

Publication history

"Blood Will Tell"

Trio for Blunt Instruments

Contents include "Kill Now—Pay Later", "Murder Is Corny" and "Blood Will Tell".
In his limited-edition pamphlet, Collecting Mystery Fiction #10, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part II, Otto Penzler describes the first edition of Trio for Blunt Instruments: "Orange cloth, front cover and spine printed with blue rules; the front cover printed with blue lettering; the spine is printed with black lettering; rear cover blank. Issued in a mainly red pictorial dust wrapper."[3]:17
In April 2006, Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine estimated that the first edition of Trio for Blunt Instruments had a value of between $150 and $300. The estimate is for a copy in very good to fine condition in a like dustjacket.[4]
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).[5]:19–20


  1. In the course of the Nero Wolfe stories, Archie discovers quite a number of dead bodies, not always in the course of an investigation. Before the events told in this story, Archie has already found more bodies than Inspector Cramer, Lieutenant Rowcliffe and other members of NYPD like.
  2. 1 2 Townsend, Guy M., Rex Stout: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1980. John McAleer, Judson Sapp and Arriean Schemer are associate editors of this definitive publication history. ISBN 0-8240-9479-4
  3. Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #10, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part II. New York: The Mysterious Bookshop, 2001. Limited edition of 250 copies.
  4. Smiley, Robin H., "Rex Stout: A Checklist of Primary First Editions." Firsts: The Book Collector's Magazine (Volume 16, Number 4), April 2006, p. 35
  5. Penzler, Otto, Collecting Mystery Fiction #9, Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe Part I. New York: The Mysterious Bookshop, 2001. Limited edition of 250 copies.

External links

Quotations related to Trio for Blunt Instruments at Wikiquote

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