• Her Forbidden Knight

  • By: Rex Stout
  • Narrated by: Jonah Cummings
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An innocent young telegraph operator becomes a counterfeiter’s target.

Once, the Lamartine Hotel was a quiet refuge for New York’s stuffy fashionable set. But by the 1890s, fashion has moved uptown, and the lobby of the Lamartine has been overtaken by natty young sports, who pass their afternoons with billiards or shows of noisy derring-do. Their preferred damsel is Lila Williams, a delicate young telegraph operator whose shyness so charms them that they resolve to defend her against any ill-behaved characters. They are about to face their fiercest challenger, who rides in the gleaming armor of a millionaire.

His name is John Knowlton, and from the first telegram she writes for him, Lila is charmed. He has money, good looks, and a criminal secret, and his insidious charisma will demand heroic effort from the knights of the Lamartine billiard table.

©1997 Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Her Forbidden Knight

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a slow starter but...

follow it through even though you wonder where it's going. I had no clue till about halfway through. the Finish kind of surprise me. but that's the idea of a mystery, right?

6 people found this helpful

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Of Mostly Antiquarian Interest

It can be interesting to see how a famous author got started. According to his bibliography at Wikipedia, this was Rex Stout’s first publication (1913); Nero, Archie, Saul, Fred, Orrie and Fritz were twenty-one years in the future — mere glints in their author’s eye. And it shows.

Some of the faults are common to the crime fiction of the time. At least two of Agatha Christie’s early efforts — The Secret Adversary (1922) and The Man in the Brown Suit (1924) – suffer from similar advanced cases of severe melodrama. Other faults are unique to this story. It moves slowly, even ponderously, a pace exacerbated by some very awkward writing. There are occasional flashes of wit, but more instances of stock description.

However, what really damns this one in modern eyes is its respect – again, typical of its time – for the proprieties between men and women. The former are expected to be strong, honorable and protective, the latter innocent, honest and nurturing. But before you sneer and mutter something about toxic masculinity, it’s worth speculating: if the same expectations prevailed today, would #metoo have been necessary?

Be that as it may, the real reason I listened (besides the fact that it’s free) was to get a sense of Stout’s development as a writer. He certainly came a long way from 1913, though I suspect some of this story’s shortcomings might seem less obvious if the performance at the mic had been more adequate.

3 people found this helpful

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Jejune Stout, ill served

Earliest Rex Stout and raw, although the man couldn’t help but tell a story. But the reading here is oafish and disserves the tale sadly. The 18th century Austrian composer, “Hey-den?” Mon dieux pronounced, “moan dew?” This is incompetence of an order that should not be allowed, much less broadcast.

1 person found this helpful

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Utterly Wonderful

What a great introduction to a writer I had never even heard of. Film noir suspense, love, and excellent writing. So refreshing to read intelligent heartfelt prose underscored by solid values. The narrator is excellent. I just wish he would narrate more books.

1 person found this helpful

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Not a mystery

This is a romantic comedy or a comic romance and not at all a mystery. There is no detective work, there is no Nero Wolfe like character, and there is no Archie Goodwin like character. It is performed well by the narrator, and I could not stop listening.

1 person found this helpful

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Kind of Sweet

This is an early Rex Stout without, Nero and Archie, and shows the authors budding talent. The mystery is not very compelling but the Knight characters were sweetly and humorously written. This is not a great book but was a pleasant listen and interested me as an example of Stout's early writing.

The narration was both solid and excellent, adding life to the pages.

1 person found this helpful

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This is a very fun book!

This is a very fun book! It is also a complete departure from Rex Stout's usual genre. Jonah Cummings is a fine narrator. 🙂

1 person found this helpful

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Just as Good as Stout's Nero Wolfe Novels

Rex Stout is best known for his Nero Wolfe mysteries, but he has some other novels out there and this was a good one. I wouldn’t actually term this a mystery although at times it almost felt like one. Back in the 1890s in New York City, several men have taken it upon themselves to protect a young woman employed as a telegraph operator. She didn’t ask them to do this, but they have devoted themselves to her in a somewhat chivalric fashion and look out for her. She sees them as friends but gets annoyed when they interfere with her life as they do when they decide that a man who is romantically interested in her is not good enough for her. On the surface, they appear correct. They learn through one of their number that he is a counterfeiter. But they don’t know the whole story and they don’t know that one of their own has evil designs on the woman.

So this is a crime story, but not the crime the counterfeiting may lead you to think it is. And it leads to an exciting courtroom drama in which the young and extremely honest woman is expected to be the lead witness against the man who has captured her heart. There are a couple of nice twists and turns in the story and the ending feels like a solution Nero Wolfe would have come up with. I really enjoyed it.

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Too many Gentlemen can cause confusion!

Good premise. Good reader. Just not as good as other Rex Stout stories I have read. Still worthwhile because the writer is better then many mystery writers.

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Story has serious plausibility issues...

I wasn't able to finish this one. The story just became more and more absurd as the chapters went on. To hold my attention, a book needs to be BELIEVABLE. There are a group of friends who hang around a pool room in a big hotel in New York... always seeming to be there, none really seeming to have jobs or any mentioned sources of income. Their actions as a group simply border on the ridiculous.... so it's just odd that the author seems to think these individuals could seem remotely real.

This thing is a real mess.

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  • Kate Steeds
  • 03-27-22

Fun and whimsical

As close as I have come to reading a Sweet-Thursday-esque John Steinbeck without it actually being so. A story of ordinary, flawed heroes.