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* CutLexLuthorACheck: Based on Professor Savareseís description of Orchards magazine itís implied to be a well-written operation which could have maintained a respectable subscription even without the blackmail racket.


* AssholeVictim: Cyril Orchard and Beula Poole [[spoiler: both of whom turn out to be part of a blackmail syndicate.]] Downplayed, as exactly how deeply involved and how much they really knew is left open to question, but even so it's made clear that they would have had some inkling of what was really going on, so still belong here.

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* AccidentalTruth: [[spoiler:Zeck's syndicate intentionally uses fraudulent secrets to blackmail their victims, reasoning that most people will simply pay up rather than take more drastic measures. But when they blackmailed Madeline Fraser, their lie of choice was actually the truth, and she murdered three people to cover it up.]]
* AssholeVictim: Cyril Orchard and Beula Poole [[spoiler: both Poole, [[spoiler:both of whom turn out to be part of a blackmail syndicate.]] syndicate]]. Downplayed, as exactly how deeply involved and how much they really knew is left open to question, but even so it's made clear that they would have had some inkling of what was really going on, so they still belong here.



* BestFriendsInLaw: Fraser's best friend and manager Deborah Koppel, is the sister of her later husband. [[spoiler:Ultimately this friendship fails to survive Deborah's suspicions that Madeline killed her brother, and Madeline's murder of her]].
* BlandNameProduct: Several of the products sponsoring or trying to sponsor Fraser's show fall here, but most prominently is Hi-Spot, which -- being a dark-coloured, heavily marketed popular soft-drink with a unique and secret taste that is not to everyone's fancy, which a gourmet like Wolfe would distinctly turn his nose up at and [[spoiler: which can be visually substituted with coffee]] is pretty clearly supposed to be Coca-Cola.

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* BestFriendsInLaw: Fraser's best friend and manager Deborah Koppel, is the sister of her later husband. [[spoiler:Ultimately this friendship fails to survive Deborah's suspicions that Madeline killed her brother, and Madeline's murder of her]].
her.]]
* BlandNameProduct: Several of the products sponsoring or trying to sponsor Fraser's show fall here, but most prominently is Hi-Spot, which -- being a dark-coloured, heavily marketed popular soft-drink with a unique and secret taste that is not to everyone's fancy, which a gourmet like Wolfe would distinctly turn his nose up at and [[spoiler: which [[spoiler:which can be visually substituted with coffee]] is pretty clearly supposed to be Coca-Cola.



* {{Foreshadowing}}: Pay attention when Wolfe describes the lengths he'll have to go if he ever finds himself
* ImplausibleDeniability: When Wolfe discovers that the President of Hi-Spot is keeping a secret from him as a result of an obligation to one of the suspects, he gathers the suspects, and asks, each of them, one by one, to hypothetically release him from any such promise. The wham line comes form the first person to refuse to do. After two people do do this, hypothetically when the third (the actual person that promise had been made to) refuses, [[spoiler:his]] weak, nervous claim that it is merely a matter of principal and don't actually reflect on whether or not [[spoiler:he]] was the one that promise was made to fall pretty flat.
* InsufferableGenius: Professor Savarese, a statistician and another guest on the show, is a [[MotorMouth overly talkative]] man who, despite his earnest nature, is constantly rattling on about the laws of probability and how he could apply them to things (like Wolfe's detective work and horse racing) to the point where it's 20-30 minutes after he arrive at the office before Wofle can get a word in.

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* {{Foreshadowing}}: Pay attention when Wolfe describes the lengths he'll have to go if he ever finds himself
himself [[spoiler:on the run from Arnold Zeck]].
* ImplausibleDeniability: When Wolfe discovers that the President president of Hi-Spot is keeping a secret from him as a result of an obligation to one of the suspects, he gathers the suspects, suspects and asks, asks each of them, them one by one, one to hypothetically release him from any such promise. The wham line comes form the first person to refuse to do. After two people do do this, hypothetically this hypothetically, when the third (the actual person that promise had been made to) refuses, [[spoiler:his]] his weak, nervous claim that it is merely a matter of principal and don't which doesn't actually reflect on whether or not [[spoiler:he]] he was the one that promise was made to fall falls pretty flat.
* InsufferableGenius: Professor F. O. Savarese, a statistician and another guest on the show, is a an [[MotorMouth overly talkative]] man who, despite his earnest nature, is constantly rattling on about the laws of probability and how he could apply them to things (like Wolfe's detective work and horse racing) to the point where it's 20-30 minutes after he arrive arrives at the office before Wofle can get a word in.



* OpportunisticBastard: [[spoiler:When Tully Strong realizes Madeline is the murderer, which will ensure the show's end and the loss of his job, he tips off the Hi-Spot president to withdraw his sponsorship and avoid the damage. Since he only warned that man and none of the other sponsors, Wolfe speculates he did so in exchange for the promise of a cushy job as soon as he lost his current one]].

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* OpportunisticBastard: [[spoiler:When Tully Strong realizes Madeline is the murderer, which will ensure the show's end and the loss of his job, he tips off the Hi-Spot president to withdraw his sponsorship and avoid the damage. Since he only warned that man and none of the other sponsors, Wolfe speculates he did so in exchange for the promise of a cushy job as soon as he lost his current one]].one.]]



* StoutStrength: Deborah Koppell is described as short and plump but with a very strong handshake.

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* StoutStrength: Deborah Koppell Koppel is described as short and plump but with a very strong handshake.



* WhamEpisode: The novel initially seems like a standard Wolfe mystery, but about two-thirds through Wolfe receives a phone call marking the first appearance of shadowy crime-lord Arnold Zeck, who will be a central figure in future novels.

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* WhamEpisode: The novel initially seems like a standard Wolfe mystery, but about two-thirds through Wolfe receives a phone call marking the first appearance of shadowy crime-lord crime lord Arnold Zeck, who will be a central figure in future the next two Wolfe novels.

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* {{Foreshadowing}}: Pay attention when Wolfe describes the lengths he'll have to go if he ever finds himself

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* NoodleIncident: Archie mentions that he and Wolfe have briefly crossed paths with Arnold Zeck on a previous occasion, but the reader is never made privy to what transpired on that occasion.


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* WhamEpisode: The novel initially seems like a standard Wolfe mystery, but about two-thirds through Wolfe receives a phone call marking the first appearance of shadowy crime-lord Arnold Zeck, who will be a central figure in future novels.


* OpportunisticBastard: [[spoiler:When Tulyl Strong realizes Madeline is the murderer, which will ensure the shows end and the loss of his job, he tips off the Hi-Spot president to withdraw his sponsorship and avoid the damage. Since he only wanted that man and none of the other sponsors, Wolfe speculates he did so in exchange for the promise of a cushy job as soon as he lost his current one]].

to:

* OpportunisticBastard: [[spoiler:When Tulyl Tully Strong realizes Madeline is the murderer, which will ensure the shows show's end and the loss of his job, he tips off the Hi-Spot president to withdraw his sponsorship and avoid the damage. Since he only wanted warned that man and none of the other sponsors, Wolfe speculates he did so in exchange for the promise of a cushy job as soon as he lost his current one]].

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* BavarianFireDrill: Wolfe acts as if he's already been hired to investigate the case so that he and Archie can question all of the suspects and get them stirred up enough to hire Wolfe.
* BestFriendsInLaw: Fraser's best friend and manager Deborah Koppel, is the sister of her later husband. [[spoiler:Ultimately this friendship fails to survive Deborah's suspicions that Madeline killed her brother, and Madeline's murder of her]].


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* {{Fangirl}}: Nancylee Shepherd, one witness to the murder, if the president of a Madeline Fraser fan club.
* ImplausibleDeniability: When Wolfe discovers that the President of Hi-Spot is keeping a secret from him as a result of an obligation to one of the suspects, he gathers the suspects, and asks, each of them, one by one, to hypothetically release him from any such promise. The wham line comes form the first person to refuse to do. After two people do do this, hypothetically when the third (the actual person that promise had been made to) refuses, [[spoiler:his]] weak, nervous claim that it is merely a matter of principal and don't actually reflect on whether or not [[spoiler:he]] was the one that promise was made to fall pretty flat.
* InsufferableGenius: Professor Savarese, a statistician and another guest on the show, is a [[MotorMouth overly talkative]] man who, despite his earnest nature, is constantly rattling on about the laws of probability and how he could apply them to things (like Wolfe's detective work and horse racing) to the point where it's 20-30 minutes after he arrive at the office before Wofle can get a word in.
* OpportunisticBastard: [[spoiler:When Tulyl Strong realizes Madeline is the murderer, which will ensure the shows end and the loss of his job, he tips off the Hi-Spot president to withdraw his sponsorship and avoid the damage. Since he only wanted that man and none of the other sponsors, Wolfe speculates he did so in exchange for the promise of a cushy job as soon as he lost his current one]].


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* StepfordSmiler: Fraser's co-host Bill Meadows is cleary barraged when Archie first meets him but trying to put on a dazzling smile.
* StoutStrength: Deborah Koppell is described as short and plump but with a very strong handshake.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Whoever it was that decided the contents of the blackmail letter to [[spoiler:Madeline Fraser]] got [[spoiler:three]] people killed by hitting an AccidentalTruth driving said blackmail victim to do anything to cover it up.

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* BlandNameProduct: Several of the products sponsoring or trying to sponsor Fraser's show fall here, but most prominently is Hi-Spot, which -- being a dark-coloured, heavily marketed popular soft-drink with a unique and secret taste that is not to everyone's fancy, which a gourmet like Wolfe would distinctly turn his nose up at and [[spoiler: which can be visually substituted with coffee]] is pretty clearly supposed to be Coca-Cola.

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The eleventh Literature/NeroWolfe mystery novel by Creator/RexStout, published in 1948.

A popular radio program hosted by charismatic interviewer Madeline Fraser is facing a public relations crisis. During a live commercial tasting for a popular brand of soft drink, one of the guests -- Cyril Orchard, publisher of a weekly horse racing magazine -- has been murdered with poison in his glass. As this happens to coincide with Nero Wolfe's hefty tax bill, he reluctantly spies the opportunity to earn some money, and persuades the show's producers and sponsors to hire his services to catch the culprit and end their difficulties for a generous fee. But the matter is more complicated than Wolfe and Archie Goodwin anticipate, because behind the show's cheerful exterior there are many secrets that the show's cast and crew are determined to keep, even more so when it looks like Fraser may have been the murderer's real target. But another murder reveals another possible motive, and another possible actor at play -- a shadowy, ruthless mastermind of the New York criminal underworld, who has no intention of allowing Nero Wolfe to unravel his devious schemes and will do whatever it takes to prevent it...

The novel is the first in the "Zeck" trilogy, in which Nero Wolfe matches wits with the mysterious criminal mastermind Arnold Zeck.

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!!Tropes in this work: [-(Tropes relating to the series as a whole, or to the characters in general can be found on Literature/NeroWolfe and its subpages.)-]

* AssholeVictim: Cyril Orchard and Beula Poole [[spoiler: both of whom turn out to be part of a blackmail syndicate.]] Downplayed, as exactly how deeply involved and how much they really knew is left open to question, but even so it's made clear that they would have had some inkling of what was really going on, so still belong here.
* PragmaticVillainy: The blackmail syndicate is specifically designed to avoid most of the pitfalls of blackmail schemes in general.
* WorthyOpponent: Wolfe expresses admiration for the cleverness of the blackmail scheme and, by extension, the individual behind it. Said individual, Arnold Zeck, is quite happy to repay the compliment to Wolfe.

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