When Rex Stout penned Fer-de-Lance in 1934, his first Nero Wolfe mystery, little did he know the phenomenon he was creating! In his subsequent 73 novels, novellas and short stories Stout arguably created the second most famous home in all of detective fiction (only after 221B Baker Street). The detail given to Wolfe's brownstone on West 35th Street allowed his fans to immerse themselves in Nero's world. Thus they slowly became enthralled with him, his home, New York, orchids, food, Archie Goodwin and most of all his cases.
These books became so beloved that in 1978 forty-four(ish) years later after Fer-de-Lance (and three(ish) years after Stout's death) The Wolfe Pack was created - an organization dedicated to the appreciation of Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin.
Just a short year later in 1979 the first Nero Award was given to Lawrence Block for his mystery The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling. The Nero Award is given out by The Wolfe Pack to - a mystery first published in the U.S. and in the tradition of the Nero Wolfe mysteries. The Nero is given out at the Black Orchid Banquet traditionally held on the first Saturday in December.
Fun Fact: The founder of SMB, Bill Farley, was a lifelong fan of Rex Stout and was a member of The Wolfe Pack! There wasn't much he didn't know about Stout or Nero & Archie!
Lawrence Block the very first winner of the Nero went on to have a rather lengthy career himself! Writing hundreds of novels, novellas, short stories, screen plays, introductions and blurbs under various pseudonyms over the years. At age 78 he's still going strong writing new stuff and reissuing older stuff! While his Nero winning mystery is out of print - check out these new releases and some coming soon titles!