Synopsis of Man Alive
Cynthia Nieder of Daumery and Nieder, a haute couture firm, goes to Nero Wolfe to find her uncle, Paul Nieder.
Paul Nieder is supposed to have committed suicide a year before jumping naked in a geyser. She is his heir and owns 50% of the firm’s shares. The reason for the suicide, according to Cynthia, was the depression in which his uncle sank when the wife of Jean Daumery, the other founding partner of the firm, and whom Nieder loved secretly, died after falling from a horse. In addition, Daumery has also died, drowned, about a month and a half ago, after falling from the ship he was sailing with his nephew Bernard. The body was not found.
Cynthia now says she has seen her uncle the previous week at a fashion show at the Daumery and Nieder facilities. He was in disguise and she was the only one to recognize him.
Wolfe, at Cynthia’s suggestion, instructs Archie to attend the fashion show that will be held that same night at Daumery and Nieder in case Paul reappears. However, this does not happen.
The next day, Cramer appears at Wolfe’s house to find out what Cynthia Nieder was doing there the day before. The reason: a man whom nobody knows has appeared murdered in Daumery and Nieder. Cynthia, who has acknowledged having been there at night, is the main suspect.
From Cramer’s description, Wolfe and Archie realize that the deceased is Paul Nieder but they don’t mention it to Cramer.
Now Wolfe, whom Cynthia tells that last night saw the body and recognized it, has to find out who the real killer is to prove Cynthia’s innocence.