Synopsis of The Final Deduction
Former actress Althea Vail hires Nero Wolfe to ensure her kidnapped husband Jimmy is returned home alive and well. She says that she has received a ransom note and phone call from a “Mr. Knapp” demanding a $500,000 ransom, which she intends to pay.
Over the client’s objections of secrecy, Wolfe demands to see Mrs. Vail’s secretary Dinah Utley, who read the note and heard the phone call, and places an advertisement in the newspapers threatening to uncover Mr. Knapp’s identity if Jimmy Vail is not returned safely. From the interview with Utley and comparing her typing style with the ransom note, Wolfe and Archie conclude that she wrote the note and is therefore implicated in the kidnapping.
Two days later, Althea reports that Jimmy has returned home safely and tells Wolfe and Archie to keep quiet about the kidnapping for 48 hours, as Jimmy promised his abductors he would.
Jimmy comes to the brownstone to speak with Wolfe, but during the visit, Althea phones for her husband, having been told by a policeman that Dinah Utley has been found murdered.
After traveling to White Plains to identify the body, Archie drives to the client’s home, where he informs the household: Althea; Jimmy, Noel and Margot Tedder, Althea’s children from a previous marriage; Ralph Purcell, Althea’s brother; and Andrew Frost, Althea’s attorney, that the report has been confirmed. Utley was knocked out on Iron Mine Road and run over by her own car.
In shock, Althea claims that the kidnappers must have killed her, as she was instructed to deliver the money through a series of phone calls and notes that led her to Iron Mine Road for the ransom drop. Archie also discovers that Utley’s typewriter has disappeared.
Archie concludes that Jimmy Vail was also in on the kidnapping, but learns the next morning that Jimmy has died, his chest crushed by a statue of Benjamin Franklin in his home library.
Synopsis taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Final_Deduction