The Next Witness

Three Witnesses

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Synopsis fo The Next Witness

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are in court, under subpoena to testify as prosecution witnesses in a murder trial. The State maintains that Leonard Ashe hired Bagby Answers, Inc., an answering service, to obtain information about his wife’s phone calls. The State also maintains that when one of the operators refused to cooperate with Ashe and threatened to tell her wife, Ashe strangled her with a telephone cord. Wolfe and Archie are in court to testify that Ashe had tried unsuccessfully to hire Wolfe to spy on his wife.

Now Clyde Bagby, owner of the answering service, is on the witness stand and the district attorney, Mandelbaum, is interrogating him. Bagby testifies that one of his operators, Marie Willis, came to him to complain that Ashe had asked him to listen to his wife’s telephone conversations. Miss Willis had refused and was going to tell Ashe’s wife, actress Robina Keane, what her husband was doing. Bagby tried unsuccessfully to deter Miss Willis. That night, they find Miss Willis strangled in her switchboard.

At this point in the testimony, Wolfe leaves the courtroom, with Archie behind. Archie warns him that both are under subpoena and Wolfe’s testimony is scheduled to follow Bagby’s. Wolfe doesn’t care: he has decided that Ashe didn’t kill Marie Willis, that she doesn’t want to testify to corroborate Bagby’s testimony, and that the woman sitting next to him in the courtroom was wearing too much perfume. He will not return until he has more information.

Synopsis taken from

  • Spanish
; 26.1

Included in: Three Witnesses

Publisher: Bantam
Year published: 1994
ISBN 0553249592

Language: English
Format: Print

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