Loren Estleman does a very clever satire of Nero Wolfe in this book. Claudius Lyon has no license to practice as a Detective. So, he never takes money and his cases are very different than Wolfe's. He has copied Wolfe as much as his life will allow. His sidekick is not Archie Goodwin but Arnie Woodbine. If you mumble, it sounds kind of alike-or does it?
The Chair in his Office is not the famous yellow of the Wolfe Books but orange. His sidekick takes every advantage of him, rounding off checks to the next hundred and his Cook serves pigeon and charges the Boss for chicken. Still they all rub along...Saints and Sinners.
If you are familiar with the Nero Wolfe stories this book has some laugh out loud moments. The comparisons are adroit and very colorful but not always to Claudius Lyon's advantage may I add. He has the girth of Wolfe but very little else. His problems are much smaller but they get solved in a timely way. The comparison of Lyon's townhouse to anything Wolfe is very aptly described as working out of a Motel Six.
So if you are a fan of Nero Wolfe you will like Nearly Nero very much. And even if you haven't read the Wolfe Books there are plenty of comparisons to satisfy your curiosity and keep you reading. Each story is different and I enjoyed the characters very much.