When a Montenegrin female comes to the brownstone to ask for help, Nero Wolfe's jealously guarded past comes to light.
In "Over My Dead Body" Rex Stout begins to explore Wolfe's Montenegrin background.
By 1939, of course, the Wolfe/Goodwin books had become an established series, but Wolfe's youth had yet to be clarified.
Stout starts to do so in this book by ringing in a number of European visitors, including some from Montenegro; the backdrop is the maneuvers of the Axis and Allied powers to dominate Yugoslavia.
In the first chapter Wolfe tells FBI Agent Stahl that he was born in the United States — a declaration at odds with all other references in the corpus.
Stout's authorized biographer John McAleer explained the reason for the anomaly:
Rex told me that even in 1939 Wolfe was irked by the FBI's consuming curiosity about the private business of law-abiding citizens.
In consequence, Wolfe felt under no constraint to tell the truth about himself when interrogated by Stahl.
There was, however, another reason for Wolfe's contradictory statements about his place of origin.
Rex explained: "Editors and publishers are responsible for the discrepancy. ... In the original draft of Over My Dead Body Nero was a Montenegrin by birth, and it all fitted previous hints as to his background; but violent protests from The American Magazine, supported by Farrar & Rinehart, caused his cradle to be transported five thousand miles. ...
I got tired of all the yapping, and besides it seemed highly improbable that anyone would give a damn, or even, for that matter, ever notice it."
Nero Wolfe quotes: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Nero_Wolfe