dorinda: Hands reach for two identical glasses, which are labeled "half empty" and "half full". (halfemptyhalffull)
[personal profile] dorinda2015-09-19 01:54 pm

Book Club: Three Doors to Death, "Man Alive"

I would rank "Man Alive" third of the three stories in Three Doors to Death. Not that it's bad--I like it fine, but I like the others more. I think because "Omit Flowers" has Marko Vukcic, and "Door to Death" has Wolfe way out of his comfort zone in snowy Westchester.

But! "Man Alive" does have its pleasures...

For instance! )

Anyone else been able to give this story a look? Have any thoughts? And don't forget, the discussion of In The Best Families is still open for your input, anytime!


aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-09-12 03:44 am
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Book Club Sign-Ups

So! We've had some time to talk about In the Best Families (And if you've forgotten, go squee here!) and we should regroup and get our collective breath back before tackling the next round of books.

We skipped Three Doors to Death, and after that next is the short story collection Curtains for Three, and then Murder by the Book. We've been treating the short stories individually; do we still want to do this, or do we want one post per collection?

I'm happy to continue posting the discussions, I love this community and I love these books, but I also love reading your guys' recaps and opinions!

Sept 13-19: "Man Alive"
Sept 20-26: "Omit Flowers"
Sept 27-03: "Door to Death"

Oct 04-10: "The Gun With Wings"
Oct 11-17: "Bullet for One"
Oct 18-24: "Disguise for Murder"

Oct 25-31: Murder by the Book
aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-09-02 03:23 am

Book Club: In The Best Families

My apologies. Real life intervened. I had to briefly change my entire appearance and flee to California to adopt a life of crime in order to bring down a criminal mastermind.

But now!

The one you've all been waiting for!

In The Best Families )
aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-08-10 02:30 am

Book Club Catch-Up Post: And Be a Villain and The Second Confession!

Well! I was going to post this last week, but Real Life intervened! So let's start this week off right with some Nero Wolfe and the villainous Arnold Zeck!

Original post for And Be a Villain
Original post for The Second Confession

I love both these books so much! I love the radio show on And Be a Villain, it feels like such a real world. Stout uses the trope of Archie going and investigating an office or an organization pretty often, and I feel like he always nails the small-town feel of personalities and petty office intrigues and shenanigans that happen when you have a group of people working together for a long time, especially when some of them happen to be artists or other creative types. I find myself less interested when Archie has to investigate a family or a group of strangers brought together by circumstance; the family stuff is similar but I feel like Stout doesn't quite have the same voice with family drama as he does with workplace drama.

And then The Second Confession! Danger! Murder! Zeck! THE PLANT ROOMS! That scene still gets me every time.

What do you guys think about our first exposure to Arnold Zeck? Did Stout do enough work building him up for the final showdown? Does he feel more like a pulp villain, a crime boss, or a supervillain? And if you were to pick any other Big Bad from popular culture to go head to head in a battle of crime and wits with Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, who would it be?
dorinda: Randolph Scott smiles at Cary Grant. (Randolph_Cary)
[personal profile] dorinda2015-07-26 12:28 am

Book Club: Trouble in Triplicate, "Help Wanted, Male" and "Instead of Evidence"

Time for the last couple stories in "Trouble in Triplicate"! I find them enjoyable, with interesting wartime and post-war details, and some great character stuff.

Also, take a look back at the book club post for the first story in the collection, "Before I Die", and see if you have any comments for that as well!

HELP WANTED, MALE )

INSTEAD OF EVIDENCE )

Sorry to go on and on, but these stories have a lot that grab me. What do you think? Anything you noticed, in the plots, the characters, Wolfe & Archie, etc.? Anything you particularly like or don't like?
aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-07-23 01:46 am
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Book Club Sign-Up Post and Schedule!

Okay, so I've been a bit ad-hoc about things, but I'd like to open the floor to other people and get volunteers for the next, proper book club posts!

Since there weren't any disagreements to the plan proposed by [personal profile] liviapenn in the last post, the next couple posts to the community should go like this:

Next week (Sun Jul 26-Sat Aug 1): Trouble in Triplicate: "Help Wanted, Male" and "Instead of Evidence". - [personal profile] dorinda, thank you!
Following week (Sun Aug 2-Sat Aug 8): Catch-up post: And Be a Villain, The Second Confession
Following week (Sun Aug 9-Sat Aug 15): In the Best Families

And then I think we should regroup and decide if we want to do the stories in Curtains for Three as individual stories or in one post.

Who would like to post the discussion posts for each of these? They just have to go up sometime during the week! I offer myself as backup host if necessary.
aris_tgd: "Sophi broke down in tears, like a diesel car that had run out of petrol." (Lyttle Lytton Sophi tears car petrol)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-07-18 04:19 pm

Book Club Catch-Up Post 2: 1940-1947 (Over My Dead Body to Too Many Women)

Hello, everyone! Thanks so much for jumping in on the last post!

The next set of books has a couple of my favorites: Over My Dead Body, with the introduction of Carla Lovchen and the Montenegro backstory and the ridiculous Madam Zorka, and The Silent Speaker, with all of its board-room politicking and the amaaaaazing Phoebe Gunther! Also, a bunch of short stories, and more fantastic Archie-and-Nero banter than you can shake a trouser leg at.

Over My Dead Body
Where There's a Will
Black Orchids, "Black Orchids"
Black Orchids, "Cordially Invited to Meet Death"
Not Quite Dead Enough, "Not Quite Dead Enough"
Not Quite Dead Enough, "Booby Trap"
The Silent Speaker
Too Many Women

I've always admired the short story/novella-length stories, since it's so difficult to write a satisfying mystery in that length. And I feel like most of Rex Stout's short mysteries work for me.

What are some of your favorite bits from these books?

Does anyone have a favorite killer/killer reveal scene?

Do you think the whole "Talk the murderer into killing himself" thing is another hangover from other mystery writers? I didn't even remember it was a thing in Nero Wolfe until I reread some of these discussion posts. I know Dorothy Sayers had Peter Wimsey do that quite a bit, though. It seems like the kind of behavior Wolfe grows out of.

And last but not least, a bit of business: Do we want to have another catch-up post for the Zeck books, then finish Trouble in Triplicate, then In the Best Families, or do we want to cover Trouble in Triplicate first and then have a catch-up on Zeck? I am happy either way, but I feel like we should throw open the discussion posts on Trouble in Triplicate to signups again.
aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-07-16 11:39 am

Book Club Catch-Up Post 1: 1934-1939 (Fer-de-Lance to Some Buried Caesar)

Hello, everyone! I'd like to kick off the reprise of the book club with a chance to go back and refresh our memories about what we've already covered, to give people who weren't here (me) a chance to say some things about the early books and to get us all in the mood to keep going until the end!

Oh, also, I made a banner:



Feel free to use it for all community purposes!

The first half-decade of Nero Wolfe books started with Nero and Archie already settled in the Brownstone with Fritz, Theodore, and a cast of supporting New Yorkers in place. But that isn't to say that Rex Stout didn't make changes as he settled into the world he'd created and decided exactly what he wanted to do with it.

Here are the original book club posts for the first six novels:

Fer-de-Lance as pilot episode
Fer-de-Lance
League of Frightened Men
The Rubber Band
The Red Box
Too Many Cooks
Some Buried Caesar

What do you think are some of the most important traits of a Nero Wolfe novel, or the most important characterizations of the core cast of characters, and where do you see those starting to come into play in the early novels? I find it interesting that some of Nero Wolfe's habits are completely set and unchanged from the beginning, but one of his major character beats (his "relapses") is basically gone by the end of this part of the canon. It feels almost like that was one of those tropes lifted from Sherlock Holmes' dark moods which got dropped when Stout started doing his own thing.

What are some favorite moments? I love Lily Rowan conspiring with Wolfe about the sketches in Some Buried Caesar. And of course the discussions about food in Too Many Cooks. And any time that Archie and Wolfe bicker, and whenever Archie gets worried about Wolfe and tries not to show it!

Is there anything that was in the early books that you're sad didn't make it to the later ones?

What's your favorite early Wolfe book? Favorite early Wolfe murder or Wolfe-murderer showdown?

I'll post the next set of recaps in a couple days, depending on how much people are enjoying chatting about these!
aris_tgd: "This story is a murder mystery--the mystery of MURDER." (Lyttle Lytton Murder Mystery)
[personal profile] aris_tgd2015-07-11 04:30 pm
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Book Club?

Hey, everyone at [community profile] milk_and_orchids! I know it's been a while since this comm has seen any activity, but we were just about to get to In the Best Families, and I think it would be a shame to stop now! Especially since I just found a ton of Nero Wolfe books and have devoured about ten of them over the last week.

So would anyone be interested in starting the book club up again? I was thinking of hosting a post for all the previous books, in case anyone had some thoughts or wanted to catch up, and then maybe a recap of the Zeck books and the other short stories in the collection we hadn't got to, and then on with In the Best Families.

How are we for interest?
liviapenn: phoebe gunther is smarter than you (wolfe: saving it for mr. goodwin)
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-09-03 02:18 am
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"September Morn" by Paul Chabas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art posts one work from its collection to an RSS feed every day. Today's piece of art was September Morn, which Archie describes in "Fer-de-Lance" (not entirely accurately) as "a young woman apparently with no clothes on and her hair hanging down in front." According to Archie, it's hanging in his en-suite bathroom.

ETA: I knew I had seen some discussion of this online somewhere-- turns out it was on this comm in 2009. ^_^
liviapenn: wolfe and archie having breakfast (wolfe: my fandom is super domestic)
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-02-23 12:41 am

Book Club: Trouble In Triplicate ("Before I Die")

Technically, this book of short stories should have come before the last book, but I got mixed up looking at the online chronology. Oh well...

Before I Die  )


What do you guys think? :)

(And does anyone have any thoughts about the A&E adaptation of this case? I have the DVDs, but haven't had a chance to watch it this week. I may make a few comments about it later in the weekend.)

Also, if anyone wants to volunteer to do one of these write-ups, you can comment at the sign-up post here, or PM me.
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-02-16 10:55 pm

Book Club: Approximate schedule for the next two months

Just a reminder that the discussion post for The Second Confession is still open for the rest of this week!

Coming up next, two anthology books, each including three stories:

02/22/13 - trouble in triplicate - before i die
03/01/13 - trouble in triplicate - help wanted male
03/08/13 - trouble in triplicate - instead of evidence

03/15/13 - three doors to death - man alive
03/22/13 - three doors to death - door to death
03/29/13 - three doors to death - omit flowers

Then, "In the Best Families!" Which is such a momentous book... I think it's worth taking two weeks to discuss it, so:

04/05/13 - in the best families (pt 1)
04/12/13 - in the best families (pt 2)

If anyone wants to volunteer to post the discussion post for any of these dates, please comment and let me know. :)
dorinda: Fat Pony appears in a blaze of light! (Fat_Pony)
[personal profile] dorinda2013-02-10 01:04 pm

Book Club: The Second Confession

Apologies I couldn't get this done for Friday--I fell ill and have been completely out of commission. But now I am upright and typing again, so let's get into it--the second Zeck book!

A Commie is a Louse )

Plot Basics )

Side Characters )

Zeck Draws Closer )

Poor Archie In Hindsight )

Wolfe and Archie )

What do you think? Do you like this one?

Edit!: Here's the schedule for the discussion of Trouble in Triplicate!:
  • 02/22/13 - trouble in triplicate - before i die
  • 03/01/13 - trouble in triplicate - help wanted male
  • 03/08/13 - trouble in triplicate - instead of evidence

Does anyone want to do the discussion posts for any of these? (If no one volunteers, [personal profile] liviapenn is willing to do "Before I Die".)
liviapenn: wolfe and archie having breakfast (wolfe: my fandom is super domestic)
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-02-02 04:03 am

Book Club: And Be A Villain

Sorry about being late with this book club post! Also, I'm going to be out of town this weekend & don't know what my internet access will be like, so... *waves hands* talk amongst yourselves! *G*



Not to keep ragging on "Too Many Women," but reading "And Be A Villain" is just so much more fun!

And Be A Villain: the discussion  )



Next week, Feb 8, will be the discussion post for "The Second Confession," and the week after that, the three stories in "Trouble in Triplicate" -- does anyone have any preference vs. discussing them one by one, or in 3 posts in the same week? (Also, if anyone wants to volunteer to post the discussion post for "The Second Confession" or one of the bits of "Trouble in Triplicate," just let me know in comments or pm-- otherwise I'll do it. *G*)
liviapenn: wolfe makes a sad face (wolfe: wolfe is sad :()
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-01-25 08:43 pm

Book Club: Too Many Women

This week's book is "Too Many Women," or, "the one where a little bit of Archie Goodwin's attitude towards women goes a loooong way."

Review post behind the cut ! )

And, just a reminder, next week's book is "And Be A Villain" (UK title: More Deaths Than One) and the discussion post will be posted on Friday, Feb 1. (If anyone would like to volunteer to post that discussion post, let me know in the comments-- otherwise, I will go ahead and do it.) And the week after that, on Friday, Feb 8, will be the discussion of "The Second Confession".
liviapenn: phoebe gunther is smarter than you (wolfe: saving it for mr. goodwin)
[personal profile] liviapenn2013-01-17 06:08 pm

BOOK CLUB IS BACK!

*waves at comm* Hey guys! So, back in the first half of 2010 we had some great discussions on [community profile] milk_and_orchids about some of the early Nero Wolfe books. (You can find most of the entries under the book club tag, or by looking at the individual tags for each book on the comm's main page.)

This year, one of my New Years' resolutions was to do more reading and more active fannish discussion, so I thought it would be a good time to get the book club going again!

Anyway-- we were going through the books chronologically, and the next one was 1947's "Too Many Women." So, this is just an announcement to let you know... next Friday, Jan 25th, I will be posting a review/discussion post about "Too Many Women," and the Friday after that, Feb 1, we'll be discussing 1948's "And Be A Villain."

I hope this is enough time for everyone to dig out their Nero Wolfes and review canon. *G* I really enjoyed all the book club posts of 2010 and I hope we can have as much fun discussing the Wolfe books in 2013! :)
jest: (pic#84512)
[personal profile] jest2011-12-27 04:32 pm
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Yuletide Stories

Here is the haul from this year's yuletide exchange. I'll update this post to add author names after the reveal.

Yuletide 2011:

Crepes and Chevre Gen. Summary: Fritz makes crepes.

Black Market Blues Gen. Summary: Archie rails at his desk job assignment during WWII and petions Wolfe for a more exciting assignment... unfortunately he gets one... but not exactly the way he'd thought.

Furloung AG/NW Summary: Archie knows that this is Wolfe being polite. This is Wolfe bowing to circumstance.

Fröhliche Weihnachten Gen. No summary available.

Vanity and Vexation Gen. Summary: "If it had taken him 148 days to bring down Zeck, all that time spent without his orchids and his meals and his schedule and his custom-made chair, then by God, he was going to spend at least 149 doing everything he wanted, and nothing he didn't."

Yuletide Madness (for stories shorter than 1000 words):

Ambush. NW/AG Summary: Archie didn't go out looking for trouble...


Thank you to everyone who requested and/or wrote Nero Wolfe this year!
dorinda: Two hands, one dangling a silver Comedy mask and one dangling a gold Tragedy mask, under the words THE PLAYERS. (Sting_players)
[personal profile] dorinda2011-04-30 03:46 pm
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"The Second Confession" in hindsight

I certainly don't want to scoop later book-club-type discussion (I do hope we'll have some more!), especially given the enjoyable nature and events of the Zeck books, so I won't go into a ton of detail. But--I've been idly re-reading The Second Confession (the middle Zeck novel), and, in light of events to come in In The Best Families, I've been spending a lot of time saying "Poor Archie! :-( ". (My face looks just like that.)

This is the book where Wolfe makes repeated noise about the possibility of having to flee his old life and hide out, should Zeck take a personal interest in him or vice versa. And in hindsight, it really stands out to me how clear it seems (to Archie, and as far as I can tell, to Wolfe also) that if Wolfe does have to skedaddle, he'll take Archie with him. And Archie seems to need that reassurance, and thrive on hearing it.

Like, when they're out at Sperling's place, Archie pokes at Wolfe, basically saying, who says I'd want to come with you anyway: "You merely said that your base of operations will be known only to Mr. Goodwin, taking Mr. Goodwin for granted. What if he decides he's not as vain as you are?" But Wolfe of course knows better:

"Pfui. Do I know you?"
"Yes, sir. As well as I know you."
"Then don't try shaking a bogy at me. How the devil could I contemplate such a plan without you?" He returned to the book.
I knew he thought he was handing me a compliment which should make me beam with pleasure, so I went and flopped on the bed to beam.


But given the way later events really develop, the base of operations is not known to Mr. Goodwin, and he does contemplate such a plan without him (thus even undermining his point to Archie about Archie knowing him so well). It's sad, in hindsight, to see Archie having such a nice time grousing about being taken for granted (a secure state of affairs he wouldn't change for the world), knowing what's coming up. It's like stealth-woobification. *g*
jest: (pic#84512)
[personal profile] jest2011-01-20 11:02 pm

Book Club?

How much interest is there in resuming the book club? I believe I am the one who dropped the ball on it last year. We left off with Too Many Women. If the interest is there, I can brush off my notes on it and post next week.
liviapenn: wolfe and archie having breakfast (wolfe: my fandom is super domestic)
[personal profile] liviapenn2010-12-27 12:14 pm

4 new Nero Wolfe stories for Yuletide!

This year for Yuletide there were actually four Nero Wolfe stories! And I just discovered that there's also a drabble in the Madness collection (for stories shorter than 1000 words.)

The archive is really busy today (I haven't been able to leave a comment on that last drabble) but I've linked to the static pages so everybody should at least be able to read the fic, and hopefully come back and comment later.