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_tgd
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.
used_songs: (Archie huh)
[personal profile] used_songs
"Cordially Invited to Meet Death"

My edition:
Stout, Rex. Black Orchids. 12th ed. New York City: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. 190. Print.

Read more... )

Questions


What's up with Archie's freak out at the end?

Why on earth is Wolfe so surly in this one?
used_songs: (Archie huh)
[personal profile] used_songs
Black Orchids

My edition: Stout, Rex. Black Orchids. 12th ed. New York City: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. 190. Print.

Overview: Archie Goodwin is sent to the flower show (repeatedly) to scope out Lewis Hewitt’s black orchids. On the day that Nero Wolfe decides he can’t subsist on second hand information anymore and accompanies Archie, a man is murdered. Seeing an opportunity to get the black orchids, Wolfe involves himself in the case.

my aplogies in advance for sounding like an English teacher )

Discussion:

To me, this story is where Archie and Wolfe hit their groove and sound like the characters I’ve internalized. I wonder if this is just me, based on my experience of encountering these books as a kid and reading them in the order in which I found them at used book stores. Do you find Archie and Wolfe to be especially themselves in this book, or is there a different point in the canon that marks that moment for you?

Wolfe never hesitates to make remarks about social class – “People who inherit wealth don’t have to bother to see things. But certainly Mr. Goodwin saw it, and so did I ….” {Stout 45} - which I’ve always put down to Stout’s political leftism. When a likable character like Archie makes sexist or racist remarks, it's jarring. Do the sexism and racism take you out of the story? Do you attribute these to the author and the times, or do you think they’re commentary and that we should be judging these characters, even Wolfe and Archie, to some extent?

The Black Orchid Mystery: Do They Really Exist?