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*