Jun. 12th, 2010

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 )


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?


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