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The Nero Wolfe fan community
2013-02-03 07:30 pm (UTC)
First, because the mystery is more serviceable than most: the secondary cover-up (of the coffee) is plausible and is then blown for a believable reason (meddling kids!), and then the coffee switch itself is a reasonable distractor.
Yeah! It isn't made totally overt, but Madeline obviously planned on her terrible secret Starlite allergy being exposed sooner or later-- too many people knew about it, including Nancylee the blabbermouth who just loves talking about how she is in Madeline's Inner Circle and knows everything and is super helpful. And because it's such a damning secret for Madeline, "the target was really Madeline, so we should all stop investigating Orchard and who would have wanted him dead!!" is even MORE believable and reasonable for everyone to go along with.
(Though I do think it's cheating that the motive is buried somewhere we're specifically blocked off from--"You wouldn't know him, he committed suicide. In Canada.") Let's face it, in these books the mechanics of the mystery experience aren't always completely smooth.
Well, I'm okay with it if only because we KNOW it isn't a throw-away detail-- whether Madeline or Deborah killed him and someone found out, or maybe Madeline blames Deborah for driving him to suicide, or vice versa-- from the minute it's mentioned you know it *has* to have something to do with the solution to the mystery, so at that point you just have to figure out how. Not that I read the books seriously thinking at all times "Who is the murderer??" and trying to figure it out, but I feel like ABV is one of the few where you COULD, if you wanted to.
Second, because the Wolfe-Archie relationship is humming along on all cylinders. Archie does the most outrageous things ("too old or too fat") to save Wolfe from his own indolence, because it's expected (he doesn't think he might get fired, he only fears retaliation), and then Wolfe drops the hammer to rescue Archie from his dinnerless ordeal at the DA's. Adorable!
*nods* I think Archie CAN be so outrageous because things are so settled and domestic and adorable at home. They're not having one of their periods of "coolness" like in Too Many Women where they've just spent too long together and are getting on each other's nerves. Archie feels safe in acting out because they're not in one of their firing/quitting times.
Third, I love Nancylee. And her socks. She's simply utterly!
In the modern day version, she would seriously be the intern running the official Madeline Fraser tumblr and twitter accounts. *g*
On the question of Shepherd, I'm not sure we're meant to think he's abusive per se. For us, for a woman to be scared of her husband like that reads as an unquestionable sign of some kind of abuse, but I think back then being scared of your husband's reaction to things would be considered more normal for a wife of meek character, especially if the husband is rather yell-y.
Hm, I guess. I still think it's kind of questionable for them to play on her fear of her husband.
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