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The Nero Wolfe fan community
2013-02-11 05:53 pm (UTC)
since he doesn't trust Archie's acting
Good point! And why would he, since Archie seems somehow incapable of going undercover for more than five minutes. :D (Well, to be fair, it's not like Archie generally unmasks
. But he's a guy who determines his choice of pseudonym based on wanting to show off his beautiful, monogrammed caribou bag on a weekend trip, so...he might not be cut out for true anonymous-undercover stuff. And readers of the final Zeck book know how far Wolfe went to become truly anonymous and undercover!)
I think we had a little discussion on here before about whether Archie really is as transparent as Wolfe thinks, and someone argued convincingly that Wolfe knows Archie so incredibly well--down to the minutiae and the unspoken electricity--and thus can read him so thoroughly, that he forgets not everyone has that ability/knowledge. I could see that being part of it, but I also honestly don't know how good Archie is at long-term absolute deception, of the sort that an anti-Zeck operation requires. At the very least, as a narrative voice he certainly is given to slips of unreliability, letting things slip out to us around the edges all the time, and possibly to other non-Wolfe characters as well (though I haven't been close-reading for that dynamic lately, so I can't say for certain).
I particularly like the slow weave in of Zeck through these two
Me too! It does something the Holmes corpus didn't with its Moriarty, which is to actually sneak him into the storyline well before the big crisis/conflict/disappearance. As it is, with Holmes you have to take his word in the one story that Moriarty really is as big as he says, and has such widespread webs, and is his nemesis and whatnot, even though we've never seen Holmes mention him before. (You see adaptations of Holmes tackle this issue as well, as when the Granada versions slip Moriarty in as the behind-the-scenes prime mover in cases like the Red-Headed League; or when the BBC Sherlock versions have Moriarty be someone hiding in plain sight before the crisis.)
Anyway, in Holmes, the Moriarty setup and payoff are all delivered basically at once. Whereas the Zeck books have the chance to step back and go at it more gradually, building the menace and the suspense, a more gradual setup first and then the climactic payoff. When Wolfe finally does take steps, their extraordinarily drastic nature (especially for Wolfe, for whom even leaving the Brownstone has previously been a matter of highest moment) has been matched and balanced by all that time Zeck has spent coiling into the stories.
I hope you get completely well soon!
Thanks! I am much better, up and about.
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