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Date: 2013-02-12 09:56 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

I will probably make a ton of little comments about this one, but it is one of my favorites.

-- I like how Archie and Wolfe are deeply entangled in the murder plot, having been hired by the client (and Archie having gone undercover, staged the mugging on Rony, gotten involved with Madeline, etc.) before Rony's death even takes place. It just seems to make everything more *personal*. Also Wolfe is there at the Sperlings' house when Rony is killed, instead of being back at the brownstone. So it makes everything feel very personal and immediate, instead of how some books feel like... "Wolfe sits in the office and someone comes to talk to him about stuff that already happened a while ago, and Archie goes around to talk to some people about stuff they've already talked about to the police" and it's all very second-hand.

Now that I think about it, Second Confession has all the benefits of being a "travel" book (like Too Many Cooks, Black Mountain, etc) where Archie and Wolfe spend lots of time together in trying circumstances, but it also has all the advantages of an NYC setting book (the supporting cast, Saul & Fred & Lon Cohen, etc., plus the stakes raised yet AGAIN by Zeck's strike at the brownstone.)

-- Living by logic and dying by logic!

So this has one of the openings that I really like where Wolfe is like, "Come on, BE LOGICAL." He tells Mr. Sperling-- think about it! The main objective isn't actually to prove Rony is a Communist. The main objective is for your daughter Gwenn to dump him, so you should hire me to find ANYTHING that will make her do that. And Mr. Sperling is like "oh yeah that makes sense." (And this leads to the hilarious attempted cheat by Wolfe, where he's like "look, ACTUALLY actually, we don't have to prove Rony is a louse. You just have to make Gwenn fall in love with you. PROBLEM SOLVED.") [1]

But then when they're at the house and Wolfe logically presents the Only Possible Options to Gwenn (He can quit the case, he can be fired by Sperling, he can go after Zeck in order to get proof about Rony, or Gwenn can accept what he's saying without proof and dump Rony) ... it takes a female character to point out to Archie that there is actually ANOTHER option, which is "Gwenn could be like FUCK YOU ALL and run away with Rony!" And Archie of course is like "Oh, damn, Wolfe has a blind spot there in terms of romance, he wouldn't have thought of that," but.... you didn't think of it either, Archie!

[1] Okay seriously I have to quote this whole part.

" [....] Get invited to his home, socially. Meet Mr. Rony, and form an opinion of him. More important, form one of the daughter, as intimately and comprehensively as possible. Make appointments with her. Seize and hold her attention. You should be able to displace Mr. Rony in a week, a fortnight at the most-- and that's the objective."

"I'll be damned." I shook my head reproachfully. "You mean make a pass at her."

"Your terms are yours, and I prefer mine. Mr. Sperling said his daughter is excessively curious. Transfer her curiosity from Mr. Rony to you."

"You mean break her heart."

"You can stop this side of tragedy."

"Yeah, and I can stop this side of starting." I looked righteous and outraged. "You've gone a little too far. I like being a detective, and I like being a man, with all that implies, but I refuse to degrade whatever glamour I may--"

"Archie!" He snapped it.

"Yes, sir."

"With how many young women whom you met originally through your association with my business have you established personal relationships?"

"Between five and six thousand. But that's not--"

"I'm merely suggesting that you reverse the process and establish the personal relationship first. What's wrong with that?"

"Everything." I shrugged. "Okay. Maybe nothing. It depends. I'll take a look at her."

*flails* I don't even know, you guys.
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