Oh, also, I made a banner:
Feel free to use it for all community purposes!
The first half-decade of Nero Wolfe books started with Nero and Archie already settled in the Brownstone with Fritz, Theodore, and a cast of supporting New Yorkers in place. But that isn't to say that Rex Stout didn't make changes as he settled into the world he'd created and decided exactly what he wanted to do with it.
Here are the original book club posts for the first six novels:
Fer-de-Lance as pilot episode
League of Frightened Men
The Rubber Band
The Red Box
Too Many Cooks
Some Buried Caesar
What do you think are some of the most important traits of a Nero Wolfe novel, or the most important characterizations of the core cast of characters, and where do you see those starting to come into play in the early novels? I find it interesting that some of Nero Wolfe's habits are completely set and unchanged from the beginning, but one of his major character beats (his "relapses") is basically gone by the end of this part of the canon. It feels almost like that was one of those tropes lifted from Sherlock Holmes' dark moods which got dropped when Stout started doing his own thing.
What are some favorite moments? I love Lily Rowan conspiring with Wolfe about the sketches in Some Buried Caesar. And of course the discussions about food in Too Many Cooks. And any time that Archie and Wolfe bicker, and whenever Archie gets worried about Wolfe and tries not to show it!
Is there anything that was in the early books that you're sad didn't make it to the later ones?
What's your favorite early Wolfe book? Favorite early Wolfe murder or Wolfe-murderer showdown?
I'll post the next set of recaps in a couple days, depending on how much people are enjoying chatting about these!