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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Mystery Greats  /

Nero Wolfe
We're curious if any other mystery buffs are addicted to Rex Stout. Is Wolfe truly an olympus of detection - compared with say, Poirot or Maigret?

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ellen smock - 10:48pm Aug 16, 1998 PST(#44 of 128)

James Earl Jones would be a great Nero Wolfe!!!!!--Yes there are lots of issues but he absolutely captures the feel. Sean Connery with a lot of padding--or Anthony Hopkins, if he could do Nixon he can do anything--would be great. Horstly was a good Archie--that role made me watch him for years. I can see Tom Selleck. I can even--stretch your imagination--see Matthew Perry from Friends. What Archie needs is sexiness, confidence, humour and a certain amount of humility.

Marilyn Blaho - 07:47pm Aug 18, 1998 PST(#45 of 128)

I love the idea of Matt Perry as Archie, but I would love to see the original sets, clothing and buildings, architecture, etc. I want to see Archie out dancing (at lunch time) with one of his belles. Who was his girlfriend that he seemed to be in love with?

Paul Watson - 09:58am Aug 31, 1998 PST(#46 of 128)

Marilyn B. wrote:

<< Who was his girlfriend that he seemed to be in love with? >>

She was Lily Rowan, a very wealthy (Archie used the expression "well-heeled and playful") woman who was involved in the early _Some Buried Caesar_ case. It's in that novel that she nicknames Archie "Escamillo". She turns up or is mentioned in nearly all the novels. As an aside, she was also probably the only woman who ever kissed Wolfe, at least during his New York years. (See _In the Best Families_.)

Mark J Tilford - 05:52pm Aug 31, 1998 PST(#47 of 128)
A Freak among freaks


<<She turns up or is mentioned in nearly all the novels.>>

She's not an important character at the beginning; _In the Best Families_ is only the third book in which she appears. After that she's fairly regular, though.


shailesh khadilkar - 02:44pm Sep 2, 1998 PST(#48 of 128)

Even though I love Nero Wolfe and Archie and Saul and Fred and Lon..... I do not think that Wolfe mysteries are very intriguing. Now, don't get me wrong, I own almost all the Nero Wolfe novels ever published, but, I did not buy them because they were good mysteries, I just happen to like the writing style of Rex Stout and narration of Archie. But, as far as quality of mystery goes I would give Rex Stout say 4 out of 10.

Paul W. - 11:29am Sep 11, 1998 PST(#49 of 128)

To Shailesh:

Yeah, I gotta admit it too. I grew up on Wolfe and Archie, and nobody admires 'em more than I do . . . but the style, the atmosphere, the dialogue is why we read and reread the Wolfe stories. The puzzle plotting was rarely of the dazzling kind where you smack your forehead and say "Why didn't I see that?", the kind you find in Ellery Queen or John Dickson Carr. Stout was a master of making things happen, as I wrote in an earlier post, but rarely did he use the real sleight-of-hand stuff. (Some exceptions are his novelettes "The Gun with Wings", "The Squirt and the Monkey", and "Die like a Dog", all from the '50s.)

Paul Bergin - 02:27pm Sep 11, 1998 PST(#50 of 128)

Since both of you kind of tiptoed around the main reason the puzzle/challenge to the reader aspect of the Wolfe novels is less than compelling, I guess it's up to me. Stout cheated! Frequently and flagrantly. He hid things from the reader and then sprung them out of left field in the final reckoning. Unlike Carr, say, or (today) Ed Hoch and to a certain extent (in some of his shorter non-Nameless work) Bill Pronzini, Stout did not play fair with the reader. I can think of only one Wolfe novel that can even remotely be called a fair-play mystery -- "Gambit." The characters, though. There was no cheating the reader in that respect.

hellerfan - 05:24pm Sep 12, 1998 PST(#51 of 128)

I agree that the writing of characters is the best part of Stout's talent. But his stories always had a basic plot in place. Who cares about the surprises? After the tenth read, they weren't surprises anymore!

Matthew Kreps - 11:15am Sep 13, 1998 PST(#52 of 128)

I think one reason why the Nero Wolfe stories don't hold up well as mysteries (for the most part) could be that Rex Stout never did rewrites. Most of those stories were first drafts. All were done in longhand. Now that admittedly is the legend. Does anyone know if it's true or not?

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