Are you reading Rex Stout now?

DiscussãoThe Black Orchid (A Nero Wolfe Group)

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Are you reading Rex Stout now?

Abr 21, 2011, 10:58 am

After reading the thread responses about Saul Panzer, I decided I needed to get back into the Brownstone and visit with my friends there. Being too lazy to get out of my chair (and having a massive cat on my lap), I asked my son to grab one off the shelf for me. He chose Golden Spiders, that being one of his favorite episodes on the A & E series. So, I'm happily beginning that and will probably read Stout all day tomorrow on my Do Nothing But Read day.

Jul 16, 2011, 7:21 am

I'm reading him end to end (though skipping a couple that I have on order). Halfway through and still looking forward to each new book!

Jul 23, 2011, 12:43 pm

What fun! AndreaKHost, what book are you on at the moment?

Editado: Jul 28, 2011, 9:12 pm

Currently Too Many Women (which was only just released as an ebook so I jumped backward in the series for it). But in the end-to-end read I'd just finished Homicide Trinity.

It amazes me how consistent the tone of the books is, despite the world changing around the brownstone.

Jul 29, 2011, 4:50 pm

Though I haven't read any for a few years, I've done three complete read-throughs, plus random extra re-reads of favorites. The first read-through was totally random, just as I came across them after discovering them back in... uh, the 1700s or something. Years later I decided to do a strictly chronological read-through and I was interested to notice gradual shifts in tone, as well as some factual surprises-- for instance no Inspector Cramer in the first one, and the famous red leather chair didn't turn up until the late 40s or early 50s if I recall...

Jul 29, 2011, 7:13 pm

There's even a very slight inconsistency which is noticeable on the chronological read-through. In the first few books Cramer actually lights his cigars occasionally. But in later books Archie claims that he's never seen Cramer light a cigar.

Jul 29, 2011, 7:59 pm

That's right! I forgot...

Out 3, 2011, 2:34 am

I just finished Trio for Blunt Instruments. Not his best. Before that one I read Please Pass the Guilt. I'm going through a big stack that belonged to my dad. He passed away in April and my mom gave me all these Nero Wolfe books to reread. I'm enjoying it, but it makes me miss my dad more too.

Editado: Out 8, 2011, 4:19 am

Does it make you feel a bit closer to him too? I love it when my dad and I can enjoy reading the same books. One reason for my love of Louis L'Amor and Zane Grey.

Oh, and I introduced my dad to Rex Stout. :)

Out 8, 2011, 5:01 pm

My dad introduced me! And yes, it does make me feel closer too. I guess it works both ways.

Dez 23, 2015, 9:20 am

I just finished reading Rex Stout's Christmas mystery, which is in And Four to Go. Fun stuff, and easy reading for the busy times of the holidays.

Dez 23, 2015, 11:05 am

>11 MrsLee: I really like the Christmas story. It plays with the usual Wolfe tropes just enough to make it really fun if you are familiar with the series.

Dez 24, 2015, 10:36 am

>12 rosalita: I love the way Archie has to think through the revelation of Wolfe playing Santa, and what all it means. Stout has a way of showing the strong affection between them which is the foundation of all else in this series.

Dez 24, 2015, 11:12 am

>13 MrsLee: Completely agree! That story really reveals the depth of their relationship beyond Archie's wisecracks and Wolfe's erudite insults.

Fev 2, 2016, 2:58 pm

Currently reading Where There's a Will. Dang these things go too fast! I really didn't enjoy the last book I read (not a Nero Wolfe) and couldn't wait to get to this! Luckily, there are many more!

Fev 2, 2016, 3:09 pm

I remember that one fondly, and I like the lurid cover on my paperback copy...

Fev 2, 2016, 3:17 pm

I wish I had the lurid cover! Mine is a ex-library copy with a library binding on the original first edition book block, that somebody let their kid write all over inside!! Worthless as a first edition, but I still like reading the one printed in 1940!

Fev 3, 2016, 10:21 pm

>15 jhicks62: I think reading a Nero Wolfe book should be our reward for every time we finish a disappointing book, or give up on a book because it is horrid.

Editado: Fev 4, 2016, 10:12 am

I think that is an excellent idea! I've just finished reading 2 books by a popular author that were slight disappointments to me and only resulted in making my eyes tired. Switching over to Wolfe/Goodwin/Stout would be a great antidote and would work better than eye drops.

Let's see ... The League of Frightened Men or The Rubber Band?

Fev 4, 2016, 10:19 am

MrsLee -- LOL! I think that's an EXCELLENT suggestion!

And the other book was SO disappointing, that I'm going to reward myself with TWO Nero Wolfe books! I already finished Where There's a Will and am going to jump right into Black Orchids!

Fev 4, 2016, 10:40 am

>18 MrsLee: Good idea!
>19 Maleva: Both!

Mar 5, 2016, 8:24 pm

I've been trying to read books off of my TBR shelves lately, and it's fine, but I'm feeling the need for Archie and Nero. I think when I finish my current read, I'll start Royal Flush which includes Fer de Lance, Murder by the Book, Three Witnesses, which of course includes "The Next Witness," "When a Man Murders..." and "Die Like a Dog."

Mar 5, 2016, 9:47 pm

I was just packing up some of my old paperbacks to send off to someone here on LT who has recently become a fan of Archie and Nero, and it's got me thinking a re-read or two may be in my immediate future. I always go back to the first Wolfe I ever read, the book that made me fall in love with Archie, If Death Ever Slept.

I love "Die Like a Dog", though. I may need to slip Three Witnesses in somewhere, too.

Mar 21, 2016, 10:06 am

There's just nothing like sitting in one's favorite reading chair, with a good cup of coffee and starting a new Nero Wolfe book, in this case The Silent Speaker, as I did on Saturday!

Abr 1, 2016, 9:26 am

I got into a debate with my wife on writing. Rex Stout's usage of language to inflate the readers idea of what Wolfe weighed helped form my argument. I need to read them again. I have purged much of my fiction from my shelves but not one of Stout's books has left .

Abr 1, 2016, 4:29 pm

>25 TLCrawford: What were the two sides to the debate?

Maio 16, 2017, 9:41 am

Started reading The Black Mountain last night. This is my year for dipping in and out of my favorite authors for rereads, so I randomly picked this one out of my Nero Wolfe books. I enjoy Wolfe out of his element. I enjoy him in his element as well. :)

Maio 30, 2017, 9:48 am

Began Too Many Cooks yesterday, because having finished The Physiology of Taste by Brillat-Savarin, I had to read this again, and sure enough, Wolfe speaks of him! :)

Maio 30, 2017, 9:49 am


Maio 30, 2017, 10:42 am

I actually just finished a re-read of And Four To Go after snagging it as an ebook bargain last week. I enjoyed it as much as ever.

Jun 8, 2017, 10:16 am

Finished reading Plot it Yourself. I had forgotten how many tidbits this one had in it for book lovers. Archie's book rating system in the first paragraph is fun to read.

"I divide the books Nero Wolfe reads into four grades: A,B,C and D. If, when he comes down to the office from the plant rooms at six o'clock, he picks up his current book and opens to his place before he rings for beer, and if his place was marked with a thin strip of gold, five inches long and an inch wide, which was presented to him some years ago by a grateful client, the book is an A. If he picks up the book before he rings, but his place was marked with a piece of paper, it is a B. If he rings and then picks up the book, and he had dog-eared a page to mark his place, it is a C. If he waits until Fritz has brought the beer and he has poured to pick up the book, and his place was dog-eared, it's a D."

Jun 9, 2017, 10:12 am

Mrs. Lee -- don't you just know when you read Archie's descriptions like that, that they were likely characteristics of Mr. Stout as well? I wonder if that includes the gold bookmark?

Nov 25, 2020, 5:31 pm

Reading "Some Buried Caesar", another Wolfe excursion outside of his Brownstone domicile. Liking it so far with its inherent A.G. wit & banter. Unbeknownst to me, the lovely & gracious, yet intensely discriminating, Ms. Lily Rowan makes her first appearance in the Nero Wolfe sagas.

Just got shipped in my next 3 NW books for the Christmas holidays :)

Will be firmly ensconced in my chair supporting my own "tenth of a ton" :)

Nov 25, 2020, 5:36 pm

I just snagged an ebook of Too Many Women on sale, and am re-reading it now. This was the one book that for whatever reason I never managed to snag in paperback over all the reissues and searches through secondhand bookstores, so I'm delighted to finally have my own copy.

Nov 28, 2020, 7:57 pm

>33 Javman83: What a delightful way to spend the holidays!

Nov 30, 2020, 4:03 pm

Indeed! Repeated visits to W. 35th street always help to restore my sanity.

Nov 30, 2020, 4:07 pm

I've recently considered going thru the canon chronologically, again.

I think I can truthfully say I've read every one of the Wolfe novels/novellas at least three times, and some favorites maybe half a dozen times. But not for 15-20 years now. Time to start again before it's too late?

Nov 30, 2020, 5:30 pm

>37 Crypto-Willobie: Would you be interested in a shared/group chronological re-read? We could start a thread for each book to focus discussions. It could be fun, if you're into that sort of thing. :-)

Nov 30, 2020, 5:51 pm

Well, I don't normally (ever?) join group reads because my 'reading list' and schedule (LOL!) are so varied (hectic?). I might read three Stouts in a weekend and then not read any for three weeks. That might make matching someone else's pace problematic.

I wouldn't rule out trying though...

Dez 1, 2020, 9:19 am

I can relate to that! We could make it very low-key and asynchronous — you start a book thread whenever you start a book and people can chime in as they go. That way nobody feels pressured to try to keep up a certain pace.

But really, it's up to you since you'd be the one starting the threads. So no pressure!

Dez 1, 2020, 4:25 pm

I started rereading them chronologically this way about 3 years ago, and am enjoying the process! I'm up to The Doorbell Rang, one of my favorites. Along the way, I discovered one I hadn't read before! I had bought them all somewhere along the way, but I hadn't read Before Midnight before -- so that was a very pleasant surprise!

Dez 1, 2020, 8:45 pm

>35 MrsLee: Yes indeed. Most satisfactory!

Dez 1, 2020, 11:33 pm

>38 rosalita: I would be interested in that, although I refuse to commit myself. ;) I am another who has read through the whole Canon at least twice, and my favorites multiple times. My problem is that I have so many unread books in my house that I've inherited an d want to read, that I feel guilty rereading my favorites.

Editado: Dez 2, 2020, 11:52 am

OK, here are the Wolfe books of the 1930s:

1934: Fer-de-Lance
1935: The League of Frightened Men
1936: The Rubber Band
1937: The Red Box
1938: Too Many Cooks
1939: Some Buried Caesar

I'll start a thread for Fer-de-Lance.
I'm also going to cross-post our reading to a few other mystery groups, perhaps draw a few more readers.

I have a copy of FdL right here, and other members of this group are likely to have it as well, but some folks may have to visit the library, buy an e-book or whatever, so I'll wait til next week to actually start posting about it.

Dez 2, 2020, 10:40 am

Dez 2, 2020, 11:48 am

Dez 2, 2020, 2:17 pm

>44 Crypto-Willobie: Speaking of the 1930s series, I read all of these books this year, having just finished "Some Buried Caesar" today! I'll be starting on the 1940s books in the next couple of weeks, and am looking forward to how the characters develop in context to the A&E series that first brought NW into my life. I'm willing to go back and read FdL along with the group and chime in as well.

Dez 2, 2020, 4:07 pm

Fer-de-Lance is one of my all-time favorites! I actually have a first edition of it. My wife got it for me 30-some years ago. She went into a mystery bookstore, and told the owner (who knew me), that she wanted a specific book, but she didn't know the title or the author. Between the two of them, they reasoned it out, and I got it for Christmas that year!

Dez 2, 2020, 4:11 pm

Dez 2, 2020, 4:35 pm

I mentioned in the 75ers group that I'm doing a complete read of the Nero Wolfe series. Julia (rosalita) pointed me to this group and here I am. I've been reading Nero Wolfe since my early 20s and I'm in my late 60s, so that's a lot of Nero and Archie, Fritz and Theodore. I wasn't planning on it, but the pandemic has me going back to comfort reads and I picked up Fer-de-Lance in April and have been happily immersed ever since. Some I haven't read before and am making up for it, too. I'm just getting ready to start Might As Well Be Dead.

Dez 2, 2020, 4:47 pm

>50 karenmarie: Yay, you made it, Karen! The more, the merrier.

Dez 3, 2020, 2:17 pm

>49 Crypto-Willobie: Yeah... I kept her and the book!!

Dez 4, 2020, 1:25 pm

Just started "Over My Dead Body" for the 2nd time. I had completely forgotten that Nero IS an American by birth! There have been threads on here that have alluded to the show's character not reflecting European values...well, no wonder. Nero isn't European.

Dez 4, 2020, 3:25 pm

The canon contradicts itself on that point. Elsewhere it is said he was born in Montenegro. And in any case he was raised in Montenegro, and so is culturally a European. He is supposed to have come to reside in the US as an adult after WW1.

Dez 4, 2020, 4:41 pm

>54 Crypto-Willobie:
Hmmm...well, that's not reassuring.

Dez 4, 2020, 6:27 pm

I'll have to look it up in Baring-Gould's Nero Wolfe of West 35th Street...

Editado: Dez 13, 2020, 11:57 am

>55 Javman83:

Actually I found the details closer at hand, on (what else) Wikipedia:


Nero Wolfe and his boyhood friend Marko Vukcic hunted dragonflies in the mountains where Wolfe was born, in the vicinity of Lovćen

You, gentlemen, are Americans, much more completely than I am, for I wasn't born here. This is your native country. It was you and your brothers, black and white, who let me come here and live, and I hope you'll let me say, without getting maudlin, that I'm grateful to you for it.
— Nero Wolfe speaking to the Black staff of Kanawha Spa in Too Many Cooks (1938), chapter 10

The corpus implies or states that Nero Wolfe was born in Montenegro, with one exception. In the first chapter of Over My Dead Body (1939), Wolfe tells an FBI agent that he was born in the United States — a declaration at odds with all other references. Stout revealed the reason for the discrepancy in a 1940 letter cited by his authorized biographer, John McAleer: "In the original draft of Over My Dead Body Nero was a Montenegrin by birth, and it all fitted previous hints as to his background; but violent protests from The American Magazine, supported by Farrar & Rinehart, caused his cradle to be transported five thousand miles."

Dez 15, 2020, 5:05 am

>57 Crypto-Willobie: Thank you. I did find that Wikipedia information last week after doing some additional reading. It is somewhat distressing that protests over the origin of birth of a book's character would cause violent protests! Geez.

Dez 26, 2020, 12:40 pm

>44 Crypto-Willobie: I haven't seen a thread started yet? Hope you won't mind if I begin one. My "goal" for the rest of this stressful year is to read the books published in the 1930s that you listed. I will begin reading Fer de Lance today, and start a post about it sometime tomorrow unless I hear otherwise.

Dez 27, 2020, 8:04 am

Enjoy, Mrs. Lee!!! Most satisfactory!

Dez 27, 2020, 12:06 pm

I bumped an old thread from 2007. Now I don't know if we need to start a new one, or simply go on with the old one?

Editado: Dez 27, 2020, 6:14 pm

I'm sorry -- I started my chronological reading program but never got around to posting about it. I'm just finishing Some Buried Caesar, which completes the 1930s. I'll be glad to contribute to whatever thread happens here but I guess don't count on me to lead it!

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in her Lap from some once lovely Head.

Omar Khayyam