Rex Stout & Richard III

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Rex Stout & Richard III

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Maio 5, 2007, 3:13 am


I haven't read much of Nero Wolfe, so I'm appealing for help to those who have.

Rex Stout was a member of the Richard III Society, and wrote the "In Memoriam" notice for Richard that the society inserted in the NY Times.

I understand that there is a mention in one novel of Nero Wolfe banning Thomas More from his library for having framed Richard III.

If anyone can give me the book title and context for that reference, or point me to any others in his books, I'd really appreciate it.


Editado: Maio 6, 2007, 6:22 am

It is mentioned near the end of Chapter 5 of Death of a Doxy.

The context is peripheral. Archie mentioned that Wolfe had once spent a week investigating the murder of the young Princes, and then removed Thomas More's Utopia from his bookshelves on the basis that he had framed Richard III. At the time Wolfe was preparing to investigate the Rosenberg murder after have read the first three chapters of Invitation to an Inquest. He had just received a copy of the (bulky) court transcripts, hence Archie's somewhat bemused reference to that earlier mystery.

There has been some speculation that Rex Stout was influenced, or at least paying homage to, Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time, which was published 10 years earlier. You could try biographies to flesh out the reference, if indeed it can be fleshed out:

-Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-fifth Street
-Corsage: A Bouquet of Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe
-The Nero Wolfe Handbook
-Rex Stout: A Biography
-Rex Stout: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography
-At Wolfe's Door: The Nero Wolfe Novels of Rex Stout

Let us know what you uncover.

It is a curious coincidence that plot (of Death of a Doxy) was resolved by reference to an even earlier author (and Mathematician), Thales of Miletus.

..edit: added "(of Death of a Doxy)" to the above paragraph.

Maio 6, 2007, 1:52 am


Thanks! Stout wasn't necessarily paying tribute to Tey. A number of writers in various genres (Andre Norton was a notable one in the science fiction field) have been interested in the Richard III controversy and have inserted references into books. It might not be easy to learn which of those who mentioned it after Tey's novel had been published had had their interest sparked by Tey.

Rosenberg murder? You mean the executions? I didn't know that there was a Nero Wolfe book about that. Or is it another "aside" to the plot of the book you cited?

Maio 6, 2007, 6:20 am


Apologies! I do mean execution - though I had to check on Wikipedia for background. I offer as a feeble excuse that the Rosenberg trial has little public consciousness outside of the USA.

Neither Death of a Doxy nor any other of Stout's novels are centred around the the Rosenberg Trial. It is I suppose, another "aside"; and simply the subject of the book that Wolfe is reading while investigating another murder. I see no correlation between these real and fictional events. Given however, that I am proved as effectively ignorant on the Rosenberg Trial, I invite more expert readers to comment.

Maio 6, 2007, 6:49 am


I googled and found that there was something published about the Rosenberg trial. I can't quite make out if it was a story, or a piece for a magazine, or what. Something about notes of a discussion between Wolfe & Archie about the case, or about "Invitation to an Inquest."

The Rosenberg case probably isn't that well known in the US either. I happen to have a childhood memory of hearing live radio coverage of the executions. (I don't think I had a clue what it was all about, but I knew that it was something unusual.)

Jun 20, 2009, 4:09 pm

Rex Stout wrote the following regarding the Julius & Ethel Rosenberg Trial:

"The Case of the Spies Who Weren't" Ramparts Magazine (January, 1966) Stout, Rex (editor).

I have been unable to locate a copy online, but have not gotten to the library. Anyone read this?

Jun 20, 2009, 5:13 pm

Hmmm. At least with regard to Julius, Stout's article may be superseded by Sobell's interview last September.