Some Buried Caesar - Spoilers

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Some Buried Caesar - Spoilers

Mar 14, 2021, 6:29 pm

I will begin reading Some Buried Caesar in the next day or two. This will complete my reading of the Wolfe books published in the 1930s.

This one is also one of my favorites, for pure Archie goodness, and has been read by me many times. It was the inspiration for me coming up with a Chicken and Dumpling recipe which I would wager could give the Methodists a run for their money.

Mar 14, 2021, 8:08 pm

Also one of my favorites! And we may need you to post your chicken and dumplings recipe at some point. :-)

Mar 14, 2021, 8:37 pm

>2 rosalita: Can do! I may have already somewhere, but maybe it was in the Cookbooker group.

Mar 16, 2021, 2:43 pm

That's got to be one of my top five favorites!! First appearance of Lily Rowan, I believe! I love the setting on W. 35th St. so much, but I find I really enjoy the ones like this one that take Mr. Wolfe out of his comfort zone.

Mar 16, 2021, 3:00 pm

>4 jhicks62: I'm glad I read a fair number of the "traditional" style with Wolfe never leaving the brownstone first, but once I was comfortable with that I do enjoy the exceptions to that rule. The ultimate, of course, being Black Mountain.

Editado: Mar 16, 2021, 5:03 pm

I hadn’t read a Nero Wolfe for quite a while until a couple of weeks ago when I read Some Buried Caesar. It inspired me to get going and read the unread ones on my list. Lily Rowan’s first appearance was a surprise. Maybe I’ve forgotten, but she seems different in the later books, more sophisticated or something. Some Buried Caesar is on favorites list too.

Mar 17, 2021, 6:03 pm

>5 rosalita: I completely agree -- Black Mountain is indeed the best "out of his house" books!

Mar 17, 2021, 6:06 pm

>1 MrsLee: I hope you get as lucky as I did when reading through all the books chronologically -- I found one I hadn't read. I owned it, but apparently had never read Before Midnight! It was a nice surprise.

Mar 18, 2021, 8:01 am

>6 marell: I don't think of Lily as having changed much in the later books, but I was struck by the way other people react to her in Some Buried Caesar. She's portrayed as a man-eater, a loose woman who loves 'em and leaves 'em strewing ruined men across her path. Which behavior, of course, has only ever been acceptable when it's men doing the loving and the leaving. I just read this rant by Caroline to Archie last night:
I used to think the talk about some women being dangerous, you know, really dangerous, was romantic hooey, but it isn't. Lily Rowan is one. If she wasn't too lazy to make much of an effort there's no telling how many men she might ruin, but I know of at least three she has played the devil with. ... Then during a trip to New York two years ago (Clyde) met Lily Rowan, and she took a fancy to him and got a spell of energy at the same time. She did worse than bite him in the neck. She swallowed him. Then last spring she spit him out again. That may not be very elegant, but can you describe the activities of a toad with elegance?

Mar 20, 2021, 12:07 am

>4 jhicks62: I think this is the first Nero Wolfe novel I read. It is in an omnibus called All Aces which was published in a mystery series. My great-aunt gave the whole set to my mother, and that is where I learned to love Golden Age mysteries. Each book has three stories by the same author. This one includes Some Buried Caesar, Too Many Women and Trouble in Triplicate. I was in love with Archie and Wolfe from my first reading.

>8 jhicks62: Sadly, I have read them all, at least twice. Happily, I'm getting older and don't always remember the endings!

>9 rosalita: I really adore Lily. She reminds me so much of the great-aunt who gave these books to my mom! An exotic woman to this little farm girl. One who had cocktails and used swear words, and never got out of bed until noon or later!

Mar 20, 2021, 12:28 pm

>10 MrsLee: Yes, Lily is just fabulous. When I first "met" her the idea that a woman could be independent and do just what she wanted (and not care about what people thought) was a revelation. And having a long-term relationship that didn't end in marriage seemed like the perfect mix of companionship and independence. Life goals!

Mar 22, 2021, 1:46 pm

Chapter 1
I think I knew this before, possibly from this group, but I had forgotten that Lily's pet name for Archie, Escamillo, came from this story and the reference is to the toreador in "Carmen."

New word for me (or at least one not in my vocabulary, I have read this book several times, so it obviously isn't new, but I doubt I will remember it for the next time I read, either) Plerophory = a state or quality of full confidence or absolute certainty, usually spoken of in terms of faith. Here referring to Wolfe's faith in the fecklessness of moving vehicles.

Chapter 6
I had forgotten that the reason Wolfe was on this trip was to show up another orchid grower. I have two orchids, left-overs from other folks who didn't want them after the blooms died. One has re-bloomed (that was during my mother's ownership, not mine). I am doing my amateur's best to keep them alive. Whether or not they will ever bloom again is anyone's guess. I will never fuss over any plant the way Wolfe does his orchids. I wouldn't know a mealy bug if it bit me on the nose.

I hopelessly Googled "Booby Booth" and found references which I expected, and am fairly certain Archie would not have mentioned. So, I deduce that when he mentions "booby booths" he is referring to the carnival stalls which offer cheap joke prizes for displays of "skill." Does anyone, anywhere, call those stalls "booby booths?" Not in my part of the country.

Mar 22, 2021, 3:08 pm

>12 MrsLee: That whole rant of Wolfe's at the start of the novel is fantastic. I liked it so much I quoted it in my review here on LT. "Thank God the whim was not a deadlier one" indeed.

I've never heard of them called "booby booths" but now that I think on it, I suppose that's where the term "booby prize" came from?

Mar 27, 2021, 12:29 pm

Chapter 10. It is mentioned that 8 p.m. is an early time for dinner. I know this may be so in Spain or other areas of Europe, but is it so in this area of America, too? I call 5 p.m. early dinner, 6-7 p.m. about right, and 8 or later pretty late. Maybe that is my farm upbringing.

I get the impression that Stout is portraying independent women in a positive light with his creation of Lily. She pursues Archie methodically. When she looks him over like she is "peeling a potato" Archie gets uncomfortable with a desire to slap her (as an offended woman might slap a man who made inappropriate advances). Oher women dislike her, men are addicted, she is indifferent to their opinions and has the respect of both Archie and Wolfe, though neither of them want to admit that to her.

Chapter 20. It doesn't bother me about the ending. Monte McMillian could never have been happy with himself had he lived.

Chapter 21. I don't understand why Wolfe wanted Archie to look up the word "spiritual." A reference to an earlier discussion? I don't remember it and hadn't the patience to go back and look it up. I shall ignore it, as Archie does.

Mar 27, 2021, 12:47 pm

>14 MrsLee: Excellent comments, MrsLee. I agree with your take on Lily. The over-the-top reactions various characters have to her behavior may have been Stout poking fun at the conventional view society had toward independent women at the time.

In reference to your last question, in Chapter 19 Wolfe tells Archie that in order to pull off the reveal of the murderer, they need someone who is willing and able to support their lie. He suggests Lily, saying that she seems to be "inclined to friendship" since she visited Archie in jail. To which Archie replies, "I don't like to use my spiritual appeal for business purposes."

Mar 27, 2021, 8:39 pm

>15 rosalita: Thank you! You enable my laziness, but I really appreciate it! :)

Mar 27, 2021, 8:50 pm

>16 MrsLee: This is a case where having the ebook is a great help — I just searched for all occurrences of the word "spiritual" and there it was! :-)

Mar 28, 2021, 10:38 am

>17 rosalita: I thought about that. I haven't purchased these on ebook, because I intend to have the physical books in my home until I die, but I see there may be a purpose to having them in ebook as well. Just not going to work for my pocketbook!

Mar 31, 2021, 2:13 pm

>14 MrsLee: I agree with your comments about Stout making Lily a very independent woman. I just encountered another -- in my chronological read, I just finished Death of a Doxy and it's been so many years since I had read it, I had forgotten about Julie Jaquette! Even Mr. Wolfe appreciated her.