I'm curious about those who read Wolfe...

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I'm curious about those who read Wolfe...

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Editado: Abr 1, 2008, 2:59 am

Does anyone actually try to solve the mystery in each story when reading it?

I find that I almost never think about this when reading the stories. I simply let it unfold and then, perhaps, think about earler clues presented after I have read the end. But I seldom try to figure out "who-done-it" until it's already solved. I guess I just get so engrossed in the story and writing that the solution is not important.

I never really thought about it until I noticed that when I read one of the Wolfe novels for a 2nd or 3rd time I find myself trying to remember the outcome.

Am I unique or does anyone else just let it happen on it's own?

Abr 1, 2008, 6:13 am

When I first started reading Wolfe stories I made an effort to solve the mysteries. It didn't last more than two or three of the books. I am now past the 3rd reading, and have no difficulty in remembering the outcome. I am sure that the knowledge enhances my enjoyment: it must, otherwise I wouldn't re-read them!?

Abr 1, 2008, 8:01 am

I don't; I read solely for the characters, and sometimes even find myself frustrated when the 'mystery' - Wolfe's Q+A sessions in the office - gets in the way! I'm currently re-reading Murder in Style and I can't remember a thing about whodunnit. Don't care! I'm just enjoying Archie baiting Stebbins ;)

Abr 1, 2008, 11:59 am

I don't. But I do enjoy the shuffling of suspects/red herrings and sometimes casually guess what Stout is up to as a writer.

Abr 1, 2008, 12:38 pm

I don't try to solve the mystery in any of the mysteries I read! Though I find that I am able to much more often now, especially with new authors to me. My favorite mysteries are my favorites for the characters, they are the ones I want to revisit when I want to reread them. The mysteries are incidental, though I wouldn't like them if they were not at least passably difficult but solvable. I actually hate solving a mystery too early in the book, on the other hand, I don't like to feel cheated by an author with an unsolvable mystery or an insane-but-seemed normal murderer either.

Abr 1, 2008, 12:58 pm

For every mystery I read I try to figure out 'whodunit'. I think about possible solutions AS I am reading. I never seem to think about the solution if I am NOT reading, however. And I certainly do not resort to measures like writing down clues, facts, etc as an aide to solving the mystery. From the foregoing, you might think that I don't figure things out on my own very often. You'd be correct.

Abr 1, 2008, 5:53 pm

I would not say that I am working to solve the mystery but I am always alert to clues especially the little inconsistencies that the author does not play up as clues. I am usually dreaming up and sorting scenarios and find fairly often that I can identify the culprit.

Mrs. Lee I too consider that insane-but seemed normal ploy a total cop out. That put me off an early Charles Todd, for example.

Abr 2, 2008, 2:09 am

I'm a let it happen sort of girl, myself. I never try to figure things out in any book; I prefer to let the author take it where he/she wants. In fact, I've been known to be disappointed if the culprit is too obvious. If I can see the outcome when I'm not even trying, then the author didn't do a good job!

OTOH, I'm with the rest of y'all about some of the tricks that some authors use. I won't read them. Part of what got me hooked on mysteries to begin with, beginning with Agatha Christie, was that if you paid attention, all the clues were there. After a while I outgrew Christie. If you've read enough of her books it's easy to see the important clue. It's usually someone knowing something they shouldn't know. But I expect a good author to be fair in their plotting, or I won't be back!

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Abr 2, 2008, 7:46 am

Mostly I don't. There are a few books where Wolfe goads Archie (and the reader) by telling that someone has just said or done something which is an important clue. I'll try to figure out the clue, unsuccessfully for the most part. :)

Abr 2, 2008, 8:02 am

Archie is worse for that, I find: 'I suppose you've figured it out already, but you're reading it and I was there'. I usually have to go back and skim over dialogue/actions, but I can never beat Archie to the right conclusion. Are we supposed to?

Abr 2, 2008, 8:07 am

Well, the few times I've managed to guess the clue, I felt a little disappointed. I like that Wolfe and Archie are smarter than I am. Do any of you like a book better if you figure out the whodunit before the end?

Jun 2, 2008, 11:21 am

I'm always alert to what might be a clue. So often, the clues depend on Wolfe's amazing memory, so a name or place that is mentioned is almost always of importance. The only time I ever solved the mystery before Wolfe - and I remember thinking that it was glaringly obvious - was in Some Buried Caesar. I got that one early on and couldn't believe it took Wolf so long.

Jun 19, 2008, 4:58 pm

I found this group when I read Mrs.Lee's post on another LT member's profile page. I have been a fan of Nero Wolfe's for over 40 years -- which doesn't QUITE put me in the dinosaur class (and yes, I tell my students, I was sad when they died off -- I miss them quite a lot) -- but close.

I first read the entire Wolfe oeuvre when I was 10 and 11 -- and I'm not ashamed to say that I was entirely clueless when it came to solving the mysteries themselves. Like Mrs. Lee, I reread my favorite books to revisit some of my favorite people. I actually reread books quite a lot -- I try to read at least one or two new books a week, but I often turn to previously read books several times a week for solace, company, and sheer fun.

I reread the Wolfe books (or many of them), about once a year, and after so many rereadings I'm finally at the point where I remember the villains. But I do my best not to let the memory impinge too much on my consciousness, so I can concentrate on the characterizations.

Like DianeS I get disappointed when I read a new mystery and figure out whodunnit early on -- since I'm a notoriously bad games player, I figure that if I can figure the mystery out, it must be pretty darned obvious!

Has anyone here read W.S. Baring-Gould's delightful biography of Nero Wolfe?

Jun 20, 2008, 2:29 am

>13 RachelfromSarasota: I have been known to forgive an author for not surprising me with whodunnit -- I listened to a new book recently with a completely classic Christie clue. The "someone said something they could only know if they were the killer" clue. But I enjoyed the book so much that I didn't care. Clearly I wasn't "reading" that book so much for the mystery as for the writing and the characterization.

As for Baring-Gould's book -- absolutely. I know there are some Wofle fans who hate it. I know it's not really canon. But as a kid -- my mom introduced me to Wolfe when I went through all the Agatha Christie's in the public library -- I thought the book was wonderful. My favorite parts are the ones so many hate -- identifying Wolfe as the son of Irene Adler and one of the Holmes' brothers, Marko as his brother (maybe even fraternal twin), and Archie as possibly Marko's son. Somehow that just delights me beyond measure and always has.

When I listened to A Right to Die (multiple times) earlier this year -- the CDs were a Christmas present -- I was so pleased when Wolfe worried about Archie when Archie was out of town and -- gasp -- flying! I felt like I was in on a secret or something.

Jun 20, 2008, 3:26 am

Yes, it does feel like that, doesn't it? All that character-relationship richness. Seeing into the chinks where neither knows what they (in all likelihood) infer.

Jun 21, 2008, 12:32 am

I mainy read the books, I admit as "stories," but I do keep a sort of mental eye out for clues and run a few theories in the back of my head. Of course, part of this may be because I am an impatient person.

Oh, I read Baring-Gould's book as a kid. Thought all of the theories were so cool. I agree that it made reading the books feel like you were part of some secret club because I knew stuff other people didn't. Of course, then I didn't realize I was reading my very first fanwork. Maybe it's not so strange I ended up writing fanfic in college?

Jun 22, 2008, 12:50 pm

Hi RachelfromSarasota! Glad to know my nattering had the good effect of bringing you here. :)

I'm not sure I would like the Baring-Gould book, though I do like to fill in the gaps for my favorite characters, I don't like everything to be tied so closely together. I prefer to think of Marko and Nero as men who have shared in battle together in their early days, two against the world so to speak. To make Archie the son of either, in my opinion negates the great working relationships/friendships and the bonds that men develop. Just my thoughts though. I do like to read other's ideas whether I agree with them or not, so I suppose I could enjoy it without buying into it.

Jun 27, 2008, 1:12 pm

I still haven't bought Baring-Gould, but would tend to agree, MrsLee. It's a much richer relationship if there isn't a bond of blood. Theorizing, though, is fun. So is not always treating your favorite characters with kid gloves.

(Though so often that's what I do.)