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Do you find them appealing? Know anyone who grows them? Dislike the things? Or find your existence ruled by them?
Part of the appeal, I think, is that Wolfe's growing them indoors and in the Northeast. The first isn't a big deal, but the second seems positively loony. They're much better suited for a climate like mine (Hawai'i).
When I was a teenager, my doctor (pediatrician? or is that only for younger kids?) would always ask about what I had read recently. He also read Rex Stout and he grew orchids. This was in New York City, so it wasn't just Wolfe who grew orchids in the northeast. I don't think Dr. Smith had quite as big an operation as Wolfe did, however.
Growing up in New York, I think part of the early appeal of the Wolfe books was the fact that they were set in the city. I knew a lot of the places and could easily imagine a lot of the others. I good friend of mine lived in a brownstone in the east 30s. I always pictured Wolfe's street looking similar.
I'd love to see a picture of your orchids, if you think of it, Linkmeister. Perhaps even upload it to the group page, with your permission? While I can't imagine they're black, any orchid would be appropriate.
However.... they are lovely. Or can be.
Wombat, perhaps your doctor was one of the members of the gardening club who came to see Wolfe's 10,000 plants in (I think) 'Eeney Meeny Murder Moe.' :) You seem to have been enviably provided with aids to imagining the books; which is wonderful. Though I 'envy' you all the sensory knowledge and familiarity, I'd love to have had worthwhile books set where I grew up... and am glad for Stout to have been (and be) read by an ideal audience.
These are similar to the kind you find next to your place setting at some of the more pretentious fine-dining restaurants in Waikiki. ;)
If you want to upload one, either get it from Flickr or let me know and I'll mail copies to you. My e-mail address at my profile is good.
Marlowe: “…with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men…”
Some years ago I happened upon an exhibition at a local Shopping Centre (Mall), and was taken aback by their bewildering colouration and chaotic variety. I now annually attend the local orchid society exhibition, but have never seriously considered growing them. I’m afraid Chandler “got to me” before Stout.
Do I find them beautiful? No, I can’t honestly say I do. I don’t find Munch’s the “The Scream” beautiful either, but dragging my eyes from it is an effort. I don’t aspire to become any more like Theodore.
Thank you, ma'am!
Thank you for the pictures! I'll go upload one now.
Nonetheless, I'm glad you've the sense not to emulate 'our' Theodore!
Anyway, orchid collectors are all over. The Muttart Conservatory here in Edmonton has a large collection, many of which were (I think) left to them in someone's will.
Stout for Christmas seems a wonderful return on an orchid plant, to me. :)
I would hope Stout for Christmas would be a good thing (I'd sure appreciate it) but I don't know how much of a reader he is. Still, if I pick a title that has lots of orchid-lore it should help. Any suggested favourites? I haven't re-read any of mine lately.
Black Orchids has a good title for the job, but the second story is really one of Stout's odder creations. - Not an ideal introduction. So I'll think about it, and hope to see others' suggestions. Thankfully, there's a little time.
Then there's the short story where Andy K. (can't think of the spelling of his last name) has to be kept out of jail so he can help out in the plant rooms while Theodore's off to take care of his ailing mother.
It is surprising in retrospect, that Rex Stout never centered a story around orchids. I hope to be proved wrong: a Wolfe story I have forgotten would be Christmas gift for me.
If a Nero Wolfe Story is preferred over say, The Orchid Thief, "The Black Orchid" would make an excellent (I had to replace 'satisfactory') introduction: Wolfe out of his element (out of the Brownstone), petty orchid jealousy; a clever plot; Archie and young ladies; Archie teasing Stebbins and Cramer; and Wolfe conniving to obtain an object of His desire. While the second story, "Cordially Invited to Meet Death", IS a little odd, it introduces Wolfe in the Kitchen (concocting corned beef hash); Cramer pounding at the brownstone door;and a surprising, and particularly well described, villain.
Before I am credited with a prodigious memory, I should add that 1) I have just finished re-reading "The Black Orchid"; and 2) My off-line library database includes 3rd party reviews, and therefore, plot elements
Glad your memory doesn't rival Saul's (and humble mine)! ;)
I confess to re-reading The Black Orchid after finding my rating to be lower than that of more expert readers. I changed my rating.
You have sported with me, trifled with feelings I hold sacred, and yet still - still, I tell you - I find it in my heart to forgive you. :D
I would have liked to post a link to a photo of Wilsonara Eurydice as gratitude but have been unable to find one. A similar lack of success with hybrids named 'Nero Wolfe' and 'Archie Goodwin' (these are the Grex names ???) - both share a common parent in 'bulbocodioides'.
It's a very fast read, too, which doesn't hurt, since the to-be-read pile ideally should diminish, not expand!
Every state in the USA has native orchids that grow wild. When I was a kid in Rhode Island the woods behind our house was full of big purple lady's slippers in the spring. The neighbor kids used to pick them to make bouquets for their mothers. Enraged my father.