The League of Frightened Men – Baring-Gould Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from NERO WOLFE of West
Thirty-Fifth Street
by William S. Baring-Gould concerning THE LEAGUE
OF FRIGHTENED MEN.


For Wolfe and Archie, the affair began on
the afternoon of Friday, November 2, 1934 (it came to it’s startling conclusion
on Monday, November 12), but actually it had begun in 1909, when Paul Chaplin,
the novelist, had been permanently crippled as the result of “a boyish
prank” played on him by his Harvard classmates. The classmates formed a
“League of Atonement” to help Paul, and all seemed to be going as well
as possible under the circumstances until June 1934, when a crowd of them
assembled at Fillmore Collard’s place near Marblehead, Massachusetts. Judge
Harrison had come East from Indiana for the commencement exercises at his
son’s graduation. They missed him that night, and the next morning they
found his body at the foot of the cliff, beaten about among the rocks by
the surf. To tragedy was added terror: soon thereafter each surviving member
of the league had received a set of verses boasting of the judge’s murder.
These verses could have been written by only one man: Paul Chapin.

Then Eugene Dryer, the art dealer, was poisoned, and Andrew
Hibbard, the psychologist, disappeared. And in each case there was another
set of taunting verses….


Information taken from NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street by William
S. Baring-Gould, pages 97-98 of Bantam paperback edition published February
1970

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