Chapter 3 starts off with Archie going to look at the scene of the crime.
“The road from Lame Horse to the turnoff to the Bar JR Ranch and Lily’s cabin doesn’t stop there. It keeps going for three more miles and stops for good at the Fishtail River, and there, on the right, is Bill Farnham’s dude ranch.”
So as the road winds it’s 3 miles from Lily’s to Bill Farnham’s.
He has a brief interlude with Mrs. Amory, of one of the people staying at Farnham’s, in which she tells him she is too lazy to pull her skirt down and he offers to do it for her only to be told not to bother. So he leaves a message with her for Bill that he is leaving his car there and climbing up to the scene of the crime.
He leaves and reminisces about poaching young Blue Grouse with Lily as he climbs up to Blue Grouse Ridge, the scene of the crime. He also points out that he could have gotten there from the ranch or cabin but that it was 2 times further and rough going part of the way.
He says the ridge is about a mile from Farnham’s and so it must be about 2 miles from the ranch. He does point out that the trip took 3 hours but as I read it that is driving time too.
On getting there he finds some blood and then notes the other signs where people came in to haul the body out.
I’m gonna let Archie speak this next bit. Just too good to paraphrase. 😉
“It would have been a cinch for even a New York character like me to get within forty yards of the target, let alone a man who knew how to stalk deer and elk. But forty yards is too far to count on a hand gun, so it had been a rifle, and in the middle of a Montana summer nobody goes out with a rifle for anything with four legs, except maybe a coyote, and you don’t climb Blue Grouse Ridge for a coyote.”
After throwing a rock at a chipmunk and missing (on purpose? as he says that at the cabin some of his his best friends were chipmunks) he heads back to the ranch.
Having gotten hot and sweaty he changes into “a PSI shirt and brown woolen slacks.”
I get the slacks part but – What is a “PSI” shirt? Google comes up with “Alpha Kappa Psi” shirt but Archie didn’t go to college so I don’t think that’s the answer. Anyone?
We get to see that there is a connecting door (!) between Archie’s and Lily’s rooms. I don’t remember any other book in the corpus that this level of intimacy is acknowledged. Anyone?
Archie tells Lily about Carol swearing on the saddle and they agree that she was telling the truth. There is a lot more here, but you’re gonna have to read the book for the details, as well as a lot I am leaving out…
They eat supper and we get a glimpse into Diana’s empty head (?) as she flirts and poises while eating. More banter with Wade and her and he heads into town for the evening.
At this point he tells us that he spun his wheels for the next 4 days and goes on to describe part of one of the wasted days which he says may as well be that Saturday evening.
This is where Archie visits the WOODROW STEPANIAN HALL OF CULTURE (caps his) and Vawter’s which he describes as a high-ceilinged room a hundred feet long and nearly as wide and goes on to describe the contents which he says would take several pages to inventory.
Talks to several folks and gets nothing. Goes over to the Hall of Culture and watches the dancers for a while and calls it an evening. For a description of the Hall and the evening, read the book.. 😉
He adds another interlude into this chapter about a visit on Tuesday morning from Luther Dawson (defense council) and Thomas R. Jessup (county attorney) who arrived in the same car. After getting Lily’s dander up asking questions that are out of line, they leave and Archie explains to Lily that he had mailed a letter to Wolfe that he would have gotten the previous day (Monday) so that it was most likely Wolfe that had stirred up the attorney(s).
There is a LOT more going on here. The above paragraph covers nearly 6 pages of good reading. Remember folks, I’m just hitting the high points, so read the book!
The chapter ends on Wednesday evening around 8 o’clock with a taxi coming up the drive. The driver sticks his head out the window and asks if this is Lily Rowan’s place. Archie tells it best:
I opened the door and stepped out and said yes, and the rear door of the taxi opened and a man climbed out, backwards. His big broad behind was Nero Wolfe’s, and when he straightened up and turned around, so was his big broad front. Lily, at my elbow, said, “the mountain comes to Mohammed,” and we crossed the terrace to meet him.
And so ends chapter 3. At 18 pages it is twice as long as either the first or second chapter. A lot gets covered but there is still a lot to go over. And Wolfe just came into the picture.
This book has 25 chapters although the last isn’t even a page long. We have another 18 days to cover 22 chapters, so some days you get one and some days two.
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.