Death of a Dude – Chapter 5

Sorry folks. This is going out much later than I had planned, but have had website database server problems off and on since yesterday afternoon, which is hopefully fixed now. Then got started canning blueberry jam and ended up with a lot more time invested than I had planned on. But there are 5 pints and 4 half pints cooling on the counter. Total of 15 pints this year that we have put up.

Anyway – on with the show…

Chapter 5 starts out with Wolfe and Archie sitting on rocks beside Berry Creek about a half a mile from the cabin.

This state of affairs is explained after a description of breakfast that is pure Archie:

Of course Mimi (Lily’s maid and cook) knew Wolfe’s reputation on food, and I gave her a grin when I saw her putting paprika on the scrambled eggs, and again when I saw that she had nearly doubled the amount of bacon and bread slices for toast. Also instead of three kinds of jam on the table there were six.

Diana offers to butter Wolfe’s toast but he declines.

After breakfast they return to Wolfe’s room and Archie helps to put his things away so he can snoop. And it gives another excuse to discuss clothing which Archie does in detail, noting that Wolfe had prepared for an extended stay when he left home.

You want the details? Read the book. πŸ˜‰

After everything is unpacked and in place, Archie suggests they go to his room but Wolfe stops him and and wants to go elsewhere, saying that, last night, he was constantly aware that they might be overheard while talking in the house. Archie suggests a picnic up the creek and goes on to describe the storeroom shelves. At the suggestion of using horses Wolfe stops him with a glare and wants to know the way to the storeroom. They get everything together and depart by way of the terrace and we get another quick glimpse of Diane acting.

They get to the creek and Archie reports. Wolfe squirms on his rock. They discuss the palatability of a “fool hen” and Wolfe wants to use a telephone that isn’t tapped to call Attorney General Veale in Helena.

They make it back, though Archie says it’s rougher going back than it was coming out “because it was downhill and there were a couple of places were anyone might do a tumble, but he made it without a scratch.”

Wolfe gets in the car while Archie checks with Lily to see if he can use it. They head into town to the Hall Of Culture which Wolfe remembers Archie mentioning 3 years ago.

The meeting between Wolfe and Woody (Woodrow Stepanian, the owner of the Hall of Culture) is a classic. Several good lines. That I’m not gonna report. πŸ˜‰

They ask to use the phone privately and the request is granted. Wolfe talks to Mr Veale and then asks Archie to:

“Get Mr. Jessup,” frowned, and added, “if you please.” Being my equal was an awful bother.

Archie can only hear one end of these conversations so only reports on that end.

After an exchange Wolfe hands the phone to Archie to get directions to Whedon’s Graveyard. Archie tells him later that it is about 10 miles from Lame Horse and a little further than that from Timberburg where Jessup is coming from.

They depart after a wonderful encounter with a woman chasing a man through town. The man keeps telling everyone to “rope her” which Archie explains to Wolfe as they watch:

“Local routine,” I said. “About once a month. Mr. and Mrs. Nev Barnes. She bakes bread and pies and sells them, and he snitches some of the proceeds and buys hooch from a bootlegger named Henrietta. There’s a theory that the reason she doesn’t hide the jack where he couldn’t find it is that it would gum the act. If he wasn’t lit she would never catch him. The reason he yells ‘Rope her’ is that one time a couple of years ago a cowboy was over by the hitching-rack trying a new rope he had just bought at Vawter’s, and when Nev saw him he yelled at him to rope her, and the cowboy did, and ever since Nev always yells it.”
“Was that her bread at breakfast?”
“Yes. Salt-rising. You ate four slices.”
“It’s quite edible.”

They depart after Archie thanking Woody and paying for the calls.

The trip to Whedon’s Graveyard (which is a failed wheat farm and not a graveyard at all) gives Archie time to annoy Wolfe by hitting pot holes.

Some good reading here but the main part is that they get there before Jessup and wait a bit and have some interesting conversation.

Jessup gets there and doesn’t really like Wolfe going to his boss (so to speak) to get him to answer Wolfe’s questions. They strut around a bit and both get in some good lines. Wolfe gets Jessup to at least let them tell him what they want which is official standing so they can effectively make inquiries into Brodell’s murder and try to prove Greve’s innocence.

Jessup wants to know if they think Gil is guilty and Wolfe tells him: “Only generally, among others”

Jessup wants to think on it and talk it over with his wife.

Jessup leaves, giving Archie a chance to dig at his driving.

They head back to the cabin, but Wolfe stops him before they get there, wanting to know if the phone in town would be available at that time of night. Archie says it would and Wolfe wants him to get Saul and start him on finding out if there were any contact between Miss Kadany or Mr. Worthy and Mr. Brodell during his visits to New York because :

“I don’t like the possibility, however remote, that we are at table three times a day with a murderer, and for this we don’t need credentials.”

Again this chapter ends with a good line:

As I steered back onto the blacktop I filed for future reference his amazing statement that a grand or two, maybe more, was of no consequence.

Another interesting chapter but no further along or so it seems from Archie’s standpoint.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

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