Archie starts this last chapter with:
A report should end with a flourish, but this one can’t.
The groan has nothing to do with murder or trout; the state cops delivered Yaeger-Worthy to Jessup’s office safe and sound, and the fisher women came back a little after three o’clock with five cutthroats, two browns, for Dolly Vardens, and seven rainbows. For five of us, even though one was Nero Wolfe, that was amble.
His gloom is because he had to tell Lily that her search for a biographer would have to start over. He starts telling us about it and then goes:
Nuts. Why should I annoy you with it? Let’s have a flourish. Harvey Greve was turned loose in time to come and see Wolfe and me off for Helena in the morning.
So Wade gets what’s coming to him. Lily and Archie go their separate ways till she comes back to the city. Wolfe gets to go HOME to his chair, his food, and his orchids! Harvey gets out and I certainly hope payed Haight back some dark night. Though after Jessup gets through there may not be much left. 😉
Even in a chapter that is about half a page long Stout still manages to convey so much information. The word-scapes he crafts in the Wolfe series are great!
Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder and Andrew Vachess’ Burke are both much darker and grittier charactors than Wolfe or Archie but the authors display a similar ability to turn a minimum of words into detailed mind pictures.
Charlotte MacLeod came close with all of her work but I particularly like her Peter Shandy and the Sarah Kelling mysteries. They are excellent but are in the whimsical, almost fantasy, vein.
Sue Graftin’s Kinsey Millhone books (A,B,C is for) hits sometimes and other times is a bit forced.
Martha Grimes in her Inspectory Jury books is good with word pictures but takes uses a lot more of them to get there than Stout did.
In Sci-Fi, I think that Roger Zelazany was exceptionally good at it.
What other authors, in your opinion, have this quality?
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.
I’ve really enjoyed leading this discussion, though I’m afraid I did more reading and commenting on the book here and there, rather than actually leading a discussion on it. Hope ya’ll weren’t too bored. 😉
Now that Death of a Dude is out of the way, who’s gonna lead Please Pass The Guilt?
I’ll tell you now, if you couldn’t tell already from the quality (or lack thereof) of these posts, you couldn’t be any more unprepared than I was. I’ve written these as I read the chapter each day just before proofreading (such as it was) and mailing them.
So someone step up to the plate and grab a book to lead!
As far as I know the schedule for the next 3 books is open (Ken or Beer or whoever, please correct me if I’m wrong here!) and is as follows:
1973 Please Pass the Guilt – Aug. 8, 2005
1975 A Family Affair – Aug. 29, 2005
1985 Death Times Three – Sept. 19, 2005
Bitter End – Sept. 19, 2005
Frame-Up For Murder – Sept. 26, 2005
Assault on a Brownstone – Oct. 3, 2005