Well, if no one else is gonna make a stab at it, and I’m gonna read it and make some notes anyway, will see what I can write and post along the way. If ANYONE wants to take over for one chapter or the rest of the book, PLEASE do!
Chapter one gets us a description of Dr. Vollmer – Long lean legs, narrow lean jaw. And from the remark about meals at the end of the chapter I suspect he is thin almost to the point of being skeletal (at least compared to Wolfe).
The book starts with Dr. Vollmer asking Wolfe to do a favor for another Dr., this one a psychiatrist.
It seems a man who used a false name, Ron Swoboda, made up of two of that years Mets team’s players, Ron Swoboda, an outfielder and Tom Seaver a pitcher, had come into a Crisis Clinic and claimed he had blood on his hands that isn’t visible to anyone else.
After a couple of visits the Dr. at the clinic had told him that he was wasting their and his time and then suggested:
“either he could go to a surgeon and have his hands amputated, or he could go to a detective, perhaps Nero Wolfe, and try to dodge his questions.”
Which he had tried to do the day before by phoning and talking to Archie and offering a hundred dollars an hour to have Wolfe ask him questions. Archie thought he was a nut and told him no.
Vollmer says that he then called the Doctor (Irwin Ostrow) and Irwin called him. Ostrow thinks that he may have had blood on his hands and wants to know if he can and should be helped so Vollmer is here asking Wolfe to see him.
Wolfe is eager to get to supper and asks Vollmer to join them and the only way to get the full flavor of the rest is to read it all but I’ll give just a taste of Vollmer’s speech:
“Hah. You think my meals are like the one Johnson described to Boswell: ‘ill-killed, ill-dressed, ill-cooked, and ill-served,’ and you feel sorry for me. Thank you, but I have things to do before I eat.”
And goes on to ask if he could bring the man tomorrow.
To which Wolfe replies that he can come (not for supper) tomorrow evening at 9 o’clock, and that:
“There will be no fee. And no compassion.”
And end of the first chapter. This book has 19 chapters and most of them are fairly short. I’ll try to get something done on some of them. If anyone else wants to take a chapter or 18 please do so. Won’t hurt my feelings at all. 😉
Something I got to wondering about while rereading this book was just how many of Wolfe’s cases dealt with bombs. Anybody?
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.