Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 2

Archie starts this chapter off by telling us that the happenings in the first chapter took place on Tuesday the third of June. According to my calendar program the year would have had to be 1969 or 1975 and the book was published in 1973 so…

Anyone have any history or info on when Stout wrote PPTG?

And here is where we meet the cleaning crew! The company is the Midtown Home Service Corporation. The employees are always male “because Wolfe insists on it” but this time they (Andy and Sam) brought along Lucile who was:

“a husky coal-black female with shoulders nearly as broad as mine.”

After getting them started Archie goes back to the kitchen for his second cup of coffee. He and Fritz joke about a woman in the house. There is quite a bit of excellent interplay between Archie and Fritz and then Archie and Wolfe here. πŸ˜‰ Read the book…

Archie tells Wolfe that there is a woman up cleaning his room and:

He sat, got his nineteen stone (it looks better in stone than in pounds) arranged in his made-to-order chair, glanced at his desk calendar, and picked up the stack the mailman had brought. He looked at me. “Are there female Black Panthers?”

“I’ll look it up. If there are, Lucile isn’t one. She would be a black mare, Clydesdale or Percheron. She can pick up the vacuum cleaner with one finger.”

“She is in my house by invitation. I’ll have to speak with her, at least a nod and a word.”

Then Archie tells us that he doesn’t have to after all as Andy kept her out of his path.

19 stone is what Archie reports his weight to be here, or 266 pounds, as the English measure – stone is equal to 14 pounds.

Anyway, back in the office Archie is making entries on the germination and performance cards when Dr. Vollmer calls to tell him that Ronald Seaver would be there at 9 pm.

Archie gets a fancy glass and metal jar with the sharpened ends of a dozen pencils protruding at the top and places it on his desk and aims it at the chair Ron will be sitting in and plugs it in.

Ron comes into the picture nearly half an hour late at 9:23 pm. Archie makes a remark at him and he mumbles in reply. Once in the office he thinks about backing out but Archie indicates the Red Leather Chair and instead he went to Wolfe’s desk and put out a hand. Wolfe said:

“No, there’s blood on it. Sit down.”

He goes to the Red Leather Chair and takes a seat and then makes another remark about the blood.

Archie checks the camera/pencil jar to make sure it was aimed right and sits.

Wolfe asks him if he is going to tell his name and gets a “No” in reply. The same on work or what it’s about. Wolfe then turns to Archie and asks how much Ron’s suit cost. Archie tells him 200 or more and 40 on the shoes.

There is some good dialog here.

Archie shows “Ron” the camera and he gets a bit upset.

More good dialog. You know the drill by now, but one more time – Read the book. πŸ˜‰

Wolfe tells him the office isn’t in the Dr’s jurisdiction and that Archie will get his name, probably tomorrow.

Archie gives us a description of “Ron’s” face here:

“his long, pointed nose, which didn’t go well with his wide, square chin, had twitched a couple of times, but that didn’t prove anything.

Kinda indicates a kinship to a rat to me. Especially the twitched bit. Subliminal on Stout’s part?

Anyway, “Ron” doesn’t believe it, so Archie shows him the camera and gives him ten to one that he will have him tagged by sundown tomorrow.

He thinks things over and gives Wolfe his drivers license which gives his name as Kenneth Meer, 5 feet 11, age 32, and his address, and tells them it’s to save them the trouble.

Ken leaves.

They discuss it. Kenneth’s name had been in the paper several times lately but Archie is being quiet about it till the next chapter.

Wolfe has Archie get Vollmer on the phone and tells him how they got the information.

“Doc” is not happy about the means they got it, and says he doesn’t want to know the name until he talks to Irwin and sees how he feels about it.

Vollmer thanks Wolfe for the favor, “not enthusiastically” and hung up.

Wolfe gets his current book, Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton, and Archie goes upstairs to catch the last inning or two at Shea Stadium on television.

And that ends chapter 2. Not much to go on so far. But things should pick up soon enough.

The book the is mentioned was published in 1969 adding to the 1969 time-span for the story.

The following is an excerpt about Bruce Catton taken from

Catton, Bruce, 1899–1978, American historian, b. Petoskey, Mich. He studied at Oberlin College and then entered upon a varied career as a journalist (1926–42) and public official (1942–52). His service with the War Production Board during World War II led to his first major book, The War Lords of Washington (1948). After 1952 he devoted himself to full-time literary work, serving as an editor from 1954 (senior editor, 1959) of the American Heritage magazine. In 1954 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his historical work, A Stillness at Appomattox (1953). Catton has written extensively on the military history of the Civil War; his many works include Mr. Lincoln’s Army (1951), Glory Road (1952), This Hallowed Ground (1956), Grant Moves South (1960), Grant Takes Command (1969), The Centennial History of the Civil War (3 vol., 1961–65), and Prefaces to History (1970).

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

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