Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 4

Archie starts this chapter off trying to figure out how to get Madeline Odell, the widow, hooked.

He talks about being absent minded (forgetting to put fresh water in the vase on Wolfe’s desk) and being short with Fritz that morning while his mind gnawed on the problem.

After lunch he goes out on a walk with a couple of unnecessary errands as an excuse and didn’t get back till after 4, so he had the office all to himself.

He types a letter to Mrs Odell introducing himself and telling her that Wolfe had told him that the most crucial fact was being ignored.

Details will have to come from the book. 😉

After correcting and rephrasing a few things he makes a final copy on letterhead stationary with 2 carbons, addressed an envelope and went out and mailed it.

The next day while Wolfe was dictating a long letter, her secretary calls wanting Archie to put Wolfe on for Mrs. Odell.

Archie tells her Wolfe isn’t available and that the letter said it was personal anyway.

Mrs. Odell decides she wants to see him at 3 o’clock, and he decides to give up his outing at Shea Stadium and go see her.

After getting off he and Wolfe go back to the letter, which takes another full notebook page.

Archie gets lunch at Sam’s diner on Tenth Ave and has baked beans and rye bread, two items that never appear on Wolfe’s table, and then walks nearly 2 miles from West Thirty-fifth to East Sixty-third.

Once at the building, a 5 story, 40 foot wide stone mansion between Fifth and Madison, he is stopped at the door by a Lathrop Protective Service employee. After giving his name and showing a card the “husky” gives the card to a woman inside who calls up on an intercom and verifies he is expected.

He’s taken up “past two doors and stop at another” which would be the 4th floor and then into a room, the whole width of the house, where Mrs. Odell is watching the Mets on tv. He asks the score and is told:

“Mets two, Pirates four, last of the fourth. Sit down.”

He obeys and watches the game with her till a commercial when she turns the sound off.

They talk and watch the game.

Here again, you’re going to need to read the book to get the details and they are some good details too. Archie is his usual suave and smart mouthed self.

She wants him to get Wolfe up there NOW! Archie tells her no but she is welcome to come to the brownstone at 6 p.m..

He leaves, wondering if he had hooked her or not. He gets home and stays in for the evening just in case she calls, or tells Cramer or the DA.

Saturday morning he calls and cancels a ball game date with Lily Rowan and sends the tickets to her by messenger. About 8 minutes after the messenger leaves, Mrs. Odell calls and wants Wolfe there NOW!

Archie refuses and makes a remark about if there was a way to score pigheadedness, he thought Wolfe would still win.

More remarks are made and then she agrees to come at 6 p.m..

So now he gets to figure out how to break it to Wolfe that they have a customer.

It being Sunday he isn’t sure what Wolfe’s schedule will be, but a little after 11 he shows up in the office with a 14 inch raceme of Peristeria elata in one hand and a paper under the other arm.

Since he seemed to be in a good mood, Archie hits him with a full frontal assault and tells him that Mrs. Odell will be there at 6 p.m.

Wolfe isn’t pleased, but Archie reminds him that the bank balance is rather dismal.

Wolfe still isn’t pleased but Archie tells him he has the choice of going to work or firing him. With the prospect of having to do without his main goad Wolfe agrees to see her.

Archie then tells him that he has also already talked to Lon Cohen for a hour and a half and learned a few things that haven’t been printed.

“Confound it.” He made a face. “Very well. Talk. From Mr. Cohen, the substance. Your conversation with that woman, verbatim.”
I talked.

So Wolfe gets to work. Still not much to go on here. Bits and pieces but no meat so far. Or nothing that I have noted. Maybe we’ll learn something in the next chapter.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

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