Chapter 5 starts off with Archie escorting Mrs. Peter J. Odell into the office. He notes that she didn’t notice the 14 by 26 Keraghan rug or 3 foot globe.
Not sure about the globe but while out hunting books, a while back, I found a book by the name of Oriental Rugs In Colour by Preben Liebetrau and remembering the rugs mentioned in the Corpus I got it and promptly lost it in the piles of assorted books that are everywhere around here. After reading the above in chapter 5, I spent part of the morning clearing up a backlog of sticking books on shelves and finely found it. However upon looking don’t find Keraghan listed but there are 2 plates depicting Kirman Rugs from Iran which I have posted here on the site for anyone interested.
I am not sure that this is even the style of rug Stout had in mind but this is the closest I can find. Neither google.com nor yahoo.com search shows Keraghan. Any and all input is welcome. Old postings about the rugs or pointers to sites with more information would be nice too.
Anyway back to the story. Mrs. Odell has brought her secretary, Charlotte Haber, because she says she may need her.
Archie’s description of Miss Haber isn’t too flattering. 😉
Mrs. Odell tells Wolfe that she has asked 3 men about him and he suggests that she should have asked more.
She wants to know:
“Your man told me that you said the police are neglecting the most important question, why did my husband go to Browning’s room and open that drawer: I want to know why that is so important.” She got her bag and opened it and took out a check fold. “How much for telling me that?”
Wolfe won’t take money, yet.
He makes a speech. Tis good too. Read the book… 😉
She counters with what the police think.
Wolfe and she volley back and forth a bit.
She tries to give him $20,0000 for a retainer so she can tell him something in confidence.
He won’t do it that way but with that kind of money in the offering turns to Archie and dictates a receipt that should take care of her qualms.
She isn’t sure but agrees to read it after Archie types it.
Archie watches Miss Haber in the 4 x 6 foot mirror as she exhibits surprise at his use of all 10 digits on the typewriter.
Mrs. Odell reads it and accepts it.
Wolfe wants to know what she wants him to do before he considers himself committed.
She tells him she knows (!) why her husband went into the drawer in Browning’s desk. And goes on to tell him that Miss Haber knows too. Also that she knows that the bomb was intended for her husband.
Wolfe expresses surprise and asks if she has told the police.
She says she hasn’t told anyone but him and then starts telling him about it.
The gist is that there was to be a stock holders meeting that afternoon at 5 to decide who would be the new president of CAN and that as Odell and Browning were the two top ones on the list Mrs Odell gets some LSD for her husband to slip into Browning’s whiskey so that when he came in and took a drink at 4 (as was his habit) he would be in la-la land by the time of the meeting and Odell would get the job.
She expresses surprise that Wolfe not only knows what LSD is but can pronounce it.
She tells him that the police know about the LSD as they found it in Odell’s coat pocket but are reserving the information.
Her secretary, Miss Haber, was the one that got the LSD for her. Then Miss Haber found, by eavesdropping on Mrs. Odell and her husband, what they were going to do with it and phoned Browning and told him about it 4 days before the incident.
Miss Haber’s story was that she was concerned about the quantity of LSD (4 tablespoons of it!) would kill him and she didn’t want to be a murderer so she had called Browning Friday evening, May 16, from a phone booth and told him that someone was going to put a dangerous drug in his whisky and he had better not drink it. She said she didn’t use any names when talking to him about it.
Wolfe cross examines for details.
He doesn’t like it and communicates that fact to Archie with a look.
Wolfe wants the principles there tomorrow evening at 9:
He hands her the check back and wants the receipt.
She is not amused but after looking at Archie’s “open, intelligent, interested, sympathetic phiz” goes:
“Damn it,” she said. “Give me the list.”
Looks like we are a little further along today than yesterday. We now know why Odell opened the drawer. Not real good news for Browning as Miss Haber’s phone call puts him in the hot seat. And looks like we get to see Mr. Meer again, this time in the company of his coworkers. Should be interesting.
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.