Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 7

Tuesday morning finds Archie in the office of James J. Farquhar, who owned the yacht Prospero, and with whom Amory Browning and wife had spent the weekend in question.

Archie takes a round about way to the information and spins a cute tale in the process which is worth the read. Goad, goad… 😉

He gets the answer that Amroy Browning and wife were on the yacht and out reach of any telephone at the time Miss Haber claimed to have called him.

Archie stops at a telephone booth on Broad Street and calls in and Wolfe tells him to come home that he will call and get Miss Haber there.

Upon arriving at the Brownstone he finds Wolfe sharpening his pen knife.

He was going to slice her. At his desk, with his oilstone and a can of oil on a sheet of paper, he was sharpening his pen knife. Though he doesn’t use it much, he sharpens it about once a week, but almost never at that time of day. Evidently his subconscious had taken over. I went to my desk and took out the Marley .38, and asked, “Do I shoot her before you carve her, or after?”

He gave me a look.

Wolfe asks if Browning could have called and set it up and Archie tells him about the phony buildup and that he had watched his face and seen nothing. Then asks if Wolfe had gotten Miss Haber.

The doorbell rang…

After depositing the Marley back in the desk drawer (he must not think she is the killer after all) he goes to the door to find both Miss Haber and Mrs. Odell.

Wolfe says to bring them but that he may have to drag Mrs. Odell to the front room.

Mrs. Odell enters talking.

Wolfe bellowed at her:

“Shut up!”

Then proceeds to lay down the law to her.

It’s a good scene.

They get seated and Wolfe starts in on Miss Haber by reminding her what he had told her on the phone and then asks her why she told him that lie.

She responds haltingly and tries to tell him it wasn’t a lie but he’s not buying and explains to her that unless she tells him who told her to lie she will leave with a cop.

Mrs. Odell interrupts and Wolfe tells Archie to remove her.

She tells Archie not to touch her.

Archie tells her that he would rather not but that he has bounced bigger and stronger women than her and has no scars from it. Then goes on to explain that they got caught and that she should accept it and that the guarantee also states that when the circumstances put he and Wolfe under legal compulsion give the info to the police that they would reveal what they knew.

He gives quite a speech bringing in the fact that whether or not Wolfe forgives and forgets that he is good and sore and would love to go and call a police sergeant he knows as well as a man at the Gazette.

That said he turns to Wolfe and tells him that he thinks she understands where they stand.

He then tells her:

“If you get the idea that you can say it was all a lie, that you wanted to fasten it on Browning and made it all up, nothing doing. They found LSD in your husband’s pocket and they’ve got it. You’re stuck, absolutely, and if you try to wiggle you’ll just make it worse.”

The next bit is her trying to think. Then she wants to know how they figured out Miss Haber was lying.

Wolfe explains that Archie had talked to the man who owned the yacht that Browning had spent the weekend on.

Mrs Odell admits to having given Miss Haber money to lie for her and goes on with a rant about how she knows that Browning killed her husband with the bomb. She mentions being willing to spend all her money on finding out who killed him and then asks Wolfe if he can “handle” Goodwin.

Wolfe tells her that the problem isn’t handling Mr Goodwin but that her problem was handling him.

Again a good scene. Best find the book… 😉

She takes the checkbook out and pronounces that she is going to give him a check for one hundred thousand dollars to start with but that he may have to pay out that much or more and starts to write.

Wolfe (can’t you see him sweating here) says NO and tells that he would not engage to demonstrate that Mr Browning killed her husband.

He turns back to Miss Haber and asks her if she told anyone about the LSD to which she replies that she has told no one.

He asks if she goes to church and when she says yes, Lutheran but not every Sunday, has Archie get a bible and has her swear on it. Archie gives a nice description of the bible collection.

She swears that she didn’t know what Mrs Odell was going to do with the LSD until Saturday, June 7th.

Wolfe turns to Mrs Odell and wants to know who she told. She says no one but that her late husband may have and starts naming names.

Wolfe puts her off as it’s lunch time and tells her to make a list of names with relevant comments and states that his commitment is to try to learn who killed her husband and get enough evidence to convict him.

She wrote the check.

Tomorrow brings chapter 8 and hopefully some clues. Wolfe has a lot of money hanging in the balance here. He’s already “earned” the $20,000 since she lied to him and now has another 100 grand to play with.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

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