We get to see a first here in chapter 9. The first time Cramer has ever come and been invited into the office while there was a briefing session going on with the “hired hands”.
Saul pulls a stunt that ends with Cramer at Archie’s desk in his chair, Saul in The Red Leather Chair, and Archie in one of the yellow chairs.
Update – contact_verb informed me that – Re: musical chairs. It’s Archie that ends up in the RLC.
Oops! Thanks for catching that!
Went back and reread it and I had missed the last movement of the waltz, where Saul moved to the yellow chair that Archie brought for Cramer, leaving the Red Leather Chair empty so he took it.
Wolfe is not amused.
There is a bit of banter back and forth and Cramer tells Wolfe to not mind him and go ahead.
Wolfe asks if Archie had covered the ground to the trio’s satisfaction.
Fred says he doesn’t have more room in his notebook. 😉
Wolfe asks for suggestions.
After Fred, Orrie, and Saul all three make remarks about asking Cramer or the police for different bits of evidence, Cramer has remarks for the lot of them.
A bit more back and forth and Wolfe tells Archie to get Mr. Abbott.
Archie shows off his memory and calls from Wolfe’s phone and in 4 minutes gets the President of CAN and hands it to Wolfe.
Wolfe tells Abbott that he has just given the known facts about to 3 operatives and asks for permission, in the form of a letter from him, for them to move freely within the company to investigate. After a bit of discussion Abbott agrees.
Wolfe tells the 3 wolfecateers that they are on a fishing expidation and goes on to give them precise things that he wants to know. They are to report to Archie daily as usual and unlimited (!) funds are available for bribes should the need arise. He then asks Archie if $500 will be enough.
Archie says it will do for a start and gets the money out of the cash box in the safe and disperses it while Wolfe gives more instructions.
Wolfe asks Cramer if he has question or comment before they go and getting a “no” in response they leave.
Archie and Cramer swap chairs. 😉
Wolfe asks who told him about the Monday evening visitors and is told that Kenneth Meer phoned Rowcliff yesterday morning.
Cramer reports verbatum and it’s a riot!
Wolfe has remarks and then asks if Cramer is desperate and gets a one word answer in response.
Desperate men need help so Wolfe offers beer and Cramer accepts. 😉
Seems that the police are stumped as to who was supposed to be blown up too. Cramer isn’t exactly asking for help but wants to trade information.
Fritz brings Cramer his beer.
Wolfe is pragmatic and says that though there is mutual respect between them there isn’t mutual trust so they can’t do business.
Cramer thanks him for the beer and has more words for him. Quite a good scene.
He leaves, with cigar in the beer glass instead of the floor or trash can.
Wolfe and Archie discuss it a bit and Archie asks if he is to just sit and take calls from the help and Wolfe answers:
“No. You are to seduce either Miss Lugos or Miss Venner. Which one?”
I raised one brow. He can’t do that. “Why not both?”
We discussed it.
And we come to the end of chapter 9. Wolfe is spending money like it isn’t his! And must have some glimmer since he didn’t bait Crammer for more than tidbits.
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.