Six days later, on Sunday, June 22, the whole crew is in the office and Wolfe asks Archie how much has been spent so far. Archie tells him around $3000 or a little more.
Wolfe tells him to call Mrs. Odell and tell her that he is quitting and to draw her a check for the entire amount of her retainer.
Archie goes into a flashback. 😉
He tells us that plenty of things have happened, that there had been 3 thunderstorms in a row.
The first being Jill Cather, Orrie’s wife threatening to leave him because he didn’t get home till 5 in the morning after taking a CAN female researcher out to dinner and a show.
Lead up to the next book?
The second and third I’ll leave up to you to read about as they don’t appear to have bearing on the case.
Archie says he was occupied with answering at least a hundred phone calls and washed his hands and face several times too. 😉
Wolfe has talked with Abbott and Cramer. Abbott had come over on Thursday evening to talk to Wolfe confidentially but Wolfe was having none of that and told him so.
A good line or two in this part.
Abbot: “You use words don’t you?”
“Yes. On occasion, in six languages, which is a mere smattering. I would like to be able to communicate with any man alive. As it is, even you and I find it difficult. Are you sure you can prevent me getting more or less than you want me to from what you tell me or ask me?”
Abbott’s raised eyebrows made his long, pale face look even longer. “By god, I can try.”
Love Archie’s description of Abbott’s face.
Abbott wants the murder cleared up and NOW! He’s retiring in a few weeks and he doesn’t want to leave in a cloud of suspicion and distrust.
He finally gets to the point of his coming there and wants Wolfe to return Mrs. Odell’s retainer and CAN will hire him to find the bomber.
Wolfe isn’t fooled and speaks just as plainly but isn’t having any and tells him to go. Abbott hangs around for another half hour trying to pry info out of them but Archie says neither he nor Wolfe found out a thing.
When he gets back into the office after seeing Abbott to the door Wolfe mutters that part of the proposal was worth considering, returning the retainer.
He considers it for the next 2 days and we are back in the present (past).
Archie makes the check out, noting that it’s the first one he has ever drawn for an even $100,000. Wolfe signs it and Saul wants to know how much it’s for. Wolfe tells Archie to show them and then Saul has an idea! Have her run an ad in the paper offering the hundred grand for information.
Wolfe isn’t gonna do it! BIG ego here…
The Wolfecateers leave and Archie calls Mrs Odell to arrange a meeting to give her the bad news.
Wolfe is cooking lunch and making larded shad roe casserole with anchovy butter and parsley and chervil and shallots and marjoram and black pepper and cream and bay leaf and onion and butter.
Archie goes and tells Wolfe that she will see him at 5:30 gets a nod and goes to his room.
You get to read about the next four hours in the book if you want to know what went on. 😉
After eating Archie goes back to his room and writes. When he goes down at a little before 4:30 he has his 3rd draft in his pocket. He gets the Heron and goes to Mrs. Odell’s.
Once there he gives her the check and tells her that Wolfe is bowing out. She immediately thinks that Browning had gotten to Wolfe and wants to know how much it took.
Archie defends Wolfe’s honor and suggests that she put an advertisement in the papers that there is a $50,000 reward for information.
They discuss it and after he lays it all out:
“You’re pretty good,” She said.
“I try hard. Whence all but me have fled.”
“The burning deck.”
“What burning deck?”
“You don’t read the right poems.” I swiveled. the chair. “Sit here? That pen is stingy, I tried it. Mine’s better.”
She says her’s is too and goes to her desk. She makes another suggestion, to not use $50,000 but use an in-between figure like 65 or 85,000 instead.
He tells her to just change it and draw a line through the 50,000
So now Archie gets to try to talk Wolfe into it… Better him than me. 😉
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.