Archie starts this chapter chortling. It’s a good second paragraph too. 😉
He’s trying to decide on what tactic to take with Wolfe and decides on a flank attack and then to play it by ear.
When he enters the office Wolfe is working eh Double-Crostic in the Times and he doesn’t interrupt, instead goes to the safe and gets the checkbook, then to his desk and starts working on the June stubs.
In about 8 minutes Wolfe asks what the balance is and using that opening Archie says that depends and hands him Exhibit A.
Wolfe responds: “Grrr.”
Archie explains that the heading could have have his name instead of Wolfe’s and brings in that she asked how much Browning paid him.
He lays it on fairly heavily and compares his writing to Norman Mailer.
Wolfe isn’t impressed and goes:
“Bah. That peacock? That blowhard?”
“All right, make it Hemingway.”
Wolfe then asks if there was a typewriter there and as Archie explains that there was, gives the paper a hard look.
Archie then tells him that the balance would be a little under $6000 if he mailed the check back to her, but that if Wolfe agreed to trying to buy the information they needed that she would send another check for $65,000.
I’m gonna let Archie tell the last part:
What he did was typical, absolutely him. He didn’t say “Very well” or “Tear the check up” or even “Confound it.” He picked the thing up, read it slowly, scrowling at it, put it to one side under a paper weight, said “I’m doing some smoked sturgeon Muscovite. Please bring a bottle of Madeira from the cellar,” and picked up the Double-Crostic.
Short Chapter but at least it looks like Wolfe will give it another go.
Comments, corrections, criticism requested.