Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 18

Amory Browning rings the door bell at 10:20 and is a mite peeved about something. He walks past Archie and is standing in front of Wolfe’s desk when he gets to the office. Browning wants Wolfe there NOW! Archie goes to the kitchen and calls the plant rooms. Wolfe says to bring him.

Archie figures that the walk up will help cool him off but Browning is in good shape and doesn’t stop at the landings for breath.

When he gets there Archie says he doesn’t see an orchid, he was so mad.

Wolfe tells him that he doesn’t like to be interrupted at work either. 😉

Browning has words for Wolfe.

When he runs down Wolfe asks if that is what he came to tell him and Browning says yes.

“Very well, you’ve told me.” Wolfe turned back to the bale of tree fern.

Classic Wolfe!

Browning leaves without another word.

Archie is sitting in the office wondering if he should have bothered depositing the check when the doorbell rings and it’s Saul with good news!

Archie takes him to the plant rooms to talk to Wolfe, as neither he nor Saul want to wait the 13 minutes till it’s time for him to come down.

Seems that Dennis Copes has a twin sister named Diana and she is married to Rowcliff. Rowcliff and Copes don’t see eye to eye but Dennis is close to his sister.

Wolfe is happy and tells them to put a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator.

They get to the office with a detour to the kitchen and the doorbell rings. It’s Fred and he’s got the same bit of information! Wolfe comes down and Archie tells him that Fred has it too and Wolfe wants Cramer on the phone.

After a bit of discussion Cramer agrees to get Rowcliff and come to the office, leaving in about 10 minutes.

Wolfe has Archie get the Copes tape ready while he questions Saul and Fred.

When Cramer and Rowcliff arrive Saul answers the door and brings them to the office. Cramer is in a hurry and Wolfe tells them who the tape is of and then has Archie turn it on.

They listen and Cramer gets redder than usual and starts in about Wolfe sitting on the information for 4 days. Rowcliff acts a bit nervous.

Wolfe explains that he has searched for anyone that might have told Meer that Odell intended to put LSD in the whiskey. If Meer didn’t know then Copes was lying but how did Copes know since it was an official secret.

Cramer keeps harping about how long he kept the information and Wolfe counters quite well that due to the compentent performance both Fred and Saul that it only took 3 days to find out how he knew about the LSD.

Wolfe then threatens to disclose that Rowcliff had leaked the information to the Gazette.

Rowcliff is livid and Cramer is not far behind. Cramer tells him that he can’t do it but Wolfe thinks otherwise.

Cramer wants to talk things over with Rowcliff but Wolfe is having none of that. He tells Cramer that if they leave without satisfying him that Archie will be out the door 10 minutes later with the suggested draft of the article.

There is an interesting three way exchange between Wolfe, Cramer, and Rowcliff, at the end of which Rowcliff admits to telling his wife about the LSD.

Cramer isn’t happy with Rowcliff, and after a few more words directed toward Wolfe they leave, with Saul showing them the door.

Wolfe wants Archie to get Mr. Browning. Archie thinks he is making up for lost time. 😉

After a short conversation with Miss Lugos, Archie gets through to Mr. Browning. Wolfe tells him that he knows who the bomber is and that he is going to disclose it to the police no later than 4 o’clock but that he would like to tell Browning and Miss Lugos first.

Browning can’t make a decision that quick and says he will call back.

Wolfe looks at the clock and at 12:25 there is time for champagne before lunch and has Saul ask Fritz to get it. The door bell rings and it’s Orrie, who just got bounced from the CAN building, so he gets in on the briefing and champagne too.

Looks like things are coming to a head! And about time. 19 days…

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

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