Fer-De-Lance

FER-DE-LANCE 1934 First Edition Dust Jacket

These FER-DE-LANCE cover scans are from Seth Fidel’s Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. (USA) (1934) First Edition Facsimile Dust Jacket.
Thanks Seth!

1934 FDL Front Cover Dust Jacket

1934 FDL Front Cover Dust Jacket

1934 FDL Back Cover Dust Jacket

1934 FDL Back Cover Dust Jacket

FER-DE-LANCE 1934 First Edition Dust Jacket Intro

FER-DE-LANCE
By
REX STOUT

FER-DE-LANCE introduces, in a technique that will command the interest of every lover of detective fiction, the fascinating, eccentric figure of Nero Wolfe, in a dazzling story of crime. Immured in his office and utterly static, this lethargic fat man had a power belonging to few investigators before him to sweep through the most labyrinthine and inscrutable mysteries with complaisant ease and without disturbing his ritual of huge meals, regular hours, of being incommunicado among his exotic greenhouse flowers and perpetual guzzling of beer; a power which this barrel of a man modestly ascribed to his “feeling for phenomena.”

(Continued from front flap)

By his temperament, his super-psychology and his admirable wit, Nero Wolfe distinguishes himself, a master among sleuths, unequaled since Philo Vance stepped up beside Sherlock Holmes.

A college president was quietly buried in state. Wolfe abruptly sent Archie, his affable secretary and third eye, out to bet the District Attorney ten thousand dollars that an exhumation and a through autopsy would reveal a needle and traces of poison in the stomach of the deceased educator. The wager was a simple means of getting the body dug up. When the newspapers broke the story and when a second autopsy showed Wolfe to be right, excitement erupted all over the place.

From the outset of this excellent adventure, Wolfe is entertaining as consistently as he is amusing. An artist and a man of leisure, he startles clients, manoeuvers suspects and manipulates crime itself to his unalterable convenience.

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Fer-de-Lance printing errors

S.G. Wolfram AKA May Hawthorne has pointed out a rather glaring printing error, that seems to run through the entire Bantam line of Fer-de-Lance printings on the Wolfe Email List. Problem is around the middle of Chapter 5. Page and line number information for selected printings can be found in the email reproduced below.

Thanks for pointing this out May!

Incorrect line is:
That started an argument inside a golf club so that when the inset on the face anyhow, X proceeded to use the club for its calculated purpose, putting it in Barstow’s bag ( it had of course been made identical in appearance with Barstow’s own driver).

Correct line is as follows:
That started an argument, and perhaps Maffei agreed to go on the next boat; anyway X proceeded to use the club for its calculated purpose, putting it in Barstow’s bag ( it had of course been made identical in appearance with Barstow’s own driver).

Below is the pertinent information from the emails. Top section is what I just sent about the printings I have.

————————-
Just checked the five different printings I have and two are correct (both Pyramid) and three are wrong (all Bantam).

Pyramid Edition Third printing July 1968 (page 43 starting on line 8), and Eleventh printing November 1976 (page 43 starting on line 8), are both correct.

Bantam Edition First printing March 1983 (page 41 starting on line 26) , and as you have previously stated, the 50th Edition, though I have a Second printing November 1984 (page 41 starting on line 26), and the Bantam Crime Line Edition Ninth printing sometime after February 1992 (page 59 starting on line 10) all have the printing error.

Looks like Bantam needed a better proof reader…

Thanks for pointing this error out!
Dave
AKA Albert Freyer

On Fri, Sep 5, 2008 at 10:57 AM, S.G. Wolfram
wrote:
> I have discovered that Bantam has perpetuated an old, rather major typo, in
> the new two-in-one edition. Chapter 5, page 59, about the tenth line down,
> it has,
>
> That started an argument inside a golf club so that when the
> inset on the face anyhow, X preceeded to use the club for its
> calculated purpose, putting it in Barstow’s bag. . . ”
>
> A line from earlier on has been dropped into the text here.
>
> My 50th anniversary edition from 1984 has the same error (page 41, middle of
> the second paragraph). In nearly 25 years Bantam can’t find this and correct
> it for its attractive new edition? Anyway, fortunately I still have this
> from our 2003 discussion of FDL:
>
>> My 1983 Bantam edition has the same flaws but my 1934 Junior Book Club
>> edition reads:
>>
>> “…Maffei decided not to go back home after all. That started an
>> argument, and perhaps Maffei agreed to go on the next boat; anyway X
>> proceeded to use the club…”
>>
>> Book club editions do have some value! LOL
>>
>> Celia Grantham
>>
> —
> May Hawthorne–SGW in Denver

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Fer-de-Lance – 50th Anniversary Edition paperback – 2nd printing, November 1984

Cat came in from shopping with this beautiful paperback today. THANKS Cat!

Always love getting a new Wolfe cover, but especially a special one like this! Will get back and add text asap, just gonna get the cover up for now.

Fer-de-Lance – 50th Anniversary Edition paperback

2nd printing, November 1984

A Bantam Book – published by arrangement with the author

PRINTING HISTORY
Farrar & Rinehart edition published 1934
Bantam edition published March 1983
Second Printing – November 1984

Copyright, 1934, 1962 by Rex Stout

Rear Cover Text:

Nero Wolfe’s very first recorded case!
Fer-de-Lance
A discarded newspaper, a young engineers mysterious disappearance, and the death of a college president induce the great detective to wager $1O,OOO with the district attorney – and help a young daughter prove her mother was no murderess.

Step into the unassuming Thirty-fifth Street brownstone. and join in the astounding exploits of Nero Wolfe. ,Marvel at his daily beer consumption, his unsurpassed appetite, the incredible expanse of his yellow silk pajamas. Bear witness to his unwavering, often infuriating addiction to fine foods, good books, beautiful orchids and custom-made chairs. Empathize with his confidential assistant, Archie Goodwin, archetypal private eye and man of action, whose primary function is prodding his immense employer into motion. See for yourself why, through a hundred million copies and seventy-two cases, the adventures of America’s largest private detective and his extended family continue to captivate and enthrall readers around the world. Discover Nero Wolfe – the greatest detective of them all.

This special 5Oth Anniversary Edition of Fer-de-Lance contains a 16-page retrospective of Nero Wolfe’s career by noted Rex Stout scholar John McAleer.

Inside Cover Text:

Praise for Nero Wolfe…

“It is always a treat to read a Nero Wolfe mystery. The man has entered our folklore; he is part of the psyche of anybody who has ever turned over the pages of a mystery novel. Like Sherlock Holmes… he looms larger than life and, in some ways, is much more satisfactory.”
– The New York Times Book Review

“The most interesting great detective of them all.”
– Kingsley Amis, author of Lucky Jim

“The worst thorn in the flesh I know of.”
– Inspector L. T. Cramer, Manhattan South

“Nero Wolfe is one of the master creations.”
– James M. Cain, author of The Postman Always Rings Twice

“(Wolfe)…is the best of them all.”
– Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

“My favorite fatty.”
-Archie Goodwin

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Picture of Wolfe killing a snake

I received this from someone on the Wolfe List and have no idea who or when. A very bad memory and far too many hard drive failures make for orphaned files. I would like to know who sent it and what it is from. For now here it is:

Picture of Wolfe killing a snake

Picture of Wolfe killing a snake

Click on image for full size.

Update: Still no idea who sent it but this from Tina aka Peephole:

Hi Dave,

Just noticed the “FdL” query on your fine site. I wasn’t the one who sent you the scan, but I’m familiar with it, so I can give you the info:

The scan is from the November 1934 issue of the American Magazine, where the first NW story made its first appearance, under the title “Point of Death,” which became “Fer-de-Lance” when it was published in book form. The artwork was done by Fred Ludekens, who may have also done other NW magazine illustrations — I’m out of town and away from my stuff, so I can’t check.

Cheers, and keep up the good work,

Tina (who recently Unsubscribed from the Wolfe List, where she was Peephole)

Thanks Tina!

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Fer-De-Lance – November 1976

Fer-De-Lance - Novermber 1976 - front cover
Fer-De-Lance - November 1976 - back cover

Pyramid Mystery

11th Printing November 1976

Rear Cover:

THE WORLD FAMOUS FIRST NERO WOLFE MYSTERY
“THE BEST”
– SATURDAY REVIEW OF LITERATURE

A Is for Archie…

Goodwin, that is. I’m the tough, quick-witted leg man for an extraordinary, irascible, immovable, obese, orchid-fancying genius detective named Nero Wolfe. Wolfe and I never look for trouble, but from the cases we get involved in, you’d never believe it. This one I call —

Very Venomous

It all began when a dark-eyed Italian miss tried to charm Wolfe into finding her missing brother, only to discover it took more than charm to trigger Wolfe’s genius – at least a thousand dollars more. But that was a pittance compared to what was to come. When the brother turned up dead the case took on another, much wealthier corpse – a present from a monstrously ingenious murderer. Solution of the crime would fatten Wolfe’s bank account, put his detective prowess to the ultimate test, and place the entirety of his enormous person in the most dangerous position of his career!

DON’T MISS THESE OTHER THRILLING MYSTERIES BY REX STOUT
THE BROKEN VASE V4065 $1.25
BLACK ORCHIDS V4027 $1.25
A PYRAMID BOOK
Printed in U.S.A

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Fer-De-Lance – March 1983

Fer-De-Lance - March 1983 - front cover
Fer-De-Lance - March 1983 - back cover

Not real crazy about this cover. The spikes or nails in the snakes mouth are a bit much…

Bantam Edition Printed March 1983

Cover Art by Bill Cadge.

Rear cover text:

The imperturbable genius of daring deduction is Nero Wolfe. With the help of his trusted assistant, Archie Goodwin, the orchid-growing gourmet must discover the truth behind a golfer’s violent demise. Why was the victim included in the ill-fated foursome? And what secrets are the remaining threesome trying to conceal? The case hooks and slices in every conceivable direction, and Wolfe must be careful to stay out of the traps. If he doesn’t the threesome may soon be a twosome … and murder will be par for the course.

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NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street – Excert concerning Fer-De-Lance

The following is an excerpt from NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street by William S. Baring-Gould concerning FER-DE-LANCE.

On the afternoon of Sunday, June 4, 1933, Peter Oliver Barstow, fifty-eight-year-old president of Holland University, was playing golf on the links of the Green Meadow Club near Pleasantville, thirty miles north of New York City. The round was a foursome, Barstow playing with his son, Lawrence, his neighbor, E. D. Kimball the grain broker, and Kimball’s son, Manuel.

As Barstow swung at the ball on his first drive, he uttered a little exclamation, with a startled look on his face, and began rubbing his belly. The others asked him what was wrong, and he said something about
a wasp or a hornet and started to open his shirt. His son looked inside at the skin and saw a tiny puncture, almost invisible. Barstow insisted it was nothing, but thirty minutes later, on the fairway of the fourth hole, he suddenly collapsed on the ground, kicking and clutching the grass. He was still alive when his caddy seized his arm, but by the time the others reached him he was dead.

So began the first recorded adventure of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin: the case Archie called Fer-de-Lance. Wolfe was drawn into the case on Wednesday, June 7; he concluded it successfully just two weeks later, on Wednesday, June 21.

Information taken from NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street by William S. Baring-Gould, page 95 of Bantam paperback edition published February 1970

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Fer-De-Lance – February 1992

Fer-De-Lance - February 1992 - front cover
Fer-De-Lance - February 1992 - back cover

A Bantam Book
Copyright 1934, 1962 By Rex Stout
Bantam Crime Line edition …February 1992
Contents
Introduction by Loren D. Estleman
Fer-de-Lance
Rear Cover Text:


FER-DE-LANCE

As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is
among the most dreaded snakes known to man. When someone makes a present
of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he’s getting dreadfully close
to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college
president. As for Wolfe, he’s playing snake charmer in a case with more
twists than an anaconda — whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch
a killer who’s got poison in his heart.

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Fer-De-Lance – July 1968

Fer-De-Lance - July 1968 - front cover
Fer-De-Lance - July 1968 - rear cover

A Pyramid Book
Copyright 1934, 1962 By Rex Stout
3rd Printing…July 1968

Contents
Fer-de-Lance
Rear Cover Text:

Remote-Control Murder

Barstow Dropped dead on the golf course — heart attack, said his doctor… his family… and the police.

But Nero Wolfe looked at a cut-up newspaper and some steamship tags… and called it murder — a unique and incredibly complex murder!

A wild guess? Not when Wolfe bet his last $10,000 that he was right!


The following is an excerpt from NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street by William S. Baring-Gould concerning FER-DE-LANCE.


On the afternoon of Sunday, June 4, 1933, Peter Oliver Barstow, fifty-eight-year-old president of Holland University, was playing golf on the links of the Green Meadow Club near Pleasantville, thirty miles north of New York City. The round was a foursome, Barstow playing with his son, Lawrence, his neighbor, E. D. Kimball the grain broker, and Kimball’s son, Manuel.As Barstow swung at the ball on his first drive, he uttered a little exclamation, with a startled look on his face, and began rubbing his belly. The others asked him what was wrong, and he said something about
a wasp or a hornet and started to open his shirt. His son looked inside at the skin and saw a tiny puncture, almost invisible. Barstow insisted it was nothing, but thirty minutes later, on the fairway of the fourth hole, he suddenly collapsed on the ground, kicking and clutching the grass. He was still alive when his caddy seized his arm, but by the time the others reached him he was dead.

So began the first recorded adventure of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin: the case Archie called Fer-de-Lance. Wolfe was drawn into the case on Wednesday, June 7; he concluded it successfully just two weeks
later, on Wednesday, June 21.


Information taken from NERO WOLFE of West Thirty-Fifth Street by William S. Baring-Gould, page 95 of Bantam paperback edition published February 1970

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