Another Wolfe List post that I thought I would archive here.
While rereading Man Alive today, I noticed that another hint about Archie’s age shows up in this one.
Page numbers taken from Three Doors To Death – the Bantam Reissue Edition paperback first published March 1995, 8th printing.
First clue is on page 38 where Wolfe is talking to Cynthia and telling her he wants the folks that have keys to the business there in his office that evening. She replies as follows:
“But good lord.” She was flabbergasted. “I can’t just order them around! What can I say? I can’t say I want them to help find out who killed my uncle because they don’t know it was my uncle? You must consider they’re much older than I am – all but Bernard – and they think I’m just a fresh kid. Even Bernard is seven years older. After all, I’m only twenty-one – that is I will be – my God!”
And she goes on to say that her birthday is the next day.
The next clue is on page 41 where Archie is in Bernard Daumery’s office just after being introduced to Bernard.
Cynthia’s statistics had informed me that he was four years younger than me, and I might as well concede them to him.
So Cynthia is 21, Bernard is 7 years older than her, or 28, and 4 years younger than Archie, which would put Archie at 32. Unless the ever literal Archie is figuring her age at 20 due to her birthday being the next day which would put him at 31.
To link this to my previous post about Archie’s age, I noticed that “Man Alive” was written in 1947 and “In The Best Families” was written in 1950. So if he was 31 or 32 in MA then he would be “about” 34 in ITBF.
Though I do agree that Stout has Archie’s age pegged at somewhere around 30 throughout the corpus, I find it interesting that he kept the time-line consistent through these two stories.