Please Pass The Guilt

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 10

After all these years with Wolfe, Archie finally looks up the word “seduced” in the dictionary! shows it as:

se·duce (sĭ-dūs’, -dyūs’)
tr.v., -duced, -duc·ing, -duc·es.
1 To lead away from duty, accepted principles, or proper conduct. See synonyms at lure.
2 To induce to engage in sex.
3 a To entice or beguile into a desired state or position.
b To win over; attract.
[Middle English seduisen, from Old French seduire, seduis-, alteration (influenced by Medieval Latin sēdūcere, to lead astray) of suduire, to seduce, from Latin subdūcere, to withdraw : sub-, sub- + dūcere, to lead.]

His dictionary is a bit more old fashion:

1. To persuade (one) as into disobedience, disloyalty, or desertion of a lord or cause.
2. To lead or drew (one) aside or astray, as into an evil, foolish, or disastrous course or action from that which is god, wise, etc; as to be deduced into war; to seduce one from his duty; to tempt or entice; as, pleasures that seduced her from home.
3. To induce to evil; to corrupt, specif., to induce to surrender chastity; to debauch.”

He goes on to say:

Even on the 3 I couldn’t charge him at some appropriate moment with having asked me to go too far, since we had no evidence that either of them had any chastity to surrender.

Even in small doses the way Stout crafted with words continues to amaze me.

He laments that on Saturday, instead of being at Shea Stadium, he was out on Long Island Sound in the cockpit of a 30 foot boat, by the name of Happygolucky, removing a flounder from Sylvia Venner’s line. Seems that she didn’t like dancing or baseball, had already seen all the shows in town, wouldn’t like Rusterman’s because she was on a diet, but liked to fish as long as she didn’t have to touch one.

We (the ones reading along that is) next get to see the siftings of the past 56 hours from Saul and Fred and Orrie but if you’re not reading along you didn’t miss much.

He and Wolfe had talked it over Friday night and decided the Odell didn’t supply the bomb himself because his wife would have known it and wouldn’t have paid them a 100 grand to dig into it. Other things were also discussed but nothing useful deduced.

The scene coming up is one of the better ones in the book if not the corpus.

Archie gets back to his present and starts telling us about Sylvia, how she looked and that she had quit bothering with the dimples. After Archie’s aside about what they had for lunch he gets to where she asks him if he knows what etymology is.

He does and brings Wolfe into the discussion.

She counters with:

“I think words are fascinating. I was thinking, looking at you while you were dropping the anchor, take words like ‘pecker’ and ‘prick.’ In their vulgar sense, or maybe I should say their colloquial sense.”

Without batting an eye I said, “You mean ‘prick’ as a noun. Not as a verb”

She nodded. “Yes, a noun. It means ‘a pointed instrument,’ and ‘peck’ means ‘to strike repeatedly and often with a pointed instrument.’ So the definition of ‘pecker’ and ‘prick’ is identical.”

“Sure. I’ve never looked them up, but evidently you have.”

“Of course. In Webster and in the OED. There’s an OED at the office. Of course the point is that – well, well, there’s a pun. ‘Point.’ The point is that they both begin with p, and ‘penis’ begins with p.”

“I’ll be damned. It certainly does.”

There’s your taste. It degenerates (?) from there. 😉

After the discussion of the suppression of the V by the P or something like that, she asks him when he’s gonna start with the questions.

He responds in typical Archie fashion and gets the conversation turned to who she thinks planted the bomb. After an interlude with a snarled line she tells him a little about the scene when she got to the room after the bomb had gone off. She suspects that Ken Meer had done it. And he did have blood on his hands when she got there.

Her reasoning is a bit convoluted and I’ll let you puzzle it out for yourself.

Archie doesn’t think he learned anything of any value or as he put it: I had got all the questions in but had nothing to light a fire with.

He carries her home and when he gets to the Brownstone Wolfe if eating so he goes to the kitchen and ate with Fritz.

Later in the office Wolfe wants to Archie to “exhibit” her. He does with glee, enjoying the description of the picnic lunch but Wolfe isn’t so enthused.

The description of the discussion of words is priceless! Wolfe seems to think that she may have made a contribution to linguistics but he isn’t sure and goes to get a book. After words from Archie he puts it aside and they resume.

As Fritz had left to spend a night and a day and another night as he saw fit Archie brings Wolfe a beer as he heads out to join Lily at the Flamingo.

The end of chapter 10 and it doesn’t look like they have anything firm or even middling soft. Well, Wolfe has a book to read. 😉

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.


Albert Freyer; Counselor at Law aka David E. Patty

Email –

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 9

We get to see a first here in chapter 9. The first time Cramer has ever come and been invited into the office while there was a briefing session going on with the “hired hands”.

Saul pulls a stunt that ends with Cramer at Archie’s desk in his chair, Saul in The Red Leather Chair, and Archie in one of the yellow chairs.

Update – contact_verb informed me that – Re: musical chairs. It’s Archie that ends up in the RLC.

Oops! Thanks for catching that!

Went back and reread it and I had missed the last movement of the waltz, where Saul moved to the yellow chair that Archie brought for Cramer, leaving the Red Leather Chair empty so he took it.

Wolfe is not amused.

There is a bit of banter back and forth and Cramer tells Wolfe to not mind him and go ahead.

Wolfe asks if Archie had covered the ground to the trio’s satisfaction.

Fred says he doesn’t have more room in his notebook. 😉

Wolfe asks for suggestions.

After Fred, Orrie, and Saul all three make remarks about asking Cramer or the police for different bits of evidence, Cramer has remarks for the lot of them.

A bit more back and forth and Wolfe tells Archie to get Mr. Abbott.

Archie shows off his memory and calls from Wolfe’s phone and in 4 minutes gets the President of CAN and hands it to Wolfe.

Wolfe tells Abbott that he has just given the known facts about to 3 operatives and asks for permission, in the form of a letter from him, for them to move freely within the company to investigate. After a bit of discussion Abbott agrees.

Wolfe tells the 3 wolfecateers that they are on a fishing expidation and goes on to give them precise things that he wants to know. They are to report to Archie daily as usual and unlimited (!) funds are available for bribes should the need arise. He then asks Archie if $500 will be enough.

Archie says it will do for a start and gets the money out of the cash box in the safe and disperses it while Wolfe gives more instructions.

Wolfe asks Cramer if he has question or comment before they go and getting a “no” in response they leave.

Archie and Cramer swap chairs. 😉

Wolfe asks who told him about the Monday evening visitors and is told that Kenneth Meer phoned Rowcliff yesterday morning.

Cramer reports verbatum and it’s a riot!

Wolfe has remarks and then asks if Cramer is desperate and gets a one word answer in response.


Desperate men need help so Wolfe offers beer and Cramer accepts. 😉

Seems that the police are stumped as to who was supposed to be blown up too. Cramer isn’t exactly asking for help but wants to trade information.

Fritz brings Cramer his beer.

Wolfe is pragmatic and says that though there is mutual respect between them there isn’t mutual trust so they can’t do business.

Cramer thanks him for the beer and has more words for him. Quite a good scene.

He leaves, with cigar in the beer glass instead of the floor or trash can.

Wolfe and Archie discuss it a bit and Archie asks if he is to just sit and take calls from the help and Wolfe answers:

“No. You are to seduce either Miss Lugos or Miss Venner. Which one?”
I raised one brow. He can’t do that. “Why not both?”
We discussed it.

And we come to the end of chapter 9. Wolfe is spending money like it isn’t his! And must have some glimmer since he didn’t bait Crammer for more than tidbits.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 8

This chapter starts off at 6:40 Tuesday evening in the office with Theodore Falk in the Red Leather Chair.

Flashback to the past four and a half hours before lunch where Archie says:

much had been done but nothing visible had been accomplished.

Boy, have I had a bunch of those lately…

They decide that Cramer will be let in if he comes.

Saul Panzer, Fred Durkin and Orrie Cather have been hired with Fred and Orrie getting $8 and Saul getting $15 per hour and are to report Wednesday morning at 10 am.

Falk is checked up on with a vp at Wolfe’s bank and Lon Cohen.

Archie gives a good description of him this paragraph:

I had learned that Falk was way up. He was a senior member of one of the oldest and solidest investment firms and sat on eight boards of directors. He had a wife and three grown-up children, and he and they were also solid socially. Evidently a man the race could be proud of, and from personal observation the only thing I had against him was his buttoned-down shirt collar. A man who hates loose flaps so much that he buttons down his collar should also button down his ears.

Wolfe wants to know if Odell were going to do something “Opprobrious. Mean. Furtive. Knavish. Tricky.” would he tell anyone.

Falk while thinking about it looks at the pictures and gives Archie a excuse to describe them to us. 😉

One of Socrates, one of Shakespeare, and an unwashed coal miner in oil by Sepeshy. (According to Wolfe, man’s three resources: intellect, imagination, and muscle.)

After a quick search it looks like the oil was by Zoltan Sepeshy (1898-1974). Some information about him is at:
Any other info on these paintings?

After balking a bit Falk talks to Wolfe about the LSD and says that if Odell had been going to do what he, Wolfe and the police all suspected he was up to that he would have told no one. He also says he wants the case cracked and that is why he is there, because there are things that Mrs Odell wouldn’t tell the police that she would tell Wolfe so he has a much better chance of catching the killer.

Falk’s feeling is that the bomb was meant for Browning.

He also thinks that it may have been meant for Meer as Browning’s man friday and put there by Copes who would like to have his job. He thinks but doesn’t know a lot of other thing too. Archie says he could fill another three or four pages with things Theodore Falk didn’t know but they were of no help.

Descriptions of the evening conclude with Fritz coming to announce dinner just after Archie lets Falk out and them undecided if he was truthful or not.

The chapter ends at 11:10 Wednesday morning when the doorbell rang and it was Cramer:

Archie thinks that now that Cramer has come on the scene that Wolfe will buckle down and go to work.

Wolfe made a face, opened his mouth and then clamped his jaw, and in five seconds unclamped it to growl, “Bring him.”

And so ends chapter 8. Lots of questions still but not many answers.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 7

Tuesday morning finds Archie in the office of James J. Farquhar, who owned the yacht Prospero, and with whom Amory Browning and wife had spent the weekend in question.

Archie takes a round about way to the information and spins a cute tale in the process which is worth the read. Goad, goad… 😉

He gets the answer that Amroy Browning and wife were on the yacht and out reach of any telephone at the time Miss Haber claimed to have called him.

Archie stops at a telephone booth on Broad Street and calls in and Wolfe tells him to come home that he will call and get Miss Haber there.

Upon arriving at the Brownstone he finds Wolfe sharpening his pen knife.

He was going to slice her. At his desk, with his oilstone and a can of oil on a sheet of paper, he was sharpening his pen knife. Though he doesn’t use it much, he sharpens it about once a week, but almost never at that time of day. Evidently his subconscious had taken over. I went to my desk and took out the Marley .38, and asked, “Do I shoot her before you carve her, or after?”

He gave me a look.

Wolfe asks if Browning could have called and set it up and Archie tells him about the phony buildup and that he had watched his face and seen nothing. Then asks if Wolfe had gotten Miss Haber.

The doorbell rang…

After depositing the Marley back in the desk drawer (he must not think she is the killer after all) he goes to the door to find both Miss Haber and Mrs. Odell.

Wolfe says to bring them but that he may have to drag Mrs. Odell to the front room.

Mrs. Odell enters talking.

Wolfe bellowed at her:

“Shut up!”

Then proceeds to lay down the law to her.

It’s a good scene.

They get seated and Wolfe starts in on Miss Haber by reminding her what he had told her on the phone and then asks her why she told him that lie.

She responds haltingly and tries to tell him it wasn’t a lie but he’s not buying and explains to her that unless she tells him who told her to lie she will leave with a cop.

Mrs. Odell interrupts and Wolfe tells Archie to remove her.

She tells Archie not to touch her.

Archie tells her that he would rather not but that he has bounced bigger and stronger women than her and has no scars from it. Then goes on to explain that they got caught and that she should accept it and that the guarantee also states that when the circumstances put he and Wolfe under legal compulsion give the info to the police that they would reveal what they knew.

He gives quite a speech bringing in the fact that whether or not Wolfe forgives and forgets that he is good and sore and would love to go and call a police sergeant he knows as well as a man at the Gazette.

That said he turns to Wolfe and tells him that he thinks she understands where they stand.

He then tells her:

“If you get the idea that you can say it was all a lie, that you wanted to fasten it on Browning and made it all up, nothing doing. They found LSD in your husband’s pocket and they’ve got it. You’re stuck, absolutely, and if you try to wiggle you’ll just make it worse.”

The next bit is her trying to think. Then she wants to know how they figured out Miss Haber was lying.

Wolfe explains that Archie had talked to the man who owned the yacht that Browning had spent the weekend on.

Mrs Odell admits to having given Miss Haber money to lie for her and goes on with a rant about how she knows that Browning killed her husband with the bomb. She mentions being willing to spend all her money on finding out who killed him and then asks Wolfe if he can “handle” Goodwin.

Wolfe tells her that the problem isn’t handling Mr Goodwin but that her problem was handling him.

Again a good scene. Best find the book… 😉

She takes the checkbook out and pronounces that she is going to give him a check for one hundred thousand dollars to start with but that he may have to pay out that much or more and starts to write.

Wolfe (can’t you see him sweating here) says NO and tells that he would not engage to demonstrate that Mr Browning killed her husband.

He turns back to Miss Haber and asks her if she told anyone about the LSD to which she replies that she has told no one.

He asks if she goes to church and when she says yes, Lutheran but not every Sunday, has Archie get a bible and has her swear on it. Archie gives a nice description of the bible collection.

She swears that she didn’t know what Mrs Odell was going to do with the LSD until Saturday, June 7th.

Wolfe turns to Mrs Odell and wants to know who she told. She says no one but that her late husband may have and starts naming names.

Wolfe puts her off as it’s lunch time and tells her to make a list of names with relevant comments and states that his commitment is to try to learn who killed her husband and get enough evidence to convict him.

She wrote the check.

Tomorrow brings chapter 8 and hopefully some clues. Wolfe has a lot of money hanging in the balance here. He’s already “earned” the $20,000 since she lied to him and now has another 100 grand to play with.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 starts with Archie trying to decide on whether or not Mrs Odell would get her check back. He doesn’t want to put it in the bank until he is sure that neither she or Wolfe is going to call the whole deal off.

She got the whole crew to agree go be there but she wanted to come early and Wolfe didn’t want her there at all. She delivers an ultimatum.

Archie gets the Heron sedan and headed over and sweet talked her into doing it Wolfe’s way.

The party started a bit before 9 with Sylvia Venner being first and Kenneth Meer being last at 9:08.

Archie gives a good visual description of them here. Read the book. 😉

Wolfe comes in and thanks them for coming on behalf of Mrs. Odell and then starts in on them.

The first interruption comes from Theodore Falk.

Wolfe continues with his dissection of the crime and the “he did, she did, they did” routine.

Cass R. Abbott (the current president of CAN) is the second to interrupt with “Tommyrot!”
and wanting to know what “facts” Wolfe wants.

Wolfe tells them he doesn’t know and that he doesn’t really think he will get anything out of them. But goes on and starts the round robin Q and A session:

A question, Mr. Abbott: Do you think it likely that the person who put the bomb in the drawer is now in this room?”

To which he gets the expected assortment of answers. You want the details? 😉

He continues with wanting to know where they were 3 weeks ago on Friday, May sixteenth, to Sunday, May eighteenth and how they spent the weekend.

When he gets to Browning he and Archie get a shock as he tells them he and his wife spent the entire time on a yacht on the Sound as guests of James Farquhar, the banker.

So Miss Haber was lying about when (and if?) she called him to warn him.

After another complaint from Abbott, Wolfe gets up and tells them that it would be fruitless to continue, thanks them again for coming and leaves the room.

Archie gets the guests herded up and out and goes into the kitchen to see Wolfe, who is waiting for the foam to settle enough to drink his beer.

It’s going on eleven o’clock,” I said. “I would love to start on it right now, but I suppose I can’t.”
“Of course not,” he growled. He drank beer. “Do we need to discuss it?”
“I don’t think so.” I went and got a bottle of scotch from the cupboard. There are times when milk will not do. “I have a suggestion. Do you want it?”
He said yes, and I gave it to him.

And thus ends yet another episode in the continuing Rex Stout mystery drama: Please Pass The Guilt. 😉
They have one lead anyway – The rather obvious lie that Miss Haber told about the time and day she called Browning. Guess we will see what chapter 7 brings.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 starts off with Archie escorting Mrs. Peter J. Odell into the office. He notes that she didn’t notice the 14 by 26 Keraghan rug or 3 foot globe.

Not sure about the globe but while out hunting books, a while back, I found a book by the name of Oriental Rugs In Colour by Preben Liebetrau and remembering the rugs mentioned in the Corpus I got it and promptly lost it in the piles of assorted books that are everywhere around here. After reading the above in chapter 5, I spent part of the morning clearing up a backlog of sticking books on shelves and finely found it. However upon looking don’t find Keraghan listed but there are 2 plates depicting Kirman Rugs from Iran which I have posted here on the site  for anyone interested.

I am not sure that this is even the style of rug Stout had in mind but this is the closest I can find. Neither nor search shows Keraghan. Any and all input is welcome. Old postings about the rugs or pointers to sites with more information would be nice too.

Anyway back to the story. Mrs. Odell has brought her secretary, Charlotte Haber, because she says she may need her.

Archie’s description of Miss Haber isn’t too flattering. 😉

Mrs. Odell tells Wolfe that she has asked 3 men about him and he suggests that she should have asked more.

She wants to know:

“Your man told me that you said the police are neglecting the most important question, why did my husband go to Browning’s room and open that drawer: I want to know why that is so important.” She got her bag and opened it and took out a check fold. “How much for telling me that?”

Wolfe won’t take money, yet.

He makes a speech. Tis good too. Read the book… 😉

She counters with what the police think.

Wolfe and she volley back and forth a bit.

She tries to give him $20,0000 for a retainer so she can tell him something in confidence.

He won’t do it that way but with that kind of money in the offering turns to Archie and dictates a receipt that should take care of her qualms.

She isn’t sure but agrees to read it after Archie types it.

Archie watches Miss Haber in the 4 x 6 foot mirror as she exhibits surprise at his use of all 10 digits on the typewriter.

Mrs. Odell reads it and accepts it.

Wolfe wants to know what she wants him to do before he considers himself committed.

She tells him she knows (!) why her husband went into the drawer in Browning’s desk. And goes on to tell him that Miss Haber knows too. Also that she knows that the bomb was intended for her husband.

Wolfe expresses surprise and asks if she has told the police.

She says she hasn’t told anyone but him and then starts telling him about it.

The gist is that there was to be a stock holders meeting that afternoon at 5 to decide who would be the new president of CAN and that as Odell and Browning were the two top ones on the list Mrs Odell gets some LSD for her husband to slip into Browning’s whiskey so that when he came in and took a drink at 4 (as was his habit) he would be in la-la land by the time of the meeting and Odell would get the job.

She expresses surprise that Wolfe not only knows what LSD is but can pronounce it.

She tells him that the police know about the LSD as they found it in Odell’s coat pocket but are reserving the information.

Her secretary, Miss Haber, was the one that got the LSD for her. Then Miss Haber found, by eavesdropping on Mrs. Odell and her husband, what they were going to do with it and phoned Browning and told him about it 4 days before the incident.

Miss Haber’s story was that she was concerned about the quantity of LSD (4 tablespoons of it!) would kill him and she didn’t want to be a murderer so she had called Browning Friday evening, May 16, from a phone booth and told him that someone was going to put a dangerous drug in his whisky and he had better not drink it. She said she didn’t use any names when talking to him about it.

Wolfe cross examines for details.

He doesn’t like it and communicates that fact to Archie with a look.

Wolfe wants the principles there tomorrow evening at 9:

Mr. Browning
Mr. Abbott
Mr. Falk
Mr. Meer
Mrs. Browning
Mis Lugos
Miss Venner

She balks.

He hands her the check back and wants the receipt.

She is not amused but after looking at Archie’s “open, intelligent, interested, sympathetic phiz” goes:

“Damn it,” she said. “Give me the list.”

Looks like we are a little further along today than yesterday. We now know why Odell opened the drawer. Not real good news for Browning as Miss Haber’s phone call puts him in the hot seat. And looks like we get to see Mr. Meer again, this time in the company of his coworkers. Should be interesting.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Kirman Rugs

While reading Please Pass The Guilt chapter 5 mentions the 14 x 26 Keraghan rug in the office. While out hunting books a while back I found a book by the name of Oriental Rugs In Colour by Preben Liebetrau and remembering the rugs mentioned in the Corpus I got the book. I just found it and upon looking don’t find Keraghan listed but there are 2 plates depicting Kirman Rugs from Iran.

Kirman Rugs

Kirman Rugs

14. Kirman, Iran
The large town of Kirman in the south of Iran produces handsome and lustrous drawing room carpets in dense and strong qualities and many sizes, right up to 11’6″ X 16’6″ (3,50 X 5,00 m.). The foundation is cotton, the pile fine wool, and the knots Senneh. Pastel shades often appear in the ground of these rugs, for instance, a pale cream, green or blue. The design is very conservative, and old traditions have been continued in their floral patterns, especially in the stylized roses.

Kirman Rugs

Kirman Rugs

15. Kirman, Iran
This is a typical Kirman rug, with a beautifully designed center medallion set off by the plain blue ground. The rug is enclosed in a broken floral border, thus exemplifying the Iranian combination of patterns. Such richly decorated rugs with flowers and flower-sprays scattered over the whole field are very popular in England, and have for many years been produced specially for the English market. Of course, not all the rug-making is done in Kirman itself; rugs are made in the surrounding country as well, but nearly all of them are marketed under the name of Kirman. An exception are rugs from the towns of Yezd and Raver situated north and south of Kinnan. They are usually described as ‘Kirman Yezd’ and ‘Kirman Raver’. It is not unusual to find people or animals in Kirman rugs.


Just got the following from Phil Fischer from the WolfeHounds email list. Thanks Phil!

In “Might As Well Be Dead” the 14 x 26 rug is a feraghan

In “If Death Ever Slept” the 14 x 26 rug is a keraghan, it is misspelled.

In “Bullet For One” there is a kerman rug.

In “If Death Ever Slept” there is a kirman rug.

Kerman rugs come from Kerman province in southeastern Iran (whose capitol is also called Kerman).

Every April and probably again in October the 14 x 26 feraghan is sent out for cleaning and is replaced with two rugs, a kerman and a larger shirvan.

Wolfe also owns an 11 x 15 kashan rug which is installed in the third floor “south room”.

Phil Fischer

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts, Wolfe Discussion | Tags: | 2 Comments

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 4

Archie starts this chapter off trying to figure out how to get Madeline Odell, the widow, hooked.

He talks about being absent minded (forgetting to put fresh water in the vase on Wolfe’s desk) and being short with Fritz that morning while his mind gnawed on the problem.

After lunch he goes out on a walk with a couple of unnecessary errands as an excuse and didn’t get back till after 4, so he had the office all to himself.

He types a letter to Mrs Odell introducing himself and telling her that Wolfe had told him that the most crucial fact was being ignored.

Details will have to come from the book. 😉

After correcting and rephrasing a few things he makes a final copy on letterhead stationary with 2 carbons, addressed an envelope and went out and mailed it.

The next day while Wolfe was dictating a long letter, her secretary calls wanting Archie to put Wolfe on for Mrs. Odell.

Archie tells her Wolfe isn’t available and that the letter said it was personal anyway.

Mrs. Odell decides she wants to see him at 3 o’clock, and he decides to give up his outing at Shea Stadium and go see her.

After getting off he and Wolfe go back to the letter, which takes another full notebook page.

Archie gets lunch at Sam’s diner on Tenth Ave and has baked beans and rye bread, two items that never appear on Wolfe’s table, and then walks nearly 2 miles from West Thirty-fifth to East Sixty-third.

Once at the building, a 5 story, 40 foot wide stone mansion between Fifth and Madison, he is stopped at the door by a Lathrop Protective Service employee. After giving his name and showing a card the “husky” gives the card to a woman inside who calls up on an intercom and verifies he is expected.

He’s taken up “past two doors and stop at another” which would be the 4th floor and then into a room, the whole width of the house, where Mrs. Odell is watching the Mets on tv. He asks the score and is told:

“Mets two, Pirates four, last of the fourth. Sit down.”

He obeys and watches the game with her till a commercial when she turns the sound off.

They talk and watch the game.

Here again, you’re going to need to read the book to get the details and they are some good details too. Archie is his usual suave and smart mouthed self.

She wants him to get Wolfe up there NOW! Archie tells her no but she is welcome to come to the brownstone at 6 p.m..

He leaves, wondering if he had hooked her or not. He gets home and stays in for the evening just in case she calls, or tells Cramer or the DA.

Saturday morning he calls and cancels a ball game date with Lily Rowan and sends the tickets to her by messenger. About 8 minutes after the messenger leaves, Mrs. Odell calls and wants Wolfe there NOW!

Archie refuses and makes a remark about if there was a way to score pigheadedness, he thought Wolfe would still win.

More remarks are made and then she agrees to come at 6 p.m..

So now he gets to figure out how to break it to Wolfe that they have a customer.

It being Sunday he isn’t sure what Wolfe’s schedule will be, but a little after 11 he shows up in the office with a 14 inch raceme of Peristeria elata in one hand and a paper under the other arm.

Since he seemed to be in a good mood, Archie hits him with a full frontal assault and tells him that Mrs. Odell will be there at 6 p.m.

Wolfe isn’t pleased, but Archie reminds him that the bank balance is rather dismal.

Wolfe still isn’t pleased but Archie tells him he has the choice of going to work or firing him. With the prospect of having to do without his main goad Wolfe agrees to see her.

Archie then tells him that he has also already talked to Lon Cohen for a hour and a half and learned a few things that haven’t been printed.

“Confound it.” He made a face. “Very well. Talk. From Mr. Cohen, the substance. Your conversation with that woman, verbatim.”
I talked.

So Wolfe gets to work. Still not much to go on here. Bits and pieces but no meat so far. Or nothing that I have noted. Maybe we’ll learn something in the next chapter.

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 3

Archie tells us that they keep copies of the Times and Gazette for 3 or more weeks and that he would have looked up the Odell murder (now we know where the blood came from) since he had now meet Kenneth Meer, out of simple curiosity, but they needed a job having had only 6 so far in 1969 (so the calendar was right).

He goes on about the checking account balance and gets down to some facts about the murder.

Who: Peter J. Odell
What: Opened the bottom drawer of a desk and was killed instantly when a bomb in the drawer went off.
When: Tuesday May 20 at 3:17 pm.
Where: A room on the 6th floor of the Continental Air Network (CAN) building at West Fifty-Fourth Street.

The desk wasn’t Odell’s. It belonged to Amory Browning, the vp in charge of programming. The drawer was where Browning kept his supply of Ten-Mile Creek bourbon. Nobody knew (or admitted to knowing) what Odell was doing going into the drawer in the first place. And no one admitted seeing him enter the room.

Archie goes on to give more background on it but you get to find and read the book to get that part… 😉

He reads the accounts in 15 copies of both papers and then calls Lon Cohen at the Gazette. Archie invites Lon to meet him at Rusterman’s at 6:15 that evening for dinner before their weekly Thursday 8 o’clock poker game at Saul Panzer’s apartment.

I take the 15 copies of each paper to mean that it’s been 15 days since the the murder and there has been at least one update on this high profile case a day per paper.

He then calls Felix at Rusterman’s and reserves the small upstairs room, noting that his request was personal and not on behalf of Wolfe.

Good lines here and there that I’m not mentioning. Well worth the read if you’re not already. 😉

Archie tells Wolfe that he will leave before 6 that evening but not why.

Vollmer phoned in the middle of the afternoon to say that Dr Ostrow didn’t want to know what “Ron’s” real name was but Archie goes on to say:

“Which of course was a polite lie. Dr. Ostrow would certainly have liked to know the name, but not from Wolfe if had got it by a trick.

Now we get to 4 pages of “He said, she said, they said” with Lon and Archie at Rusterman’s.

Archie assures Lon that Wolfe isn’t involved and Lon suggests to Archie:

“You could just put an ad in the Gazette. Of course with a box number since Wolfe mustn’t know you’re drumming.”

I’m going to let you sift through the next bit on your own as at the end of the chapter Archie says it best:

When, at a quarter to eight, out on the sidewalk, we decided to walk the eleven blocks to Saul Panzer’s instead of scouting for a taxi, I had collected around a hundred more facts and guesses, but it would be a waste of paper and ink to list them for you since none of them was any help to my program. Also I will not report on the course of events at the poker table, except to say that having a complicated operation on my mind was no help to my wallet. I lost sixty-eight bucks.

The one prominent fact that Archie got, that is of some importance, is about the recently widowed Mrs. Odell being worth somewhere between 70 to 80 million bucks! Guess we can see which golden goose Archie is getting ready to put a move on…

One other thing that came out in that fact finding mission:

It seems that nobody knows just who the bomb was planted by or for. The cops and the reporters are all stumped.

Now if Archie can figure a way for Wolfe to get cut in on the action. 😉

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Please Pass The Guilt – Chapter 2

Archie starts this chapter off by telling us that the happenings in the first chapter took place on Tuesday the third of June. According to my calendar program the year would have had to be 1969 or 1975 and the book was published in 1973 so…

Anyone have any history or info on when Stout wrote PPTG?

And here is where we meet the cleaning crew! The company is the Midtown Home Service Corporation. The employees are always male “because Wolfe insists on it” but this time they (Andy and Sam) brought along Lucile who was:

“a husky coal-black female with shoulders nearly as broad as mine.”

After getting them started Archie goes back to the kitchen for his second cup of coffee. He and Fritz joke about a woman in the house. There is quite a bit of excellent interplay between Archie and Fritz and then Archie and Wolfe here. 😉 Read the book…

Archie tells Wolfe that there is a woman up cleaning his room and:

He sat, got his nineteen stone (it looks better in stone than in pounds) arranged in his made-to-order chair, glanced at his desk calendar, and picked up the stack the mailman had brought. He looked at me. “Are there female Black Panthers?”

“I’ll look it up. If there are, Lucile isn’t one. She would be a black mare, Clydesdale or Percheron. She can pick up the vacuum cleaner with one finger.”

“She is in my house by invitation. I’ll have to speak with her, at least a nod and a word.”

Then Archie tells us that he doesn’t have to after all as Andy kept her out of his path.

19 stone is what Archie reports his weight to be here, or 266 pounds, as the English measure – stone is equal to 14 pounds.

Anyway, back in the office Archie is making entries on the germination and performance cards when Dr. Vollmer calls to tell him that Ronald Seaver would be there at 9 pm.

Archie gets a fancy glass and metal jar with the sharpened ends of a dozen pencils protruding at the top and places it on his desk and aims it at the chair Ron will be sitting in and plugs it in.

Ron comes into the picture nearly half an hour late at 9:23 pm. Archie makes a remark at him and he mumbles in reply. Once in the office he thinks about backing out but Archie indicates the Red Leather Chair and instead he went to Wolfe’s desk and put out a hand. Wolfe said:

“No, there’s blood on it. Sit down.”

He goes to the Red Leather Chair and takes a seat and then makes another remark about the blood.

Archie checks the camera/pencil jar to make sure it was aimed right and sits.

Wolfe asks him if he is going to tell his name and gets a “No” in reply. The same on work or what it’s about. Wolfe then turns to Archie and asks how much Ron’s suit cost. Archie tells him 200 or more and 40 on the shoes.

There is some good dialog here.

Archie shows “Ron” the camera and he gets a bit upset.

More good dialog. You know the drill by now, but one more time – Read the book. 😉

Wolfe tells him the office isn’t in the Dr’s jurisdiction and that Archie will get his name, probably tomorrow.

Archie gives us a description of “Ron’s” face here:

“his long, pointed nose, which didn’t go well with his wide, square chin, had twitched a couple of times, but that didn’t prove anything.

Kinda indicates a kinship to a rat to me. Especially the twitched bit. Subliminal on Stout’s part?

Anyway, “Ron” doesn’t believe it, so Archie shows him the camera and gives him ten to one that he will have him tagged by sundown tomorrow.

He thinks things over and gives Wolfe his drivers license which gives his name as Kenneth Meer, 5 feet 11, age 32, and his address, and tells them it’s to save them the trouble.

Ken leaves.

They discuss it. Kenneth’s name had been in the paper several times lately but Archie is being quiet about it till the next chapter.

Wolfe has Archie get Vollmer on the phone and tells him how they got the information.

“Doc” is not happy about the means they got it, and says he doesn’t want to know the name until he talks to Irwin and sees how he feels about it.

Vollmer thanks Wolfe for the favor, “not enthusiastically” and hung up.

Wolfe gets his current book, Grant Takes Command by Bruce Catton, and Archie goes upstairs to catch the last inning or two at Shea Stadium on television.

And that ends chapter 2. Not much to go on so far. But things should pick up soon enough.

The book the is mentioned was published in 1969 adding to the 1969 time-span for the story.

The following is an excerpt about Bruce Catton taken from

Catton, Bruce, 1899–1978, American historian, b. Petoskey, Mich. He studied at Oberlin College and then entered upon a varied career as a journalist (1926–42) and public official (1942–52). His service with the War Production Board during World War II led to his first major book, The War Lords of Washington (1948). After 1952 he devoted himself to full-time literary work, serving as an editor from 1954 (senior editor, 1959) of the American Heritage magazine. In 1954 he received the Pulitzer Prize for his historical work, A Stillness at Appomattox (1953). Catton has written extensively on the military history of the Civil War; his many works include Mr. Lincoln’s Army (1951), Glory Road (1952), This Hallowed Ground (1956), Grant Moves South (1960), Grant Takes Command (1969), The Centennial History of the Civil War (3 vol., 1961–65), and Prefaces to History (1970).

Comments, corrections, criticism requested.

Categories: PPTG Wolfe List Posts | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Blog at