Posts Tagged With: Mystery

Champagne For One – January 1996 – Bantam Reissue – 8th Printing

Champagne For One –Bantam Reissue - January 1996 - 8th Printing - Front Cover

Champagne For One –Bantam Reissue - January 1996 - 8th Printing - Front Cover

Champagne For One –Bantam Reissue - January 1996 - 8th Printing - Rear Cover

Champagne For One –Bantam Reissue - January 1996 - 8th Printing - Rear Cover

A Bantam Book
Copyright 1958 By Rex Stout
Bantam Reissue Edition – January 1996
8th Printing

Contents:

Champagne For One

Rear Cover Intro:

CHAMPAGNE FOR ONE

Faith Usher had a decidedly morbid personality. She talked about taking her life, and kept cyanide in her purse. So when she collapses and dies from a lethal champagne cocktail in the middle of a high society dinner party, everyone calls it suicide – including the police. But Archie was watching it all, and suspects it was murder.  So does Nero Wolfe, especially after he’s warned by four men against taking the case.  For the world’s most formidable detective it is a tantalizing puzzle involving an unlikely combination of philanthropy, deception, blackmail, and an unrepentant killer who just may have committed the perfect crime.

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Man Alive and Archie’s Age

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.

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A couple of points about “In the Best Families”

The following is a post I just made to the Wolfe Mailing List and thought it would be good to archive here.

Hello All,

Even though I know that today (8/23/09) we are supposed to start (not) discussing “Man Alive” from “Three Doors to Death “, I thought I would post this about the book we just finished (not) discussing. 🙂

Just reread In the Best Families and noted a couple of points that I thought were interesting. I seem to remember at least some of this coming up in discussion before but a quick search in my very limited email archives didn’t show anything so thought I would post this.

The copy I read this time was the Bantam paperback 8th printing printed in Sept 1984, and that’s what the page numbers I am giving are based on.

—————–

The first bit I noted was on the first page of the first chapter and is related to Archie’s salary. The person Archie is talking about is Mrs. Barry Rackham, who has called and wants to see Wolfe on business. The relevant text is as follows:

On the main point of interest, could she and did she pay her bills, the news was favorable: she was worth a good four million and maybe five. Calling it four, and assuming that Wolfe’s bill for services rendered would come to only half of it, that would be enough to pay my current salary – as Wolfe’s secretary, trusted assistant and official gnat – for a hundred and sixty-seven years; and in addition to that, living as I did there in Wolfe’s house, I also got food and shelter. So I was fixed for life if it turned out that she needed two million buck’s worth of detective work.

So in a round about way he tells us how much he makes a year. 2 million divided by 167 is $11976.05 if we round up and $11976.04 if rounding down. From that I am assuming he means he makes $12,000.00 a year which breaks down to an even $1,000.00 a month but if taken even further and divided by weeks is not quite so even and comes to $230.77 a week. Any way you figure it, in 1950 dollars that is a nice little pay check.

I used the Consumer Price Index based financial calculator at http://www.minneapolisfed.org/ to do a bit of figuring on what he would be bringing in today. According to the site the following is how they do the calculation.

The CPI for 1950 = 24.1
The CPI for 2009 = 213.2

And they use the following formula to compute the calculation:
2009 Price = 1950 Price x (2009 CPI / 1950 CPI)

So that means his weekly pay now would be $2041.50 = $230.77 x (213.2/24.1)

Which would put his yearly salary at $106,157.68. Not bad for a gum shoe! And that’s NOT figuring in room and board which in New York City would be a hefty sum!

—————–

The second bit that jumped out at me this time through the book is that Archie tells his age! Or at least comes as close as any time “I” remember in the Corpus. On page 17 Leeds is talking about the folks they will meet at the Mrs. Rackham’s house, and says:

“You and me,” he said, “and my cousin and her husband, and Mrs. Frey, whom you have met, and Hammond, and the statesman, that’s seven-”
“Who’s the statesman?”
“Oliver A. Pierce.”
“I’m intimate with lots of statesmen, but I never heard of him.”
“Don’t let him know it.” Leeds chuckled. “It’s true that at thirty-four he has only got as far as state assemblyman, but the war made a gap for him the same as for other young men. Give him a chance. One will be enough.”

Then on page 19 Archie tells us:

Pierce was a smooth article. His manner was, of course, based on the law of nature regulating the attitude of an elected person toward everybody old enough to vote, but his timing and variations were so good that it was hard to recognize it, although he was only about my age.

And goes on with Pierce’s description, but the above was the part that interested me. Archie is telling us that he is about 34 years old. Now the first book in the series, Fer-de-Lance, was written in 1933 and this one, In the Best Families, was written in 1950, which gives us 17 year’s between them. Extrapolating from the above statements that he is 34, he would have been 17 when the first story came out and would have been born in 1916, neither of which fit in with other bits from elsewhere in the corpus. So either he is not telling the truth about his age (Not that Archie would EVER prevaricate!) or as has been discussed in far greater depth than I am prepared to go into here, Stout changed their ages to suit his self as the series progressed. As I said just a point I found interesting.

All in all a very good read and I quite enjoyed rereading it.

Comments, corrections, and discussion welcomed.

Dave
AKA Albert Freyer

Categories: In The Best Families, ITBF Discussion | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Light For Death – By Frank Kane

Green Light For Death – By Frank Kane
Dell Books. Good+ 1949. Softcover. Copyright 1949, later printing. Dell 918. Light creasing to cover and spine, interior pages clean & tight, age tanning to pages, darker at the top. Some pages folded over.

Rear Cover Text:

She was a gorgeous, and mysterious, girl from New York, who had taken a low-paying job in a small-town night club.

When they fished her out of the local river, she had nothing on. It didn’t matter, she was past caring.

Johnny Liddell cared, though. The girl was his client and it didn’t make sense. Why would she strip, pile her clothes neatly on the pier, and then take the plunge.

A waste, Liddell thought mournfully. A great waste.

Then he cheered up. Any case that began with a killer and a naked woman was bound to produce more of the same….

greenlightfordeath
greenlightfordeathback

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Way Of A Wanton – By Richard S. Prather

Way Of A Wanton – By Richard S. Prather
Gold Medal k1382
8th Printing January 1964

Covers show age spotting and staining. Cover coming unglued. Pages tight. Pages 71/72 and 115/116 corners turned down. Pages 121-144 have water staining top outside corner almost to spine and 2 inches down outside edge.

Front Cover Text:

“There was a fire in her eyes that was scorching me – me, Shell Scott, the private eye who couldn’t tell whether a dame wanted to kiss me, or kill me!”

Rear Cover Text:

Numbers Game

No matter how you look at it, 36-22-35 are magic numbers. They have a real message for me. I’m Shell Scott, the private eye, and I’m very good at figures. You might say I follow them very carefully. I’ve been following this one figure for several days and learned her name is Sherry. She looks as though she were designed by a sex fiend, and I hated to think she was mixed up in murder. It almost made me crawl back into my Shell. But somebody was planning to send me to my friendly neighborhood mortician and I had to find out who – or die trying.

wayofawanton
wayofawantonback

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Prisoner’s Base – 1952 – Book Club Edition

Prisoner's Base - 1952 - Book Club Edition - Dust Jacket Front Cover

Prisoner's Base - 1952 - Book Club Edition - Dust Jacket Front Cover

Prisoner's Base - 1952 - Book Club Edition - Dust Jacket Rear Cover

Prisoner's Base - 1952 - Book Club Edition - Dust Jacket Rear Cover

Copyright 1952 By Rex Stout
The Viking Press
Jacket Design By Bill English

Rear Cover Intro:

When Nero Wolfe turned down the easiest ten-thousand-dollar fee ever offered him, he didn’t expect to get involved in a deadly game – a game that reminded Archie of a grim version of prisoner’s base.
Nor did Archie imagine that he would ever be working so closely with the New York Police.

Inside Front Cover:

Prisoner’s Base
A Nero Wolfe Novel
By Rex Stout

Readers who have long followed the adventures of Nero Wolfe will surely agree not only that this is one of the neatest murder puzzles ever set down by Rex Stout, but also that it is the most exciting, adventure-filled, and breathless story he ever told.
Nero Wolfe has represented some pretty unusual clients in his time, but in this one, his client – believe it or not – is the fast-talking, hard-hitting, skirt-chasing assistant and companion to Nero, Archie Goodwin himself.
We’ll make three bets with you abut Prisoner’s Base: First – you won’t solve it. Second – you’ll agree that no author ever played more fair with his readers. Third – when you finish it, you will feel as if you have been on a forty-eight-hour, breath-taking, danger-filled chase up and down the avenues of New York, into some of Manhattan’s darkest and more terror-filled alleys.

Inside Back Cover:

From The New Yorker
Profile of Rex Stout:

“Nero Wolfe, the fat detective of Rex Stout’s novels, towers over his rivals in one respect: he is a superman who talks like a superman. It is a very tough literary trick to make a mastermind sound like a mastermind. Most of the storybook detectives are to much like the new ultra-scientific calculating machines, which have gorgeous electronic brains for solving problems but no particular talent for dialogue. Genius is the curse of the mystery story. It tends to destroy individuality and drag everybody down to the same level. It is harder to tell intellectual giants apart than Hollywood blonds. Nero, however, is an exceptional character creation – a genius who rises above mediocrity.”

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Homicide Trinity – 1962 – Book Club Edition

Homicide Trinity - 1962 - Book Club Edition - Front Cover Homicide Trinity - 1962 - Book Club Edition - Back Cover

Copyright 1962 By Rex Stout
Published in 1962 by The Viking Press, Inc

Contents:
Eeny Meeny Murder Mo – appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystry Magazine
Death Of A Demon – appeared in the SATURDAY EVENING POST
Counterfeit For Murder – appeared in the SATURDAY EVENING POST under the title of The Counterfeiter’s Knife

Rear Cover Intro:

Eeny Meeny Murder Mo
It was preposterously inconvenient. The outer door was locked as usual, yet there she lay – on Nero Wolfe’s carpet, in Nero Wolfe’s office, strangled by Nero Wolfe’s own necktie!

Death of a Demon
“Here’s the gun I’m not going to use to kill my husband.” That’s what she said. But he was killed, and with that gun, or with one just like it… and Archie Goodwin had tampered with the gun himself.

Counterfeit for Murder
Under suspicion for murder and too angry to deny it, harried Hattie Annis offered 42 grand to Nero Wolfe to make the cops eat dirt. If she was innocent, you can ask her whether he earned his fee.

Inside Cover:

Homicide Trinity
A Nero Wolfe Threesome
By Rex Stout

On the reverse of this jacket you will find the bill of fare for this three-course feast of murder, mystification, and masterful deduction. As his large and loyal fan club will attest, Rex Stout’s famous threesomes are fully as delightful as his book-length novels, which is to say that they are peerless examples of mayhem de luxe.

Whether you read these stories purely for entertainment and relaxation, or enjoy the challenge of matching wits with Nero Wolfe and his factotum, Archie Goodwin, here once again is the creme de la creme of crime presented for your pleasure.

Jacket Design By Bill English

Categories: Homicide Trinity | Tags: , , , , ,

Three Aces – 1971 – Book Club Edition

Three Aces - A Nero Wolfe Omnibus - 1971 - Book Club Edition - Front Cover Three Aces - A Nero Wolfe Omnibus - 1971 - Book Club Edition - Rear Cover

The Viking Press
Copyright 1956, 1960, 1961 by Rex Stout

Contents:

Too Many Clients
Might As Well Be Dead
The Final Deduction

Inside Cover:

Three Aces
Happiness is a Nero Wolfe mystery for so many aficionados of civilized crime stories that the Omnibus has become a valued tradition; there have been five before this, each gathering a few previously published Rex Stouts in one volume. Three Aces is the first to include three complete full-length novels, and will prove a treat as special as a dish from the kitchen of Nero’s unique cook, Fritz.

In Too Many Clients, three different clients clamor for Nero’s help when a big businessman is murdered in his $81,000 love nest. Archie Goodwin must use some of his best talents to sort them out before Nero can even begin the case. Might as Well Be Dead involves, along with much mayhem and imperiled missing persons, a great national scandal. The Final Deduction puts Nero and Archie in the saddle in pursuit of a kidnap for half a million dollars, with murder on the side.

The team is in top form in all three of these, a prize for any fan who missed them before or who wants them on hand in one handsome superStout volume.

Rear Cover:

“Not two characters alone, but a palpable atmosphere exists in that brownstone house on West 35th Street. And what sinewy, pellucid, propelling prose tells those tales – allegories of the human pilgrimage, rather – in which there is little or no blood, but rather the play of the mind. . . . In this sublime duet of Don Quixote and a glamorized Sancho Panza who go tilting together against evil, there is no mystery, nothing but matter for admiration, edification, and (if desired) self-identification. the true mystery is in their inspired creator, Rex Stout.” -Jacques Barzun

Categories: Might As Well Be Dead, The Final Deduction, Too Many Clients | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Doorbell Rang – October 1971 – Third Printing

The Doorbell Rang - October 1971 - Third Printing - Front Cover The Doorbell Rang - October 1971 - Third Printing - Back Cover

A Bantam Book
Copyright 1965 By Rex Stout
New Bantam Printing…October 1971
Third Printing

Contents
The Doorbell Rang

Rear Cover Intro:

No one intimidates Nero Wolfe –
Not even J. Edgar Hoover…
Retained with the unbelievable fee of
$100,000, the portly paragon of detection myst
get the FBI off his client’s back. Along comes
Murder adn the hottest water
the wizard of 35th street has ever been in.
—–
THE DOORBELL RANG
—–
Superb Suspense with masterly Nero Wolfe
and dapper Archie Goodwin

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Death of a Doxy – October 1967 – Second Printing

Death Of A Doxy - October 1967 - Second Printing - Front Cover Death Of A Doxy - October 1967 - Second Printing - Back Cover

A Bantam Book
Copyright 1966 By Rex Stout
2nd Printing…October 1967

Contents:
Death of a Doxy

Rear Cover Intro:

Who killed the kept woman?
Archie discovered the honey-haired corpse on the floor of her plush pink bedroom.
How could a young, out-of-work showgirl afford that $300-a-month suite? That was no mystery.
Who murdered her? Now that was a problem worthy of Nero Wolfe…

Flyleaf:

DEATH OF A DOXY

Poor Orrie Cather. He was being held for a murder he swore he hadn’t committed. Poor Avery Ballou. He’d been paying the rent on the victim’s apartment and if anyone found out, Orrie’d be free and Ballou would be suspect #1. But most of all, poor Isabel Kerr. She was so young, so beautiful, so stone-cold dead.

——-

Then, of course, there was poor Nero Wolfe. Orrie was a friend, Ballou was his client, and the real murderer was playing hard-to-get …

Categories: Death Of A Doxy | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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