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