Tag Archives: Nero Wolfe

A Nero Wolfe Simulation – #1

Having wrapped up my ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column at BlackGate.com and deciding to take a break from the entire Holmes world, I’ve immersed myself in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books. It’s my favorite series. And I’ve been writing some scenes featuring Wolfe and/or Archie Goodwin. Eventually I’ll be plotting out and writing a couple of short stories, but for now, I’m just working on emulating Stout’s voice as best I can. I will say, writing Wolfe and Archie is a ton of fun!

I was sitting at the little table in the kitchen of the brownstone on West 35th Street, eating wheat cakes with maple syrup. Fritz stood at the stove, eyeing my progress, gauging when to start another. I had The Times open before me and didn’t mind that the agreeable weather would be continuing for a few more days. Having grown up in Ohio, I had adapted to Fall in New York City with no difficulties at all. “How is he?” Fritz asked, breaking our comfortable silence.

He was referring of course, to our employer, Nero Wolfe: The man who took following a routine to levels never before aspired to by mortal man. But on this particular Tuesday morning, he had awoken to a coughing fit and complained of a sore throat.

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A Nero Wolfe Mystery

Wolfe_PictureSometimes, I’m not exactly “with it. I did not discover Nero Wolfe for quite a while. In fact, it was after I had seen a couple episodes of the A&E television show that I decided to buy one of the books and check him out.

One of the best decisions I ever made, as the Wolfe Corpus is now my favorite mystery series of them all, ahead of even Solar Pons and Sherlock Holmes. So, this week over at BlackGate.com, I wrote up a post about that sadly short-lived series at A&E. It’s a really, really good show. Head on over and check it out.

A new Nero Wolfe Story – ‘Stamped For Murder’

wolfe_greenstreetWell, sort of. I’m a huge fan of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books. In fact, it’s my favorite series of them all. I’ve re-read the Corpus (what the collection is called) several times and I’ve got all the Robert Goldsborough pastiches as well.

As I wrote here, there was a Wolfe radio series starring Sidney Greenstreet. It’s fair, at best. But I went ahead and took one of the episodes and turned it into an 11,000 word story. There are a few changes here and there, but I kept as much of the original dialogue and scenes in place as a I could.

If you like Nero Wolfe (and why wouldn’t you?), swing on over and check it out. Then let me know what you think of it.

And if you’re not familiar with Nero Wolfe, this post I wrote over at BlackGate.com is worth a look.

 

Nero Wolfe & Stop the Presses!

Wolfe_CoincidenceBetween 1986 and 1994, Robert Goldsborough wrote seven official Nero Wolfe pastiches, authorized by the Wolfe Estate. I’ve said many times that Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe books are my all time favorite mysteries. Much as I love Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons: and enjoy Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee; James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee, Joe Gore’s DKA books, Glen Cook’s Garret PI and many, many  more mysteries and hard boiled writers and characters, Wolfe is #1.

So, when I say that Goldsborough’s first seven pastiches are good but not great, I am NOT damning with faint praise. I enjoyed them overall and he did a good job taking on one of the genre’s greatest characters. But then Goldsborough decided to stop writing about the Brownstone and its cast of characters. After almost a two decade hiatus, he took up Archie Goodwin’s pen again and has published four new novels since 2012, with the latest, Stop the Presses!, just coming out this month.

Sadly, these four new Wolfe books have not matched the standard he set with the first seven. Archie Meets Nero Wolfe (2012) relates the story that Stout referenced but never told, of their joining together. Frankly it was a disappointment and Charles E. Burns’ story, “Firecrackers,” is a better version of the tale.

Murder in the Ballpark (2014) followed and is about a shooting at a baseball game attended by Archie and Saul. Goldsborough still hadn’t regained his touch and the characterizations were just off. This one and the prior book are my two least favorite pastiches.

Archie in the Crosshairs (2015) sees someone focused on killing Archie as a way to get at Wolfe. It was better than the previous two books, but still not as good as the first seven.

Wolfe_PressesI just finished Stop the Presses!, book number four in the second series. It is the best of the new run. But to me, the problem is that it doesn’t feel like a pastiche of Stout’s books. It reads like a pastiche of Goldbsorough’s first seven books.

Several times, Wolfe criticizes Archie’s methods of getting guests to the brownstone. That doesn’t ring true. And Wolfe says that Inspector Cramer will “bring our old friend Sergeant Stebbins with him.”  That doesn’t sound right.

I re-read all seven of Goldsborough’s first series early in 2015 and this second series just doesn’t measure up. I’d guess that the 18 year layoff was simply too much to completely recapture that original feel.

I’d still rather read Goldsborough writing Wolfe than about 90% of the plethora of Holmes pastiches we’re inundated with. And I’m glad there are continuing to be new tales. But four books in, it’s just not the same.

 

 

New Wolfe for the New Year

John D. MacDonald is my favorite author. And it’s safe to say that I’m pretty deeply immersed in the worlds of Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons. But there’s no mystery series I enjoy reading more than Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. To start the new year, here’s the first part of an original Wolfe short story.  I really enjoy writing Archie Goodwin.

Wolfe_CramerI was sitting at my little table in the kitchen of the brownstone on West 35th Street, eating wheat cakes with maple syrup. Fritz stood at the stove, eyeing my stack reserves, gauging when to start another batch. I had The Times open before me and was noticing that the agreeable weather would be continuing for a few more days. Having grown up in Ohio, I had adapted to Fall in New York City with no difficulties at all. “How is he?” Fritz asked, breaking our comfortable silence.

He was referring of course, to our employer, Nero Wolfe. The man took following a routine to levels never before aspired to by mortal man. But on this particular Tuesday morning, he had awoken to a coughing fit and complained of a sore throat.

Continue reading