So, in 2020, as the Pandemic settled in like an unwanted relative who just came for a week and is still tying up the bathroom, I did a series of posts for the FB Page of the Nero Wolfe fan club, The Wolfe Pack. I speculated on what Stay at Home would be like for Archie, living in the Brownstone with Nero Wolfe, Fritz Brenner, and Theodore Horstmann. I have already re-posted days one through thirty-eight. Here is day thirty nine (April 29). It helps if you read the series in order, so I’ve included links to the earlier entries.
Day Thirty Nine– 2020 Stay at Home
Fritz doesn’t like to freeze meat, which is understandable for a master chef – certainly one who is cooking for Nero Wolfe. But with pork-processing plants shutting down all over the country, he took delivery this morning of enough pork to last us awhile.
I offered to help him organize and store it all, but he declined. Fritz keeps complete control of his well-ordered kitchen. I sat down at my breakfast table with a small pitcher of milk and amused myself by watching him. Fritz sometimes does a one-man running commentary on his kitchen operations, in a mix of Swiss and English. It’s better than television.
I was getting itchy to call Del Bascom and see if he had another case for me. I didn’t want to just sit around the Brownstone and get restless. That would be bad for both Wolfe and I.
Dinner had been up to Fritz’s usual standards, while Wolfe educated me on the disappearance of Folsom Man in the prehistoric West. That’s actually an interesting topic. We were in the office, drinking coffee. He was reading The Great Taos Bank Robbery, by Tony Hillerman. The cover had a southwestern design on it, so I thought maybe that had prompted the night’s table topic.
I casually tossed out, “You remember Arthur Goldstein?”
That got his attention and he stopped reading to give me a hard look. “Certainly”
I knew that name was a guaranteed conversation starter. “I have an update on him.”
Wolfe picked up his bookmark, a thin strip of gold, used it to mark his page, and put the book down, closed. It was a keeper. “And what would that be?”
“Lon called yesterday. With the virus spreading like wildfire in the prisons, the Governor is letting some inmates go free. According to Lon, who as you know, is as ‘on the inside’ as anyone on the planet, Goldstein is on the ‘to be set free’ list.”
Wolfe growled. He doesn’t do it very often, but when he does, it’s got a substance to it that could make you take a step backwards. “Presumably since he was incarcerated for theft, he’s a low risk, nonviolent offender. Likely of a certain age, which was also a probable factor.”
“That’s my bet,” I agreed. “I wouldn’t call him nonviolent.”
His lips turned down a full half an inch. That was a serious frown. “Nor would I. You know as well as I do that he killed that security guard.“
“Yep. He was smart enough to never carry a gun or a knife. So, he brained that poor guy with a wrench. And since he was wearing gloves, no fingerprints.”
“Indeed, there were not.”
“Pfui. The man is a murderer.”
“We both know it. And I think Cramer would have bought it if we could have given him some proof.”
Wolfe stared silently at the over-sized globe.
“He cheated the hangman, and now he’s getting out early – and not even for good behavior.”
“Just thought I’d let you know. It’s not official yet, of course. But Lon usually knows what’s what.”
“Mister Cohen is certainly well-informed. We can only hope that the Moirai have other plans for him.”
Living with, and working for, a walking dictionary, can leave you wondering what the heck you were just talking about.
Having made this final pronouncement, he thanked me for the update and picked up his book. That was fine with me.
Fritz wanted to play Monopoly again, but I told him ‘No.’ I countered with watching a Mets game, which I knew he wouldn’t do. But it made him drop the game request while we searched for a middle ground. Which of course, meant a movie. He said he wanted something with substance; some weight.
That called for The Caine Mutiny. I’m in the camp that thinks Bogart should have won an Academy Award as Captain Queeg. He was brilliant in the role. And if you think Fred MacMurray is just the nice dad on My Three Sons, you’ve never seen this one – or Double Indemnity, for that matter. When I watched A Few Good Men, it reminded me of Jose Ferrer’s big scene in this movie. The novel won a Pulitzer Prize, and the movie was just about as good.
Richard Widmark was chosen to play Queeg, but the director insisted on Bogart. That man knew what the film needed. I’ve seen it more than once, and it doesn’t disappoint. I’ve even taken Lily to see the play on Broadway.
(I wrote about Bogie’s The Caine Mutiny here at Black Gate. Click on over and check it out)
Stay at Home
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 1 and 2
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home- Days 3 and 4
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home- Days 5, 6, and 7
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home- Days 8, 9, and 10
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home- Days 11, 12, and 13
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home Days 14 and 15
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home Days 16 and 17
Nero Wolfe’s Browsnstone: Stay at Home – Days 18 and 19
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 20 and 21
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 22 and 23
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 24 and 25
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 26
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 27
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 28 and 29
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 30
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 31
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 32 and 33
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Days 34 and 35
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 36
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 37
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone: Stay at Home – Day 38
Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone
3 Good Reasons
The Greenstreet Chronicles (Pastiches based on the Radio Show)
Bob Byrne’s ‘A (Black) Gat in the Hand’ made its Black Gate debut in the summer of 2018 and will be back yet again in 2022.
His ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ column ran every Monday morning at Black Gate from March, 2014 through March, 2017. And he irregularly posts on Rex Stout’s gargantuan detective in ‘Nero Wolfe’s Brownstone.’ He is a member of the Praed Street Irregulars, founded www.SolarPons.com (the only website dedicated to the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Praed Street’) and blogs about Holmes and other mystery matters at Almost Holmes.
He organized Black Gate’s award-nominated ‘Discovering Robert E. Howard’ series, as well as the award-winning ‘Hither Came Conan’ series.
He has contributed stories to The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Parts III, IV, V, VI and XXI.
He has written introductions for Steeger Books, and appeared in several magazines, including Black Mask, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Strand Magazine, and Sherlock Magazine.