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SusannaG - Confessions of a Crazy Cat Lady

Just another GR refugee.  Other than that, I had a stroke in 2004, and read almost anything I can get my hands on, though I have a particular weakness for history, mystery, and historical fiction.

Currently reading

Ice Ghosts: The Epic Hunt for the Lost Franklin Expedition
Paul Watson
Progress: 6 %
I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life
Ed Yong
Progress: 40 %
Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind
Progress: 49 %
Thomas Cromwell: The Untold Story of Henry VIII's Most Faithful Servant
Tracy Borman
Progress: 14 %
Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Helen Czerski
Progress: 20 %
The Hanover Square Affair
Ashley Gardner
Progress: 10 %
Medieval Tastes: Food, Cooking, and the Table (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)
Beth Archer Brombert, Massimo Montanari
Progress: 10 %
Scars of Independence: America's Violent Birth
Holger Hoock
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
Progress: 9 %
Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years
John Guy
Progress: 20/512 pages

Seven Nero Wolfe Novels, by Rex Stout

Black Orchids - Rex Stout, Lawrence Block And Four to Go - Jane Haddam, Rex Stout Before Midnight - Rex Stout, Robert Crais And Be a Villain - Maan Meyers, Rex Stout GAMBIT - Rex Stout Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout, Loren D. Estleman Too Many Cooks - Rex Stout

These novels by Rex Stout, with Mr. Wolfe and Archie Goodwin at the brownstone on 35th Street in New York, are a real time capsule.


They were all contemporary when they were written; but that was up to nearly 80 years ago, and Stout's eye for details is additionally amusing in retrospect.  In the first, Fer-de-Lance, 3.2 beer has just been legalized (Mr. Wolfe is cutting down to 5 quarts of beer a day; he has been brewing his own down in the basement), but there are still speakeasys open, and a night at the movies costs Archie 20 cents.  (And $100 is an almost insurmountable bribe.)


My favorite so far is Black Orchids, by the way, which is really two novellas tied together by the theme of (surprise!) black orchids.  In the first, Mr. Wolfe covets them so much he actually leaves the brownstone!  In the second, he gives several flowers away in a gesture which mystifies Archie.  (This one is from 1942; I would like to read more from the 40s.)


Stout kept writing these novels until he died, in the mid-1970s.  I haven't read the later ones yet (I think the latest I've read is Gambit, which is from 1962), but will be interested to see if they are as good as the ones from the "classic" period of the mid-century.


I discovered these novels this summer, and they have been a fun way to "turn the brain off."