Baring-Gould, William S. Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street: the Life and Times of America’s Largest Detective. New York: Viking Press, 1969.
Reason read: Rex Stout was born in December. Read in his honor.
Right off the bat I need to tell you Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street is better read after you have consumed every Rex Stout mystery starring the portly private detective. I guarantee you will have many more ah-ha moments if you already know the cases. Baring-Gould fills his book with a mountain of facts but they are oddly assembled; a veritable mishmash of all things Nero Wolfe (and Archie Goodwin). Everything from fashion, and facial tics to food and every case in between is scrutinized. It’s as if Baring-Gould combed the pages of every mystery, never missing a single detail, to build a character profile and biography of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.
Baring-Gould also has some interesting theories. I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that Baring-Gould thinks Sherlock Holmes fathered Nero Wolfe. He draws thought-provoking connections between Holmes and Wolfe, including the similar phrases they utter.
Author fact: Baring-Gould’s first claim to fame was his analysis of Sherlock Holmes. He was the editor of the Annotated Sherlock Holmes among other publications.
Book trivia: in addition to the floor plan to Wolfe’s ground floor apartment, Baring-Gould also lays out an impressive chronology of Nero Wolfe’s movements from his birth in 1892 or 1893 to The Father Hunt case in August – September of 1967.
Nancy said: Nancy recommends reading Nero Wolfe of West Thirty-Fifth Street… if “the Nero Wolfe bug bites you” (p 226).
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe: Too Good to Miss” (p 226).
Here’s something of a shocker. I am running a 5k during the first week of December! Actually, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise because I mentioned signing up for it in the last post…just yesterday. But. But! But, enough about the first week of December. Let’s talk about the last week of December! I am looking forward to a week off from work with nothing to do except read, read, read. Another opportunity to gorge on books is a six hour car ride when I won’t be driving. A perfect opportunity to finished a shorter book! And speaking of books, Here is the list:
- God Lives in St. Petersburg and Other Stories by Tom Bissell ~ in honor of a day in December as being one of the coldest days in Russian history.
- Fay by Larry Brown ~ in honor of December being Southern Literature Month.
Fearless Treasure by Noel Streatfeild in honor of Streatfeild’s birth month. Actually, no library would lend Fearless Treasure without charging an ILL fee so I am reading Ballet Shoes instead. Good thing I wasn’t looking forward to reading fantasy!
- Wanting by Richard Flanagan ~ in honor of Tasmania’s taste fest which happens in December. To be honest, I don’t know how I made this connection.
- The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis ~ in honor of Willis being born in December. Confessional: this is a huge book so I started it a little early (AB & print).
- The Beach by Alex Garland in honor of Thailand’s Constitution Day observance in December.
- Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman ~ in honor of Mark Salzman’s birth month being in December.
- Nero Wolf at West Thirty Fourth Street: the life and times of America’s Largest Private Detective by William S. Baring-Gold ~ in honor of Rex Stout’s birth month.
- Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Buddha by Dorothy Gilman ~ to continue the series started in September in honor of Grandparents’ month.
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- I was supposed to receive Jam Today by Tod Davies last month but hasn’t arrived yet. Maybe I’ll get it this month.
- I am also suppose to receive Pep Talk for Writers by Grant Faulkner by Dec 29th, 2017. We’ll see about that!
- Hit Reset: Revolutionary Yoga for Athletes by Erin Taylor ~ because I’m still trying keep running.
If there is time:
- Between the Assassinations by Avavind Adiga ~in honor of Vivah Panchami
- Black Alibi by Cornell Woolrich ~ in honor of Woolrich’s birth month