Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: Archie-isms

One of the things I'm trying to do this summer is read more classic mysteries. And I'm starting with Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout. I think it's possible that I read it once before, many years ago; but so far, it doesn't seem familiar. It was originally published in 1934, which was before even my time – so it's a great whodunit with a nice nostalgic feel to it. Like most of the Nero Wolfe novels, it's narrated by Wolfe's assistant Archie Goodwin, and although Archie's descriptive abilities definitely improve over time, he's still pretty good in this first outing. Here are a few examples:
"I went over and shook hands with her. She was a homely kid about twenty with skin like stale dough, and she looked like she'd been scared in the cradle and never got over it." [p. 13]

"He was smooth-shaven, his hair was turning gray, and while he wasn't fat there was size to him. He looked worried but amused, as if someone had just told him a funny story but he had a toothache." [p. 180]

"In a neat well-cut housekeeper's dress, black, with a little black thing across the top of her hair, she looked elegant, and her manner was as Park Avenue as the doorman at the Pierre. Well, I thought, they're all different in the bathtub from what they're like at Schrafft's." [p. 268]
I'm assuming everybody knows about Schrafft's, and its famously attractive (mostly Irish) waitresses. But maybe I'm wrong about that. Not sure why I know it, myself. Probably from a lifetime of watching old movies and reading classic mystery novels. It's a habit that's made me wise beyond my years, and old before my time!

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by mizB17 at Should Be Reading. If you'd like to read more teasers, or participate yourself, head on over to her blog. And these are the rules: Grab your current read; Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you're getting your "teaser" from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given! Please avoid spoilers!


  1. I have not heard about Schrift's, and I'm sure I didn't spell it correctly. LOL

  2. I have heard great things about Rex Stout and Nero Wolf and you have definitely tilted me towards giving the bboks a try - thank you!

  3. Yay! I own all the Nero Wolfe novels. He was my first favorite detective and Archie Goodwin was one of my first literary crushes (although later, I ditched him for Saul Panzer in the same series).

    My teaser is here.

  4. Nice teasers. I've tried to read one or two of Wolfe as well.
    Here's my teaser.

  5. Love these descriptions, especially the first one, it's hilarious! And nope, never heard of Schrafft's, so thanks for explaining that!

  6. Great teasers, but I didn't know about Schrafft's either.

  7. I haven't read any Nero Wolfe. I think I might have one. The teasers sound really good.

  8. What interesting descriptions.

    Thanks for stopping by on my blog earlier in the week,


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