Saturday, May 03, 2008

Rex Stout; The Poker Club

A few months ago I got on a Nero Wolfe kick. I'd heard a few of the old radio shows and I thought I'd read some of the books again. Good luck. I checked all three libraries and found very few of them. Same with Half Price and other used stores in the area. Very few tiitles.

Elizabeth Foxwell noted recently that many of the classic mysteries my generation grew up reading are not to be found anywhere but the net.

The dearth of Stout titles surprises me. The Wolfes have pleasured three or four generations. They are witty, clever, romantic and a sure cure for a modest case of the blues.

I'm assuming that publishers think (or know) Stout won't sell today. Are they too cute, too quaint for hardboiled readers and too cynical for the reader who prefers the old type of cozy ( the new type of cozy having little to do with the old type of cozy)?

As usual this may just be my age speaking. (You mean there are actually people in the world who don't like ALL the Top Ten radio hits of 1953? I want their names so I can turn them over to Homeland Security.)

I'm halfway through Some Buried Caesar by Stout. Any book containing a scene in which the quarter-ton Nero Wolfe has to be wrenched from a car that ran off he road and angled into a ditch is my kind of book.


Once a week a get an e mail from a reader who wants to know when the film version of my novel the Poker Club will be released. In this week's People magazine Poker star (and co-writer) Johnathan Scacheech is briefly interviewed. The copy says that the film will be released sometime this year.


Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, Nero Wolfe is a perfect blend of hardboiled and English-style detective. I think I have half his books--and that's only because my college library had a complete collection so I was able to read the other half from that. A few years ago I finally got my hands on his very noir book, How Like a God, and it is terrific (and very un-Nero like).

angie said...

I don't know about the library, but there are several of Stout's novels (and collections - usually of 3 novellas) available in paperback. My husband is a big fan and we've probably got 20 of them floating around the house. The recent (and relatively short-lived) television version of Wolfe w/Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin seemed to revive some interest. I count Stout as something of a 'comfort' read. Who can resist that snappy writing?!

Randy Johnson said...

I guess I'm lucky, Ed. My county's library system still has about half the Wolfe books in their various chapters. I've read all of them, as well as the seven Wolfs that Robert Goldsborough wrote,

Fred Blosser said...

A couple of the local county library branches here have a fair number of Stouts, esp. the Bantam reprints from a few years ago that had introductions by Lawrence Block and others.

Agatha Christie seems to survive on the shelves year after year. There are some '80s and '90s Perry Masons on the library paperback racks, but I don't see much Erle Stanley Gardner otherwise. The John D. MacDonald hardcovers from the '70s and '80s are beginning to dwindle. Pretty good run of 87th Precincts from the late '70s up to the final titles, but none of the older entries like FUZZ.

Todd Mason said...

One would've thought the rather good A&E series would've inspired a re-issue series...Loren Estleman's story in the June EQMM is a fine bit of tribute...not quite parody, not quite pastiche...