Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rex Stout & Kindle

I've had four doc appointments this week. Fortunately I've bought four Rex Stout books (three novels and a collection) for my Kindle and it's like going home again. Stout was one of the first adult mystery novelists I read and I've never lost my fondness for the world and characters he created.

Right now I'm reading The Golden Spiders which has got a twist every ten pages or so and contains some of the funniest dialogue Stout ever wrote for Archie and Nero. Archie wants to piss off Nero--payback for Nero pissing off Archie of course--and their dueling barbs are classic, especially when Archie forces Nero to take on a twelve year old as a client.

Then there are those sentences. I know Stout said that his books were all first draft and I have no reason to doubt him but assuming it's true he wrote polished and sometimes intricate sentences that put the lie to all those who boast of laboring lover their manuscripts.

The most recent TV series sometimes came close to capturing the Wolfeian world. I'll have to check them out again. Meanwhile I've got the books to read again and again. And I have to say, as much as I bitched about e books, the Kindle is an easy way to transport a small library.


Unknown said...

I love the Wolfe novels. It's always a pleasure to revisit them.

Max Allan Collins said...

Stout is on my short list: Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, Stout, Christie.

Dave Zeltserman said...

Ed, I've been rereading Nero Wolfe recently also. I've read everything of his that I've been able to find in print--he has a few literary/thriller novels after 'How Like a God' that I haven't been able to find. I love Nero Wolfe, I love Stout's writing. While Hammett's my favorite, I still think Stout is the best pure writer I've seen in the mystery space

pattinase (abbott) said...

He was the second crime fiction writer I went through first to last (Christie). He knew how to create indelible characters. I'm glad he still works.

Matt said...

The Doorbell Rang! I'm not the hugest Stout fan, but I loved reading his literary middle finger to J. Edgar Hoover.

Mike Doran said...

"The Golden Spiders" was used by the producers of the Nero Wolfe A&E series for the pilot film. Watch the film right after reading the book, and you'll be astonished at just how closely they stuck to the source. Even when the dialogue isn't word-for-word, the condensation is practically seamless.
The whole series is like that.
My only regret is that they didn't get around to "Gambit". I would have paid to see the opening, with Wolfe burning the dictionary - wouldn't you?