Monday, January 11, 2010

Resolution Accomplished

I have now finished my third Nero Wolfe book, Champagne for One. Although it's published these days in the same volume with Too Many Cooks, it has virtually no food themes at all. It's a pretty conventional private detective story about a relatively ordinary murder in a rich person's home. Rex Stout published Champagne for One 20 years after Too Many Cooks, and includes occasional timely details such as a 1956 model automobile. Interestingly, Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, Wolfe's chef Fritz, the hired team of detectives, and members of the police are all still involved, and seem to be exactly the same ages as before. Further, the eccentric details of Nero Wolfe's life seem unchanged by the flow of time. I think I'll leave additional reading of this mystery series for another time.

Clearly, Rex Stout was always interested in food and though it has no major role, there are occasional mentions of what the characters ate. In particular, Archie eats one very appealing snack while doing surveillance of one of the suspects from a place called Amy's Nook: "I ate five pieces of pie, two rhubarb and one each of apple, green tomato, and chocolate, and drank four glasses of milk and two cups of coffee, while seated at a table by the front window from which I could see the entrance to 87, across the street and up a few doors. ... The pie, incidentally, was more than satisfactory. I would have liked to take a piece home to Fritz." (page 155)

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