I’m a big fan of Rex Stout’s 1/7-ton detective, Nero Wolfe. There has never been a Wolfe book or story that failed to make me grin with sheer pleasure. I love the settings, the backstories of the characters in trouble, the meals, the flowers, the fundamental (although sometimes minimal) respect Wolfe pays to everyone he deals with, the absolute cold-bloodedness with which he deflates the pompous, the respect that Stout pays to the reader, and Archie Goodwin.
Archie Goodwin is the coolest dapper detective I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And the things he says and does so often leave me in stitches.
For instance, in The Black Mountain, Wolfe and Archie have arrived in Italy and been smuggled across the Adriatic to Albania. Wolfe discusses their travel plans to ensure Archie understands them. Archie says, “Andiamo.” This stops Wolfe in his tracks. “Where the devil did you learn that?” “Lily Rowan keeps dragging me to the opera. I don’t know what it means, but the chorus can’t get off the stage without singing it.”
In another tale (the name of which I cannot recall), Archie steps outside the brownstone, and sees a limo parked in front, with a liveried chauffer standing sentry by the passenger door. “Hot puppies!” Archie says to himself. “Come the revolution, that’s mine!” He then takes a bit of chalk out of his pocket and draws a big “X” on the fender. Before he walks away he says sternly to the chauffer, “Don’t monkey with that.”
What’s your favorite Archie Goodwin moment?