Favorite Archie Goodwin lines

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?

Said of a police lieutenant: “He was fitted out at birth for a career as a guard at a slave-labor camp.”

Nothing comes to mind, but I wanted to pop in and say I’m a fan of Wolfe and Archie, and the long suffering Fritz, too. It’s too bad for Archie that those were written so long ago; today he’d get to screw all those beautiful chicks he’s always squiring around. [insert smiley-face emoticon here]

I am a big fan of those Nero Wolfe programs too… But I tend to prefer the way Wolfe talks to the way Archie talks.

I do love the way Archie dresses though.

Like your revolution comment above, it’s not so much what Archie says as what he does. He has a very strong sense of moral duty and obligations and he will not cross the line, going so far as to quit his job if he feels obliged to take a case that Wolfe won’t.

Of course, Wolfe does it as well, but we relate more to Archie than to Nero. He’s not as smart as Wolfe, but he’s clever and pushy in ways that I’m not. I wish I could talk my way into a suspect’s apartment and tweak Inspector Cramer.

Another favorite Archie line, from Some Buried Caesar. Girl thinks Lily Rowan is gong to be the moral downfall of her brother, and she wants Archie to take a commission to seduce Lily out of his path.

Archie’s response? “I never saw any man get pushed on a train to hell by a woman who didn’t already have a ticket in his pocket, or had at least been fiddling around with the timetables.”

Okay, who else expected this thread to be a discussion of the comic book creator/editor Archie Goodwin?

I don’t have a contribution, but I do want to thank this thread for sending me off to read me some Nero Wolfe.

raises hand



In reply to rjung, of course.