DXMachina (dxmachina) wrote,

The Woman...

Romances. It seems like the best and most powerful strike from out of nowhere when one least expects them. Take Some Buried Caesar, the sixth Nero Wolfe novel, and the second in a row where the action never goes near New York City, much less the brownstone. For all Archie Goodwin's protestations that Wolfe never leaves his abode, he is out and about quite a bit in the early books. This time Archie and Wolfe are upstate on their way to the orchid competition at a county fair when an auto accident sidetracks them into a cow pasture where they are rescued from an unpleasant encounter with a champion bull by a pair of women. As he's dusting himself off, Archie gets clobbered by a freight train named Lily.

"I'll show you the phone." It was a voice behind me, and I turned. The girl in the yellow slacks was there close. I realized with surprise that her head came clear to my chin or above, and she was blonde but not all that faded, and her dark blue eyes were not quite open, and one corner of her lips was up with her smile.

"Come on, Escamillo," she said, "I'll show you the phone."

I told her, "Much obliged," and started off with her.

She brushed against me as we walked and said, "I'm Lily Rowan."

Thus does the woman described by one of the other characters as "a sex maniac" appear in Archie's life. Soon there's a murder to be solved, and Lily is called upon by Wolfe to help expose the killer. It's a good mystery and a fun book. Wolfe is more like Holmes or Poirot here, not waiting for events to come to him, but wandering here and there, examining the evidence in situ. Meanwhile Archie gets arrested, and spends his time in stir organizing his fellow jailmates into a prisoners collective. Lily spends her time being both helpful and adorable. Archie tries to put up a cool, collected front, but Lily knows exactly how to tempt him.

"She wants Escamillo."

I lifted my receiver. "Hello, trifle. I'm busy."

"You're always busy." She sounded energetic. "You listen to me a minute. You probably don't know or don't care that I seldom pay any attention to my mail except to run through it to see if there's a letter from you. I've just discovered that I did after all get an invitation to Nancy's and Jimmy's wedding, which will be tomorrow. I know you did. You and I will go together. You can come—"

"Stop! Stop and take a breath. Weddings are out. They're barbaric vestiges of ... of barbarism. I doubt if I'd go to my own."

"You might. For a string of cellophane pearls I'd marry you myself. But this wedding will be amusing. Old Pratt and old Osgood will be there and you can see them shake hands. Then you can have cocktails and dinner with me."

"My pulse remains steady."

"Kiss me"

"Still steady."

"I'll buy you some marbles and an airgun and roller skates..."

What a woman.
Tags: books, wolfe

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