This was a bit different from most of the Wolfe books. For one thing it's mostly Archie's show. Wolfe is offstage for a lot of it. There isn't even the usual gathering of suspects in Wolfe's office at the end to identify the murderer. For another, Archie gets way more action than usual from all those women in the title. As a result of this we discover that the booths at Rusterman's have curtains that can be drawn around them for privacy. The murders are a bit more gruesome than usual, too, what with the flattened heads and all, and Archie seems on better than usual terms with both Purley and Rowcliff. The murderer turns out to be an incredible dolt, and the end of the case isn't particularly satisfying.
There's one addition to the list of canonical items as the one-way glass panel has now been installed in the front door. We also discover that Archie was born in Canton, OH, in 1914, and his father's name is James Arner Goodwin. His mother's maiden name was Leslie, and he has two brothers and two sisters. Archie mentions that Saul Panzer never sits in the red leather chair, which he may not have up through this book, but he certainly does in later books. And Fritz is seen wielding a 20" knife in the kitchen. (Surely Archie exaggerates that last.)
The Little Sister — Raymond Chandler
The mystery here is, as usual, complicated and seedy, and even Marlowe admits he ought to have just "locked the door and hid under the desk." But then again it's not like he's got anything better to do, so he starting pulling on a thread to see how everything unravels, which it all does. There are some credulity straining coincidences, and Marlowe is particularly bone-headed at times in this one. The biggest surprise in this book is that despite having to deal with nearly as many women as Archie did, Marlowe gets no action at all.
The Third Lynx — Timothy Zahn
This is the sequel to Night Train to Rigel, and is equally enjoyable. As before, it's more of a thriller than a mystery. I'm looking forward to more of these.
Going Postal — Terry Pratchett
This was the first Moist von Lipwig book, and is terrific. There are some great Vetinari moments here, and I am now totally smitten with Ms. Adora Belle Dearheart. So many quotes to choose from:
"What is sticking in your foot is a Mitzy 'Pretty Lucretia' four-inch heel, the most dangerous footwear in the world. Considered as pounds per square inch, it’s like being trodden on by a very pointy elephant. Now, I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking, "Could she press it all the way through to the floor?" And, you know, I’m not sure about that myself. The sole of your boot might give me a bit of trouble, but nothing else will. But that’s not the worrying part. The worrying part is that I was forced practically at knifepoint to take ballet lessons as a child, which means I can kick like a mule; you are sitting in front of me; and I have another shoe."
"You know how to pray, don’t you? You just put your hands together – and hope"