Monday, September 13, 2010

Carolyn G. Hart on Nero Wolfe: THE RED BOX

The Nero Wolfe mysteries were reprinted in the 1990s as The Rex Stout Library, they included brand-new introductions from modern mystery and suspense authors -- including Robert B. Parker, Jonathan Kellerman, Diane Mott Davidson, Loren D. Estleman, Susan Conant, and Dean Koontz.

Nero Wolfe's 1936 mystery The Red Box was, in 1992, published with a new introduction by Carolyn G. Hart:

"Readers often are curious as to how much of the author can be found in a book's hero. In the case of Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe, the lack of correlation is perhaps more striking. Stout was tall, slender, scraggly bearded; Wolfe packed a seventh of a ton into a stocky five foot eleven inches. Stout radiated energy; Wolfe avoided physical exertion as if it were deleterious to his health. Stout enjoyed good food, but was quite willing to enjoy common fare; Wolfe was a gourmand who would rather skip a meal than eat junk food. Stout had a wide-ranging interest in the political life of his country; Wolfe was almost apolitical.

"But what they had in common and the quality that accounts for the greatest charm of the Nero Wolfe series is a love language. Stout used language with great precision and with great pleasure. Wolfe was surely his alter ego in this glorious pursuit."

Read the whole introduction in the 1992 Rex Stout Library edition of The Red Box and also in the 2009 2-in-1 edition The Rubber Band/The Red Box.



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