Monday, September 06, 2010

Loren D. Estleman on Nero Wolfe: FER DE LANCE

In the 1990s, the Nero Wolfe mysteries were reprinted in new editions under the banner The Rex Stout Library. These books included brand-new introductions written by many of the top names in mystery, detective, suspense, and thriller fiction -- including Robert B. Parker, Jonathan Kellerman, Diane Mott Davidson, Susan Conant, Carolyn Hart, and Dean Koontz.

Loren D. Estleman wrote the new introduction for Fer-de-Lance, originally published in 1934. Estleman writes:
"When Fer-de-Lance appeared, popular crime literature was divided between the manorial 'English School' of puzzle mysteries and the two-fisted American urban variety that took its inspiration from the headlines of Prohibition and Depression. Now, nearly six decades later, that division still exists, but there is evidence that the two camps are drifting closer together as both the grim butler and the sadistic bootlegger pass into history. From the start, Stout wedded the two forms. Nero Wolfe, the eccentric genius swathed in his one-seventh of a ton, is a combination of Sherlock Holmes in his more contemplative moments and Baroness Orczy's sedentary Old Man in the corner. Archie Goodwin exemplifies the hardboiled, wisecracking "private dick" prevalent in pulp fiction."
Read the entire introduction in the 1992 Rex Stout Library edition of Fer De Lance. Also included in in this edition are notes on the characters from Stout's private files, as well as a 1956 sample of the Nero Wolfe newspaper comic strip. The introduction is also in the 2-in-1 edition Fer-de-Lance/The League of Frightened Men.

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Die Laughing: Funny Crime and Mystery Fiction


A woman with a complicated past returns home to become the small town's new sheriff. Best Mann For The Job is by the writer/artist team of Chris and Erica Well. Read it from the beginning at Watch the trailer on YouTube.