's Nero Wolfe is a classic armchair detective
: he rarely leaves his brownstone
on West 35th St in New York, letting his secretary Archie Goodwin do all the legwork
, and applying his intellect to solve crimes without ever leaving his home. ("It is always wiser, where there is a choice, to trust to inertia. It is the greatest force in the world. "
) In addition to his agoraphobia
, Wolfe is also a noted glutton
. He drinks beer, despises music, radio, television, the police, and women.
It has been many years since any woman has slept under this roof. Not that I disapprove of them, except when they attempt to function as domestic animals. When they stick to the vocations for which they are best adapted, such as chicanery, sophistry, self-adornment, cajolery, mystification and incubation, they are sometimes splendid creatures.
--The Rubber Band
Wolfe is also lazy, obsessed with orchid
s (he has 10,000 in his greenhouse
, and notoriously overweight (usually described as weighing 1/7th of a ton
I carry this fat to insulate my feelings. They got too strong for me once or twice... If I had stayed lean
and kept moving around I would have been dead long ago.
Over My Dead Body
Over the years (Wolfe first appeared in 1934
, and Stout would continue writing stories with the detective until he died in 1975
), both the volume of stories (70+), and the strength of the character relationship between Wolfe and Goodwin, made it a popular property for the media. Wolfe's been played by several actors, including Santos Ortega, Francis X. Bushman, Mavor Moore , and (in an over the top performance-- to my delight and to the severe annoyance of hardcore Wolfe fans--) Sydney Greenstreet
on radio, and Thayer David, William Conrad
and Maury Chaykin
on television. (Edward Arnold and Walter Connolly appeared in the first two Nero Wolfe movies in the 1930s, but Stout didn't like either one, and refused to sell film rights to his stories after that).
Hilliard, Don B., Kevin B. Smith et. al. "Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin." The Thrilling Detective Web Site. <http://www.thrillingdetective.com/wolfe.html> (3 October 2001)
Langford, David. "A Stout Fellow." Million Magzaine. 1992. Found at David Langford Personal Web Site. <http://www.ansible.demon.co.uk/writing/rexstout.html> (3 October 2001)
Vittes, Louis. "The Case of the Careworn Cuff," The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe," NBC, October 27, 1950.