Archie Says: On Locks and Listening

Detective

Archie Goodwin on locks and listening:It is always a temptation to monkey with locks, and one of the best ways to test ears is to enter someone’s castle uninvited and, while you are looking here and there for something interesting, listen for footsteps on the stairs or the sound of an elevator. If you don’t hear them in time your hearing is defective, and you should try some other line of work when you are out and around again.— Rex Stout, Champagne for OneArchie is, of course, the l … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Suspenders with Tails

That’s one of the fine features of tailing; wherever the subject leads you, you will follow. I once spent four hours tagging a guy up and down Fifth and Madison Avenues, using all the tricks and dodges I knew, and learned later that he had been trying to find a pair of gray suspenders with a yellow stripe.— Rex Stout, The Final Deduction … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: FBI Man

You don’t have to believe me, but I would have known after one look at him, even if Fritz hadn’t told me. It’s mostly the eyes and the jaw. An FBI man spends so much time pretending he’s looking somewhere else that his eyes get confused; they’re never quite sure it’s okay to admit they’re focused on you. His jaw is even worse off. It is given to understand that it belongs to a man who is intrepid, daring, dauntless, cool, long-headed, quick-witted, and hard as nails, but it is cautioned that he i … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Vulgar Language

She pronounced a word which she should have kept to herself, since there was a lady present.— Rex Stout, Death of a Doxy … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Bad Language

“Dang Brodell,” Emmett said. Actually that isn’t what he said. But about a year ago I got a four-page letter from a woman in Wichita, Kansas, saying that she had read all of my reports and that as each of her fourteen grandchildren reached his or her twelfth birthday she gave him or her copies of three of them just to get them started. If I go ahead and report what Emmett Lake actually said I would almost certainly lose that nice old lady, and what about the grandchildren who aren’t twelve yet? I … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Napoleon

But was he outraged! You might have thought he was Napoleon and she was asking him to come and deploy the tin soldiers in a nursery.— Rex Stout, The Black Orchids. (The "he" is Nero Wolfe, of course.) … [Read more...]


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