Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Nero Wolfe Lifestyle Plan

I have long been fascinated with detective Nero Wolfe. He is a man who loves good food, good beer, and his orchids. He employs a cook, Fritz, and an orchid minder, Horstmann. Wolfe lives in a three story brownstone, with elevator, in New York City. He doesn't move quickly or talk very much. He is polite on most occasions, is fastidious in his dress, and rarely leaves his house.

Wolfe keeps to a tight schedule. He spends four hours each day - from 9 to 11 every morning and 4 to 6 every afternoon - on the third floor with his orchids. Lunch is at 1 and dinner is at 7. No exceptions. No excuses. And no talk about business at meals.

Then there is his confidential secretary Archie Goodwin who lives in-house. He has a bedroom and private bath. He and Wolfe share the office where interviews with clients and suspects take place.  Mr. Goodwin is the narrator of author Rex Stout's mysteries. His style is breezy, he prefers a glass of milk to Wolfe's beer, and he has an excellent memory and can quote lengthy conversations verbatim. Since his boss won't leave the house, it is up to Archie to track down clues, report his findings, and bring witnesses to Wolfe.

I want Mr. Wolfe's lifestyle. I love that he can keep to such a schedule. That preciseness of time. I, however, spend time randomly. Unless I have an appointment or activity out of the house, my schedule is pretty much anything goes. And it astounds me the amount of hours in the day it takes to simply 'maintain.' You know - fix meals, wash dishes, shop, do laundry - all those chores Mr. Wolfe doesn't have to bother with.

Wouldn't it be lovely, I think, to have a Fritz to shop for and prepare my meals (and clean up) and an Archie to handle my mail, phone calls, and errands, leaving me time to read and write and nap to my heart's content. 

Who knows, I might even have time to take an interest in growing orchids.

It has been quite a long time since I read any of the mysteries starring the portly Mr. Wolfe. I am almost finished with the first in the series, Fer-de-Lance (1934), and have enjoyed reacquainting myself with the routines of the Wolfe household. 


  1. I would love a Fritz and an Archie, Belle. While I love to cook, I'm not fond of shopping, nor cleaning up, and, well . . . I haven't read any Nero Wolfe mysteries and now I must for your enthusiastic review. Thank you.

    1. I find the character of Nero Wolfe and the musings of Archie to be almost more entertaining than the 'mystery.' I read this one before bed over a couple of nights. I may have lost track of some of the clues in my sleepy state, but still it was a fun read.