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Book Note: Rex Stout, A Right To Die (#4)

I read this book about 8-Jun-2013. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1964. This note was last modified Sunday, 09-Jun-2013 13:58:23 PDT.

This note contains spoilers for the book.

 

Seems to have been a while (though, to be fair, I've been known to skip logging quick rereads).

Sequel to the one where he has to get the black staff at a southern resort to give him the key fact to solve a murder, and be allowed to leave. The son of the man who gives him the fact is the accused innocent man in this one.

Here's a bit, from a discussion with Dunbar Whipple in Wolfe's office: "As for your comments about that word, nigger, its special significance for you distorts your understanding. Consider the words that are buried in you but not dead. Consider even the ones that are not buried, that you use: for instance, 'fat ape.' May I assume that a man who resembles an ape, or one who is fat, or both, could not expect just treatment or consideration from you? Certainly not. The mind or soul or psyche-take the term you prefer-of any man below the level of consciousness is a preposterous mismash of cesspool and garden. Heaven only knows what I have in mine as synonyms for 'woman'; I'm glad I don't know." This is one of the clearest places where Wolfe acknowledges he's warped on the subject of women. Stout clearly knows it, it's quite blatant, but it's useful to know that Wolfe knows it about himself.

Nero Wolfe can't be any more insightful about racial matters than Rex Stout, of course; and my judgment is also based on my own experience. I think perhaps Wolfe minimizes the impact of pervasive institutional and individual discrimination, but he doesn't much engage in it himself. And the actual murderer is almost a caricature, but of an upper-class white bigot. From Indiana, which may be about right.


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David Dyer-Bennet