I read this book about 8-Feb-2007. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1963. This note was last modified Friday, 09-Feb-2007 21:29:16 PST.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Wow, I stumbled on one I don't seem to have read before; definitely not since I started keeping the log, and I don't remember any of the stories in it.
Once again, Wolfe gets involved in an investigation because one of the menials who works for him occasionally is involved. In this case, his "bootblack", the guy who comes by and shines their shoes—three times a week.
And he has a daughter, of course. A smart one, even.
The actual course of events is definitely not that her father murders a man, and then commits suicide, because he's heard that man got his daughter pregnant. Although the police are pretty happy about it for a while.
In the end, it's the head of the firm, and the real issue is his top salesman defecting to the competition.
The clue, which Cramer pays too little attention to, is that the quality of the fresh corn isn't up to snuff. Grotesquely not up to snuff (for a custom supplier to high-end restaurants and individuals).
A mostly nice girl who doesn't dance anywhere near well enough for Archie gets him involved thinking he's safe cover, and this goes sour because his only alibi is through Saul Panzer, who the police believe would lie for Wolfe in a second (probably correctly). They're seriously interested in Archie for the murder.
In the end, the righteous and religious father turns out to have committed the crime, and his daughter was refusing to testify to seeing him at the scene for most of the book. I always like to see the narrow-mindedly righteous getting theirs, and in the end the father disintegrates himself with a pile of dynamite (after failing to get Archie to open a carton of alleged corn containing dynamite).
An obvious title, I'm surprised it took him this long to get around to it. In this case it's a bloodstain on a custom silk tie that tells.
Starts with Archie receiving a stained tie in the mail, followed by a phone call telling him to burn it. The phone call, I think, was supposed to be just a guy with a disguised voice, but there was a character whose voice was described the same way, and it was a bit confusing there for a while.