In "Cordially Invited to Meet Death", Archie alludes to the artwork of Helen Hokinson when he compares the matrons attending the orchid show to those depicted on the covers of The New Yorker. Scroll down for a Hokinson cover and additional information.
From Brooklyn Public Library & Scott Thomas in Russia
Rare Manuscript of Black Orchids Discovered
Weymouth Public Library discovers and lends manuscript to Stout Archives at Boston College
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports
that "Weymouth's piece of whodunit history gets a new home."
Read the details of this history mystery.
From Tower Books Edition:
Here in one book are two Nero Wolfe mysteries, both of them complete with Archie Goodwin! It's a double treat for Nero's fans, and a double must for any reader who is so unfortunate as not to have made their acquaintance.
In "Black Orchids" trouble comes to Nero when he goes to the flower show -- Nero always gets in trouble when he goes out -- but when he finds that Inspector Cramer more than half believes that Archie is the murderer, he really stirs himself.
In "Cordially Invited to Meet Death", Bess Huddleston, a high-powered, high-society social secretary sort of woman, comes to Nero Wolfe with two anonymous letter. The letters involved her and she was afraid that if they went on she would lose her business as a party arranger for the high and lofty. When Archie went to investigate he ran right into the middle of a very unpleasant murder. And then it was up to Nero Wolfe. These two mysteries present Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin at their brilliant and exciting best.
"It is surprising that Mr. Gould lived as long as did, in view of his character" (p. 99)
"'There is nothing in the world,' he said, glaring at me as if I had sent him an anonymous letter, 'as indestructible as human dignity. That woman makes money killing time for fools. With it she pays me for rooting around in mud. Half of my share goes for taxes which are used to make bombs to blow people to pieces. Yet I am not without dignity.'" (p. 111)
This one might be one of my favorite Wolfe tales to date. The two stories contained in the book are connected only by the presence of the black orchids Wolfe commandeers as a fee; however, there is a sense of sentimentality (in a good way) in both tales. We get some genuine friction between Wolfe and Archie and even more genuine affection. We also learn that Wolfe keeps Archie around due to a debt of honor--apparently Archie saved Wolfe's life at some point in the past. The stories' narratives also functions= well as they maintain a strong focus on the mystery. Their brevity keeps the narrative connected at all times to the mystery at hand. By and large, a good read with several funny moments and tight writing. (www.goodreads.com)
In ""Cordially Invited to Meet Death"", Archie alludes to the artwork of Helen Hokinson when he compares the matrons attending the orchid show to those depicted on the covers of The New Yorker.
See the image gallery above to view Helen Hokinson's depiction of a New York matron attending the flower show. Black Orchids features an introduction by Lewis Hewitt.
Bess Huddleson was widely assumed to be modeled on the persona of Elsa Maxwell.