30 Days of Books: Day Fourteen

Day 14 – Favorite character in a book

Archie Goodwin in Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe mysteries. Wow, that wasn’t even hard. :D

The best thing about Archie is that he’s always a man of his time, even though the series was started in the 1930s and Stout finally died in the 70s. You can watch the change throughout the years, particularly in the way Archie talks about women. (Which does make the earliest books a little uncomfortable at times, I admit.) There’s also a spectacular pair of books that present an interesting discussion on race, Too Many Cooks and A Right to Die, written almost thirty years apart (in which the side characters age, but Archie and Nero Wolfe are the same as they ever were).

There’s something about Archie Goodwin that’s just so damned cheerful, almost relentlessly so. He’s not inhuman, though; he hates mornings (particularly when he’s been out for Wolfe all night long and still has to get up before noon) and he can’t resist poking fun at Wolfe (or Inspector Cramer) when he starts to take himself too seriously. He will occasionally resign his position, just to shake things up. But Archie’s an eternal optimist, and it’s his good will and engaging narration that make these books such a joy to read.

Archie was, of course, played by Timothy Hutton in the spectacular A&E series of adaptations, which does not hurt my enjoyment one bit. (He does look rather nice in his uniform, in the couple of stories they do from the World War II era. I love it when he requests Wolfe’s permission to apply to the front lines — “I have thought of something cutting to say to a German, and I would like the chance to use it.”) Hutton also produced the series, and you can tell he’s a huge fan of the books, because all the little details are right, down to Wolfe’s expansive yellow pyjamas.

About Jen Moore

I'm a recent library school graduate in Madison, Wisconsin, looking for a full-time professional job and trying to manage a fulfilling life in the meantime. Oh, and I read. A lot.

Posted on October 28, 2010, in Reviews, The Internet is a Social Movement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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