Best Line From A Mystery

I've been searching for a quotation I read a long time ago. The words teased my consciousness, and I wanted a character in a book I'll be writing to quote it exactly.

Finally, I found it in The Mystery Lovers' Book of Quotations by Jane Horning. I should have known it would be in that book.

The words were written by Rex Stout for his character Archie Goodwin to speak in a Nero Wolfe novel.

Rex Stout: Master of the Mystery

When I was much younger, I read every Nero Wolfe novel I could find. In case you don't know, Rex Stout (Rex Todhunter Stout who died in 1975) was an American mystery author noted especially for his larger-than-life fictional detective Nero Wolfe. When I say larger than life, that's exactly what I mean because Wolfe weighed well over 300 pounds.

In 1959, Mr. Stout received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award. Then in 2000 at Bouchercon, the Nero Wolfe corpus was nominated Best Mystery Series of the Century, and its creator Mr. Stout was nominated Best Mystery Writer of the Century.

The next year, A Nero Wolfe Mystery starring Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin debuted on a cable channel. The series was excellent, but it didn't fare well with regard to ratings so it was canceled after 2 seasons. Learn more here.

Now, For the Quote

No man was ever taken to hell by a woman unless he already had a ticket in his pocket, or at least had been fooling around with timetables.

That sentence should give you a glimpse at the brilliance of his writing. I adored Nero Wolfe books. Haven't read one in years, but I think I'll have to pull one off the shelf and see if I still find them as pleasurable as I did when I was a kid.

Takeaway Truth

Good books are like old friends. To read them again is to visit with people you find amusing, entertaining, and intelligent.


  1. OMG, Nero Wolfe was my favorite author for years! I was soooo sad when Rex Stout died. Think I might have to go back and take a look at those old stories as well. Thank you, Joan, for the wonderful trip down memory lane. :)

    1. I didn't know you liked those books. I think I read every one. Loved the TV series with Hutton too even though I don't think he was the right size according to descriptions of Archie. Of course, if Tom Cruise can be Jack Reacher then it's not much of a reach for Hutton to be Goodwin.

    2. Okay, Nero Wolfe isn't an author--cringe, my bad :)--but, yes, I loved the stories. I think Stout was a brilliant writer. I even read the ghost writers that took his place, but they were never the same. I was always disappointed when the theatrical efforts to display his work didn't do well. I agree about Hutton, although I really like him.

    3. Hey, I knew what you meant. It always surprised me how most authors' books never translate well into movies. I think the exception is when the screenwriter who does the adaptation, the producer, the director, and the casting director are all fans of the book.