A Society Survey

We are conducting a survey of all of the Society’s members. We would appreciate your responses, brief or in more detail.Rex Stout, the creator of the huge Nero Wolfe body of detective stories, (pun intended) was a Sherlockian of great renown. As such, there may well be Sherlockian and Watsonian influences in the Neronian canon.

The survey question is:  How many of our members have read the Nero Wolfe works by Stout, and are you somewhat interested, very interested, or equally interested in the Neronian canon as you are in the Sherlockian canon? Do you regularly read and reread the Nero Wolfe stories?

Thank you for your replies, in advance. They may be left as comments here.

Clarification:  This has nothing to do with the John H Watson Society. It concerns understanding if there are those who see cross-over between Rex Stout’s characters and the Sherlockian characters and related scholarship.  The Society’s focus will NOT change.

22 Replies to “A Society Survey”

  1. As a young man I read a great deal of mystery stories, Nero Wolfe among them. I did not deliberately seek them out. My interest is the Shelockian Canon in the mystery genre. I hope that the focus of this society remains on that body of work.

    1. Same here “Cooper” !
      Sherlock Holmes is THE Master .
      On a scale of one to ten He is an eleven !
      All others are “Also ran’s “

  2. I watched and enjoyed the TV series that was on a number of years, but never found any interest in reading the stories. So much to read and so little time.

    1. This is off the main topic, but I happened to check out the site linked to your comment and I just wanted to say how very impressed I am with your re-creation of 221B’s sitting room. The photos are amazing!

  3. I’m relatively new to Sherlockian and Watsonian studies, so that is where my interest is concentrated. However, I’m not yet familiar with Nero Wolfe, so I would be curious about connections between Sherlockian and “Neronian” canon.

  4. I have not read any of the Nero Wolfe stories. In fact, I read little fiction written after the Coolidge administration. The Canon and related Holmes studies, being biography, fit into my preference for non-fiction.

  5. Please see the clarification above. This is an attempt to gauge perceptions of character similarities between the two bodies of writing. The Society is NOT altering any part of its focus. Thanks.

  6. A good topic, and I’ll be interested in reading the responses. The similarities between the Nero Wolfe stories and the Sherlockian canon are sufficient to have led to the (tongue-in-cheek) speculation that Wolfe was Sherlock Holmes’s son. For my part, I have read all of the Nero Wolfe novels and enjoyed them, but I do not pursue Wolfe as an interest in the way that members of the Wolfe Pack do, and to be honest, I think I read my last Wolfe novel in the 1970s and haven’t picked one up since then. I think that what I enjoyed about the Nero Wolfe stories was the quirky humor as much as the good mysteries. I also like Donald Westlake’s comic mysteries and Lawrence Block’s ‘burglar’ series for the same reason.

  7. I have never read the Nero Wolfe stories. While I wouldn’t mind reading one, I have a huge stack of books waiting to be read, so I don’t see myself picking one up anytime in the near future.

  8. Oh for a good proofreader! In my comment above, it is “head and heart” as you probably all knew anyway.

  9. I have read or listened to several of the Nero Wolfe books. I am also aware of Rex Stout as a Sherlockian and member of the BSI.
    I like the Wolfe books, but I do not connect in my hear and heart with Wolfe and Archie as I do with Holmes and Watson. I can’t explain this, it just is for me. Also, I enjoy the Victorian and England setting and ambiance of the Holmes/Watson stories much more than the New York setting of the Wolfe stories. I have always been somewhat of an Anglophile, so this makes sense for me. I would not reread or rehear any of the Wolfe books. There are simply too many Holmes related books to read, not to mention The Watsonian, the Baker Street Journal, the Sherlock Holmes Journal, and the various excellent publications of many scion societies.

  10. I love the Wolfe corpus and I do re-read the books. It’s hard for anyone to be as thoroughly familiar with the Wolfe stories as one can be with the Holmes stories because there are so many more of the Wolfe stories. I haven’t taken the time to count lately, but I think there were more than 40 Wolfe books. And a lot of them were collections of three novellas.

  11. “Dutch,” do you find similarities in the character cross-over (Holmes/Wolfe; Watson/Goodwin; Moriarty/Arnold Zeck; Lestrade/Cramer)?

    Do you see evidence that Stout read Watson and wrote thinking of Holmes and Watson?

    1. I don’t think there is any question that Stout was influenced by the Canon, but I don’t think that means he deliberately set out to create his own version of Holmes and Watson. The character pairs that you mention are clearly parallels in that serve the same functions of, respectively, sleuth, associate, master villains, and police official. But, just as clearly, they are their own characters. Archie Goodwin is not nearly so respectful of his sleuth as Watson!

    2. “Dutch”

      Do you find parallels in the way the minds of the detectives work? There is the whole fascinating structure of inductive/deductive reasoning and other psychological structures of their minds.

  12. I’ve read at least one of the Nero Wolfe short stories, but have never been strongly motivated to read more; can’t really say why. I do read mysteries other than Holmes, but I usually need to feel a connection to characters before I read more than a story or two.

  13. I have read Nero Wolfe since I was a kid, though it came after the Canon (I read, instead, Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr before Holmes). I love Wolfe’s books and I re-read them quite often. As a canon, it’s not as interesting as The Sacred Canon, but it’s a wonderful literary corpus of exceptional quality, with few exceptions. Stout was a great Author. I’m not as interested in exploring Wolfe and Archie’s world as I am in Holmes and Watson’s, but I love the atmosphere of the old brownstone and it’s probably the second most pleasant place that I’d love to visit if it was possible in real life (the first being obviously 221B Baker Street). And I have the Nero Wolfe Cookbook and I’ve tried a few recipes, too!

  14. I have read a few of the Nero Wolfe stories and they are very good. I enjoy Ellery Queen even more than Wolfe, but Holmes and Watson…that’s another level.

  15. I, too was a great fan of Nero and Goodwin. The manner of thinking the solution to a mystery and using clues that were not obvious do indicate a similarity to Holmes and Watson. – John H. Watson – (“Teddy”)

  16. Interesting question. Looking for connections between differing bodies is one of my favorite sports, but alas I am almost wholly unfamiliar w/ Nero Wolfe (other than the rumours that he is the love child of Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes). Now that I’m intrigued, I’ll have to look to see if there are any Stout books in the library.

  17. I like the Nero Wolfe stories. I have read most of them. A reflection of their time. The library has most of them.

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