Quotations:The Mother Hunt

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by Rex Stout (1963)
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Chapter 1, page 2 (Bantam edition, 1975)

“How old are you?”

That was for my benefit. He had a triple conviction: that a) his animus towards women made it impossible for him to judge any single specimen; that b) I needed only an hour with any woman alive to tag her; and that c) he could help out by asking some blunt impertinent question, his favourite one being how old are you. It’s hopeless to try to set him right.

Chapter 2, page 12

That took some fancy understanding. I sat and worked on it while I finished the martini, four or five minutes, got up and put my glass on the bar, touching hers to show I understood, which I didn’t, and departed.

Chapter 3, page 19

With all the trick gadgets they have hatched, there may be one you could attach to Wolfe and me and find out if he riles me more than I do him or vice versa, but we haven’t got one, so I don’t know.

Archie and Fritz discuss cinnamon, chapter 4, pp. 21-2

“No,” I said firmly. “I’ve decided it’s an aphrodisiac.”

“Then for you it would be – how is it? Taking coal somewhere.”

“Coals to Newcastle. That’s not the point, but you mean well and I thank you.”

Chapter 7, page 48

I could list five good reasons why I should have quit that job long ago, but I could list six, equally good, why I shouldn’t and haven’t. Turning it around, I could list two reasons, maybe three, why Wolfe should fire me, and ten why he shouldn’t and doesn’t. Of the ten, the big one is that if I wasn’t around he might be sleeping under a bridge and eating scraps. He hates to work. It has never been said right out, by either of us, that at least half of my salary is for poking him, but it doesn’t have to be.

Chapter 10, pp. 68-9

She put a hand out and I took it. That was how our cordial relations had started, three weeks back, when I had spent a long evening with her, making up her list and picking the four men to be asked to help. When a handshake goes beyond routine even for one second, it’s a test. If you both decide it’s enough at the same instant, fine. But if she’s through before you are, or vice versa, look out. You don’t fit. Lucy and I had been simultaneous the first time. We were this time too.

Lon Cohen and Archie, chapter 12, page 80

“You have the nerve of a one-legged man at an ass-kicking convention,” he said.

“That’s not only vulgar,” I said, “it’s irrelevant.”

Chapter 13, page 86

Apparently they were discussing literature; there were three books on Wolfe’s desk and one in his hand, open. I went and sat and listened. Yep, literature. I got up and started out and was stopped by Wolfe’s voice.

Chapter 14, page 98

No man with any sense assumes that a woman’s words mean to her exactly what they mean to him.

Chapter 14, page 99

He threw the jacket at me. It came close, but I didn’t catch it; I was too stunned. I couldn’t believe he had actually done it.

Fritz and Archie, chapter 20, page 138

“He is worried too, Archie. He thinks there is danger that you may marry that woman.”

“I know he does. That suits me fine. In a month or so I can hit him for a raise.”

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