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 Too Many Cooks (1938) 
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New post Too Many Cooks (1938)
You're invited to use this topic to discuss the quotations from Too Many Cooks (1938) – a Nero Wolfe novel by Rex Stout.

You may also use this thread for general discussions about this literary work; you do not necessarily need to discuss specific quotations.

Or, if you'd like to talk about anything else related to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, or Rex Stout, feel free to create a new discussion topic.


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 27 Jul 2007, 6:38, edited 1 time in total.

Mon, 19 Feb 2007, 22:57
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New post Too Many Characters
Am I the only one who didn't like this book? I remember it being hyped somewhere as one of the best stories in the corpus, and maybe I'm just being contrary, but I felt it didn't flow, there were too many characters, and the tone was overbearing - plus, 'Paul Whipple' has got to be one of the worst names Stout has come up with! Even the drama of Wolfe being injured didn't really impact the story. I couldn't even be bothered to go back and skim this book for quotes, and I managed that for Dude, which I loathe and detest! :shock:

Not impressed


Tue, 3 Jul 2007, 14:10
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I'm afraid you really might be the only one. :wink: I for one consider Too Many Cooks to be a masterpiece through and through, literally from the fantastic opening line on page 1 to the fantastic closing line on the last page.

And I trust when the collection of quotations from Too Many Cooks is up, you'll see why the novel gets such high appreciation. It's a jewel not only in terms of being a mystery, but perhaps primarily in terms of comedy. This is Rex Stout at his best: blending mystery and comedy (with a dash of romance to improve the mixture). I feel that nowhere does he do this better than in Too Many Cooks :!:


Tue, 3 Jul 2007, 15:36
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New post The most wonderful thing about tiggers is I'm the only one!
Faterson wrote:
And I trust when the collection of quotations from Too Many Cooks is up, you'll see why the novel gets such high appreciation. It's a jewel not only in terms of being a mystery, but perhaps primarily in terms of comedy. This is Rex Stout at his best: blending mystery and comedy (with a dash of romance to improve the mixture). I feel that nowhere does he do this better than in Too Many Cooks :!:


I agree that mystery and comedy are the main ingredients in a Stout story, but here the mixture was a little raw for me. There was also little 'romance', per se - Archie was behaving like a middle-aged Cupid, for such an early instalment, and was rather more taken with 'valeting' for Wolfe (which he insists is not part of his job description in 'Eeny Meeny Murder Mo') than charming the lovely Constanza! I wasn't particularly convinced by Marko, either, who seemed a completely different character to the supportive friend in 'In the Best Families'. I know that the characters and their relationships build and strengthen as the corpus progresses, but I have read and enjoyed other stories in the 'prototype' category far more than this - 'The League of the Frightened Men' is one of my favourite novels (now I know I'm President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary of my own Stout Appreciation Splinter Group! :wink: )

I shall look forward to reading quotes instead of gathering my own!


Tue, 3 Jul 2007, 20:38
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New post Re: The most wonderful thing about tiggers is...
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
'The League of the Frightened Men' is one of my favourite novels

Well, we definitely have a different take on what makes a good Nero Wolfe novel. I found The League of Frightened Men a weak novel, overlong, and too talkative. It also seemed psychologically trite in the character of Paul Chapin who did not seem very credible to me as a human being; he was too obviously a writer's construct. See my review from 2004 of The League of Frightened Men that I posted at Amazon and titled Overlong, boring – avoid if not a Wolfe junkie.

What's perverse is that when I visited amazon.com just now to check that the review was still there, it suggested to me I should purchase Where There's a Will along with The League of Frightened Men:!: That's a pair of Wolfe novels that misfired badly, if you ask me. :twisted:

Anyway, to each his or her own. 8)

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
There was also little 'romance' [in Too Many Cooks], per se

I for one won't ask for more. :wink: Too Many Cooks shows Archie Goodwin deep in romantic thoughts on the very first page of the novel, and it shows him in the same sadly romantic mood on the very last page of the novel. Plus, there are many astute observations on the nature of women and romantic love made by Nero Wolfe himself in the course of the novel – wait until the quotes are posted. :D There are one or two seminal quotations in Too Many Cooks where Wolfe summarizes his views on women and romantic love – better and more persuasively than in any other Nero Wolfe story.

Let's not overlook, as so frequently happens, that Nero Wolfe, impossible though it may seem, considered himself to be a romantic person. Too Many Cooks provides excellent explanations as to why Wolfe could think of himself in this way.

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
Archie was behaving like a middle-aged Cupid

Really? :shock: I had the reverse impression: that Archie was behaving a tad too fatuously, like a schoolboy in love with the girl from the class next door. :wink: It's funny how two readers can get so divergent impressions of a character in a specific novel.

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
I wasn't particularly convinced by Marko, either, who seemed a completely different character to the supportive friend in 'In the Best Families'.

Yes, but that's why I liked Marko Vukcic the best right here, in Too Many Cooks, rather than in all the other Wolfe stories. Because in this novel, for once, he was a live man of flesh and bones and tormented by his own passions, instead of the puppet character and supporting-cast member to whom he is reduced in the other Wolfe stories. In fact, Marko Vukcic is one of the central elements of the romantic subplot of Too Many Cooks that is so impressive in this novel.

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
I shall look forward to reading quotes instead of gathering my own!

Yes. Let's hope other readers will chime in and post their own favorite quotations. You may do so yourself, Adonis 8), for The League of Frightened Men, for example. :)


Tue, 3 Jul 2007, 21:12
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New post Get your notebook
Faterson wrote:
Yes. Let's hope other readers will chime in and post their own favorite quotations. You may do so yourself, Adonis 8), for The League of Frightened Men, for example. :)


Gladly! How do I do this? I've got pages of quotes for most of the books - bar Cooks! :P - and I would love to post them. My quotes tend to be Archie-centric, however, so I won't be the most discerning of submitters, I'm sure! :wink:


Wed, 4 Jul 2007, 11:19
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New post Re: Get your notebook
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
Gladly! How do I do this?

It's easy :!: Danielle a.k.a. Goodwingrad has already started a collection of quotations from Where There's a Will.

All you need to do is to visit the webpage for the book from which you have the quotations, then press the tab with the PLUS sign at the top of that page, and off you go :!: If you need more help, please ask here any time. :)

Using the tab with the PLUS sign, you may easily add any number of quotations to any webpage, one by one. If you're familiar with wiki software, you can also use the Edit tab instead of the Plus tab, to add more than one quote at a time, but that's just an option, not a necessity. :wink:

I've just posted an overview of all 74 Nero Wolfe stories to the updated version of the Rex Stout profile page. It's an updated and, it is to be hoped, improved version of the earlier overview from the original version of the webpage.

My goal was to make this the best and clearest overview of all 74 Nero Wolfe stories available anywhere on the Internet. I hope this goal has now been achieved. 8) If not, it's a wiki:!: And so, any reader of the wepbage may improve the list of Wolfe stories so that it's even more useful than it is now. :)

And so, Adonis, all you need to do if you want to post a quotation from this or that Nero Wolfe story, is to click on the title of that story in the overview, and then on the PLUS tab at the top of the page. The shortcut address for the Rex Stout profile page is stout.avenarius.sk and from this one webpage it will be possible to access every single collection of Nero Wolfe quotations.

However, even if a quotations webpage for a specifiic literary work does not exist yet, it's extremely easy to create it. Let's say someone would like to upload quotations from Moby Dick. The easy steps to accomplish this are:
  • On any page of the quotations site, for example the homepage, below the navigation bar on the left, enter Quotations:Moby Dick in the Search field. (There must be no space preceding or following the colon [:] between the word Quotations and the title of the book or movie.)
  • Press the Go button. A page will appear telling you that the Quotations:Moby Dick page doesn't exist yet. Click on the words create this page, highlighted in red.
  • In the empty edit window, post the very first quotation from Moby Dick, then press the Save page button.
  • Now you may add all the other quotations from Moby Dick one by one, using the PLUS tab at the top of the webpage.
It's incredibly easy, isn't it? :idea:

In adding the quotations to the webpages, it would be best for everyone to respect what was posted to the Nero Wolfe discussion mailing list at Yahoo! Groups yesterday:

Faterson wrote:
Please keep [the quotations] really brief and illustrative so that fair use is apparent. (Any longer passage would have to be analyzed in a literary scholar's fashion by means of footnotes and/or extended comments.)


Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
I've got pages of quotes for most of the books - bar Cooks! :P - and I would love to post them.

That's fantastic, thanks a lot in advance :!:

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
My quotes tend to be Archie-centric, however

That doesn't matter at all. A wiki is a collaborative effort. After you, other contributors may expand the collections with quotations that will be Wolfe-centric rather than Archie-centric. (Or Cramer-centric, Fritz-centric... whatever!) :lol:


Last edited by Faterson on Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 11:09, edited 1 time in total.

Thu, 5 Jul 2007, 0:36
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New post TMC is cool, LOFM is cool!
I would like to add in my two cents on the whole issue and Faterson already knows what I’m going to say! ;) I for one love both Too Many Cooks and League of Frightened Men with the same enthusiasm and intensity! They are masterpieces.

In Too Many Cooks, I don’t think there were too many characters, or at least not anymore than normal. Most of every Wolfe novel and/or story has a lot of characters in it. That’s all part of his formula. There’s a cast and Wolfe has to discover the murderer amongst them. It’s a classic mystery formula. Agatha Christie herself has had a couple mysteries where there was a HUGE cast of characters and she developed every single one of them very well! She’s a queen of mystery! How was TMC overbearing? And I think Wolfe being injured is very dramatic, it plays right into Wolfe/Archie moments that I love so much. Awwwwwww!
And I refuse to for anyone to think Archie was acting like a middle-aged Cupid, good grief no! I don’t remember all the details, but he was certainly gaga for Constanza in his typical Archie way. Only, a very intriguing Archie moment in the beginning revealed something about his character. My memory is a little hazy, but I do remember that Archie was feeling “possessive” of her when the other guy started checking her out. Once he realized he was, he suddenly backed out in a hurry, because if he is feeling possessiveness that could only lead to the logical conclusion of marriage and that isn’t a road he’s willing to go down. Very revealing, but no Cupid for Archie. Good grief! He isn’t a matchmaker! And of course he would rather be valeting for Wolfe! That’s the whole point of their partnership; I don’t mean valeting but that willingness. Archie will never ever fall truly for a woman and marry her, because he will never leave Wolfe. Likewise, Wolfe depends on him and does not wish to loose him. It’s wonderfully subtle, and spectacularly played out through the whole corpus! What do you think The Christmas Party was all about? Look at League of Frightened Gentlemen, Archie is in tears…twice! Or we can go to In the Best of Families; Archie is almost in tears and is practically in a panic when he doesn’t find things right in the Brownstone. Those moments are the whole reason why I read the corpus, because I think Rex Stout could do no greater than Wolfe and Archie, his greatest creations. Their friendship/partnership is so complex and yet so subtly hinted at through their everyday conversation. It gives me goose bumps, I could implode!

As for Marko, well for one thing he isn’t a very important character so I don’t care. Another thing, I don’t see why it should be so bad for him to be caught in a passionate romance and be a supportive friend as well. Are you saying supportive friends can’t have interesting love lives? Haha! Marko is older In the Best of Families anyway, he could have toned down. Never do I see him as being a puppet character either. Excuse me this series is called Nero Wolfe, not Marko Vukcic. I don’t care about the guy, I care about Wolfe…and his charming assistant! Marko has a character, he just isn’t around much throughout the corpus, and that’s all right because he’s only a supporting character.

So, that’s what I have to say about that. Come on, Wolfe fans, get it right, get it right! All his stuff is pure gold, and you know it!

Really, I would have read it just for Archie alone. *sigh*


Thu, 5 Jul 2007, 8:57
New post Re: TMC is cool, LOFM is cool!
Excuse my mistake up there, I meant to say League of Frightened Men. Gosh, it sounds too much like LEague of Extraordinary Gentlemen! :oops:


Thu, 5 Jul 2007, 9:00
New post Quotes
Faterson wrote:
That doesn't matter at all. A wiki is a collaborative effort. After you, other contributors may expand the collections with quotations that will be Wolfe-centric rather than Archie-centric. (Or Cramer-centric, Fritz-centric... whatever!) :lol:


I've added three quotes for Some Buried Caesar, one of my favourite novels from the early years of the corpus; Lily Rowan is a gem in this book, playful and forthright. Lord knows what happens to her after that point.

I don't know if I've hit the mark, but I picked three fairly 'illustrative' excerpts, two Archie and one Lily (sort of). And, upon flicking through my 'files', I've discovered that I haven't actually skimmed Frightened Men for quotes! :shock: I've read it twice and neglected to dissect it for posterity! I shall remedy that, however, and prove that every Nero Wolfe book, even the dire Dude, contains the odd line or two of salvation.


Thu, 5 Jul 2007, 20:22
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New post Re: Quotes
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:

Thanks a lot, Adonis! :)

I've fixed the formatting of your contributions a bit. For example, the data on chapters was moved to the heading of the quote instead of the body of the quote that should contain no external data – only what is present in the original text. (The only exception are footnote marks whose usage is exemplified in the incipient collection of quotes from Too Many Cooks.) :wink:

I'll be adding a few quotes of my own from Some Buried Caesar, although I was disappointed upon re-reading the novel recently. Maybe another re-read will fix that impression. :D

I've also set up a separate discussion forum topic for Some Buried Caesar, so any further discussion of that novel can take place there rather than in the current topic reserved for Too Many Cooks. The link to the new forum topic has also been added to the webpage with the quotes from Some Buried Caesar.

Later on, there will be a separate discussion topic in the Rex Stout forum for every single Nero Wolfe story out of the 74 Nero Wolfe stories that are available.

In fact, there will also be collections of quotations (and associated discussion forum topics) for Rex Stout's non-Wolfe writings, too. Rex Stout was an extremely prolific writer who lived to be 89 years old, and he wrote a lot more beside Nero Wolfe – both mysteries and “serious” novels. For example, I find the non-Wolfe, non-Archie mystery novel Red Threads to be of even higher quality than most Nero Wolfe stories :!: I know Goodwingrad will probably feel it's blasphemous to say this, but that's just how I perceive it. :twisted:

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
Lily Rowan is a gem in this book, playful and forthright.

Do you mean to say sexy in so many syllables? :lol:

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
Lord knows what happens to her after that point.

You're right. But, you know, that's the same thing I was talking about in relation to Marko Vukcic in the novel discussed in this thread, Too Many Cooks. In this novel, for once, Marko is a real human being, not an easily replaceable supporting-cast member. Lily, in her turn, is a real human being practically only in Some Buried Caesar, maybe in a few more stories as well. (In the Best Families comes to mind.)

Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
I shall [...] prove that every Nero Wolfe book, even the dire Dude, contains the odd line or two of salvation.

That's great, thanks in advance for doing that! :)


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 0:07
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New post Re: Quotes
Faterson wrote:
Thanks a lot, Adonis! :)

I've fixed the formatting of your contributions a bit. For example, the data on chapters was moved to the heading of the quote instead of the body of the quote that should contain no external data – only what is present in the original text.


D'oh! I was going to arrange it with the chapter reference at the top (page numbers are somewhat pointless, with different editions), but I read somewhere in the notes that the Chapter/Page box was for naming the character, etc. My mistake!


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 9:46
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New post Re: Quotes
Adonis Guilfoyle wrote:
I read somewhere in the notes that the Chapter/Page box was for naming the character, etc.

Secondarily, yes. :wink: I have now expanded the wording of that instruction to make it absolutely clear (I hope!):

Quote:
Please use the chapter / page / minute field to state the chapter and/or page for each quotation you add. [...] You may also use the chapter / page / minute field to insert any other useful brief information, for example which fictional character said the quotation, etc.

So, thanks for the suggestion for improving the wording. :)

The chapter / page / minute is meant primarily for chapter references, but it can also accommodate other brief useful info related to the character who said the quotation, or the character to whom he or she said it, other interesting external circumstances, etc. You did that very well, Adonis, with the Methodist tent reference. :wink:

Page numbers can be referenced, too, but don't have to. If they are referenced, the edition should be specified from which the page numbering is taken, as shown on the quotations page for Where There's a Will. Of course, various contributors may use various editions to cull the quotes from, so this can potentially lead to confusion. :twisted:

Also, Mr. Guilfoyle 8), you may choose to register on the wiki pages (separate registration for the discussion forum and the wiki pages is required, unfortunately), like Goodwingrad has done, so that the signature button Image above the edit field allows you to sign each quotation you add. That's a vanity thing, perhaps, :roll: and again it's not required, but I for one like to sign each quotation I add to show that this is a quotation I endorse, unlike other quotations one might not want to endorse. Well, let's hope Nero Wolfe isn't all that controversial a subject as compiling biblical quotations would be. :twisted:


Fri, 6 Jul 2007, 10:22
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