About Me

My photo
Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Hercule Poirot and Nero Wolfe Discuss the Old Man in the Corner

As I was reading The Old Man in the Corner - The Teahouse Detective I thought of Nero Wolfe, another armchair sleuth who solved cases while sitting around. As I reflected on the two sleuths, Wolfe and Hercule Poirot entered my mind:

Poirot: That old man in the corner is a lot like you.

Wolfe: Pfui, we have virtually nothing in common. He is a scarecrow of a man who spends his days sitting in a cafe.  I have a robust figure and am ensconced in an armchair custom designed to accommodate me.

Poirot: I grant you the physical distinction but …

Wolfe: And I would have to be dead to be caught wearing a check tweed suit! What an appalling choice of apparel.

Poirot: I do not disagree Nero. I shudder at the very thought of a check tweed suit. I appreciate the simple savoir faire of your rich brown suits and bright yellow shirts. Of course, to be a man of distinction a tailored three piece suit is to be preferred.

Wolfe: And drinking milk. How can anyone think while drinking milk? That bland drink dulls the senses. That Archie drinks glasses of milk daily confirms its enervating quality.  Now several botthes of Remmers beer a day both relaxes and stimulates the mind.

Poirot: You are too harsh mon ami. While I also do not favour milk I cannot recall the last time I indulged in a bottle of beer.

Wolfe: What! Surely you grew up savouring the vast selection of wonderful beers brewed in Belgium.

Poirot: Non! Beer has never been my pleasure. I find cocoa or a delicate herbal tisane enhance the reflection.

Wolfe: And when he is not in his corner that man is out watching trials. He wastes so much time in the tedium of the courtroom. Archie and my other detectives can do the listening and fact finding and then report to me. 

Poirot: I am well aware of your reluctance to leave the brownstone.

Wolfe: I cannot understand why he never talks to any witnesses. 

Poirot: Je ne sais pas. What I really want to talk about is how each of you use the little grey cells. Let me read to you a passage from a recounting of his cases written by Baroness Orczy. On his  “method of induction” she states:

First think of the one absolutely undisputed, positive fact. You must have a starting point, and not go wandering about in the realms of suppositions.

Wolfe: Hmmmmm. That approach has intellectual rigor but confound it, his infernal habit of tying and untying complicated knots while thinking would be an unbearable distraction.

Poirot: You fail to appreciate how you also have an odd, no, let me be fair, a distinctive distracting physical action while deeply engaged in thought. You will sit in silence with your eyes closed and your lips pushing out and drawing in.

Wolfe: Well, well. …….. alright, I will accept men who think deeply have individual means of achieving complete concentration.

Poirot: I think each of you excel in the analysis of crime 

Wolfe: I would accept that neither of us has ever encountered a crime we could not solve through the application of those little grey cells you mentioned but he has no sense of justice. I relish the chance at the meetings of suspects in my office to confront and expose the criminal and have the guilty face the consequences of their actions.

Poirot: As I understand it the man in the corner does not consider it his duty to advise the police of the solutions to their unsolvable crimes.

Wolfe: While I deplore his lack of civic responsibilty I would agree the police all too often falter before the demands of a challenging case. I sometimes weary of the mental effort to solve mysteries.

Poirot: Ah, I understand. Each of the three of us has been called a genius. The burdens of our intelligence are heavy. Among the consequences, we are bereft of spouse and children.

Wolfe: It is probably best for the world that there is but one of each of us.


  1. Archie walks into the room
    Wolfe: Archie! Can't you see I'm occupied? Please come in later.
    Archie: But -
    Wolfe Getting exasperated Confound it, Archie, M. Poirot and I are discussing the detection methods of The Man in the Corner. We do not have time for useless interruptions that invariably concern trivial matters. Now please leave us.
    Archie: Your funeral then. I was just going to tell you that Fritz has lunch ready.
    Wolfe: I see. Turns to Poirot Will you join us for lunch?
    Poirot: Me, I would like that very much. I understand your Fritz Brenner is a marvel of a chef.
    Wolfe: He is world-class.
    Archie shakes his head and leaves the room. The two other men follow, deep in conversation about the sort of food The Man in the Corner might eat, and how similar that might be to the food Mycroft Holmes eats at the Diogenes Club

    [This is a terrific dialogue, Bill! Witty, interesting, and you make some good points. Well done!]

    1. Margot: Thanks for the kind words. I hoped you would add some conversation to the post. Nifty touch with Mycroft!

  2. This is a wonderful post, Bill. You portrayed both of the characters perfectly. I am now reading The Mysterious Affair at Styles so I am more aware of Poirot's mannerisms and habits of speech also. Plus I have been watching Season 1 of the Poirot TV series. Wolfe and Poirot are both strong personalities.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the kind words. Over the years I was inspired by the posts by Margot in which she used the voices of fictional sleuths. There is no doubt the powerful personalities of Wolfe and Poirot are part of their attraction.

  3. very entertaining, Bill, and you capture your sleuths well!

    1. Moira: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them. I enjoy thinking what fictional sleuths would think about books and other situations.