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In Conversation With … Rex Stout

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To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Rex Stout, until a few weeks ago, although looking back, I do seem to remember my father talking about him and reading his books.

He came to my attention when I was reading and reviewing the excellent new contemporary detective fiction novel ‘Fleeting Memory’, by a great and relative newcomer to the scene, Sherban Young.

Sherban happened to mention that Rex Stout, together with P.G.Wodehouse and Agatha Christie, were pivotal in providing the inspiration for his ambition to write.

With Rex Stout being the only unknown author in the pack to me, I set off to find out more ….. Having researched extensively, I still came back to this Wikipedia link, as offering the most comprehensive biography, bibliography, and information, about this hugely prolific ‘detective fiction’ author.

Rex Stout came out with some pretty memorable statements and quotes during his many interviews, but those that me me smile, came from a conversation with Sandra Schmidt, a reporter from ‘Life’ magazine, in the issue of December 10th 1965.

If you get the chance, check out the link, to see a copy of the entire magazine, it makes for some fascinating and nostalgic reading.

“Any man who undertakes to write a play is either a damn fool or a hero, I don’t know which. When you write a book, you pull it out of the typewriter and that’s that. When you write a play you’ve got to go on with the producer and the director and the actors and the rehearsals and the ——“

“I’m not a collector. I don’t keep letters, or books, or souvenirs. But I do keep one copy of each translation of my books into a foreign language. Have you ever seen a murder story printed in Singhaleses? Wow!”

“A person who does not read cannot think. He may have good mental processes, but he has nothing to think about. You can feel for people or natural phenomena and react to them, but they are not ideas. You cannot think about them.”

I think that the last quote is definitely the most astute.

My next mission sees me off to seek out some of the many Rex Stout murder stories, some 45+ in total, many of which feature his lead character ‘Nero Wolfe’.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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Written by Yvonne