On December 1st…

Publicity photo of Rex Stout (Publishers Weekly, October 29, 1973)

Rex Todhunter Stout was born in Noblesville, Indiana, on December 1, 1886, the sixth of nine children. He is best known for his stories featuring detective Nero Wolfe and “his man Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday…”, Archie Goodwin. Stout published 33 novels and 39 novellas about Nero Wolfe between 1934 and 1973.

Stout received his BSI investiture – “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” – in 1949. This was several years after his (in)famous presentation to the BSI in 1941: Watson Was A Woman. Not only was Watson a woman, he argued, but Watson was actually Irene Adler, and she and Holmes were married. He claimed to be “collecting material for a fuller treatment of the subject, a complete demonstration of the evidence and the inevitable conclusion. It will fill two volumes, the second of which will consist of certain speculations regarding various concrete results of that long-continued and–I fear, alas– none-too-happy union.” Strangely, this work has never been located. [I do not believe that the two volume study never really existed. -Chips]

Fletcher Pratt, Christopher Morley, and Rex Stout (Herbert Gehr, Life Magazine, May 1, 1944)

There is a story that this presentation got Wolfe promptly tossed out in the snow.

A relationship between Holmes and Adler was clearly too juicy an idea to ignore, though. In a 1956 Baker Street Journal article, “Some Notes Relating to a Preliminary Investigation into the Paternity of Nero Wolfe”, John Drury Clark argued that Nero Wolfe was the product of a liaison between Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler in Montenegro in 1892. This theory was adopted by William S Baring-Gould, among others, and there have been a number of essays on the topic of Nero Wolfe’s parentage.

Sources: A Curious Collection of Dates: Through the Year with Sherlock Holmes, by Leah Guinn (JHWS “Amber”) and Jaime N Mahoney (JHWS “Tressa”); The Wolfe Pack: The Official Nero Wolfe Society.


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