Monday, October 12, 2015

Baseball busting

Not too long ago I was walking up a residential street and I saw that someone had left a cabinet out, one with glass doors. Inside were a couple of shelves of books and a note telling passers-by to help themselves. Guess the owner wanted to unload a few. I saw one that interested me, a Nero Wolfe collection called Three Men Out, so I took it.

Over the last couple of days I've been reading the three novellas in it. Today I got to the last one, "This Won't Kill You." It takes place during a fictionalized World Series between the Giants - still a New York team at the time - and the Boston Red Sox. Not to give too much away, but the Sox wind up winning. But there's skulduggery afoot that causes them to win. But no one on the Red Sox themselves is involved with it. But still.

I just couldn't help but notice that Boston wins the championship in the story about half a century before they beat the curse in real life. And yet there's one hell of an asterisk attached to the victory. Makes me think Rex Stout was doing some teasing.


susan said...

It was a nice thing for the person who owned the cabinet to leave a note that passersby could help themselves to the books inside. I'm reminded of the 'tiny libraries' program I read about a few years ago (which appears to be doing well now I've checked again).

It's also pretty cool it was a Rex Stout book that caught your attention. Do you remember when we went to visit Jer's old friends Chris and Susan in New York? We got to see the 4th of July fireworks from the Hudson Bridge. When we left they gave us a couple of copies of the Nero Wolf books that we enjoyed so much we spent the next few months in search of all the rest. Book searches (or collecting anything odd) was a lot more entertaining before the web took over.

I can't say I remember that one in particular but the story about the Red Sox winning the World Series so long before they actually did in real life does sound like Rex Stout was having some fun. Since he wrote one (The Doorbell Rang) where he left J. Edgar Hoover standing on Wolf's doorstep I think we can guess he had a very mordant sense of humor.

Ben said...

I don't think this was actually part of the Little Free Libraries program, or at least it didn't have any signage to that effect. The idea seems to be the same. There's an option for donating too, so I might find a couple of old books to give them.

I do sort of remember Chris and Susan. Not sure if you've heard from them lately. It's fitting that they lived in New York. One fun thing about the series is the flavor it gave you of the city. This even though one of the two main characters was basically a shut in.

It's a good collection. Of the three stories I actually think I like "The Zero Clue" the best. It's about a stat geek whom Wolfe hates getting murdered, so the big man himself is at least partially under suspicion. The Hoover thing makes sense. Stout was nominally cold war but definitely a liberal. J. Edgar was not one of his favorite people.