Some devoted fans of Rex Stout and his character Nero Wolfe -- they call themselves The Wolfe Pack -- sent The Famous Author an announcement this weekend, and while TFA seems disinterested, I can tell you the news has me thinking.
Do you smell smoke?
Mr. Wolfe wasn't the kindest of souls, but first, here's the announcement: The Wolfe Pack/Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine's annual Black Orchid Novella Contest is underway. The deadline is May 31, 2011. The winner receives $1,000 and publication in AHMM. We'd welcome your submissions.
Details are at The Wolfe Pack's den, but here's the Contest Entry Qualifications:
Each entry must be an original unpublished work of fiction that conforms to the tradition of the Nero Wolfe series.
The mystery should be "traditional" in flavor.
The crime must be solved using the deductive abilities of the sleuth. No coincidences.
The killer must be known to the victim. No random pycho shootings.
The characters (male or female) must have an engaging relationship.
There needs to be some wit.
The timing could be retro or current.
There should be no explicit sex or violence.
The detective could be a professional or amateur.
The setting could be NYC or Boston or wherever.
We're not looking for anything derivative of the Nero Wolfe character, milieu, etc.
Fer-de-Lance, Stout's first Nero Wolfe novel, appeared in 1934, according to The Pack's website bio. "More than seventy other Nero Wolfe books and stories followed. During World War II, Rex Stout waged a personal campaign against Nazism as chairman of the War Writers Board, master of ceremonies of the radio program, "Speaking of Liberty," and member of several national committees.
After the war, he resumed writing Nero Wolfe novels. In 1959 he won the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award. Rex Stout died October 27, 1975 at the age of 88. A month before his death, he published the final Nero Wolfe book, A Family Affair."
So why am I, Austin Carr, interested in The Wolfe Pack's novella contest? I've never written anything but bad checks. Well, I met this young lady at Pazzo's in Red Bank last night. Happened to mention I was a character in my own series. You know. It just slipped out. Anyway, it turns out this fiery-haired woman named Lorraine is a writer, and she has this novella. It starts out like this:
Men were trouble, dead or alive.