Monday, July 08, 2013

Rex Stout on the FBI and his career.

In the WNYC Radio archive is this 15-minute talk by Rex Stout (then-president of the Authors League of America, now known as the Authors Guild) from the Feb. 1966 program Books and Authors Luncheon. His remarks occurred a few months after the publication of his Nero Wolfe novel The Doorbell Rang that deals with the FBI and attracted quite a bit of attention because, says Stout, "I had the nerve to poke J. Edgar Hoover in the nose."

On his career, Stout says:
I realized that if I went on trying to make serious comments about human character and human problems, I would never turn out to be a Dostoevsky or a Balzac. So to hell with it, I quit. And I decided just to write stories and to try to make them as good stories as I could.
He also reports receiving a fan letter from Bertrand Russell and asserts that he is the only mystery author to have been translated into Ceylonese (the language of Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka), besting Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner in this regard.

Stout is introduced by New York Herald Tribune book editor Maurice Dolbier. The program also features Helen Hayes and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. For Wolfe Pack commentary on The Doorbell Rang, go here.

1 comment:

Jeffrey Marks said...

Erle wouldn't like to know that about Ceylon. He was very competitive that way!