On September 21st, Jane Cleland, of
also known as the Nero Wolfe Society, wrote to me as follows:
I’m THRILLED to inform you that [Though Not Dead has] won the Nero Award for Best Novel of 2011!!! We’ll disseminate the info via various social media and send out news releases to bookstores, libraries, and the media on December 2, 2012, the day after the official announcement at the Winter Banquet. Until then, please help us keep it a surprise…
…As you know, the Nero celebrates literary excellence in the tradition of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe stories. On behalf of the Wolfe Pack, congratulations! You join a stellar group of authors—Lawrence Block won the first Nero. Other past winners include Lee Child, Dennis Lehane, Tess Gerritsen, and Martha Grimes, among others.
Two thoughts. One, that is awe-inspiring company to be keeping, and two, I have to keep this a secret for more than TWO MONTHS?
Last night at the Wolfe Pack’s annual banquet in New York City, my editor, Kelley Ragland, accepted my Nero on my behalf, and drank all my free booze while she was at it, and was made to sing as well, although there is no video so I can’t prove it. Here’s what Mr. Wolfe looks like in bronze:
The Wolfe Pack’s press release is here. My acceptance speech, read by the one, the only, the aforementioned Ms. Ragland, was as follows:
There is so much about Nero Wolfe that delights me.
Beginning with Rex Stout’s beard.
And that Mr. Wolfe is still in print. And that when you google Nero Wolfe you get 1,440,000 hits.
The third of which goes to the IMDB entry to A&E’s “A Nero Wolfe Mystery” series, starring heartthrob Timothy Hutton as Archie. Which was my first introduction to Mr. Wolfe. (Wait, what? William Shatner once played Archie? Blasphemy! Sacrilege!)
There are Nero Wolfe cooking blogs, and Nero Wolfe beer blogs. There are long lists of quotations from the novels, including from the first Nero Wolfe novel I ever read, Plot It Yourself, which is still my favorite. “It’s fine to have a conscience, but you can’t let it run wild.”
Words to live by. Especially in publishing.
Now, by the generosity of this august body, my name will pop up 1,440,001st on a google search of Nero Wolfe. I only wish I could be there to hoist an artisanal beer in gratitude to you all.
I only hope that Mr. Stout, who from all I can discover did not suffer fools gladly would have approved.
Although I’m far more apprehensive of Mr. Wolfe’s reaction.
Thank you all so very much.