The House at 918 West 35th Street


Nero Wolfe

(Citations are of books in my library.)

Fer-de-Lance 1934: Pyramid, February 1976, New York. The first Nero Wolfe.

The house is located on 35th Street (p.20) and we find that Fritz lives upstairs while Archie is on the same floor as Nero Wolfe. The plant-rooms (always referred to this way) are on the third floor. This all changes in later books.

"Wolfe was in the office - as he and I called it, Fritz called it the library - and I was in the front room reading a book... when I glanced through the window and saw Fritz pull up at the curb." (p.5)

"...the office was dark and when I went up a flight I saw a ribbon of light under the door of Wolfe's bedroom. ...Fritz slept up above, across the hall from the plant-rooms; my room was on the second floor, the same floor as Wolfe's, a fair-sized room in front with its own bath and a pair of windows." (p.20)

"...[My] room was certainly home. The bed was big and good, there was a desk with plenty of drawer-space and three chairs all roomy and comfortable, and a real carpet all over, no damn little rugs to slide you around.... The pictures on the walls were my own... one of Mount Vernon, ...a colored one of a lion's head, another colored one of woods with grass and flowers, and a big framed photograph of my mother and father.... Also there was a colored one called September Morn... in the bathroom." (p.21)

"On top [of Wolfe's bed] was a black silk puffy cover which he always used, winter and summer. had to stoop to look under the canopy arrangement that he had sticking out from the head of the bed. It was also of black silk, and extended beyond his chin and hung quite low on all three sides." (p.45)

"Instead of asking her to walk up two flights of stairs [to the plant-rooms] I took her down the hall [from the office] and used Wolfe's elevator." (p.63)

"[In the plant-rooms] Wolfe used concrete benches and angle-iron staging, with a spraying system Horstmann had invented for humidity. There were three main rooms.... Then there was the potting-room, Horstmann's den, and a little corner room for propagation. Supplies... were kept in an unheated and unglazed room in the rear alongside the shaft where the outside elevator came up." (p.64)

(Archie, by the way, has been with Wolfe 7 years.)

The Red Box 1936: Bantam Books, March 1982, New York. High fashion and poison candy.

Archie has been with Wolfe 9 years and "my desk [is] 8 feet from his." (p.7)

The house is "near the Hudson River." (p.13)

"I went to the cabinet and found the bottle of Old Corcoran... got a glass of water, put them on a tray stand...." (p. 38)

The Rubber Band 1936: Pyramid, May 1976, New York. Back in the days when good detectives got $1.50 an hour, a top secretary could live well in NYC on $3,600 a year, and the British Pound was worth $5.00. One of the better Nero Wolfe yarns.

Archie has been with Wolfe 8 years (p.21) and the "plant rooms on the roof [are] glazed in" (p.17). On page 75, Saul sleeps in the North Room above Archie's. On page 71, Miss Fox is in the South Room which we are told on page 89 is on the 3rd floor and Archie goes down to his room on the same floor as Nero. The South Room, we are told, can be seen from the roofs of buildings on 34th Street (p.92).

The basement stairs lead to a back door and court yard (p.104).

Archie's room remains on the same floor as Wolfe's, and Saul Panzer sleeps one floor up in the North Room (p.105).

The gardener's room (Theodore Horstmann) is next to the potting shed (p.107).

Some Buried Caesar 1938: Pyramid Books, June 1972, New York. Nero Wolfe and a barbecued bull.

Over My Dead Body 1939: Pyramid Books, July 1972, New York. Nero Wolfe may have a daughter.

Wolfe: "Put her to bed in the south room, above mine..." (p. 117)

The Mountain Cat Murders 1939: Pyramid Books, January 1971, New York.

Where There's A Will 1940: Avon Books, May 1970, New York. Nero Wolfe and two veiled women.

"...plant rooms on the roof." (p.8)

"As usual the red one was at the right of Wolfe's desk, turned to face him..." (p.52)

"...Wolfe's... room on the second floor." (p.58)

"...the south bedroom, the spare on the same floor as mine...." (p.150)

"The [office] room was full, extra chairs having been brought from the front." (p.152)

Not Quite Dead Enough 1942: Pyramid Books, February 1972, New York.

"One flight up [from the first floor], both Wolfe's room and the spare...." (p.15)

"...two rooms on the floor above, one of which was mine." (Ibid.)

"...plant rooms. In the four growing rooms there was nothing under the glass but orchids, hundreds of them in bloom, but in the potting room...." (pp.15-16)

" he and Fritz were both seated at the little table by the window eating..." (p.17)

Booby Trap 1944: in Not Quite Dead Enough (op. cit.), pp.83-158.

"...his house, which was also his office, on West 35th Street over near the North River...." (p.83)

" room on the third floor...." (Ibid.)

"...I had mounted the eight steps [of the front stoop]...." (p. 130)

The Silent Speaker 1946: Bantam Books, October 1970, New York. Nero Wolfe and a monkey wrench.

"...the old stone house... that had been my home for over ten years...." (p. 9)

"There were other chairs in the house that had been made to order [for Wolfe]... one in his room, one in the kitchen, one in the dining room, one in the plant rooms on the roof... and one there in the office, over by the two-foot globe and the book shelves - but it was the one at his desk that nearly always got it, day and night. (Ibid.)

"I got busy on the chair problem. There were six there in the office, and the divan would hold four comfortably... so I brought five more in from the front room, the one facing on the street...." (p. 23)

"[In] the kitchen... he went to the door to the back stairs, the steps that led down to what we call the basement, though it was only three feet below the street level. Fritz slept down there in the room that faced the street. There was an exit through a little hall to the front; first a heavy door out to a tiny vestibule which was under the stoop, and then an iron gate, a grill, leading to a paved areaway from which five steps mounted to the sidewalk." (pp. 88-89)

"...down the main hall to the front door, out to the stoop and down to the sidewalk, and down the five steps to the areaway." (p. 89)

Too Many Women 1947: Bantam Books, December 1972, New York.

"A few feet from the end of Wolfe's desk is a roomy and comfortable red leather chair, and next to it on one side is a solid little table made of massaranduba, the primary function of which is as a resting place for checkbooks while clients write in them." (p. 47)

"My room was two flights up." (p. 58) (i.e., the third floor.)

Man Alive 1947: in Three Doors to Death, Bantam Books, March 1970, pp. 1-66.

"...the dining room, which was across the hall from the office...." (p. 17)

"Through the open door from the dining room to the hall I saw Fritz pass on his way to the front...." (Ibid.)

"[At the front door] signaled Cynthia to enter, shut the door, and elbowed her into the front room, which faces the street and adjoins the office." (p. 18)

" was only five steps from the office to the kitchen door...." (p. 25)

And Be A Villain 1948: Bantam Books, October 1979, New York.

"There are four rooms on the ground floor of Wolfe's old brownstone house on West Thirty-fifth Street not far from the Hudson River. As you enter from the stoop, on your right are an enormous old oak clothes rack with a mirror, the elevator, the stairs, and the door to the dining room. On your left are the door to the front room, which doesn't get used much, and to the office. The door to the kitchen is in the rear, the far end of the hall. The office is twice as big as any of the other rooms." (p. 20)

"The bright yellow couch as to be cleaned every two months, but he likes bright yellow. The three-foot globe over by the bookshelves is too big for a room that size.... He loves a comfortable chair so much that he won't have any other kind in the place, though he never sits on any but his own. (p. 21)

"I got busy [preparing drinks] at the table at the far wall, already equipped." (p. 26)

"Also he insists that they must all have stands or tables at their elbows for their drinks." (Ibid.)

Bullet for One 1948: in Curtains for Three, Bantam Books, June 1976, New York, pp. 60-115.

Omit Flowers 1948: in Three Doors to Death, (op. cit.), pp. 67-124.

"The fact is we have two spare rooms. Wolfe's room is at the rear of the house on the second floor, which he uses because its windows face south, and there is another bedroom on that floor in front, unoccupied. On the third floor my room is the one at the front, on the street, and there is another spare at the rear which we call the South Room." (p. 103)

The Gun With Wings 1949: in Curtains for Three, (op. cit.), pp. 1-59.

"The point is that from my desk I get most of a party profile or three-quarters, but the one in the red leather chair fullface.... [sic]" (p.17)

The Second Confession 1949: Bantam Books, January 1945, New York.

"...had come all the way to our place on West Thirty-fifth Street nearly to Eleventh Avenue." (p. 1)

"One flight up was Wolfe's bedroom and a spare. Two flights up was my bedroom and another spare. The third flight put me on the roof." (p. 8)

"The top landing... was walled with concrete tile and plastered.... I flipped the light switch and opened the door to the first plant room, the warm room.... (p. 36)

Door to Death 1949: in Three Doors to Death, (op. cit), pp. 68-125.

Disguise for Murder 1950: in Curtains for Three, (op. cit.), pp. 116-182.

"I went to the cupboard and got a hooker of Old Woody." (p. 118)

In the Best Families 1950: Bantam Books, May 1968, New York. Nero Wolfe goes on a diet and disappears into hiding.

"[Wolfe's] desk in a corner by a window." (p. 2)

"My own desk not far from Wolfe's and at right angles to it." (Ibid.)

Description of plant rooms: "warm room, medium room, cool room, potting room, spray chamber, Theodore's room." (pp. 60-61)

Prisoner's Base 1952: Bantam Books, May 1955, New York.

"'That's the door to the front room.' Her eyes moved again, aimed the length of the hall. 'That's the stairs, and the door to the dining room on the right and to the office on the left. The hall's wider than I expected.'" (p. 3)

"The door to the south room was standing open. Inside I... cranked a window open." (p.7)

Invitation to Murder 1952: in Three Men Out,  Bantam Books, November 1955, New York, pp. 1-52.

The Zero Clue 1952: in Three Men Out, (op. cit.), pp. 53-103.

This Won't Kill You 1953: in Three Men Out, (op. sit.), pp. 104-150.

The Golden Spiders 1953: Bantam Books, November 1955, New York. In which Wolfe reconstructs a murder out of thin air involving a series of actions as improbable as any in his distinguished career. We are compensated by Archie getting into a rare action sequence involving shooting a gun out of a villain's hand. Shades of Wyatt Earp!

"I went up the three flights and through the aluminum door into the vestibule, and the door to the warm room.... In the next room, the medium... Wolfe led the way to the rear, through the cool room into the potting room, where he lowered himself into the only chair present.... I got onto a stool...." (pp. 42-43)

"I... left him [in the potting room], went down one flight to my bedroom...." (p.44)

"Wolfe was in the office looking at television, which gives him a lot of pleasure." (p. 93)

The Black Mountain 1954: Bantam Books, February 1970, New York. One of my favorites. Marko Vukcic, owner of Rusterman's, is killed, and Wolfe heads for Yugoslavia to get the killer.

Die Like a Dog 1954: in Three Witnesses, Bantam Books, November 1972, New York, pp. 122-179.

"...two flights of stairs to my room." (p. 127)

The Next Witness 1954: in Three Witnesses, (op. cit), pp. 1-62.

Before Midnight 1955: Bantam Books, May 1971, New York.

"I told her certainly [in response to a request to use the bathroom], and went and opened the door of the one partitioned off in the far corner to the left of my desk..." (p. 34). I know of no other reference to a bathroom in the office. The location to the "left" of the desk doesn't work if you assume that Archie sits with his back toward the room, a position made clear by numerous references to his swivelling his chair to face Wolfe or a client. He also refers to a mirror he has in order to see the room behind him. In addition, his frequent uses of a safe and files make it more likely that they belong in the corner to the left of his desk. And finally, there is the matter of plumbing. It makes more sense where I have placed it. At least to me!

"Up in the plant rooms on the roof.... In the cool room, the first one you enter from the vestibule..., and in the middle room, the tropical room... but... the big show was in the third room." (p. 41)

"Wolfe, in the potting room, washing his hands at the sink...." (Ibid.)

Stout's descriptions of the plant rooms is a tad loosey-goosey, and one needs to accommodate a variety of accounts. There is, however, a fairly consistent catalog that includes three plant rooms (variously described), a potting shed, Theodore Horstmann's room, and a fumigating room or spray shed depending upon the text.

"Back in the office, I attended to the lights.... There are eight different lights -- one in the ceiling above a big bowl of banded Oriental alabaster, which is on the wall switch, one on the wall behind Wolfe's chair, one on his desk, one on my desk, one flooding the big globe, and three for the book shelves." (p.48)

"'You like yellow, don't you?' ...Since the drapes and couch cover and cushions and five visible chairs were yellow, it did seem a little obvious." (p.55)

"I went to the hall, up the flight of stairs to Wolfe's room... and entered. He was in the big chair by the window...." (p.78)

"I ushered Younger across the hall into the front room... and, instead of using the connecting door to the office, which was soundproofed, went around by way of the hall." (p. 93)

"There would be ten of them [visitors], eleven if I got Frazee, so chairs had to be brought from the front room and dining room." (p. 104)

"Buff and Hansen were in a huddle at the wall end of the couch, where Wolfe would have to look through me to see them, and I got them to transfer to chairs, Buff stopping on the way to refill his highball glass." (p. 117)

[Wolfe's Bedroom.] "He was in the big chair under the reading lamp with a book. ...I moved a chair up for Cramer. ...[The book] was one of a few dozen he kept on the shelves there in his room...." (p. 122)

The Final Deduction 1955: Bantam Books, October 1970, New York.

"...I took her to the front room, the first door on your left when you are inside, returned to the hall, and went to the second door on the left, to the office." (p. 1)

"I went and opened the connecting door to the front room...." (p. 2)

"...old brownstone on West 35th Street...." (Ibid.)

"Seated at my desk, my chair swiveled [sic.] to face her...." (p. 3)

"I went and got my coat from the rack, no hat, let myself out, descended the seven steps to the sidewalk, walked to Tenth Avenue and around the corner to the garage...." (p. 27)

"I took Tedder to the front room and left him, and went to the office by way of the hall instead of the connecting door." (p. 65)

"I went to the front door and out to the stoop... and beckoned to Manhattan, that part of it north of 35th Street. ...I didn't see him until he was out of an areaway and on the sidewalk, on this side, thirty paces toward Tenth Avenue." (p. 105)

Immune to Murder 1955: in Three for the Chair, Bantam Books, August 1971, New York, pp. 54-99.

Christmas Party 1956: in And Four to Go, Bantam Books, December 1974, New York, pp. 1-64.

Easter Parade 1956: in And Four to Go, (op. cit.), pp. 65-110.

"I swiveled my chair to face Nero Wolfe directly across the expanse of his desk top...." (p. 67)

"Nine-eighteen West Thirty-fifth Street." (Address given to cab driver, p. 74)

"I led the way up the seven steps of the stoop." (p. 75)

" my hat and coat on the hall rack and shelf...." (ibid.)

"...put his coat on a hanger and his hat on the shelf, steered him across the hall and into the front room, told him to wait, opened the soundproofed door to the office...." (ibid.)

"There is a comfortable room on the third floor of this house...." (p. 78)

"...he had relaxed enough to go with me to the basement to shoot some pool...." (p. 80)

"...having, as usual, his Sunday evening snack with the cook. Fritz was on a stool at the long table in the center.... Wolfe [was] seated at my breakfast table against the wall...." (p. 85)

"The big old oak rack [in the hall entrance] was so covered with hats and coats that I had to put mine on a chair...." (p. 102)

Fourth of July Picnic 1956: in And Four to Go, (op. cit.), pp. 111-154.

Murder Is No Joke 1956: in And Four to Go, (op. cit.), pp. 155-200.

Might As Well Be Dead 1956: Bantam Books, March 1974, New York.

"He... was on his way to the door of the bathroom in the corner...." (p. 106)

"[On the roof] Wolfe wasn't in the first room, the cool one, nor in the second, the medium, nor in the third, the tropical, and I went on through to the potting room." (p. 109)

"[In the potting room] Herold... saw a big comfortable chair.... 'That's my chair,' Wolfe snapped... 'There are stools.'" (p. 110)

A Window for Death 1956: in Three for the Chair, (op. cit.), pp. 1-53.

"Nero Wolfe, behind his desk, sat glaring at the caller in the red leather chair. I was swiveled with my back to my desk, ready with my notebook...." (p. 1)

[In his bedroom] "Wolfe, in his yellow pajamas and barefooted, was seated at the table near a window, and Saul, chewing on griddle cake and sausage, was across from him." (p. 44)

Too Many Detectives 1956: in Three for the Chair, (op. cit.), pp. 100-154.

Plot It Yourself 1959: Bantam Books, January 1968, New York.

Method Three For Murder 1960: in Three At Wolfe's Door, Bantam Books, January 1968, New York, pp. 50-102.

"...I opened the front door and she was coming up the seven steps to the stoop...." (p. 50)

"Five of the yellow chairs were in place facing Wolfe's desk, three in front and two behind.... (p. 95)

Poison A La Carte 1960: in Three At Wolfe's Door, (op. cit.), pp. 1-49.

The Rodeo Murder 1960: in Three At Wolfe's Door, (op. cit.), pp. 103-154.

Too Many Clients 1960: Bantam Books, February 1971, New York. More sex than usual, which is not much!

"At half past ten Wednesday morning I stood by the big globe in the office, twirling it...." (p. 76)

Counterfeit for Murder 1961: Bantam Books, May 1976, New York.

Death of a Demon 1961: in Homicide Trinity, Bantam Books, May 1976, New York, pp. 63-126.

The red leather chair was four feet away from the end of Nero Wolfe's desk.... Sitting facing her with my back to my desk, which was at right angles to Wolfe's.... (p. 63)

"When you mount the seven steps to the stoop and enter the hall of the old brownstone on West 35th Street, the first door on your left is what we call the front room, with the office door farther along on that side. The walls and doors of the front room and office are soundproofed." (p. 97)

"...I had seen her descend the seven steps to the sidewalk and turn left, toward Tenth Avenue...." (p. 129)

"I... moved one of the yellow chairs up for her, and went to my desk and sat." (p. 130)

Eeny Meeny Murder Mo 1961: in Homicide Trinity, (op. cit.), pp. 1-62.

"...I mounted the three flights to the roof of the old brownstone.... In the vestibule of the plant rooms I... entered. ...go down the aisles between the benches of those three rooms -- cool, tropical, and intermediate... and then was in the potting room." (p. 6)

"I went to the hall, mounted one flight, turned left, ...opened the door, and entered. Wolfe... was in the big chair with a book." (p. 13)

"...was back in the red leather chair and the newcomers were on two of the yellow ones facing Wolfe...." (p. 38) One of numerous references to multiple yellow chairs in the office.

Gambit 1962: Bantam Books, May 1975, New York. Chess players.

"There's a fireplace in the front room, but it's never lit because he hates open fires.'s lit now because he's using it." (p. 2)

"There's a room above his on the third floor which we call the south room. It has a good bed, two windows, its own bath, hot and cold running water, a Kashan rug fifteen by eleven, and a bolt on the door." (p. 51)

"I stood in the alcove at the end of the hall next to the kitchen, observing, through the hole in the wall.... On the office side the hole is covered by a pretty picture of a waterfall on the wall five feet to the right of Wolfe's desk. On the alcove side it is covered by a metal panel at eye level which slides open without a hint of a noise, and, standing there, you find that the made-to-order waterfall is no obstruction to your view of the office or to your hearing." (p. 128)

The Mother Hunt 1963: Bantam Books, June 1969, New York.

"Entering the old brownstone by the back door is a little more complicated than by the front door, but not much. You come in from 34th Street through a narrow passage between two buildings and end up at a solid wooden gate seven feet high. There is no knob or latch or button to push.... and you will be led along a brick walk between rows of herbs, down four steps and on in, and up a stair with twelve steps. At the top, you turn right for the kitchen or left for the office or the front." (p. 50)

"Fritz was opening the front door to the crack the chain bolt allowed, so I tiptoes to the office, to the safe, ...shut the safe door and twirled the dial, and tiptoes back to the hall. Wolfe was there, starting down the stairs. At the bottom I took the lead, on out, up the four steps, and along the brick wall to the gate with its Hotchkiss lock. Then through the passage to the 34th Street sidewalk." (p. 118)

A Right to Die 1964: Bantam Books, December 1965, New York. Stout takes a shot at prejudice, but has a tin ear.

"I put him in the red leather chair near the end of Wolfe's desk." (p. 1)

The Doorbell Rang 1965: Bantam Books, October 1971, New York. Nero Wolfe takes on J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. A favorite. See The FBI Nobody Knows by Fred Cook.

"As we pushed our chairs back [from the dining room table] I told him I wanted to show him something in the basement, and I led the way to the hall, then to the right, and down the steps. The basement has Fritz's room and bath, a storeroom, and a large room with a pool table. In the last is not only the usual raised bench, but also a big comfortable chair on a platform, for Wolfe...." (p. 45)

" I descended I heard his voice. It came from the open door to Fritz's room, and I stepped to it and entered." (p. 70)

[This passage implies that the entrance to the room is at the foot of the stairs, which in this context are near the kitchen, not the front of the house.]

"Fritz... prefers the basement. His den is a big as the office and front room combined, but over the years it has got pretty cluttered -- tables with stacks of magazines, busts of Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin on stands, framed menus on the walls, a king-size bed, five chairs, shelves of books (he has 289 cookbooks), a head of a wild boar he shot in the Vosges, a TV and stereo cabinet, two large cases of ancient cooking vessels, one of which he thinks was used by Julius Caesar's chef, and so on. Wolfe was in the biggest chair by a table...." (p. 70)

"...sat down on the chair at the wall opposite the rack." (p. 121)

"The door from the hall to the front room, open, was right there, four feet from the chair." (p. 122)


Death of a Doxy 1966: Bantam Books, August 1967, New York.

"[From the office] I had crossed to the door to the front room and opened it.... 'It's sound proofed...'" (p. 31)

"She had exited... by the door to the hall." (p. 34)

"...Ballou was over by the globe, slowly twirling it with a fingertip." (p. 63)

"What we called the South Room in Nero Wolfe's house, the one above his, has three windows facing south." (p. 115)

"...the only chair Fritz allows in the kitchen." (p. 124) Difficult to interpret as there are many references to meals eaten in the kitchen. We will assume a kitchen table and chairs, plus a larger chair not at the table. (?)

"In the alcove at the kitchen end of the hall there is a hole in the wall with a sliding panel, and on the office side the hole is covered with a trick picture of a waterfall which you can see through from the alcove side. Wolfe would be there on a stool." (p. 140) Where would he get the stool if not from the kitchen? The peep hole is often described, usually with a three part panel or triptych. Somewhere, if I remember correctly, the peep hole is actually in the kitchen. I have not located that reference, and I may be in error. The closest I could come to water in my program was a picture of fish. Be kind.

"The basement has Fritz's room and bath, a storeroom, and a large room with a pool table." (p. 149)

The Father Hunt 1968: Bantam Books, June 1969, New York.

"When, after mounting the stoop of the old brownstone, you enter, the second door down the hall on your left is the office. The first is to what we call the front room, which isn't used much, mostly for parking people who aren't wanted in the office. Its furniture is nothing much, not like the office or the kitchen, because Wolfe is seldom in it and doesn't give a damn. ...a chair by a window." (p. 9)

"Wolfe... went and mounted the stool at the near side of the center table. Once in the past he had bought a chair big enough for the back of his lap and had it put in the kitchen, but the next day it wasn't there. Fritz had taken it to the basement. As far as I know it has never been mentioned by either of them -- not then, and not since." (p. 60)

"...his eyes took their time to go around the room. Apparently they liked the rug, but they stayed longest on the globe over by the bookshelves. Not many people coming here have seen a globe as big as that one, 35 inches in diameter." (p. 76)

"The door of Wolfe's room, which is above the kitchen, at the rear of the house where he gets the sun in winter, stood open." (p. 96)

Death of a Dude 1969: Bantam Books, September 1981, New York. Wolfe in Montana.

Please Pass the Guilt 1973: Bantam Books, October 1974, New York.

"...they descended the seven steps of the stoop to the sidewalk. ...I went to the kitchen. Fritz... was perched on a stool by the big center table with a magazine...." (p. 53)

"I went to the kitchen and put a bottle of bourbon... and a glass and a pitcher of water on a tray...." (p. 99)

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