> ----- I'm in my sixties and first read the Nero Wolfe series over 40 years ago, but I never considered Rex Stout "...the virtual definition of cozy mystery...". True the novels are not hardboiled like Chandler and Hammett, but they are not on the same cozy level as the little old lady detectives. Why? Mainly because of the narrator, Archie Goodwin. He's not a private detective but he often acts like one and can be hardboiled at times...
Um, whatever his official job description is or what his tax return may say (he's supposed to be Wolfe's "amanuensis," isn't he?), Goodwin is indeed a private eye in my book -- in that he interviews witnesses and suspects, investigates crimes and generally does legwork on behalf of his employer, who takes on private clients. Which makes Wolfe a private detective himself. Both essentially do investigative on behalf of private clients. They're not amateur sleuths -- they expect to be paid for their work. And they're not police officers -- they do not work for any government agency in any official capacity.
Their hard-boiled status doesn't really come into whether they're private eyes or not. But Archie is, in fact, at least as hard-boiled as many other characters we frequently discuss here.
Kevin Burton Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site
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