The Rubber Bend


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'Slaves of Silver' is the Sherlock Holmes pastiche all of us seem compelled to do. Its sequel ['The Rubber Bend'] brings in -- as a robot -- my favorite private eye, Nero Wolfe. At one time I dreamt of a whole series of these; little does the world realize just how narrow its escapes have been."


Street and Westing, introduced in 'Slaves of Silver', join an investigator named Noel Wide in probing the disappearance of scientist Professor Lewis C Dodson. Street is able to solve the case with his customary deductive ingenuity.


  • Noel Wide and his assistant Arch St Louis are parodies of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. The house AI, named Fritz, references Nero Wolfe's servant of the same name.
  • The title references the Nero Wolfe novel The Rubber Band.
  • Professor Lewis C Dodson refers to Lewis Carroll (real name Charles Dodgson) and his 'daughter' Alice to Alice Liddell / the protagonist of the Alice books. The story parodies the well-known (and possibly untrue) rumor that Dodgson was a paedophile.
  • The discussion about Charles S Peirce and Damon Knight is presumably based on an in-joke between Wolfe and Knight. It parodies the Baconians, who say that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays. The fact that Peirce died before Knight was born evidently escapes the Peircians. Both Westing and Street are wrong about the philosophy Peirce founded: he callled it "Pragmaticism".

Unresolved Questions

  • Is Alice a robot or is she literally an eight-year-old human girl?
    • I took the statement of her age as false. She is tall with a well-developed figure. She lies about her age because Dodson wants her to be "as young as possible."

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