Wednesday, February 08, 2017

When Bad Typos Happen to Good People

I take what some people might characterize as inordinate delight in discovering typographical errors on book covers. (No doubt a consequence of my years as a magazine and newspaper editor.) So it was with a hearty laugh that I encountered one such typo on the rear side of an advance reader’s copy of Loren D. Estleman’s forthcoming short-story collection, Nearly Nero: The Adventures of Claudius Lyon, the Man Who Would Be Wolfe (Tyrus).

As anyone familiar with Rex Stout’s longest-practicing protagonist, Nero Wolfe, knows, that oversize but percipient New York City armchair sleuth was fond not only of fine comestibles and beer, but also of orchids. Wikipedia quotes Stout biographer John J. McAleer as explaining that “Wolfe spends four hours a day with his orchids. Clients must accommodate themselves to this schedule.” While the crime-solver could often be irritable, he derived great pleasure from raising and breeding orchids, and giving them away.

When it came time to pen the promo copy for the reverse of Nearly Nero, though, its writer must have been either tired or imbibing too heavily of beer himself. Its first paragraph begins as follows:
From 1934 until his death in 1975, Rex Stout entertained the world with the exploits of Nero Wolfe, the eccentric, organ-breeding detective genius, as related by Archie Goodwin, the irreverent legman.
You can see a scan of that back cover by clicking here.

As talented as he was, I doubt that Wolfe ever engaged in medical experimentation. Presumably, then, the good folks at Tyrus Books will notice and correct this back-cover blunder long before Estleman’s book reaches print in May. But for now, I am keeping it on my desk to glance at whenever I need a chuckle to get me through the day.

1 comment:

Gram said...

Love it!