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The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 41, October 8, 2017, Article 4

THOMAS BISSELL OLD COINS CATALOGUE NO. 38

Arthur Shippee of Hamden, CT writes:

I came across the following passage in the book The Broken Vase by Rex Stout. It turns out to be a clue. One wonders if this is an accurate reference to a particular catalog.

Broken Vase excerpt1 Broken Vase cover

Broken Vase excerpt2

Thanks. We've mentioned fiction books dealing in numismatics before, but not this one. I've been collecting American numismatic literature for a lot of years now, and I've never encountered Thomas Bissell. So I'm pretty sure that's a made-up catalog. Neat reference, though. -Editor

Arthur adds:

It sounds like a good name, doesn't it? I suppose the lawyers would discourage naming an actual source.

The plot point here is that someone had to change hobbies to disguise how he used his funds. And thus his cover begins to unravel.

Tecumseh Fox was one of Rex Stout's secondary leads (of course no one could replace Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin). Fox was in ways a mirror Wolfe: he kept a farm in the country, not orchids in the city, and did his own detecting solo.

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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