Orchids, Nero Wolfe and Can You Name This Tree?

by | Sep 12, 2023

This post was originally published on murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com.

“the orchids were his concubines: insipid, expensive, parasitic and temperamental. He brought them, in their diverse forms and colors, to the limits of their perfection, and then gave them away; he had never sold one”

— The League of Frightened Men

Orchid Landscape

I’m still settling back into daily life and writing, and looking longingly at Nero Wolfe’s routine: 


Orchid Stalk

Orchids (9am to 11am)

Work (11am till Lunch, then till 4pm)

Orchids (4pm to 6pm)

I also love his particularity, precision and enjoyment re: language, thought, food and life.

If only I could adopt a routine like his, my murder solving score might improve too. But right now, between edits, emails, laundry and the vengeance of daily tasks put on hold for two weeks, it’s not happening. 

But even with all that and the jet lag, it was so wonderful to be at Bouchercon again!

I took these orchid photos at the Asia Pacific Orchid Conference 2023, two days before leaving for Bouchercon. 

Orchids are taken seriously here in Singapore–when we were looking to pick a National Flower in 1981, 30 of the 40 contenders were orchids. And yes, an orchid–Vanda Miss Joaquim–is now our National Flower.

These (partly) black orchids in particular make me think of Wolfe–

Black Curly Orchid

They also remind me (uncomfortably) of traditional Chinese bunholders–


These are among my favourite orchids, with what I think of as ‘bottle brush’ sprays–

Bottle Brush Orchids

The show left me with a head full of orchid intentions, just as Bouchercon left me with stacks of books and reading intentions.

But unfortunately right now I’m in another part of the Nero Wolfe universe. Closer to:

“Fritz Brenner was in bed with the grippe… On that Tuesday in November the kitchen had not seen him for three days, and the resulting situation was not funny…”

Not me–I’m still fine. But the Beloved who escorted me to San Francisco and San Diego is down with something that we hope isn’t Covid. The fever is in at 38º++ C and if it doesn’t break by today we’ll be heading to hospital.

Not the best of souvenirs to bring home!

It was so wonderful being surrounded by the mystery writing tribe. I can still feel the energy, through the jet lag and sickroom blues!

There’s one more memory I’d like to preserve from Bouchercon San Diego, if anyone can help me:

I love these trees I saw in Downton San Diego that I couldn’t identify–can anyone tell me what they are?

Need Tree ID

 And a closer look at those beautiful flowering bundles:

Closer Look At Tree

I’d really like to find out more about them. I fancy there was some fragrance too, but can’t say for sure.