As with The Hand in the Glove, Stout makes a play for social justice, this time confronting segregation. Unsurprisingly, the scenes with the Black waiters at the Spa haven’t aged well. However, even after all these years, one point of tension still has bite: the narrator (Archie) is considerably more backward than the hero (Wolfe). I don’t want to give Stout too much credit, but this casual positioning of disparate ethics within the framework of the family unit suggests the long crawl to equality, and therefore grates less than other older books that try to fix structural racism with a single teachable moment.
I want to mention that although I lift that verbatim from Ethan’s blog, I applied Plastic Alto style rules when referencing people from the African diaspora, upstyle.