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American writer (1886-1975)

There are only two kinds of books which you can write and be pretty sure you're going to make a living — cook books and detective stories.

REX STOUT, Royal Decree: Conversations with Rex Stout

No man was ever taken to hell by a woman unless he already had a ticket in his pocket.

REX STOUT, Some Buried Caesar

God made you and me, in certain respects, quite unequal, and it would be futile to try any interference with His arrangements.

REX STOUT, The League of Frightened Men

To say that man is a reasoning animal is a very different thing than to say that most of man's decisions are based on his rational process. That I don't believe at all.

REX STOUT, Royal Decree Revisited

There are two kinds of characters in all fiction, the born and the synthetic. If the writer has to ask himself questions — is he tall, is he short? — he had better quit.

REX STOUT, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 1953

Genius is fine for the ignition spark, but to get there someone has to see that the radiator doesn't leak and no tire is flat.

REX STOUT, The Doorbell Rang

A man may debar nonsense from his library of reason, but not from the arena of his impulses.

REX STOUT, The League of Frightened Men

No man with any sense assumes that a woman’s words mean to her exactly what they mean to him.

REX STOUT, The Mother Hunt

You can't dance cheerfully. Dancing is too important. It can be wild or solemn or gay or lewd or art for art's sake, but it can't be cheerful.

REX STOUT, Champagne for One

There are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.

REX STOUT, Death of a Doxy

A pessimist gets nothing but pleasant surprises, an optimist nothing but unpleasant.

REX STOUT, Fer-de-Lance

The only difference between me and most people is that I'm perfectly aware that all my important decisions are made for me by my subconscious. My frontal lobes are just kidding themselves that they decide anything at all. All they do is think up reasons for the decisions that are already made.

REX STOUT, Life Magazine, Dec. 10, 1965

Seven o'clock is much too early a breakfast hour unless you're a bird or a bird watcher.

REX STOUT, If Death Ever Slept

I was reminding myself of the one basic rule for experts on females: confine yourself absolutely to explaining why she did what she has already done because that will save the trouble of explaining why she didn’t do what you said she would.


This is the unluckiest day I've had since my rich uncle changed doctors.

REX STOUT, Too Many Women

Afraid? I can dodge folly without backing into fear.

REX STOUT, The Doorbell Rang

I'm not a collector. I don't keep letters, or books, or souvenirs. But I do keep one copy of each translation of my books into a foreign language. Have you ever seen a murder story printed in Singhalese? Wow!

REX STOUT, Life Magazine, Dec. 10, 1965

You have the nerve of a one-legged man at an ass-kicking convention.

REX STOUT, The Mother Hunt

Out of every thousand murders committed by amateurs, eighty-three are a woman killing another woman because she has taken her husband, or part of him.

REX STOUT, Death of a Doxy

In a world that operates largely at random, coincidences are to be expected, but any one of them must always be mistrusted.

REX STOUT, Champagne for One

I will ride my luck on occasion, but I like to pick the occasion.

REX STOUT, Might As Well Be Dead

There are damn few great writers and I'm not one of them. While I could afford to I played with words. When I could no longer afford that I wrote for money.

REX STOUT, The New York Times, Sep. 21, 1941

The minute those two little particles inside a woman's womb have joined together billions of decisions have been made. A thing like that has to come from entropy.

REX STOUT, Royal Decree Revisited

As I understand it, a born executive is a guy who, when anything difficult or unexpected happens, yells for somebody to come and help him.

REX STOUT, The Red Box

There are two kinds of detectives that work on homicides. One kind hastens to the scene of a murder. The other kind hastens away from it.

REX STOUT, Where There's a Will

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.

REX STOUT, The Red Box

Women don't require motives that are comprehensible to my intellectual processes.

REX STOUT, Three Doors to Death

Anywhere and everywhere you go you should always notice the kind of lock, in case it becomes necessary at some future time to get in without help.

REX STOUT, Plot It Yourself

She turned back to me, graceful as a big cat, straight and proud, not quite smiling, her warm dark eyes as curious as if she had never seen a man before. I knew damn well I ought to say something, but what? The only thing to say was “Will you marry me?” but that wouldn’t do because the idea of her washing dishes or darning socks was preposterous.

REX STOUT, Too Many Clients

We are all vainer of our luck than of our merits.

REX STOUT, The Rubber Band

I wouldn't use physical violence even if I could, because one of my romantic ideas is that physical violence is beneath the dignity of a man, and that whatever you get by physical aggression costs more than it is worth.

REX STOUT, Too Many Cooks

Sarcasm is not the rapier of wit its wielders seem to believe it to be, but merely a club: it may, by dint of brute force, occasionally raise bruises, but it never cuts or pierces.

REX STOUT, attributed, "The Surprising Science of Sarcasm"

What the tongue has promised, the body must submit to.

REX STOUT, Too Many Cooks

I don't drink while I'm writing because it fuddles my logical processes, but when I finish a book I go down to the kitchen and pour myself a big belt.

REX STOUT, Life Magazine, Dec. 10, 1965


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