Wolfe does break some of his cherished rules; but can't we allow him to in Archie's last report of his doings? And he breaks them because the case is "a family affair." His self-esteem, as large as his fabled seventh of a ton, has been tweaked. A murder has happened in his own home--and, twice as indigestible, the victim is mighty Nero's own waiter at Rusterman's. He requires satisfaction and will halt his planetary momentum at nothing--not even jail time--to get it.
Being a male chauvinist lookalike, as Saul Panzer would have it (and not just a lookalike, unfortunately), Archie's machismo could never allow him to comment at length on how he felt about where the investigation led. His lapses say it for him. A question implicit in what he and Wolfe discover is: how does one come to terms with finding betrayal where one expected sincerity? It can be an anguishing question, and the stylish solution devised by "the family" leaves behind it both a mystery solved but a lesson learned about the need to be critical of those who claim to uphold the law of the land.