#527: Plotting the Perfect Crime – Potential and Pay-Off via The House of Haunts, a.k.a. The Lamp of God (1935) by Ellery Queen

Black Lizard Locked Room

Slowly, slowly I work my way through the Otto Penzler-edited Woo Whatta Lotta Locked Room Mysteries (2014) — it’s not really a convenient size to dip into — and, since my chronological reading of Ellery Queen is going so well, it seemed time to take on this impossible disappearance story.  Or so I thought…

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#502: The Door Between (1937) by Ellery Queen

Door Between, Thestar filledstar filledstar filledstarsstars
Brad has threatened to drum me out of the GAD Club Members’ Bar for my lack of kow-towing to the work of Ellery Queen.  In fairness, I really rather enjoyed Halfway House (1936), but here I am fighting for my rights.  And I think he’s timed this deliberately, being well aware that The Door Between (1937) was up next for me, because Gordon’s beer is Eva MacClure, the heroine who finds herself at the centre of an impossible murder plot, one of the most frustrating perspective characters I’ve yet encountered. Goodness, she makes one positively ache for the company of Noel Wells from The Saltmarsh Murders (1932) by Gladys Mitchell.

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#334: The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934) by Ellery Queen

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Sure, laugh it up.  Just a few short months ago I stated my intention to read the entirety of the output of Manny Lee and/or Frederic Dannay under the Ellery Queen nom de plume, and here I am — some struggles later — jumping ahead to a more warmly-perceived title.  I’m not happy about it myself, I much prefer to do these things chronologically, but equally I want to want to read their books again.  I’ve loved some, been unaffected by others, and abominated a handful, and as such Queen remains a problem child for me.  So here I am, back on the horse in a different town, mixing metaphors with the best of ’em.  And the result…?

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#239: Construction, Clarity, Conformity, and the Contortions of Ellery Queen in The French Powder Mystery (1930)

French Powder Mystery

Contrary to what the books may tell us, the father of Ellery Queen, detective, is not Inspector Richard Queen but instead Philo Vance, the dilettante amateur wise-arse detective created by S.S. van Dine.  I’m not claiming this is an original observation — far from it — but reading the second novel to feature the Queens and the first in which Ellery actually solves the case (he has a very small hand in their debut, The Roman Hat Mystery) it’s interesting to realise just how heavily Dannay and Lee were leaning on van Dine at this point of their careers.

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#236: Ellery Queen in Order at The Invisible Event + Murder on the (Givea)Way! Winner

EQ novels

A little while ago I read The Roman Hat Mystery (1929), the debut novel by Ellery Queen, the nom de plume of cousins Daniel Nathan and Emanuel Lepofsky, in turn better known as Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee.  I didn’t love it, but I’ve read about ten Ellery Queen books and found a lot to enjoy in some of them, and a great many people whose opinions I value assert that the work done by these two under this name was vital to the development of the genre.

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