Dig that crazy Greek Coffin
by xx11 on January 3, 2008In the thousands of endlessly boring and routine detective stories, particularly those dreadful "procedurals", where the reader is told everything except for why they're wasting their time , this early Ellery Queen is an unorthodox delight, with a bizarre plot and weird characters. A man is beheaded and crucified at a god-forsaken hamlet in West Virginia
and a few months later a similar incident occurs in New York with an insane cult leader as the only visible connection. Investigation reveals that the murders are a result of a 20 year old Balkan feud and although Ellery Queen is able to predict the next victim, he is helpless to prevent the final murder. The murderer has finally revealed himself in this last murder and a mad chase across the Midwest ends with his capture. In these early Queen books there is a challenge to the reader where the reader is told that they now have all the clues and information that Ellery Queen does and that they should be able to name the murderer. They always say that they have been scrupulously fair to the reader but while it's fun to guess who the murderer is, that's all it is-guessing. After you weed through the red herrings and logically eliminate suspects, there is still another card up Ellery Queen's sleeve that he hasn't fully revealed that pins the murderer.
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