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From the very beginning, the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. Georg Khalkis, internationally famous art dealer and collector, died of heart failure. After his funeral, his attorney found that the will was missing and immediately called in the district attorney. When Insp From the very beginning, the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. Georg Khalkis, internationally famous art dealer and collector, died of heart failure. After his funeral, his attorney found that the will was missing and immediately called in the district attorney. When Inspector Queen and his son, Ellery, are brought in to solve the mystery of the missing will, Ellery mentions the one place they have not searched for the will . . . the coffin! Upon exhumation of the Khalkis coffin they find that it contained not one body -- but two!


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From the very beginning, the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. Georg Khalkis, internationally famous art dealer and collector, died of heart failure. After his funeral, his attorney found that the will was missing and immediately called in the district attorney. When Insp From the very beginning, the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. Georg Khalkis, internationally famous art dealer and collector, died of heart failure. After his funeral, his attorney found that the will was missing and immediately called in the district attorney. When Inspector Queen and his son, Ellery, are brought in to solve the mystery of the missing will, Ellery mentions the one place they have not searched for the will . . . the coffin! Upon exhumation of the Khalkis coffin they find that it contained not one body -- but two!

30 review for The Greek Coffin Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    Luffy

    The two authors who have taken the pen name of Ellery Queen are many things, but great writers they are not. By great I mean - maybe - humanizing. To see someone solve a rubik cube in record time inspires nothing but awe; I don't mean that in a good way by the way. They do not know how to make the journey to the final solution of the mystery memorable. But such is the force with which the authors have created this story that even an average minded person like me followed most of the ongoing dev The two authors who have taken the pen name of Ellery Queen are many things, but great writers they are not. By great I mean - maybe - humanizing. To see someone solve a rubik cube in record time inspires nothing but awe; I don't mean that in a good way by the way. They do not know how to make the journey to the final solution of the mystery memorable. But such is the force with which the authors have created this story that even an average minded person like me followed most of the ongoing developments without trouble. I learned by pure chance today that in the past a series of Ellery Queen on television lasted only for one season in the US. It was replaced by Murder She Wrote. That one went on for many seasons, and garnered pretty much every award. The detective called Ellery Queen is not distinctive in appearance. He is not fleshed out. He is far from being despicable, or mundane, but he is not relatable. As time went by, and slowly as we are nearing the 100 year anniversary of the first Ellery Queen book, the appeal of Ellery becomes less and less fetching. Despite all this the books remain on my imaginary book shelf. The Queens books are much better, despite the limitations I chalked up regarding the authors' abilities, than most of the modern fluff being sold currently. It's difficult to have unanimous reviews that sort the wheat from the chaff. There's so many contemporary books to choose from and most of them will be subpar. The burnt hand teaches best and I've been burnt several times by inferior literature. But I digress. The tour de force which the authors accomplished and which earned a perfect score from me lay in the deconstruction of a complex plot so that I could follow most of it. The book never got boring. It has a big cast. One of them is the murderer. There's no lengthy questioning of any select group of them. But I feel that if the authors were in another category of writing, say text books, they would have been immensely successful. They know how to make a complex idea go within reach of the masses. I am very impressed. I had one or two suspects in my mind, but I could never guess the solution here. The authors don't show their hand blatantly. Agatha Christie shows us a lot daringly, that's why I could guess some of her mysteries. But the Queen mysteries are very delicately logical, like a puzzle. What most impressed me here was -spoilers!- the apprehension of the false murderer and the amazing, step by step dismantling of what supposedly happened. To fool the reader and leave none the wiser with such an in depth analysis of a false trail is genius work. The Queen authors were very confident of their case. I hope, however, that they don't use this device more than twice or thrice, as it would lose its novelty. Once is enough.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    My first Ellery Queen mystery! For reasons now forgotten to me, I have Ellery Queen's The Scarlet Letters on my TBR list. Unfortunately, the library only has The Greek Coffin Mystery, so that's what I got. The Greek Coffin Mystery starts with a will gone missing, a body in a coffin where it should not be, and then ends up with a stolen painting. Chronologically, it's the 'first' of the Ellery Queen mysteries, so it features a young Ellery Queen. I have no idea if this Ellery Queen is different fro My first Ellery Queen mystery! For reasons now forgotten to me, I have Ellery Queen's The Scarlet Letters on my TBR list. Unfortunately, the library only has The Greek Coffin Mystery, so that's what I got. The Greek Coffin Mystery starts with a will gone missing, a body in a coffin where it should not be, and then ends up with a stolen painting. Chronologically, it's the 'first' of the Ellery Queen mysteries, so it features a young Ellery Queen. I have no idea if this Ellery Queen is different from the older version, but he really is a very unique character. The only way I can describe him is that he's amusing on paper, but if I had to work with him in real life, I would probably go crazy. Apart from Ellery himself, another interesting feature of the book is that once all the facts are given, the fourth wall is broken and the reader is invited to guess what the correct solution is. And there are absolutely no tricks here (obviously I didn't manage to guess it) Oh, and I also thought it was interesting how the first letter of each chapter title made up the title 'The Greek Coffin Mystery' I really enjoyed this book. It feels very 'American' (or at the very least, very different from Christie), although their romances follow the same inscrutable pattern. Or perhaps I just suck at discerning romances, which is a definite possibility. I'll be on the look out for more Ellery Queen mysteries, and I think it's a shame that the library doesn't have more. This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mmyoung

    Ellery Queen [1:] and S. S. Van Dine each began to write and publish a successful detective series in the late 1920s/early 1930s. The lead character in each was a young man who had a personal relationship with members of the law enforcement community in New York City (close friends with the DA in the case of Vance and son of a prominent Inspector on the force in the case of Queen) but was not himself officially part of the force. As the series begin there are many parallels and a few major diffe Ellery Queen [1:] and S. S. Van Dine each began to write and publish a successful detective series in the late 1920s/early 1930s. The lead character in each was a young man who had a personal relationship with members of the law enforcement community in New York City (close friends with the DA in the case of Vance and son of a prominent Inspector on the force in the case of Queen) but was not himself officially part of the force. As the series begin there are many parallels and a few major differences between the amateur detectives themselves and the police forces they aid. Both Vance and Queen are privately wealthy (Queen inheriting money from his mother), both are well educated and both affect a pseudo-aristocratic attitude. Vance, the reader is told, attended university in England and his speech still reflects that. He makes a point of decrying the pedestrian methods of the police and underlines whenever possible how much more interesting it would be for him to attend a play or go to an museum than visit a crime scene. Queen wears a pince-nez and seems to feel a need to make reference to operas, plays, poems and books whenever possible even if they are at best tangentially relevant. He hides clues from police officers, does not wait for a member of the police to be present to question witnesses and withholds results from the police labs from police officials involved in the cases. The first Philo Vance book, The Benson Murder Case, is about the first murder investigation Vance is involved with therefore the reader sees over the course of several books the development of Vance's relationship with different members of the police force. In the first Ellery Queen book, The Roman Hat Mystery, Ellery has already worked with his father and other police officers investigating crimes. However in both cases the amateur detective around whom the series revolves has already developed their method of thinking, their deductive principles, and thus the reader gets no sense of how they came to be. Since both detectives are markedly different from the “regular” police officers in terms of their syntax, vocabulary and mannerisms their superior abilities seem to arise from differences of education and cultural exposure rather from innate intellectual abilities. To put it more starkly, one learns not to expect incisive and logical thinking from members of the working class or lower middle class. In S. S. Van Dine one learns to expect brutish and unimaginative thinking and actions from anyone who is a regular member of the police force or, indeed, who works for a living. The fourth Ellery Queen book, The Greek Coffin Mystery, begins with a departure from the formula used in the first three books. The first mystery we encounter is not a murder but rather the disappearance of a strong box and the will it contains. The murder is discovered only in the course of the attempt of the police, including Inspector Queen and his son Ellery, to find the missing will. This is a younger Ellery than the detective the reader met in previous books since The Green Coffin Mystery is a prequel rather than a sequel to the already published books. When Ellery Queen first appears on the scene we are told, “It was a younger and cockier Ellery, and, since his connexion [sic:] with the policing of New York City was not so firmly established at this time, he was still considered something of an interloper despite his unique position as the son of Inspector Richard Queen. (p. 37)” The Ellery Queen the reader has come to know in earlier books is still recognizable but he is, as the author points out, noticeably more cocky in his behaviour towards officials and witnesses. As happened so often in the earlier books Ellery makes comments so vague that none can follow, makes people do things that are silly (why have everyone drink tea when all you need to demonstrate is how much water is in the percolator) and archly hints that he knows more than anyone else. What is different than in previous books is what happens when Ellery lays out, in painstaking detail, his deductions. It is clear that Ellery believes that they are inarguable and yet immediately two people punch holes in his theories -- one with a fact that he had been unaware of and the other with demonstrable proof that was of his deductions was factually incorrect. "Years later Ellery Queen was to go back in memory to this moment with the sad remark: 'I date my maturity from Knox’s revelation. It changed my entire conception of myself and my faculties.’ “ The whole delicate structure of his reasoning, so glibly outlined, toppled and shivered into fragments at his feet. This in itself would not have been so disastrous to his ego had it not been coupled with a strong element of personal mortification. He had been 'smart’ about it. He had been so clever and subtle....p. 126" Although this passage does not mark a sea change in the characterization of Ellery it does mark the moment, for this reader, when the authors indicate that they themselves are aware of some of the more problematic ways in which Ellery’s ratiocination have been demonstrated and described. And in a way, this can be read as a direct shot across the bow of Philo Vance since Vance repeatedly argued that “clews” and the other elements of routine police work were unnecessary to someone with a mind such as his and indeed could be misleading. All of Ellery’s logic was as nothing because he didn’t know all the facts and all the logic in the world could not replace the holes in any story left by missing data and misapprehensions. This backstory is also used to explain why, in the first three books, Ellery was so often evasive about providing information about his conjectures to his father and other police officers. It seems that the authors had noticed some degree of criticism from readers and reviewers about that behaviour. To buy into the Ellery Queen (or Philo Vance) mysteries one also has to buy into the idea that the authors behind these men are actually as well informed as their detectives are supposed to be. Yet there are many instances in which I am not sure the detectives (or rather their authors) are as well informed as they believe themselves to be. For example, in this book, I rather doubt that the authors even understand what colour-blindness is since they define partial colour-blindness as follows: “Demmy is afflicted with a common case of partial colour-blindness in which he consistently sees red as green and green as red." pg. 140. Demmy, it is made clear to the reader, doesn’t confuse the two colours nor does he have problems distinguishing between them he just uses the word red to describe green and green to describe red. Given that Demmy has a limited IQ one could imagine a circumstance in which he learned the wrong names as a child and has not been able to unlearn his mistake but this is not colour blindness. In fact it is the opposite of colour blindness because Demmy clearly sees those two colours as different. The fact that Demmy does not use the correct names for these colours is all the authors needed to establish. Similarly there are moments when a reader wonders at the authors choice of words, for example when Inspector Queen is carefully but very openly searching a suspect’s rooms the authors describe his actions as follows: “The Inspector was very circumspect; he allowed nothing to escape him; he dropped to his old knees and probed beneath the rug, tapped the walls, explored the interior of the closet.” p. 165 As with all the early Ellery Queens, indeed, as with most popular books written at that time, there is so much casual sexism and racism that it becomes almost pointless to highlight individual examples. This is the first Queen book in which I noticed a large amount of “lookism” as it is sometimes called giving physicals details such as weight, height, and hair such exaggerated detail and importance that the behaviours and statements of the described individuals will be judged quite differently than they would by and from individuals differently described. One thing that does stand out is the way in which stereotypes and prejudices of then and today do not always map over each other perfectly. This book is interesting for what it attempts while still showing the weaknesses of the formula on which the authors depended. For many modern readers these shortcomings are probably of little interest since they are most notable when one reads several books in quick succession. For the casual reader the formula may be at most a minor irritant. What may be more difficult for the today’s readers is the constant sexism, racism, classism and lookism. [1:] For the purposes of review and analysis I will write as if Ellery Queen was a single person although in fact it is the joint pen name for Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee. In later years other writers were also hired to write under that name but the initial books were written by Dannay and Lee and they always had a fairly tight control of material that went out under their professional name.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yibbie

    This is one of those mysteries that just keeps getting more and more twisted the farther you get into it. It starts out with a simple theft from a locked room. Then there is a touch of the grotesque followed by revelations of conspiracies, treachery, secrets, and even a moment of chagrin for our hero. Then right at the end, just when I was willing to accuse every single character, Ellery works his magic and points out all the wonderfully obvious yet cleverly veiled clues. Was I ever fooled! But This is one of those mysteries that just keeps getting more and more twisted the farther you get into it. It starts out with a simple theft from a locked room. Then there is a touch of the grotesque followed by revelations of conspiracies, treachery, secrets, and even a moment of chagrin for our hero. Then right at the end, just when I was willing to accuse every single character, Ellery works his magic and points out all the wonderfully obvious yet cleverly veiled clues. Was I ever fooled! But first, I thought I was oh so clever and had it all figured out. Not even close! I was so far off. All the clues are there so maybe you can sort out this tangled mystery yourself. I couldn’t, but I had fun trying, and I think you might also. It’s chronologically the earliest Ellery Queen mystery even though it was written after several other Ellery Queen books. It gives the authors a chance to explain some of Ellery’s rather notable quirks. As this is the first book I read in the series, I think it set up the rest of the stories well. This would have been a three-star or four-star mystery except there were quite a few ‘mild’ curse words. My copy was printed in 1942 and as a history buff, I found the WW2 related messages printed in the book fascinating. I will include pictures of that for all the other history buffs out there.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adam Graham

    This book while not the first Ellery Queen book ever published is chronologically the earliest Queen novel. The thing to understand about Ellery Queen is that unlike Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, or Father Brown, there's not a whole lot of characters or wisdom to be garnered beyond the mystery, but when the mystery is good, it carries the rest of the book. Such is the case here. A man dies and the latest version of his will is missing. A murder soon follows The book proceeds according to typical pl This book while not the first Ellery Queen book ever published is chronologically the earliest Queen novel. The thing to understand about Ellery Queen is that unlike Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, or Father Brown, there's not a whole lot of characters or wisdom to be garnered beyond the mystery, but when the mystery is good, it carries the rest of the book. Such is the case here. A man dies and the latest version of his will is missing. A murder soon follows The book proceeds according to typical plan as Ellery ever the know it all detective and sets out to solve the case. This is Ellery's first case chronologically even though there'd been other Ellery Queen books. Ellery had some good guesses particularly figuring out that the new will was located in the coffin of the testator. However, then Ellery delivers a brilliant summation of who the murderer is that is irrefutable--only for him to be shown wrong. At the point, I was definitely hooked. Of course, this is one of three false solutions in the case and not all are proffered by Ellery. This is a book that keeps your mind engaged all the way through and has a quite shocking conclusion. Overall, this is a superb puzzle mystery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    While a couple of the clues require knowledge of 1930s typewriters, which inhibits many modern readers from a full solving, this is still a fun Golden Age Queen, meticulously planned and well executed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gilbert Stack

    One of the joys of reading Ellery Queen novels is that moment toward the end of the book when the narrator steps out of character and challenges the reader to solve the mystery. I’ve read four of them now and I haven’t come close to getting the solution right. This time I caught one of the red herrings with a fair degree of accuracy—which means I was wrong, but not as clueless as I sometimes feel when I reach this point. This novel is a slow read but well worth your time. (It’s slow because you w One of the joys of reading Ellery Queen novels is that moment toward the end of the book when the narrator steps out of character and challenges the reader to solve the mystery. I’ve read four of them now and I haven’t come close to getting the solution right. This time I caught one of the red herrings with a fair degree of accuracy—which means I was wrong, but not as clueless as I sometimes feel when I reach this point. This novel is a slow read but well worth your time. (It’s slow because you will want to take the time to consider each event as it occurs and try to decide what, if anything, it tells you about who committed the crime.) I’m reluctant to say too much about the plot lest I give something away, but this one has it all—missing wills, multiple deaths and a plethora of possible criminal masterminds. Four stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Alfonseca

    ENGLISH: This novel got me puzzled. Ellery is in the same position for some time, but not as long as me. In this intrigue, the maximum suspects succeed one another by accumulation of clues, until Ellery explains the final solution, which is totally surprising, but evident a posteriori. As I read this book in an Argentinian version, I found it a little difficult. ESPAÑOL: Esta historia consiguió desconcertarme. Algo parecido le pasa al propio Ellery, aunque no tanto tiempo como a mí. Se trata de u ENGLISH: This novel got me puzzled. Ellery is in the same position for some time, but not as long as me. In this intrigue, the maximum suspects succeed one another by accumulation of clues, until Ellery explains the final solution, which is totally surprising, but evident a posteriori. As I read this book in an Argentinian version, I found it a little difficult. ESPAÑOL: Esta historia consiguió desconcertarme. Algo parecido le pasa al propio Ellery, aunque no tanto tiempo como a mí. Se trata de una intriga en la que los sospechosos máximos se van sucediendo unos a otros por acumulación de indicios, hasta que Ellery explica la solución, que resulta absolutamente sorprendente, pero evidente a posteriori. Leí este libro en versión argentina, que me resultó un poco dura.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Debra Belmudes

    I've really enjoyed the first three books, but I had a difficult time with this one ... I just couldn't connect with it no matter how many times I restarted. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the narrator kept referring to the case being one of the most unsatisfactory of Queen's cases ... my goodness, he came up with four solutions before he got it right! I've really enjoyed the first three books, but I had a difficult time with this one ... I just couldn't connect with it no matter how many times I restarted. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the narrator kept referring to the case being one of the most unsatisfactory of Queen's cases ... my goodness, he came up with four solutions before he got it right!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Becks

    I found the mystery/mysteries rather dull in the end, though for most of the book I was interested to know the whodunnit. I didn’t particularly care about any of the characters and then I had to read the usual dose of old-timey sexism, racism, etc. Not a book I would recommend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kang

    Fun read, wit and beauty in the use of words. An enjoyable mystery to follow with twists and turns. Technically accurate and convincing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ritika

    My first major GAD disappointment this year. Queen is known for not writing particularly interesting characters or a gripping narrative. He is known for writing good mysteries, and if so, this book should not count as one among them. It does not mean the murderer was obvious, it just means the solution was as dull as the rest of the book. It is written as an early mystery and promises further development in Queen's character which should be interesting since he is insufferable in this one . I do My first major GAD disappointment this year. Queen is known for not writing particularly interesting characters or a gripping narrative. He is known for writing good mysteries, and if so, this book should not count as one among them. It does not mean the murderer was obvious, it just means the solution was as dull as the rest of the book. It is written as an early mystery and promises further development in Queen's character which should be interesting since he is insufferable in this one . I do plan to continue, but have significantly tempered expectations going on. (p.s. expect the usual dollop of casual sexism and racism)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Qube

    Once again, good plotting let down by poor writing. The dialogues especially are poorly written in that they are not believable. Besides, the characters are unreal. A pity because the Ellery Queen series would have been brilliant had the writing been half as good as British crime writers' or Earl Stanley Gardner's, and had the characters been more real and endearing. Take Ellery Queen for instance. He is young man recently out of university, and far younger than the district attorney (Sampson) an Once again, good plotting let down by poor writing. The dialogues especially are poorly written in that they are not believable. Besides, the characters are unreal. A pity because the Ellery Queen series would have been brilliant had the writing been half as good as British crime writers' or Earl Stanley Gardner's, and had the characters been more real and endearing. Take Ellery Queen for instance. He is young man recently out of university, and far younger than the district attorney (Sampson) and of course his father. Yet, this upstart says stuff like "Sampson, Sampson, when will you learn?" How believable is that? And he goes around ordering not only the detectives of New York Police, but also the Asst DA. And his affected spouting of inappropriate literary quotes continues. And then, the way the high-handed Richard Queen speaks is utterly unrealistic. You would think that the world is at his feet despite his station, his pigheadedness and his inability to solve cases. At the end of the day, he is a mere police inspector, not the President of the US or the Mayor of NYC. In this book, he turns out to be a joker. As I said, the plotting is very good. However, the reader would be entirely justified in feeling cheated with the final solution. Besides the modus operandi of the crime is not at all credible. That's why I am giving this 3 stars and not 4.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mehedi Sarwar

    Brilliant detective novel from the golden age. Although character development was not there (which is pretty common in golden age mysteries btw), the fascinating mystery and the logical deduction of Ellery Queen outclassed everything.

  15. 5 out of 5

    EuroHackie

    Well that didn't last long, did it? After praising the previous book in this series for its tight pacing and lean, straightforward plot structure, we're back to an overstuffed story with about 3 too many twists and an overly complicated, convoluted ending. The fact that this one is 100 pages longer than #3 is your first clue. This is Ellery's first case, chronologically. He's a fresh-faced college graduate tagging along with his dad, who still considers these crimes to be more philosophical/exist Well that didn't last long, did it? After praising the previous book in this series for its tight pacing and lean, straightforward plot structure, we're back to an overstuffed story with about 3 too many twists and an overly complicated, convoluted ending. The fact that this one is 100 pages longer than #3 is your first clue. This is Ellery's first case, chronologically. He's a fresh-faced college graduate tagging along with his dad, who still considers these crimes to be more philosophical/existential/rhetorical questions, or mind puzzles, than gruesome murders. This is the case that changed his mind, and brought him down a few pegs in his own self-importance. It all starts when a Greek tycoon, Georg Khalkis, dies unexpectedly. After his funeral, his lawyer goes looking for his will but can't find it. This is especially important because a new will was drawn up a week prior to Georg's death, with a couple of key differences. If they can't prove the new will exists, it throws his estate into disarray. This is the point where the police become involved, searching for a stolen will. They look everywhere (and search everyone) but can't find it. Ellery suggests that maybe it was tucked into the deceased's coffin to make it conveniently disappear, so when they exhume the body to test his theory, they stumble upon a new crime - for the coffin contains not one, but two bodies, and the unexpected corpse was very definitely murdered. The stolen will is more or less tossed to the wayside as the police and DA's office attempt to discover the identity of the dead man, who wanted him dead, and how he may be tied to the Khalkis estate (after all, why bury a man with a stranger, I suppose). Ellery is well on his way to becoming insufferably smug about his deductive abilities even as a young whelp, and it was rather satisfying to see him make a complete ass of himself in front of some folks that he desperately wanted to impress. That misstep didn't stop him for long, though; as the bodies start piling up, Ellery is the only one willing to see a link between them that's not quite as easily explained away as the police would like to believe. (view spoiler)[In the end, there is 1 death and 3 twists too many in order to make the appointed murderer's motive work. I preferred thinking Joan Brett did it, as it would've saved a lot of complications AND avoided that horrible saccharine ending, yuuech. (hide spoiler)] Aside from the development of Ellery's smugness, there is a lot of casual racism/use of ethnic slurs and rampant misogyny that is really hard to overlook, even setting this story in the context of its time, so unless you're like me and have an insatiable need to read a series in order, I'd give this one a pass.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ▫️Ron S

    My first Ellery Queen novel, and technically his as well (first case chronologically). This is a mystery lover's mystery. If you want something other than a straight up labyrinth of a mystery, you probably should look elsewhere. It's a novel from 1932. Anybody expecting 2020 sensibilities may want to talk to their doctor about that expectation. That said - it's considered among the best mystery novels ever written, and the people who broadcast such considerations are obsessively informed. While ch My first Ellery Queen novel, and technically his as well (first case chronologically). This is a mystery lover's mystery. If you want something other than a straight up labyrinth of a mystery, you probably should look elsewhere. It's a novel from 1932. Anybody expecting 2020 sensibilities may want to talk to their doctor about that expectation. That said - it's considered among the best mystery novels ever written, and the people who broadcast such considerations are obsessively informed. While characterization was less a priority at that time, especially with a pretty broad cast of characters (my copy had a reference page in the front to help you keep track of them all - and I used it a couple of times), I think there's enough. More elaboration could upset some of the careful conditions of the puzzle box. I like Ellery and his father quite a bit, and look forward to reading more about them. I didn't find it to be a fast read. It was difficult to motivate myself to choose it over other entertainment at times (I'm not actually a mystery reader most of the time). But at the end of the day, it worked quite well - and was a fair mystery that plays by rules. It spools out great reveals throughout the last 20% or so. The red herrings are enjoyable and plentiful. I latched onto one and felt anxious that it was too clear and I anticipated disappointment for a little while. That's a heck of a thing to manipulate a reader to feel. I'll trust Ellery Queen in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    My rating is for Ellery Queen fans like me, though if you are wondering how complicated a golden-age mystery can get, look no further than this one. I loved it so much as a kid that I was afraid it would lose something for me as an adult. However, I can still get pleasure out of the ridiculously complicated puzzle, even recognizing now that the characters (especially the female ones) are thoroughly unreal. This edition is beautiful too, by the way. Beginning readers of Ellery Queen might start w My rating is for Ellery Queen fans like me, though if you are wondering how complicated a golden-age mystery can get, look no further than this one. I loved it so much as a kid that I was afraid it would lose something for me as an adult. However, I can still get pleasure out of the ridiculously complicated puzzle, even recognizing now that the characters (especially the female ones) are thoroughly unreal. This edition is beautiful too, by the way. Beginning readers of Ellery Queen might start with the novella, The Lamp of God, or the stories "The Dauphin's Doll" or "The Mad Tea Party." Once you've decided he's readable (if you do), you get the full picture through this one, The Siamese Twin Mystery and the later Ten Days' Wonder and Cat of Many Tails.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Juho Salo

    The book hadn't aged well. The book hadn't aged well.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    The best mystery so far in the series! An unexpected climax which left me kinda with a wtf moment and to be honest, that's what mystery series should be like. Also, a very neat narration by Mark Peckham. My Rating - 4/5 The best mystery so far in the series! An unexpected climax which left me kinda with a wtf moment and to be honest, that's what mystery series should be like. Also, a very neat narration by Mark Peckham. My Rating - 4/5

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A wealthy art collector and gallery owner in a midtown Manhattan mansion in the 1930s (I think) is found dead, apparently of a heart attack. No mystery there. But the will, which is known to have been changed the day before is death, is missing. The presumptive heir is able to call in the US District Attorney! Well, so it happens in Ellery Queen's privileged world. The first mystery, then, is to find the will and this Ellery attempts to do by eliminating every possible place except the coffin it A wealthy art collector and gallery owner in a midtown Manhattan mansion in the 1930s (I think) is found dead, apparently of a heart attack. No mystery there. But the will, which is known to have been changed the day before is death, is missing. The presumptive heir is able to call in the US District Attorney! Well, so it happens in Ellery Queen's privileged world. The first mystery, then, is to find the will and this Ellery attempts to do by eliminating every possible place except the coffin itself. Exhumation follows, and lo and behold, our man has company in his casket! So it goes. One mystery is solved, that leads to another, which Ellery solves, leading to a further mystery. This is my first taste of Ellery Queen. The puzzle aspect of the mystery is very satisfying. The writing itself is OK. I lost my copy on the bus and I'm not motivated enough to take it out from the library. Does that give you a clue?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    This was one darn good mystery. First of all, Ellery "solves" it four times. Secondly, while I did pick out the most important clue, I was totally befuddled as to the third "solution." Thirdly, I NEVER would have guessed the correct solution. While Ellery can be a bit snobby and annoying at times, he is the best (most intricate) logician I've ever seen. If you are looking for a mystery which explains why the clues must give you this result, this is the book for you. Also, all Ellery Queen's (amo This was one darn good mystery. First of all, Ellery "solves" it four times. Secondly, while I did pick out the most important clue, I was totally befuddled as to the third "solution." Thirdly, I NEVER would have guessed the correct solution. While Ellery can be a bit snobby and annoying at times, he is the best (most intricate) logician I've ever seen. If you are looking for a mystery which explains why the clues must give you this result, this is the book for you. Also, all Ellery Queen's (among those I've read) have a fairly long explanation at the end. While sometimes an early solution may be misleading, if you come across a solution late in the book but with still a number of pages to go, Ellery is going to explain the whole thing to you. Every little detail. Ad infinitum. I was totally blown away by the solution. A well-plotted mystery.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tabby

    This book is a superb puzzle mystery that keeps your mind engaged until its last page. By the time the 4th wall is broken, as usual, and we are invited to guess whodunit the conclusion came as shocking, even though the clues were all left there at plain sight by the duo that took the pen name of Ellery Queen. This novel is Ellery's first case - he is still developing his sassiness and his confidence in deduction which turned out nicely since it gave him more depth and a more humane side. This book is a superb puzzle mystery that keeps your mind engaged until its last page. By the time the 4th wall is broken, as usual, and we are invited to guess whodunit the conclusion came as shocking, even though the clues were all left there at plain sight by the duo that took the pen name of Ellery Queen. This novel is Ellery's first case - he is still developing his sassiness and his confidence in deduction which turned out nicely since it gave him more depth and a more humane side.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Keeps one guessing, a good thing. Narrated clearly & well by Mark Peckham. Classic education is shown (proof of the dumb-down education). Loved the romp to yesteryear. I thought it was her... ╰(*´︶`*)╯ Keeps one guessing, a good thing. Narrated clearly & well by Mark Peckham. Classic education is shown (proof of the dumb-down education). Loved the romp to yesteryear. I thought it was her... ╰(*´︶`*)╯

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vintagebooklvr

    2 1/2 stars. The solution was overly elaborate. But it was nice to see Ellery make a mistake in front of lots of important people. Sometimes it is nice to see those who are arrogant taken down a peg or two.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Osborne

    A classic of the golden age of mysteries, this book features both Queen's Challenge to the Reader and his trademark "false" solutions to the crime. Well done, but the explanation is a bit wordy. A classic of the golden age of mysteries, this book features both Queen's Challenge to the Reader and his trademark "false" solutions to the crime. Well done, but the explanation is a bit wordy.

  26. 4 out of 5

    4cats

    Great classic detection from the master ellery queen. In this book ellery investigates a possible double murder, great sense of time and place.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Salvatore

    A great mystery. if you can figure it out you are definitely smarter than me. It will keep you guessing.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    3.5 stars. Too many plot twists and false arrest to rate it any higher.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    When a rich New York art dealer dies and his will disappears Ellery Queen is called in. When he has the coffin exhumed, a second body is found it. A good Ellery Queen mystery read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Boomer

    I have been enjoying getting into the Ellery Queen novels since watching the older series on TV. This was an interesting case and very cleverly figured out as to how everything was done.

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