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THE SIAMESE TWIN MYSTERY finds Ellery and his father, the irascible Inspector Queen, trapped in a mountain retreat by a raging forest fire. The members of the household are a strange lot, and the mysterious murder of the retreat's host indicates to the Queens that not only are they isolated with an odd assortment of characters, but a dangerous killer as well! THE SIAMESE TWIN MYSTERY finds Ellery and his father, the irascible Inspector Queen, trapped in a mountain retreat by a raging forest fire. The members of the household are a strange lot, and the mysterious murder of the retreat's host indicates to the Queens that not only are they isolated with an odd assortment of characters, but a dangerous killer as well!


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THE SIAMESE TWIN MYSTERY finds Ellery and his father, the irascible Inspector Queen, trapped in a mountain retreat by a raging forest fire. The members of the household are a strange lot, and the mysterious murder of the retreat's host indicates to the Queens that not only are they isolated with an odd assortment of characters, but a dangerous killer as well! THE SIAMESE TWIN MYSTERY finds Ellery and his father, the irascible Inspector Queen, trapped in a mountain retreat by a raging forest fire. The members of the household are a strange lot, and the mysterious murder of the retreat's host indicates to the Queens that not only are they isolated with an odd assortment of characters, but a dangerous killer as well!

30 review for The Siamese Twin Mystery

  1. 5 out of 5

    John

    My first Ellery Queen novel. Not sure if he is that good a detective given he over thinks and complicates the plot. Still I enjoyed it. I loved the idea and of being trapped in a house on the summit of a mountain by a raging forest fire. Dr Xavier, his wife Mrs Xavier, movie star, her secretary, the unlikeable Mr Smith, Dr Holmes, the twins, Mark the brother of Dr Xavier and the two servants. Throw in the chain smoking father of Ellery as his sidekick with several suspects and you have a good st My first Ellery Queen novel. Not sure if he is that good a detective given he over thinks and complicates the plot. Still I enjoyed it. I loved the idea and of being trapped in a house on the summit of a mountain by a raging forest fire. Dr Xavier, his wife Mrs Xavier, movie star, her secretary, the unlikeable Mr Smith, Dr Holmes, the twins, Mark the brother of Dr Xavier and the two servants. Throw in the chain smoking father of Ellery as his sidekick with several suspects and you have a good story. But was it me or was it obvious who did it from the start? Motive it always comes to motive. The story starts with Ellery with his father driving his Duesenberg car on a remote mountain road where they suddenly drive into a forest fire. The location is set in the Tepee range and they escape up a side road to the remote Arrow Lodge. Here they take refuge as the uninvited guests of Dr Xavier. Where of course a murder takes place. A message from the victim involved torn playing cards but are they clues! Overall the story is preposterous, far-fetched, but still entertaining along the lines of Murder n the Orient Express. The suspects are trapped and the detective must work out who did it. In contrast, Christie’s whodunit is in a stratosphere above this story.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mmyoung

    In the reviewer’s opinion there is little reason to read this book unless one is a particular fan of Queen, or feels a pressing need to read every book in this series, or is interesting in development of American detective stories or wishes to peer into one aspect of popular culture at the time the book was written. Although The Siamese Twin Mystery was published within a year of the first Nero Wolfe novel there is little to suggest that Queen and Wolfe lived in the same city. And while Stout’s In the reviewer’s opinion there is little reason to read this book unless one is a particular fan of Queen, or feels a pressing need to read every book in this series, or is interesting in development of American detective stories or wishes to peer into one aspect of popular culture at the time the book was written. Although The Siamese Twin Mystery was published within a year of the first Nero Wolfe novel there is little to suggest that Queen and Wolfe lived in the same city. And while Stout’s sparse style reveals an amazing amount of about characters Queen’s more convoluted writing results in two-dimensional characters that are often little more than stereotypes. Both authors center most of their books around a detective who, the reader is told, is brilliant. Stout manages to demonstrate Wolfe’s brilliance so convincingly that it is often only later that the reader notices any holes in his arguments or gaps in his logic. Queen’s deductions not only require credulity they are too often obviously overstretched or simply wrong. The broad setup of this book is strangely reminiscent of Murder in the Calais Coach/Murder on the Orient Express. In both cases the detective (Poirot/Queen) is cut off from the outside world with a small number of people among whom is a murderer. In both cases the detectives are without access to information, backup, and forensic analysts. While Christie’s book is by no means among my favourites it is technically competent. Queen’s is neither technically competent nor well-paced and contains some egregious forensic/medical errors and a truly disturbing level of prejudice. In addition to the normal catalog of simplifications, over-generalizations and stereotypes the reader comes to expect in books published in this period there are constant, incessant and gratuitous reminders of how “fat” one of the characters is. There is scarcely a passage in which that character appears in which his weight is not brought up--often in the most vivid and denigrating fashion. SPOILERS AHEAD Queen (the detective) overlooks a simple and obvious clue/detail when the first body is discovered. This reviewer noticed it immediately for the simple reason that the knowledge necessary to “catch” the clue was central to discovering the murder in an earlier Queen novel. That Ellery Queen forgets and then remembers that diabetes speeds up the onset of rigor mortis allows him to first ‘buy into’ clumsy attempts to frame different individuals as murderers and then to ‘brilliantly’ debunk those same attempts. The reader can be forgiven for not knowing or remembering a rather obscure forensic fact but an individual (Queen) whose memory and knowledge of such details is central to his characterization cannot. Queen also apparently thinks that kleptomania is hardly distinguishable from the type of mania that leads to paranoia and murderous rages. In addition to all of the other problems in this book there is basic lack of good sense on the part of everyone unable to leave a house where a murder has taken place. Ellery is at one point surprised to find that one of the women has locked her bedroom door before going to sleep. The reviewer was surprised to find out that not everyone did so. Nor did any of the characters feel a need to avoid being alone with any of their housemates. In addition to the problems touched on above this book is dreadfully paced. Pages are devoted to the literary equivalent of treading water. Finally, after the author demonstrating that Ellery is not a particularly a good detective by having him “solve” the murder incorrectly several times, the real murderer finally confesses under laughably unbelievable circumstances and brings about her own death so that Ellery has no need to find the kind of clues or information that would have been necessary to actually arrest the culprit. Five minutes after finishing the book the reader will realize that the fire that destroyed the house in which most of the action took place also destroyed most of the evidence against the murderer. The only persons left who could be charged with a crime are Ellery and his father since between them they brought about the death of the brother of murdered man.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Not the best in terms of the detection--in fact, Ellery makes a lot of mistakes, and his ingenuity causes more problems than it solves. But the setting--a mountaintop house in the middle of an ever-encroaching forest fire--might be the best setting of any Ellery Queen, and the tension is very well-maintained (sometimes in spite of the mystery).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is very much a spiritual predecessor to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (and only not the other way around because this dates to 1933 and the Christie to 1939): a mysterious series of deaths in a house isolated from the rest of the world. Only in this case it's a mountaintop mansion with an encroaching forest fire, not an island in a storm, and Queen is rather less racist than early Christie. The twist is a good one and it is possible to solve it from the clues given - you just h This is very much a spiritual predecessor to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (and only not the other way around because this dates to 1933 and the Christie to 1939): a mysterious series of deaths in a house isolated from the rest of the world. Only in this case it's a mountaintop mansion with an encroaching forest fire, not an island in a storm, and Queen is rather less racist than early Christie. The twist is a good one and it is possible to solve it from the clues given - you just have to pay very, very close attention.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jilles

    Great setting! But the detectives (Ellery and his dad) have it wrong three times, and one of the suspects dies by the hand of one of them just to keep the plot going. It may be a classic Ellery Queen but is is a bit of a mess.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I read this in high school along with a lot of other EQ mysteries and enjoyed them all. When this one was reprinted, I decided to try it again. Some parts of it did not age well. Neither did Inspector Queen, who is often described as being one step away from being elderly, with fragile skin, blue veined hands, etc. and who turns out to be in his late 50s. The solution was Golden Age convoluted, with many twists and turns, and there is a powerful (and timely) subplot about the group being trapped I read this in high school along with a lot of other EQ mysteries and enjoyed them all. When this one was reprinted, I decided to try it again. Some parts of it did not age well. Neither did Inspector Queen, who is often described as being one step away from being elderly, with fragile skin, blue veined hands, etc. and who turns out to be in his late 50s. The solution was Golden Age convoluted, with many twists and turns, and there is a powerful (and timely) subplot about the group being trapped by a wild fire. I didn't remember whodunit, though I remembered a few bits and pieces.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    If you like old timey mysteries you could give Ellery Queen a try. He and his father, NYC Police Inspector Queen find themselves stranded by a raging forest fire in a house on a mountain top. No way out, the fire is getting closer, the food is running out and there’s a murderer in the house. The list of suspects obviously is limited and everyone is on edge. I had it all figured out. But there was that final twist at the end! Plus you can learn new words like 'shockerish'. 😊 If you like old timey mysteries you could give Ellery Queen a try. He and his father, NYC Police Inspector Queen find themselves stranded by a raging forest fire in a house on a mountain top. No way out, the fire is getting closer, the food is running out and there’s a murderer in the house. The list of suspects obviously is limited and everyone is on edge. I had it all figured out. But there was that final twist at the end! Plus you can learn new words like 'shockerish'. 😊

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    Writing overcomplicated plots and making one's lead detective stumble through them is not a great idea as this book very much proves so. A must avoid! My Rating - 0/5 Writing overcomplicated plots and making one's lead detective stumble through them is not a great idea as this book very much proves so. A must avoid! My Rating - 0/5

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gilbert Stack

    I’ve only read a handful of Ellery Queen mysteries in my life, but each tends to play out the same way. There’s a murder with a bunch of suspects and Ellery Queen through careful observation, repeated questioning of the witnesses, and some fancy deductive thinking figures out who the killer is. In several of the books, the reader gets challenged to name the murderer too—because that is the true gimmick in an Ellery Queen mystery. The clues are all there if you can get past the smoke and mirrors I’ve only read a handful of Ellery Queen mysteries in my life, but each tends to play out the same way. There’s a murder with a bunch of suspects and Ellery Queen through careful observation, repeated questioning of the witnesses, and some fancy deductive thinking figures out who the killer is. In several of the books, the reader gets challenged to name the murderer too—because that is the true gimmick in an Ellery Queen mystery. The clues are all there if you can get past the smoke and mirrors to solve the crime. For the record, I never identify the killer, but I always enjoy trying. In The Siamese Twin Mystery, I came very close to getting the answer, but I’m not sure the authors were actually fair with us this time. In a genre where the exotic clue is often the key to everything, I’m not convinced that they played fair with the exotic element. And yet, this is my favorite Ellery Queen mystery to date, because there was a second plot having nothing directly to do with the mystery that added a lot of tension to the story. The Queens are caught in an isolated mansion cut off from the world by an encroaching forest fire. Throughout the tale the fire gets closer and adds a disturbingly personal threat to the investigation. It frays nerves and physically endangers everyone present adding a touch of the adventure story to the murder mystery. It was a decidedly nice change of pace from the other Ellery Queen Mysteries I’ve read. If you liked this review, you can find more at www.gilbertstack.com/reviews.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle R

    I know this book was written in the 1930’s which is exactly why I picked this book up. I wanted to have a go at a mystery book written well before my time. But this book was hard to get through. It started of interesting, but drug on midway till the end. The same details were repeated over and over again. I found out later the main characters are perfect if a series so maybe this was just a bad book from the series. But I couldn’t stand either detective. I won’t be trying another one from this s I know this book was written in the 1930’s which is exactly why I picked this book up. I wanted to have a go at a mystery book written well before my time. But this book was hard to get through. It started of interesting, but drug on midway till the end. The same details were repeated over and over again. I found out later the main characters are perfect if a series so maybe this was just a bad book from the series. But I couldn’t stand either detective. I won’t be trying another one from this series. It was just dead in the water for me. The only reason I’m giving it two stars is because I enjoyed the description of things from the 30’s.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This was the first I had heard of the Ellery Queen series of mysteries written in the 1930s and later, and I was glued to the mystery through to the end. The characters were well developed and seemed real to me. The story is a new slant to what I'm familiar with, in that the main detective Ellery and his father initially make the incorrect conclusions about the murder victim. I liked the background forest fire event, which creates the sense of isolation and adds to the intrigue. The book seemed l This was the first I had heard of the Ellery Queen series of mysteries written in the 1930s and later, and I was glued to the mystery through to the end. The characters were well developed and seemed real to me. The story is a new slant to what I'm familiar with, in that the main detective Ellery and his father initially make the incorrect conclusions about the murder victim. I liked the background forest fire event, which creates the sense of isolation and adds to the intrigue. The book seemed like a cross between a game of Clue, a Stephen King novel, and a cozy mystery. I will definitely seek out other Ellery Queen books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Spectacularly atmospheric. The building tension of the encroaching forest fire make for a interesting read. The actual mystery is less great. The clueing is ridiculous and the ultimate solution is eye roll worthy. If you read it as a suspense novel and watch characters react to the stress of being trapped, a good time, as a mystery, very frustrating.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Monday

    This was a rollercoaster of a mystery, and I was constantly second-guessing who the murderer was. Other than the blatant misogyny displayed throughout the story, the main characters were interesting, and I enjoyed trying to solve the crime.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rekha Rao

    This was my second Ellery Queen read and I am disappointed! The blunders that the Queens make - ugh! Maybe it was supposed to take the reader off track but nah, I did not like it! Also, the story is melodramatic! Less of mystery and more of drama, not my kinda story! At times, the story seemed dragged. If you haven't read any of Ellery Queen before, do not start with this book. This was my second Ellery Queen read and I am disappointed! The blunders that the Queens make - ugh! Maybe it was supposed to take the reader off track but nah, I did not like it! Also, the story is melodramatic! Less of mystery and more of drama, not my kinda story! At times, the story seemed dragged. If you haven't read any of Ellery Queen before, do not start with this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I've got two ratings here: 4 stars for the book, 2 stars for the audio version. The story is one of Queen's better ones - Ellery and Dad flee a forest fire and have to take refuge in the strange mansion of an even stranger doctor, Dr John Xavier. Though very friendly - perhaps too friendly - he is tense, as if he has something to hide and he is not the only. His wife, brother, colleague, guests, and servants are all on tenterhooks as if they are under a great deal of stress - and this is before t I've got two ratings here: 4 stars for the book, 2 stars for the audio version. The story is one of Queen's better ones - Ellery and Dad flee a forest fire and have to take refuge in the strange mansion of an even stranger doctor, Dr John Xavier. Though very friendly - perhaps too friendly - he is tense, as if he has something to hide and he is not the only. His wife, brother, colleague, guests, and servants are all on tenterhooks as if they are under a great deal of stress - and this is before they hear about the raging forest fire. Richard Queen swears that he saw a monster during the night. He also sees someone he knows quite well (by reputation at least) - a famous society woman who is know to be shy of the spotlight. What is she doing here? It doesn't take long for the first murder - Dr Xavier is found dead with a torn six of spades card in his hand. Xavier was diabetic, so his rigor mortis set in very early. The alibis for the time of his death are very weak - it happened late at night when most everyone was asleep or at least in their rooms. Suspicion instantly falls on Xavier's widow, Sara, passionate, volatile and extremely jealous. Accused of her husband's murder, Sara confesses, but Ellery quickly exonerates her. Someone tried to frame her with the six of spades card, but who? It takes another murder and some more red herrings before Ellery finally identifies the killer. The writing is pretty good, though often overwrought. EQ has a tendency to show off that can get annoying. He struts around like a peacock as if to say, "Look at me! I'm so much smarter and better educated than you. I know all the answers and you don't!" Made me want to shake him on more than one occasion. The audiobook really brought this out. Ugh. The fire is an ever present threat. It may go into the background for a while, but you never forget it's there. The situation becomes very tense towards the end as the hapless guests of the Xavier mansion realize they are probably not going to survive this. EQ did an excellent job of portraying their desperation and despair. The murderer and their acts take second, even third place to the wildfire that is heading straight for the Xavier home. The book is excellent - if you can get over Ellery's swelled head and juvenile antics - but the audiobook is extremely annoying. Fred Sullivan gives Ellery an irritating (and mystifying) falsetto that positively squeaks at times. He also does not do a good job when it comes to the change in emotions of any of the characters. Often, the only way I knew someone was mad or upset was when the narrator said they were. He does a decent job on the women, which is surprising from a male narrator, but Smith is given what sounds more like a bullfrog's croak than an actual voice. My recommendation - get the e-book or print book and skip the audiobook (or at least the one in this version). I returned my copy to get something else.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tristan Black Wolf

    I apologize for this sounding dismissive, but the term "panting melodrama" comes first to my mind. I can recommend the book without spoilers on the basis that its conclusion is clever, but it is also singularly convoluted and, in my opinion, not entirely discernible from the clues given. Let me add both that the forest fire surrounding the aerie-like mountaintop house is quite distracting, and that my own powers of deduction may be dulled by long periods of time between bouts of reading this stor I apologize for this sounding dismissive, but the term "panting melodrama" comes first to my mind. I can recommend the book without spoilers on the basis that its conclusion is clever, but it is also singularly convoluted and, in my opinion, not entirely discernible from the clues given. Let me add both that the forest fire surrounding the aerie-like mountaintop house is quite distracting, and that my own powers of deduction may be dulled by long periods of time between bouts of reading this story. To my addled pate, however, the solution -- unique, to my way of thinking -- simply doesn't have enough to back it up until our heroes are set upon their last moment. I'm going to hide the next bit, as it could well be considered a spoiler. (view spoiler)[Ellery and his dad get the answers wrong several times before finally coming to the impressive conclusion at the end. In doing so, the reader is beset by fascinating, beguiling twists and turns of creative "deduction" which, in the end, are absolutely wrong. When your detective actively provides red herrings, it's a bit unfair to the reader, I would think. (hide spoiler)] Without spoilers, let me just say that our detectives aren't terribly bright, despite their reputations. It's also not a spoiler to say that the conjoined twins of the title are possible suspects (someone in the house "dunit"), and there are a few pages of interesting debate over how to administer justice if it could be proven that only one of the two committed the crime, with the other unable to prevent it. Overall, it's quite a ride, and in its way a "popcorn-movie-in-a-book," in that it has its moments of being fun to watch, but it's not fair to call it more than a "B-movie" in its execution. I see, by other comments, that other EQ mysteries are of higher caliber. That'll teach me to trust grabbing every e-book bargain I can!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jess castellanos lobaton

    I really liked this book. Old-fashion written, mystery, love... This is my first novel by Ellery queen but hopefully not last one. It was easy, logical, clever... you can't really imagine how the end will be like because it has several turns that make you feel literally like one of the detectives, there is point where you lose the connection and you don't know what to think. I liked the outcome, it covers all my expectations. Plus I made my research about Ellery queen, those 2 cool an creative w I really liked this book. Old-fashion written, mystery, love... This is my first novel by Ellery queen but hopefully not last one. It was easy, logical, clever... you can't really imagine how the end will be like because it has several turns that make you feel literally like one of the detectives, there is point where you lose the connection and you don't know what to think. I liked the outcome, it covers all my expectations. Plus I made my research about Ellery queen, those 2 cool an creative writers that made such a good job for a long time an they had the chance to show it to the world while living... and through the years.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marley

    My introd to Ellery Queen. One of the best/

  19. 5 out of 5

    John Lyman

    Too many characters, too poorly developed, confusing. Not worth reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura-Louise

    So-so mystery, but excellent prose!

  21. 4 out of 5

    David Dunlap

    Inspector Richard Queen and his son, the famous detective Ellery Queen are returning from a vacation in Canada, when their route forward is blocked by a fire. They must turn around to find a different route; unfortunately, the road they are using leads to a dead end, at the top of a mountain, at the front of an imposing house. With no other alternatives, they seek shelter here until such time as the fire is extinguished and they can continue homeward. The house belongs to the noted (now-retired) Inspector Richard Queen and his son, the famous detective Ellery Queen are returning from a vacation in Canada, when their route forward is blocked by a fire. They must turn around to find a different route; unfortunately, the road they are using leads to a dead end, at the top of a mountain, at the front of an imposing house. With no other alternatives, they seek shelter here until such time as the fire is extinguished and they can continue homeward. The house belongs to the noted (now-retired) physician, John Xavier, and the Queens soon meet the other people inside: the doctor's odd wife Sarah, his brother Mark, his assistant Dr. Percival Holmes, and his servants, the elderly Mrs. Wheary and the sinister 'Bones.' There are also guests: Mrs. Marie Carreau, whom Inspector Queen recognizes as a grande dame of D.C. society, her secretary Ann Forrest, and her teen-aged sons Francis and Julian. They are soon joined by the enigmatic and gruff Mr. Smith (whom they had previously encountered on the mountain road). -- The next morning, Dr. Xavier is found murdered in his study, shot to death, clutching half of a playing card, the six of spades. Since the fire is consuming the attention of the local authorities, the Queens are deputized to investigate. A solution soon presents itself, and a confession is received. But Ellery is convinced that the whole truth has not yet been uncovered. Before long, there is a second murder. Meanwhile, below them on the mountain, the fire has raged out of control, stranding everyone in the Xavier house, with the flames rising toward the summit. Can Ellery puzzle out this mystery -- and can the remaining people in the house be saved before being burned to death? And what connection to the murders, if any, do the disappearances of rings and Dr. Xavier's mysterious experiments have? -- This was a delightful spin on the 'country house/locked room' murder scenarios: the characters all being trapped with no hope of escape. The mystery is intricate but satisfyingly resolved. This is probably the best of the Ellery Queen stories that I have read to this point.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Siamese Twin Mystery is the 7th book in the Ellery Queen mysteries. Originally published in 1933, this reformat and re-release 4th Feb 2020 by Penzler is 293 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats (other editions available in other formats). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive form Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Siamese Twin Mystery is the 7th book in the Ellery Queen mysteries. Originally published in 1933, this reformat and re-release 4th Feb 2020 by Penzler is 293 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats (other editions available in other formats). It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. I've been a fan of Ellery Queen mysteries for decades and by some odd twist of fate had never before read this early entry. It's neither the acme nor nadir of the series. The pacing is very odd, sometimes standing virtually still for pages on end then racing ahead. The dialogue is often forced and stilted (and dated with fair lashings of sexism and melodrama). The atmospheric setting and moody buildup are done perfectly but the payoff and denouement weren't worth the trip. As always, the introduction by mystery maven Otto Penzler, is erudite, incisive, informative, and interesting. Three stars. Worth a look for completist fans of the series, and for the insighful history lesson from Mr. Penzler. It's also very nice to see these classics (however dated) being re-released for a new generation of fans. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chazzi

    This is one of the earlier mysteries in the Ellery Queen series. It seemed to have more drama, was more drawn out in descriptions and in action. Ellery and his dad, Inspector Queen, are on the way home from a vacation, driving through a mountain area. They find they have gotten caught in a wild fire and end up taking shelter at a home that is built at the top of a mountain. The inhabitants are an odd group: Dr. Xavier - the owner, his wife - who appears jealous of one of their guests, Dr. Perciva This is one of the earlier mysteries in the Ellery Queen series. It seemed to have more drama, was more drawn out in descriptions and in action. Ellery and his dad, Inspector Queen, are on the way home from a vacation, driving through a mountain area. They find they have gotten caught in a wild fire and end up taking shelter at a home that is built at the top of a mountain. The inhabitants are an odd group: Dr. Xavier - the owner, his wife - who appears jealous of one of their guests, Dr. Percival Holmes - assistant to the Dr., Mark Xavier - Dr. Xavier's brother, Mrs. Marie Carreau - the guest Mrs. Xavier is jealous of, Francis and Julian Carreau - sons of Mrs. Carreau, Ann Forrest - Mrs. Carreau's secretary, and a Mr. Smith - who seems to have some sort of connection. There is also the domestic staff. It is quite a cast. The day after the Queens' arrival, Dr. Xavier is discovered dead in his study. He is clutching a clue - the dying clue. When Inspector Queen calls down the hill to notify the local law, he is told that the fire is getting out of control and there is no idea when someone can make it up the mountain. the Inspector is given authority over the situation. The various characters seem to have secrets of their own, and there is a strange atmosphere to the house...and it isn't just due to the smoke and increasing heat of the approaching fire. This all plays together to add tension to the story. Will the mystery be solved? Will the fire be extinguished? Will the characters survive. All the while there is the question of who is the murderer and why. This seem to have a great many more twists and turns, and a few dead ends, that usual. It was not a book to be read quickly due to so much going on.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    There is something different about this Ellery Queen mystery from the six novels that preceded it. The upper class superiority of attitudes is relaxing just a bit. Ellery is not quite as uptight as he is in the previous books. The Siamese Twin Mystery is a more relaxed read and more relatable in some ways. It is a locked room mystery. All the while I was reading this book, I could not help but feel it was somewhat of a send up of authors like Agatha Christie and others like her. Although this boo There is something different about this Ellery Queen mystery from the six novels that preceded it. The upper class superiority of attitudes is relaxing just a bit. Ellery is not quite as uptight as he is in the previous books. The Siamese Twin Mystery is a more relaxed read and more relatable in some ways. It is a locked room mystery. All the while I was reading this book, I could not help but feel it was somewhat of a send up of authors like Agatha Christie and others like her. Although this book takes place in what I am assuming to be the mountains of the American West, the structure of the plot being set in a "locked" environment, the feel is like so many British Golden Age mysteries. The tone of the book struck me as being a bit tongue-in-cheek which made my reading experience much more entertaining. The plot to arrive at who the murderer is was very convoluted. But, then, aren't the plots of so many of Agatha Christie's books overly complicated? Queen never makes his mysteries easy. And, by the way, there really is a Siamese twin character in the book. The Siamese Twin Mystery was a very enjoyable read for me. For that reader who enjoys mysteries from the past, this would will be an appealing read. It's atmospheric, a little askew (as are all the Ellery Queen novels), intelligent and fun. This was my seventh book in the Ellery Queen series. I look forward to reading more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David

    Book #: 10 Title: The Siamese Twin Mystery Author: Ellery Queen Category: Popsugar Basic: A book with characters who are twins Rating: 4 out of 5 The first Ellery Queen novel, The Roman Hat Mystery, was written in 1929. This is the seventh novel and was written in 1933. The early Ellery Queen novels helped define the genre of mysteries, including the false solution before the true solution and gather all the suspects in one place for the big reveal. Because of this, I find critiquing the Ellery Quee Book #: 10 Title: The Siamese Twin Mystery Author: Ellery Queen Category: Popsugar Basic: A book with characters who are twins Rating: 4 out of 5 The first Ellery Queen novel, The Roman Hat Mystery, was written in 1929. This is the seventh novel and was written in 1933. The early Ellery Queen novels helped define the genre of mysteries, including the false solution before the true solution and gather all the suspects in one place for the big reveal. Because of this, I find critiquing the Ellery Queen mysteries to be on a par with critiquing the Sherlock Holmes novels. :D The writers (Ellery Queen is a pen name for Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee, as well as the protagonist detective) play fair (another hallmark) and the reader gets the clues at the same time as the detective. There was a TV show with Jim Hutton as Ellery Queen, and just before the last commercial break, he would break the fourth wall and tell the TV viewers they now had all the clues to solve the crime. Commercial break followed by all the suspects in one place for the big reveal. I was half expecting that to occur in the novels, but it doesn't :) I liked it well enough that I'm going to read more of his novels but I'm not going to hunt down the entire series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carl

    “The Siamese Twin Mystery” is the 7th entry in the classic Ellery Queen series. I decided to read some of the older mystery series, and this book from 1933 was one of the first I picked from the Queen series. Sadly, I did not find what I expected; rather I discovered an OK story with a lot of plot twists, a lot of clues, and then the ‘key’ characters, the Queens themselves, were enjoyable, but somewhat blah. I expect more a book’s protagonist(s). Maybe this was the one bad Ellery Queen book, but “The Siamese Twin Mystery” is the 7th entry in the classic Ellery Queen series. I decided to read some of the older mystery series, and this book from 1933 was one of the first I picked from the Queen series. Sadly, I did not find what I expected; rather I discovered an OK story with a lot of plot twists, a lot of clues, and then the ‘key’ characters, the Queens themselves, were enjoyable, but somewhat blah. I expect more a book’s protagonist(s). Maybe this was the one bad Ellery Queen book, but I was hoping for the end to come. However, I will say that the end got a bit more exciting. “The Siamese Twin Mystery” begins with Ellery and his father, Inspector Queen, being trapped in a mountain retreat by a raging forest fire. The household they encounter is a strange group. Later, and the retreat's host is murdered. So now the Queens are they isolated with an odd assortment of characters ~ a killer! I was disappointed by this book. I guess I just expected more from the mystic and the name – Ellery Queen! If you have not read Ellery Queen, do NOT start with this one. A solid “3” – but no more; however, I will certainly try another.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    Disappointing I was super disappointed by this book. I got 34% of the way through before I quit. Honestly I didn’t like much. The supporting characters came off as weird rather then interesting. The writing even for an old book was rather obtuse, I needed a dictionary more then a few times. This is comment not complaint. The age of the book is also obvious in its casual sexism which is blatant if unintentional, a mere reflection of its time. Other things like the forensics painfully betray its ag Disappointing I was super disappointed by this book. I got 34% of the way through before I quit. Honestly I didn’t like much. The supporting characters came off as weird rather then interesting. The writing even for an old book was rather obtuse, I needed a dictionary more then a few times. This is comment not complaint. The age of the book is also obvious in its casual sexism which is blatant if unintentional, a mere reflection of its time. Other things like the forensics painfully betray its age. But I’ve forgiven worse in old books I liked. To be fair the writing is technically perfectly decent and the setting device was clever. The kicker though was my total dislike of The Queens themselves. These are beloved characters so I was shocked by how tediously uninteresting and grumpy/smug I found them to be. The book has mixed reviews on Goodreads but most I saw were love it or hate it. Due to the literary pedigree of the characters I will try them again but I won’t be paying for the privilege.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I’m a pushover for a good mystery. I also loved the series Ellery Queen when it was on tv therefore those character actors played out the story in my head. I loved the book but yes, the writing has flaws. Several things bothered me. Spoilers ahead..... The Queens are driving through a forest fire which they ponder could have resulted in the careless flick of a burning cigarette (spelled differently then) yet Ellery is constantly tossing his cigarettes out the window and at the house he’s tossing t I’m a pushover for a good mystery. I also loved the series Ellery Queen when it was on tv therefore those character actors played out the story in my head. I loved the book but yes, the writing has flaws. Several things bothered me. Spoilers ahead..... The Queens are driving through a forest fire which they ponder could have resulted in the careless flick of a burning cigarette (spelled differently then) yet Ellery is constantly tossing his cigarettes out the window and at the house he’s tossing them outside while a raging forest fire is engulfing the mountain?!? Wtf?? I guess Dannay and Lee were not overweight because boy do they rag on the overweight character! And of course we see women portrayed as week and helpless. That fact about diabetes and rigor mortis that the brilliant Ellery forgot?? He would not have forgotten something so meaningful, in reality. But all those aside, I loved it. It was a blast in the past and I’m currently in a phase of old fashioned detective novels so this counts as a good one.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alonzo Church

    Ellery Queen and his father are trapped by a forest fire in one of those houses in golden age mysteries that seem built for murder. So naturally, the oddball scientist who owns the place is killed. Can Ellery solve the case without being too annoying? Well, that’s probably the real Siamese Twin mystery. And here is perhaps EQ in full. There is a dying message clue. Ellery botches the solution not once but twice. His excuse — well, that would be a spoiler, so we’ll just say that later EQs use this Ellery Queen and his father are trapped by a forest fire in one of those houses in golden age mysteries that seem built for murder. So naturally, the oddball scientist who owns the place is killed. Can Ellery solve the case without being too annoying? Well, that’s probably the real Siamese Twin mystery. And here is perhaps EQ in full. There is a dying message clue. Ellery botches the solution not once but twice. His excuse — well, that would be a spoiler, so we’ll just say that later EQs use this excuse and it annoys me each and every time. Queen, the detective, has the vanity of the super smart nerd, and the result is a tendency toward constantly guessing wrong. This said, this is one of the more suspenseful Queens, with an excellent opening chapter and a tense final act. The writing is superb, and both Queens are fully characterized here. The problem, and why only three stars is that I just hated the way Ellery reasons his case.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Scilla

    Ellery and the Inspector, his father, get trapped at the top of a mountain by a raging forest fire. They find a house at the end of the road and are invited in. The family seems somewhat strange. The host, is a famous doctor. His wife and brother are also there with another doctor and a young woman as guests as well. After going to bed, they see another woman through the windows, and later find this woman is a well-known society woman who has come with her sons who are Siamese twins. She is bein Ellery and the Inspector, his father, get trapped at the top of a mountain by a raging forest fire. They find a house at the end of the road and are invited in. The family seems somewhat strange. The host, is a famous doctor. His wife and brother are also there with another doctor and a young woman as guests as well. After going to bed, they see another woman through the windows, and later find this woman is a well-known society woman who has come with her sons who are Siamese twins. She is being blackmailed by yet another man who shows up. When the host is found murdered in his study the next morning, Ellery and the Inspector take on the task of solving the murder. However, they make a mistake in the culprit, and another man is murdered, and another suspect accused. When the fire reaches the top of the mountain, they all go into the cellar, and Ellery finally figures out who really killed the host.

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