Monday, July 16, 2012

The Adventures of Ellery Queen

As TomCat also mentions in his recent worshipping post, the more Carr you read the more you appreciate him and that's certainly what happened to me in the last months. I don't really prefer either him or Queen as an author anymore and I've gotten attuned to the duo of Merrivale and Masters, but as a detective figure I still enjoy Ellery a lot; in contrast to certain other readers it seems. Maybe I was primed by arrogant, eccentric detectives in Japanese novels already even without reading anything with Philo Vance in it. Anyway, I was kind of reluctant to pick up The Egyptian Cross Mystery due to the prevalent opinion it would have been more suitable for a short story frame, which is comparable to how I felt about The Dutch Shoe Mystery. So I decided to finally read the first of Queen's short story collections instead and here are my own two cents about the stories.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Red Widow Murders

Michael Tairlaine is invited to a strange kind of gathering at the Mantlings' house, where Sir Henry Merrivale will also show up as an impartial witness. The partakers draw cards, which will determine who stays in a supposedly haunted room. Well, not exactly haunted by a supernatural force, but the room itself seems to be killing people as soon as they stay alone in that room and supposedly it does so by poison, since that seems most likely considering the records of the cases in the past which reach back to the time of the French Revolution. After someone is decided to go into the Widow's Room, he is to answer the others' calling every 15 minutes. And he does so just until the time is over and the others barge through the door to find out the victim must have already been dead for an hour! He died of curare, but no wounds for the poison to enter are found on the body and nobody could have entered the room anyway since it was under constant observation. And how did a dead man answer their calls?