|Mass Market Paperback
Publisher: Signet (May 1, 1979)
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Ellery Queen is pulled into a string of grisly murders. Someone is murdering people and leaving them nailed to a cross minus their head.
Ellery Queen – Special Investigator
Andrew Van – Schoolmaster.
Stephen Megara – Yachtsman
This is one of the darkest Ellery Queen stories I’ve read so far, and the one that’s held my attention the most. Ellery Queen is originally called to investigate a murder in which the victim is found hanging from a cross, and missing his head. For the first time, he’s unable to solve the case. Fast forward in time, and a second murder exactly the same occurs. Again Ellery Queen is on the case.
I really like the Ellery Queen mysteries. While the characters are rather flat, cookie cutter characters, the stories tend to be intriguing. I like the idea in the first of the books in which Ellery steps out from that invisible wall, and speaks to the reader with his challenge to solve the mystery. So far out of four or five of the novels, I’ve failed to meet his challenge, and I’m good with that. To do otherwise I think would mean the puzzle wasn’t as challenging to me as it could have been.
While not for all readers, I would recommend it for older teens and adults. The imagery and language is pretty tame for the time period in which they were published. However, for the contents of the books, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers, unless they were very mature.
Overall for Ellery Queen fans, I think you should check this one out.
About the Author
Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age “fair play” mystery. Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen’s first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that would eventually be published as The Roman Hat Mystery.
Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee’s death.