By Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay, 1905-82 & Manfred B. Lee,
1905-71).First appearance: The Strand Magazine, September 1935 (as "Treasure Hunt").
Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Fall 1941; EQMM (Overseas Edition for the Armed Forces), April 1945; and EQMM (Australia), July 1947.
Collected in The New Adventures of Ellery Queen (1940).
Short story (19 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
"There was silence for as long as one can hold a breath . . ."
Missing pearls worth twenty-five grand, a hectic treasure hunt, and a thief who's not nearly as clever as he thinks he is—just another day in the life of Inspector Queen's brilliant son . . .
~ Major-General Barrett:
"You lead a life of armchair adventure, Queen? It must be embarrassing when you poke your nose out into the world of men."
"General's getting ready for the revolution. We live in parlous times."
~ Lieutenant Richard Fiske, USA:
"The Lieutenant said something, his arms jerking nervously; and the old gentleman paled."
~ Dorothy Nixon:
"How can you sleep with all those murdered people haunting you?"
~ Leonie Barrett:
". . . pounced upon Ellery so quickly that he almost threw his arm up to defend himself."
"They found the old pensioner placidly engaged in polishing the brasswork of the General's launch."
". . . a gigantic old Irishman with leather cheeks and the eyes of a top-sergeant."
~ Ellery Queen:
"And what do you think I found on the can? Fingerprints! Disappointing, isn't it?"
"My difficulty is not in sleeping too little, Mrs. Nixon, but in sleeping too much. The original sluggard. No more imagination than an amoeba."
"In the workshop of the cosmos it had been decreed that he should stalk with open eyes among the lame, the halt, and the blind."
"Murder will out, but it was never hindered by a bit of judicious investigation . . ."
"The essence of any investigation, General, is the question of how many possibilities you can eliminate."
"You know, there's a fat-bellied little god who watches over such as me."
"When you spend half your life in jungles, the civilized moralities lose their edge."
- REFERENCES: ~ "in Mrs. Post's book": An allusion to Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home by Emily Post (1922; Wikipedia HERE).
~ "get that Wimpole Street expression off your face": Speaking to Leonie Barrett, Ellery is employing a pun about a famous street in London: "The most famous resident was the poet Elizabeth Barrett, who lived at 50 Wimpole Street with her family from 1838 until 1846 when she eloped with Robert Browning. The street became famous from the play based on their courtship, The Barretts of Wimpole Street." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "All I know about the greenwood tree is that it's something in As You Like It and a novel by Thomas Hardy": "Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School is a novel by Thomas Hardy, published anonymously in 1872. It was Hardy's second published novel, the last to be printed without his name, and the first of his great series of Wessex novels. Whilst Hardy originally thought of simply calling it The Mellstock Quire, he settled on a title taken from a song in Shakespeare's As You Like It (Act II, Scene V)." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "her red hair flowing behind her like a pennon": "The pennon is a flag resembling the guidon in shape, but only half the size. It does not contain any coat of arms, but only
crests, mottos and heraldic and ornamental devices." — Wikipedia (HERE).
~ "She was seated defensively astride the sunset gun": Defined as "a cannon fired at
sunset or as part of the ceremony of lowering the flag at the end of a day." — Merriam-Webster Dictionary (HERE).
~ "like an excited gamine": "A gamine is a slim, elegant young woman who is, or is perceived to be, mischievous, teasing or sexually appealing." — Wikipedia (HERE).~ "this gun, like all guns which fire salutes, uses 'blank' ammunition": "A blank is a type of firearm cartridge that contains gunpowder but no projectile (e.g. bullet or shot), and instead uses paper or plastic wadding to seal the propellant into the casing. When fired, the blank makes a flash and an explosive sound (report), and the firearm's action cycles from the recoil, but the wadding propelled from the barrel quickly loses kinetic energy and is inca-
pable of inflicting any damage beyond an immediate distance." — Wikipedia (HERE).
- Our latest encounters with Ellery Queen were in the form of their radio play, "The Adventure of the Mouse's Blood" (HERE), and before that an audio script adapted to the short story, "The Adventure of the Dead Cat" (HERE).