Friday, December 27, 2013

Inside Out

By Ellery Queen.
1934. $2.00
Available on Kindle.
Herewith a spectrum of opinion concerning EQ's eighth novel:
Fatality and philately (say it fast and you're sober) weirdly mixed but laboriously unscrambled by pair of Queens. - Corp' had his clothes on backwards and everything else was in reverse—including the interest. - Verdict: Not so hot. — THE SATURDAY REVIEW (June 23, 1934)
. . . the problem at the heart of each of these books [by Ellery Queen] is recognisably mathematical. There is no obfuscation, no sudden surprises, no facts kept hidden. Ellery describes what he observes and what he thinks, and so the clues are revealed to the reader at the same rate that they are revealed to the sleuth. In theory the opportunity is there to solve it as you solve any problem in mathematics: by separating signal from noise, and by forcing your mind to reflect not only on what is known directly but also on what is known indirectly. They even tell you how to do it, describing the fundamental need for "disembodied concentration." — Karyn Reeves, A PENGUIN A WEEK (28 March 2011)
The Chinese Orange Mystery has one of EQ's most baroque and inventive puzzles. It is none too realistic, and the storytelling sags badly between the murder and its solution, but its finale shows the tremendous imagination of the Golden Age mystery tale. . . . The technique of the book is closely related to the "impossible crime," although EQ does not actually use it to create an impossible crime situation in the novel. Despite this, many historians of the locked room story seem to (falsely) remember it as a "locked room" book . . . — Mike Grost, GAD Wiki
. . . a locked-room murder that is absolutely absurd (everything in the room turned inside-out); this is a highly rated EQ, but I don't see why. Takes place in a private office suite. — Wyatt James
EQ's deductions, though arguable, are a bit difficult to follow, and his reconstruction hard to visualize. Cleverly worked out, though. — ELLERY QUEEN: A WEBSITE ON DEDUCTION
Consider the situation: an unknown man walks into a suite of offices. He is told to wait in the next room. When last seen, he is settling down to read a magazine in that room, all by himself. When the man is next seen, he is dead. All of his clothes apparently have been removed and then replaced front-to-back on his body. All the furniture in that waiting room has been reversed as well. . . . — Les Blatt, CLASSIC MYSTERIES (March 18, 2013)
- Filmed (very badly) in 1936 as THE MANDARIN MYSTERY; see IMDb listing.

Category: Detective fiction

No comments:

Post a Comment