Wednesday, June 5, 2019

"There Is a Maddening Unarguability about Ellery's Sermons"

"The Adventure of the Dead Cat."
By Ellery Queen (1905-71; 1905-82).
First appearance on radio: October 29, 1939 on CBS; 
condensed as "The Murder Game," June 1 & 3, 1944 
on NBC.
First appearance in print: Ellery Queen's Mystery 
Magazine, October 1946.
Reprinted in EQMM (Australia), April 1955; EQMM, November 1965 as "The Hallowe'en Mystery"; and Ellery Queen's Eyewitnesses (1983).
Collected in Calendar of Crime (1952) as "The Dead Cat."
Short story (14 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "It is a curious phenomenon of crime fiction that storybook detectives always go to parties against their better judgment and always find them-selves involved in——"

"'Murder games,' said Inspector Queen gently. 'Hallowe'en,' said Inspector Queen. Ellery blushed. 'Well, son?'" . . .

~ John Crombie:

  "A tenner says I draw the fatal pasteboard."
~ Ann Trent Crombie:
  "I warn you, Nikki, I'm hitched to a man who tries to jockey every new female he meets."
~ Lucy Trent:
  "You spent four weekends with him."
~ Edith Baxter:
  "Don't third-degree me, you detective!"

~ Jerry Baxter:
  "I'm the killer type! Gack-gack-gack-gack!"
~ Nikki Porter:
  "But I'm running this assassination! Now stop talking, eyes closed."
~ Inspector Queen:
  "A man's been knocked off. What I want to know is not who was where when, but — who had it in for this character?"
~ Sergeant Velie:
  "'Oh, my,' said Sergeant Velie. He was studying the old gentleman as if he couldn't believe his eyes — or ears."
~ Ellery Queen:
  "How did the murderer manage to cross this room in pitch darkness without making any noise?"

The killer and the motive are revealed in the very last sentence. Neat.

Typo: "Gaelic," not "Gallic".

- FictionMags has a thorough bibliography of Ellery Queen's short stories; Wikipedia's comprehensive article about EQ is (HERE); and in six installments on his Mysteries, Short and Sweet weblog Christian Henriksson gives his assessments of Queen's collected short narratives commencing (HERE).
- It was last fall when we considered "Mum Is the Word" by the cousins comprising "Ellery Queen" (HERE).

The bottom line:

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