By Ellery Queen (1905-82; 1905-71).
Illustrations by Charles Chickering (1891-1970).
First appearance: The Blue Book Magazine, October 1939.
Reprinted in The 20-Story Magazine, April 1940; Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (EQMM), September 1962; EQMM (U.K.), January 1963; and EQMM (Australia), March 1963.
Other reprints: The New Adventures of Ellery Queen (1940) and Masterpieces of Mystery, The Golden Age, Volume 2 (1977).
Short story (13 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
(Note: Pages faded but readable.)
(Parental note: Mild profanity.)
"Specifically, his six-foot body was taut as a violin-string. It was a familiar but always menacing phenomenon."
You'd expect some mayhem in a boxing match, but not when the fight's over—the bloody and highly perforated corpse of the heavyweight champ curled up in a car being eloquent evidence of murder most foul. While clues are sparse, to Ellery Queen, master detective, it's the theft of his own camel's-hair coat that "has everything to do with it" . . .
Cast (in order of appearance):
~ Paula Paris:
"Aren't you disappointed too, that you can't buy a ticket to the fight?"
~ Inspector Richard Queen:
"He's afraid somebody will knock somebody off."
~ Ellery Queen (a.k.a. "Master Mind"):
"Well, doesn't somebody always?"
". . . picked them up that evening in his cranky little sports roadster and they all drove uptown to the Stadium together to see the brawl."
~ Happy Day:
". . . was visible a few rows off, an expensive Panama resting on a fold of neck-fat. He
had a puffed face the color of cold rice pudding, and his eyes were like raisins."
~ Ivy Brown:
". . . was a full-blown female with a face like a Florentine cameo."
". . . pays a lot of attention in public to the champ's wife."
~ Jim Koyle:
"He was met by a roar, like the roar of a river at flood-tide bursting its dam."
~ Barney Hawks:
"His manager, Barney Hawks, followed him into the ring. Hawks too was big,
but beside his fighter he appeared puny."
"They hate his insides because he's an ornery, brutal, crooked slob with
the kick of a mule and the soul of a pretzel."
~ Storn's chauffeur:
". . . a tough-looking customer . . ."
~ Hymie Oetjens:
"I don't want no trouble, no trouble."
- For a detailed rundown on the "sport" of boxing, see Wikipedia (HERE).
- "the way Firpo was": "Luis Ángel Firpo (October 11, 1894 – August 7, 1960) was an Argentine boxer. Born in Junín, Argentina, he was nicknamed The Wild Bull of the Pampas." (Wikipedia HERE).
|"Dempsey and Firpo" (1923) by George Bellows.|