Wednesday, July 1, 2020

"It Meant That There Was Murder in the Air"

"Mind Over Matter."
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).
Adapted for radio as "The Fallen Gladiator" (CBS, July 7, 1940; repeated September 16 or 18, 1943; HERE: Scroll down to number 56).
Short story (13 pages).
Online at (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?"
~ Phil Maguire:
  ". . . 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."
~ Ollie Storn:
  ". . . 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."
~ Mike Brown:
  "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.
- "full of more curves and detours than the Storm King highway": See Wikipedia (HERE).
- Reading Ellery Queen briefly highlights our story (HERE).
- Our last encounter with Ellery Queen the fiction writer rather than Ellery Queen the fiction editor was over a year ago, with a text version of one of their radio plays also featuring a boxing background, "The Adventure of the Mouse's Blood" (HERE).

No comments:

Post a Comment