Tuesday, November 24, 2015
So I am getting into the swing of things with the Ellery Queen blogging on its last week. I thought I'd do a top five list. I'll give reasons for each as I go along.
5) Cat of Many Tails -- one of the first serial killer novels, this is a work of art in terms of its rendition of a city in terror. Ellery is well-drawn and compassionate in this novel. His father is the typical over-worked police officer. The plot is simple and yet not seen by most readers. Definitely a
to-be-read of the Queen canon.
4) Calamity Town -- I'm incredibly fond of the Wrightsville novels. In part, I like them because Ellery does not succeed in the typical great detective fashion. While he may tell a small cadre of people what really happened, the news is not made public, so he doesn't gain the accolades that he does in other novels. This makes him more humble and human. In this case, the plot revolves around the typical calendar holidays and is tied together beautifully. I can't talk more about the plot without giving things away, but it's a wonderful combination of plot and style.
3) The Tragedy of Y -- I have a great love of books with malevolent matriarchs. Appointment with Death always ranks up there with my favorite Christies as well. I think this is in part because I grew up with a schizophrenic grandparent. It made me want to read about other, similar families. So this case has always fascinated me, and it pleased me to read that it was one of Fred's favorites as well. The family is a large one and members of the tribe start dying one by one. Who is the culprit? I lost out on a copy of this book, signed and in dj (because the seller backed out on me. I still hold a grudge on that one.)
4) The Tragedy of X -- I love a pure puzzle book for me and the first time I read this I was positively awed by the puzzle plot. It's held up well in reread. I still remember that feeling the first time I read this and enjoy it each time I come back to this.
And of course, my number one....
1) The Greek Coffin Mystery -- the book has 4 solutions and the table of contents spells out of the title and author. It's a well planned, well plotted mystery. It's the first glimpse of Ellery failing and Ellery wondering about his own abilities, things that will be probed more in later cases.
Could Have Been a Contender....
1) The Siamese Twin Mystery -- another early favorite of mine with a dying clue and all.