Friday, 8 March 2013

Double, Double by Ellery Queen

Double, Double by Ellery Queen, the pseudonym of novelists duo Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, published in 1950 featuring novelist and detective Ellery Queen, was also published with the alternative title The Case of the Seven Murders.

Ellery Queen receives an anonymous letter with two newspaper clippings. The first one nearly two months old reports the death of Luke MacCaby, the Town Hermit, of heart failure. The next clipping reports that John Spencer Hart, President of Wrightsville Dye Works, committed suicide unable to face bankruptcy and prison. One is a heart failure, the other is suicide, neither seemed to be linked nor criminal. But somebody has linked it. These two clippings have been sent to Ellery Queen. How are these deaths related? Three days later Ellery Queen receives another envelope reporting the disappearance of Tom Anderson, the Town Drunk. How are these three incidents related? Rima Anderson, Tom Anderson's daughter approaches Ellery to find out about the disappearance of her father. What will Ellery uncover? When more deaths follow, and Ellery realises that somebody is killing off people in tune with a famous children's rhyme. There are various versions of the rhyme available, what version is the killer using? Will Ellery stop further deaths? Everything is not as appears, the town hermit whom everybody thought was penniless was a rich man, the President of Dye Works whom everybody thought was a rich man was in fact poor, who else is leading a double life?

I spotted the killer quite early, just a little thing threw me off, just as Ellery Queen novelists duo expected. But I was back again on the same track because there is really no where else to go. I like the chapter in the end where Ellery explains everything. I wish all crime novels had this kind of explanation. I know, in real life it is not possible to provide explanations for everything. That's why, I read fiction, I can work out most of the things, but give me the final chapter with all the explanations some I have worked out, making me feel clever and some I hadn't worked out, making me feel the writer is more clever, after all the book is world they created. Oh yes! This book made me feel clever, being able to see beyond the double smokescreen, but I hadn't worked out everything, making me respect and look for other work by Ellery Queen.

I borrowed an ebook from Openlibrary

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