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The Greek Coffin Mystery (Ellery Queen Detective #4)

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  600 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
From the very beginning, the Khalkis case struck a somber note. It began, as was peculiarly harmonious in the light of what was to come, with the death of an old man. Georg Khalkis, internationally famous art dealer and collector, died of heart failure. After his funeral, his attorney found that the will was missing and immediately called in the district attorney.
When Insp
Paperback, Pocket Book #179, 322 pages
Published 1945 by Pocket Book (first published 1932)
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Nov 29, 2012 Luffy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The two authors who have taken the pen name of Ellery Queen are many things, but great writers they are not. By great I mean - maybe - humanizing. To see someone solve a rubik cube in record time inspires nothing but awe; I don't mean that in a good way by the way. They do not know how to make the journey to the final solution of the mystery memorable. But such is the force with which the authors have created this story that even an average minded person like me followed most of the ongoing dev ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Mmyoung rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ellery Queen [1:] and S. S. Van Dine each began to write and publish a successful detective series in the late 1920s/early 1930s. The lead character in each was a young man who had a personal relationship with members of the law enforcement community in New York City (close friends with the DA in the case of Vance and son of a prominent Inspector on the force in the case of Queen) but was not himself officially part of the force. As the series begin there are many parallels and a few major diffe ...more
Nov 13, 2015 Qube rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, good plotting let down by poor writing. The dialogues especially are poorly written in that they are not believable. Besides, the characters are unreal. A pity because the Ellery Queen series would have been brilliant had the writing been half as good as British crime writers' or Earl Stanley Gardner's, and had the characters been more real and endearing.

Take Ellery Queen for instance. He is young man recently out of university, and far younger than the district attorney (Sampson) an
Dec 26, 2014 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, abandoned
A wealthy art collector and gallery owner in a midtown Manhattan mansion in the 1930s (I think) is found dead, apparently of a heart attack. No mystery there. But the will, which is known to have been changed the day before is death, is missing. The presumptive heir is able to call in the US District Attorney! Well, so it happens in Ellery Queen's privileged world. The first mystery, then, is to find the will and this Ellery attempts to do by eliminating every possible place except the coffin it ...more
Adam Graham
Sep 12, 2014 Adam Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book while not the first Ellery Queen book ever published is chronologically the earliest Queen novel. The thing to understand about Ellery Queen is that unlike Nero Wolfe, Philip Marlowe, or Father Brown, there's not a whole lot of characters or wisdom to be garnered beyond the mystery, but when the mystery is good, it carries the rest of the book.

Such is the case here. A man dies and the latest version of his will is missing. A murder soon follows The book proceeds according to typical pl
Gilbert M.
May 15, 2014 Gilbert M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the joys of reading Ellery Queen novels is that moment toward the end of the book when the narrator steps out of character and challenges the reader to solve the mystery. I’ve read four of them now and I haven’t come close to getting the solution right. This time I caught one of the red herrings with a fair degree of accuracy—which means I was wrong, but not as clueless as I sometimes feel when I reach this point.

This novel is a slow read but well worth your time. (It’s slow because you w
Keeps one guessing, a good thing. Narrated clearly & well by Mark Peckham. Classic education is shown (proof of the dumb-down education). Loved the romp to yesteryear. I thought it was her... (*︶`*) ...more
Fredrick Danysh
When a rich New York art dealer dies and his will disappears Ellery Queen is called in. When he has the coffin exhumed, a second body is found it. A good Ellery Queen mystery read.
Catherine Boomer
Dec 03, 2015 Catherine Boomer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been enjoying getting into the Ellery Queen novels since watching the older series on TV. This was an interesting case and very cleverly figured out as to how everything was done.
The Fza
I love a good mystery, as do many of us and after finding the Ellery television series alive and well on Hulu I decided to re-read a few of the early books. While not the first book in the Ellery Queen series The Greek Coffin Mystery does purport to be his earliest case.

Written by two authors, Frederic Dannay & Manfred Bennington Lee, who had taken the pen-name of Ellery Queen one should understand is unlike Nero Wolfe or Philip Marlowe there's not a whole lot more to the books beyond the my
There are certain books--mostly older mysteries--that maintain my interest but also help me nod off to sleep after several pages. I usually read these on my iPad, using a sepia setting that also encourages sleep (vs. the default blue light of digital screens), especially when I have a hard time returning to sleep in the middle of the night. This might not be the highest praise for a book, of course, but nevertheless, they're books I did not give up on.

This was the first Ellery Queen mystery I'd
Jim Leckband
You know those story problems that are ubiquitous in certain math classes: "Sally is driving in a car at 40 mph while in the other direction Tom is drinking soda at 4 ounces a minute, when will Tom have to pee?" Well, this book is 320 pages of this as Ellery Queen, boy genius, uses his overdeveloped capacity for formulating story problems to goad the reader into yelling "My Brain Hurts!"

This kind of detective novel is akin to Math Rock, a sub-genre so specialized that is bears some resemblance t
Brian Palmer
Sep 23, 2014 Brian Palmer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The detective hero, Ellery Queen, is a know-it-all unofficial detective who summons the mighty forces of logic to solve the cases. The author expects the reader to, at some point, be able to figure out who did it by all the clues being dropped.

The mystery was intriguing, with lots of false trails and a large cast of suspects, but the writing is somewhat shallow (the case is what you read it), and Ellery Queen pretentious in an old-fashioned way, repeatedly resorting to quotes in french, latin, o
Stephen Osborne
Oct 23, 2010 Stephen Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic of the golden age of mysteries, this book features both Queen's Challenge to the Reader and his trademark "false" solutions to the crime. Well done, but the explanation is a bit wordy.
Sep 14, 2015 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this audiobook. Written in 1932, this book really didn't feel dated except for the technology. It was a mostly satisfying who done it. A wealthy Greek art collector dies of natural causes, but his will is mysteriously missing. It was last seen in a locked safe in the man's house. Only those present for the funeral could have taken it. When the search of the house and mourners is exhausted, Ellery Queen, son of police inspector Richard Queen, suggests they search the coffin. What th ...more
Oct 03, 2014 4cats rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Great classic detection from the master ellery queen. In this book ellery investigates a possible double murder, great sense of time and place.
May 23, 2013 Salvatore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great mystery. if you can figure it out you are definitely smarter than me. It will keep you guessing.
3.5 stars. Too many plot twists and false arrest to rate it any higher.
Michael A
Another series that I have read many of but not this one. The fourth book printed but the first case in the adult career of Ellery Queen. A long convoluted story with lots characters, plot twists and long winded explanations of maybe, what if and so on. Had this been my first read I never would have been into the series so much. Young Queen is arrogant, self centered and egotistical to a fault. He overthinks each and every aspect of the case and gets a lot wrong and then has problems admitting h ...more
Aug 26, 2015 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I devoured library-borrowed Ellery Queen mysteries many years ago as a teenager, and so had to buy this age-spotted book found in a second-hand book shop recently. The puzzle was complex, but I thought I had guessed the 'who dunnit' when I got to the page where the reader is notified all the clues have been revealed. And I was delighted that I was wrong and had obediently followed the red herring. So a very good puzzle, but as a far more mature reader I did yearn for some character development a ...more
May 08, 2014 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
As a nerdy child who read just about any mystery she could get her hands on, I often picked up musty copies of the Ellery Queen Magazine with stories by dozens of contributing writers at yard sales. And in recent years I’ve watched some episodes of the show starring Jim Hutton. But somehow, I had never read an original Ellery Queen novel.

Based on the pulpiness of the magazine (in both content and printing material), I presumed the novel would have that hard-boiled grittiness to it. I expected da
shayla tucker
A bit underwhelming

A typical Ellery Queen story with sophisticated language that is sometimes haphazardly written. I really read his stories to see the twists towards the end. Quite often, I am surprised at how the deduction of the mystery is solved, such detail and suspense. In my opinion, the story seemed quite bloated for such a disappointing ending. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for a true mystery, but true Ellery Queen fans will appreciate it.
Oh. My. God. It took SOOO long to finish this book. I just couldn't get into it. The characters were uninteresting, Ellery was just annoying, and the multiple solutions were mystifying.
Greorg Khalkis, blind art dealer, has been found dead By the time they figure out that there's hinky stuff going on, his body is already buried.
Yep. Long, boring story. Not worth it.
Oct 07, 2014 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was one darn good mystery. First of all, Ellery "solves" it four times. Secondly, while I did pick out the most important clue, I was totally befuddled as to the third "solution." Thirdly, I NEVER would have guessed the correct solution. While Ellery can be a bit snobby and annoying at times, he is the best (most intricate) logician I've ever seen. If you are looking for a mystery which explains why the clues must give you this result, this is the book for you. Also, all Ellery Queen's (amo ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Annareads rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the older Ellery Queen mysteries, when the two cousins first started writing. It is excellently plotted and the twists and turns and possible multiple solutions are dazzling. Some of the later Queen novels, I don't like. Some, I do. But this is a good introduction to the series!
Donald De Morris
May 09, 2014 Donald De Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit old-fashioned, but what would you expect? Ellery Queen was written in the late 40s. A few typos in the ebook, but not enough to be a distraction. I did have a problem with one of the main clews (clues), but to state what it was would be a major plot spoiler. Overall a decent book, but there are better Ellery Queens.
Dec 31, 2014 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
It hurts me to give Ellery Queen such a low rating, but this novel was slow and boring for long stretches, Ellery an obnoxious snob. Even so, the plot itself was interesting enough that I stayed with it. I realize it is an early Ellery Queen novel and the team improved their style with time.
No es malo, pero me costó mucho terminarlo. En cuanto a contenido está excelente, un poco rebuscado en algunas partes, pero a fin de cuentas siendo detectivesco pues conviene al caso; en cuanto a la forma pues en ratos me pareció aburrido (pero no por ello menos interesante).
I enjoyed it. But I'm not rushing out to tell everyone about it. Apparently this author/character was really famous for the first part of the Twentieth century. .. This was the first time I'd heard of him. Typical crime mystery, really.
Thanks to the editors of the drop caps series for introducing me to him, though!
Honestly, I could not even finish this. It was just too dated and some parts were just plain offensive. I know you have to accept some things as attitudes of the times, but the offensive stereotyped characters were too much for me.
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aka Barnaby Ross.

"Ellery Queen" was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905-1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age "fair play" mystery.

Although eventual
More about Ellery Queen...

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