An Odd1's Reviews > Best of Ellery Queen

Best of Ellery Queen by Ellery Queen
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Apr 15, 12

bookshelves: mystery
Read from March 20 to April 15, 2012

"The Best of Ellery Queen" editor Ellery Queen are rated low for most of 23 creepy horror short stories, lowest confusing, better for clear action and humor 3 Keating's Old P, 10 Savage's Matchmaking and 21 MacDonald's Blonde. Most of the authors are skilled at building atmosphere; surprises are best.

1 Trumpetbird in the Cop Car by Janwillem van de Wetering
Narrator constable ordered by senior to pull over Dutch pimp for siren; beatup whore offers self.
1* (Trumpetbird in zoo answers siren; biologist says female wants stronger mate.)

2 Boots by Antonia Fraser
Pretty red-bootes Emily dislikes mother Cora's boyfriend Mr Inch's leers and secret touches.
3* (She runs into traffic so wolf chases and run over by lorry; she's safe.)

3 Old P by H.R.F. Keating
Young Madelaine likes brother Tony's banger jokey license OLD470P though his girlfriend Janice doesn't, calls cops when finds stolen car despite Janice's house nearby.
3* (Maddy gets reward for jewel thieves who stole slow car for sneaky getaway; Tony drops Janice.)

4 Eavesdropping by Ron Goulart
Twice-divorced broke George Norkin stakes out pretty Marcia he overhears reporting ex's threats to his psychotherapist, sees her plant bomb to frame ex.
2* Creepy (Happy on next appointment because he permitted murder, blackmailed Marcia.)

5 Happy Christmas by Robert Barnard
Aging homosexual Crespin picks up country boy for rough trade, points out antiques as cheap and vice versa.
1* (Anticipates final (muderous?) blow as best Christmas ever.)

6 Drown Her on Saturday by Celia Fremlin
Narrator 28 married and killed Daphne 49 for money, copies activities from week of old postcards for alibi.
2* (Planned skid seriously injures him, so hospitalized before finale, awaiting cops to ask for wife.)

7 Kill before Publication by Martin Russell
Reporter Miles finds shoplifter Mrs Stanhope trying to stop report is really angry spinster Miss Kemp, snobby neighbor of noisy Sylvia's family.
2* (In mirror, too late, Miles sees insane Kemp raise vase to kill him.)

8 The Film Festival Assignment by Edward D. Hoch
CIA agent Charles Spacer's contact Flummer killed before source of weapons near film festivals found.
2* (Spacer confronts pretty Marsha on fireworks at all festivals but not on attendance list; explosion kills murderer and lights up enemy sub delivering.)

9 Have a Nice Death by George Baxt
At New Jersey Golden Glow Retreat, narrator and fellow Holocaust survivors do in Nazi patient.
2* (They then recognize and do in manager Miss Crownut, gardener next ...)
For anyone familiar with such residences, the violent daily life is uncannily true. By the end "Rudolph Lebberhocker, the Fiend of Fleishbane" is intended to be a spoof, but I'm not laughing.

10 A Little Innocent Matchmaking by Ernest Savage
Narrator Peckinpaugh and Luis Escalera cops know Baby Face Michael hanged lover actress adopted sister Janey's older rich husband Henry Mercer, but confronted, killer puts gun to our hero's Amazon gal Bonny as hostage.
4* (Bonny levers villain down in martial arts move, jokes at end.)

11 The Question by Stanley Ellin
Narrator electrocutioner sociable, hides job, hurt when son declines.
*2 Shock end (When son asks if he enjoys .. "how could anyone not!")

12 The Old Barn on the Pond by Ursula Curtiss
Playwright Howard Hildreth finally succeeds because wife Marian suggests twist ending, but her cousin Bill Conlon architect of new barn, and friend Sarah suspect his angry murder, invite him and cop to his favorite dinner, trout.
2* (They have perch; he gives away guilt, retching, learning Marian stocked trout for surprise birthday present in dredged pond where he hid her body.)

13 Her Heart's Home by Mary McMullen
Elderly Miss Rounce bounced by nasty Personnel Manager Ronnie Fenelli when boss cowardly Caudrey sneaks away on vacation. She fakes blackmail letter from Fenelli to Caudrey for president's return, knowing his fast temper and handy gun; sends witness observations anonymously to cops.
3* (She hears cops arrive as Caudrey offers her Fenelli's job.)

14 The Phonograph Murder by Helen Reilly
George Bonfield 56, harrassed by nagging wife Louise, fakes alibi with recording of phone call, but maid Louise insists front door locked.
2* (He unbolted, shouts his guilt; wind had covered noise when she relocked.)

15 The Night Calhoun was Off Duty by Thomas Walsh
Snob emerg doctor "windy" lecturing Minacorn thinks big dumb cop only good for action so takes him on call while Calhoun's wife Ellen having baby.
2* (Madman with rifle kills Calhoun when he steps in to do his job and save doc.)

16 The Missing Mortgagee by R. Austin Freeman
Debtor Tom Elton offers his dry clothes to extortionist Gordon.
1* (Gordon slips and dies accidentally, but Elton vanishes anyway.) Part II first person insurance clerk in Dr Thorndyke's investigation is supererogatory.

17 The Beauty in that House by Florence V. Mayberry
Narrator, pretty with polio leg, likes older Willie's pretty things, but not his golden boys Ferdie and Maurice who give her a lion cub then murder it, and repeatedly try to kill her.
1* (She overheard Maurice guilty of pet's death, so she killed him, now alone in house with vicious Ferdie.)

18 The Mysterious Death in Percy Street by Baroness Orczy
Miss Polly Burton likes to talk crime with old scarecrow in ABC shop until he tells of frozen caretaker generous Mrs Owen, whose younger Cockney friend Arthur Greenhill was acquitted and unseen nephew suspected, contents of her emptied bank account never found.
2* (Polly decides to marry and forego scarecrow after he nervously knots complex pattern like found holding window open to cold.)

19 The Shop that Exchanged Evils by Lord Dunsany
Curious narrator trades fear of seasickness for fear of elevators.
2* (Never seasick, but shop vanishes, can never find again.)

20 The Neighbours by John Galsworthy
Dominating innkeeper Sandford and meek wife fair coloring, drunken Leman and assertive wife black haired.
1* wierd (Leman writes confession that he shot wife and Sandford, who asked her to give in to her husband, raised his own stick, she smiled, they struggled, he shot.)

21 Who's the Blonde? by John D. MacDonald
Bank clerk Tom Weldon's daily tally missing $5K stack after curvy blonde asks for him, only wife Helen believes innocent of collusion, suggests money lifted over cage top.
4* (Alcohol-breath clerk Jud Fergol whistled, distracting, hooked fishing line.)

22 In a Country Churchyard by Robert L. Fish
When weak unatttractive Loretta ailing, aloof husband Martin Blackburn added fatal poison. Rural neighbors unusually attentive, so he goes to retrieve drug bottle from coffin.
2* (When caring country folk trail him to cemetery worried about suicidal loneliness, he swallows pills in guilty panic.)

23 Rear Window by Cornell Woolrich
Confined by broken leg, narrator spies neighbor Thorwald pack wife's trunk and sleeps in living room, but she does not leave flat. Pal Sam tosses empty rooms, cop Boyne sends man who finds woman on farm.
3* (Thorwald attacks hero but Boyne arrives in time because farm woman accomplice's description differs from real Mrs Thorwald seen by neighbours. Body in renovated flat above raised kitchen floor.) Is this not an Arthur Hitchcock film starring James Stewart?
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Reading Progress

03/26/2012
100.0% "Not all mysteries, some horror, some strange."

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