She stood still in the corridor She could hear the angry septuagenarian One might guess at various emotions and possibilities, but Queen seems lazy to get to the point. PACE - 2 stars: When we finally get to the crime, there is much about stamps, "oriental lore", ladies fainting, etc. Even the final reveal feels slow and eventually the entire plot comes crumbling down: it's stupendously unbelievable.
PLOT - 1 star. Good grief. And that's been done in many short stories. Yes, there is a dead man with his clothing on backwards, that's interesting. But I just didn't believe any of it. I didn't believe the murderer would have had enough time to take a man's clothing off, put it on backwards, turn all the furniture over, etc.
And at one point, the dead man has his clothes speared, bottom to top, by 2 African spears so that the man will be placed upright, the spears extending down past his shoes. Now, given the man is on the heavy side, I don't think for a second it's possible for 1 person to have done that, got the spears up inside the clothes, then elevated the corpse. And why do all that? Why not just have a chat and get it all over with. CAST - 2: Since I didn't believe the plot, I didn't believe the cast, and was surprised the Queens believed all this could really happen. Clothing backwards. I learned much about stamps!
This is a shade better than "Dutch Shoe Mystery" which was just cold and senseless. I did learn a lot about stamps, and it was interesting until the reveal, when it all falls apart. BUT, he could have got what he wanted by just calling the guy and said, "Meet me at midnight at the graveyard", or even, "let's have a beer and talk".
Actually, there was really no need for a crime, as a certain deal, beneficial to all, could have been made! This kind of book is what gives good 'who-done-its' a bad name. Why do it at all? Why not just make a business deal and then Feb 22, Caroline rated it really liked it. A satisfying locked room puzzle. While I think that helped me understand the solution, some of the details still escaped me!
Mar 26, Nancy Oakes rated it liked it. Like a 3. Chancellor Hotel. There Donald Kirk and his family have pretty much the entire floor, between suites for business publishing, stamps and jewelry and living space. The corridor of this floor is watched over by Mrs. Shane, who sees everyone who enters the floor. But she saw no one on the floor when a man waiting in an office for Kirk was Like a 3.
But she saw no one on the floor when a man waiting in an office for Kirk was murdered. The only way out of that room was either through another office, belonging to Kirk's assistant Osborne who was there the entire time , or through the hall. But the door between the office and where the man was waiting was bolted from the inside. Not only was anyone seen leaving, but when Ellery Queen arrives, and finds the body, he notices that all of the clothes are on the man backwards -- and all of the furniture has been moved as well.
The only clue that Queen can readily put his hands on is that a tangerine a Chinese Orange has been eaten -- with orange peels and seeds left out in plain view. With the help of his father, a police inspector, Queen must get to the bottom of the mystery to help his friend Donald Kirk. The solution to this one was a bit over the top. So if you want something wholly credible, this may not be the book for you.
Otherwise, the characters except for Ellery, of course, and maybe his dad kind of stayed a bit underdeveloped considering it was the 8th book in the series you'd think the authors would have known better , and the whole mystery is plot, rather than character driven. Overall, it wasn't a bad read I'm giving it what I consider an average rating , and I'd recommend it to people who like Ellery Queen novels, or to those who like impossible crime stories.
The Chinese Orange Mystery
Anyone who likes strange mysteries might enjoy this as well. Jan 31, Linda rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery. Ellery Queen ponders why everything in the murder room is turned backwards, including the victim's clothes. And there is an eaten tangerine on the desk. Sep 14, John M rated it it was ok. I was rather disappointed with this book. The characters were really two dimensional. The plot did not have a lot of gusto. The twists in the mystery felt really strained and completely disjointed. Overall, not a really good book. Ellery Queen solves another mysterious murder, and smokes a lot of cigarets spelling intentional.
Jul 17, Kim rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery , r-r , read-again , four-star-novels. It is the eighth of the Ellery Queen mysteries. In a poll of 17 detective story writers and reviewers, this novel was voted as the eighth best locked room mystery of all time. I also really liked this book, whether it's on the top of my list will take a bit of comparing it with other locked room mysteries I've read, and I haven't done that yet.
This is the first Ellery Queen I've read, it's the first Ellery Queen I've ever thought of reading, and I only read it now because it came in one of those old boxes of books people are always giving me. It did clear up one mystery for me, and that is, who is Ellery Queen anyway? Here we go: "Ellery Queen is a crime fiction house name created by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, and later used by other authors under Dannay and Lee's supervision.
Books using this pseudonym were written from to as late as Dannay and Lee's main fictional character, whom they also named Ellery Queen, is a mystery writer who helps his father Richard Queen, a New York City police inspector, solve baffling murders. Most of the more than thirty novels and several short story collections in which Ellery Queen appeared as a character were written by Dannay and Lee.
Other authors were commissioned and supervised by Dannay and Lee to write crime thrillers under the Ellery Queen authorial name, but not featuring Ellery Queen as a character.
Publication Order of Drury Lane Books
In addition to writing most of the novels and short stories featuring the brilliant amateur detective Ellery Queen, Dannay and Lee edited more than thirty popular anthologies of crime fiction and true crime, which were also published under the Ellery Queen pseudonym. Dannay was the founder and longtime editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, which has been published continuously from to the present.
No one even remotely connected with the investigation had seen him before. His name, where he came from, why he was there - remain a baffling mystery to the end. Yet all who found themselves enmeshed in the web of the tragedy had their lives warped and changed by the death of this nameless nobody from nowhere.
But what perplexed Ellery Queen even more was the incredible appearance of the scene of the crime. Everything had been turned backwards! The victim's clothing had been turned backwards, the rug upside down, the pictures face to the wall. And what was the explanation of those grotesque ramrods stuck up the victims's back? The Chinese Orange Mystery has already been hailed by hundreds of thousands of ardent fans as the most original of his best-selling, analytico-deductive novels. We believe that you, too, will find it more amazing than any crime ever conceived in fiction.
The book begins with Miss Diversey, the nurse for Dr. Hugh Kirk, a miserable at least I think so , old scholar and the father of Donald Kirk. Miss Diversey "flees" Dr. Kirk's study after another one of his temper tantrums, calling her all sorts of things and finally yelling, "And don't come back, do you hear me? Miss Diversey thinks that there are two compensations for taking care of "an old devil" afflicted with chronic rheumatism and gout. The first was Donald Kirk paid her a handsome salary for taking care of his father, and second, the hotel is situated in the heart of New York City.
She says to herself: "The money and the geography, she thought with morbid satisfaction, made up for a lot of disadvantages. Macy's, Gimbel's, the other department stores were only minutes away, movies and theatres and all sorts of exciting things at one's doorstep Yes, she would stick it out. Life was hard, but it had its compensations. Oh, once Miss Diversey escapes from Dr. Kirk, she makes her way into the empty office of Donald Kirk where she eats a tangerine, something we would never have to remember if it wasn't brought up a few times after this, and the Chinese orange talk begins.
#334: The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934) by Ellery Queen
Kirk is the owner of Mandarin Press, and collector of rare Chinese stamps and jewels — keep those in mind, they come into the story often. Osborne, Kirk's confidential assistant, and a recent guest, a novelist from China, Jo Temple. While all this is happening a "stoutish little man with a bland middle-aged face" enters the office of Mr. Kirk where he finds Mr. He won't explain to Osborne what he wants telling him he can only talk to Mr.
Kirk as the subject is "confidential", so Osborne takes him into the next room, the one with the tangerine, tells him to make himself comfortable, and returns to his own office. About an hour later Kirk finally arrives bringing Ellery Queen, who happens to be a friend of his, along with him. Osborne tells him that a visitor is waiting in his office, but when they try the door they find it locked from the inside. Ellery takes a look through the keyhole then hurries the men to the door in the hallway which they find unlocked.
Inside they find a room that looks at first glance as if it is in a state of utter confusion. All the furniture has been moved, the pictures, the rug, something was wrong with all of them, but their attention quickly turns to something lying across the room on the floor before the door leading to the office. He was lying face down, his short fat arms crumpled under him. Two unbelievable iron things, like horns, stuck out from under his coat at the back of his neck.
But not only that, the furniture, the pictures, all are turned around, the rug is upside down, everything is "backwards. Well now we get back to the Chinese orange, and the fact that Mr. Kirk collects Chinese stamps, and Chinese jewels, and Jo Temple, the novelist, who has spent most of her life in China, and because of that we come to something I found very interesting, for it seems that things are backwards in China: "From our Western point of view anything that, let's say, the Chinese do that is different from what we do - or opposite - may be construed, Occidentally, as being 'backwards.
Is that true? It's an ancient custom and a good deal more sensible than ours. For, you see, the root-idea behind it is that when you shake hands with yourself you're sparing your friend possible suffering. They differ at so many points, Mr. For instance, very often in building thatched huts you'll find that the Chinese peasantry - especially in the South - will set the roof on the framework and build down, instead of building up as you - as we do.
When they want to be cooled, they drink hot liquids I never knew any of this. And now that I've spent most of a book learning about stamps and China, and all things backwards, I come to this: "Challenge to the Reader Somewhere along the trail, during the creation of my past novels, I lost a good idea. Those kindly persons who - it seems ages ago - discovered that there was a gentleman named Queen writing detective stories and who continued to read that worthy's works will recall that in the early books I made a point of injecting at a strategic place in each book a challenge to the reader.
Well, something happened. I don't know precisely what. But I remember that after one novel was completed and set up and the galleys corrected some one at the publisher's - a discerning soul indeed - called my attention to the fact that the usual challenge was missing.
The Chinese Orange Mystery by Ellery Queen – In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel
It seems that I had forgotten to write one. I supplied the deficiency hastily, rather abashed, and it was stuck into the offending volume at the last moment. Then conscience pricked me and I engaged in a little research. I found that I had forgotten the challenge in the book before that, too. Longa dies non sedavit vulnera mentis, either, believe me.
Now my publisher is very firm about the integrity of the Queen books, and so I give you It's really a simple matter. I maintain that at this point in your reading of The Chinese Orange Mystery you have all the facts in your possession essential to a clear solution of the mystery. You should be able, here, now, henceforward, to solve the puzzle of the murder of the nameless little man in Donald Kirk's anteroom. Everything is there; no essential clue or fact is missing.
Can you put them all together and - not make them spell "mother," to be sure - by a process of logical reasoning arrive at the one and only possible solution? So if you read the book, and if you get this far, good luck. Some of the things that happened that I still can't figure out is, first, why it is such a wonderful locked room mystery when the room wasn't locked. There were two doors, one in the hallway, and that one was unlocked. The murderer obviously didn't have any trouble getting into the "locked" room when the door was open.
Also, the dead guy arrived about an hour before Mr. Kirk did. During that time lots of other people dropped in and out of the office to speak to Osbourne, so when did the bad guy have the time to kill the guy and turn everything around without any of these people hearing it.
Perhaps the killer brought some friends along who were good at moving things. In spite of all that, I still enjoyed the book, and will read any other Ellery Queen novel I come across. And that's all I'm saying about the book, afterall, you're supposed to read it and figure it all out for yourself, Mr. Queen says so. Happy reading. Chinese Orange Yeah, once again, I forgot that Safari quits willy-nilly at least twice a day since I upgraded my software, so, and I was merrily typing along on my brilliant analysis of my very first adult reading of a full-length Ellery Queen novel when, pfut, It was gone.
Gentle reader, and potential reviewer, may I pass on some advice? I forgot. It reads like a rip-off of Dorothy L. Sayers, with more misogyny. The pince-nez, the excruciatingly long discussion of an arcane speciality, the unknown body, the locked door, the affluence of the suspects, etc. This transition from the Golden Age mysteries to the New York streets had a bumpy crossing. I really wanted to like this. I loved the tv series with Jim Hutton, and the time-frame is one of my favorites, but this is flat. The women are even flatter than the men, of course, because two guys wrote it, and see women as arm-candy or pathetic dogs.
Not a drop of kindness there. After all the build-up, I was expecting more from the ending. Been there, done that, better elsewhere. No way was the time-line reasonable. I can suspend belief for a while, but not that far. I feel cheated. No, Jane, tell us how you really feel about it. But I feel badly, because I was so disappointed. My expectations were so high. I like Hulbert Footner's Madame Storey books so much better. They aren't so pretentious. These guys were probably readers of S. It just felt contrived and 'clever' without heart.
There was no there, there. Sep 22, Marilyn Watson rated it it was amazing Shelves: Ellery Queen is once again involved in a mystery and this one is a real puzzler. He has been invited to dine with Kirk, whose Partner collects valuable stamps and jewels. A plump, middle-aged man shows up, who refuses to state his business, and is put into the Office sitting area. By the time Kirk's Secretary, Mr. Osborne, remembers he is there He is dead. The room has had all the furniture turned the wrong way and all his clothes have been put on backwards.
Two African spears Ellery Queen is once again involved in a mystery and this one is a real puzzler. Two African spears have been inserted between the body and behind the head, giving the appearance of horns and of a trussed-up offering. This Mystery is considered to be one of the best of the series. It was written in and it has all the elegant sophistication of William Powell in the Thin Man Series.
Wealthy people live in Hotels with Secretaries and dress for dinner. The elderly Father is looked after by a private nurse and even though the Depression is on- it does not touch wealthy collectors of stamps. The writing flows like a well- filled cocktail and the who "dunnit" aspect is intriguing and led me to read these pages till four in the morning. The Chinese Orange Mystery was voted the eighth best locked- room mystery of all time by seventeen well known Detective Writers and Reviewers. This particular Novel is also cited in reference works referring to the locked- room puzzle.
It is intriguing and keeps your mind working furiously to solve it. What more could a Reader ask for than a top of the line puzzler?
I know you will like it. The ending alone is a minor miracle. This is another in the golden mystery time frame that I highly recommend. My thanks to Netgalley and Penzler Publishers Voted by a panel of mystery writers as the 8th best locked room mystery, this novel was written in This is the first reprint of it in thirty years. I thank the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read it in exchange for a fair review. It begins as an ordinary looking little man enters the office of publisher and noted stamp collector Donald Kirk.
Kirk is not in, but the man insists on waiting so is shown into a small waiting room. When Kirk, along with friend and amateur sleuth, Ell Voted by a panel of mystery writers as the 8th best locked room mystery, this novel was written in When Kirk, along with friend and amateur sleuth, Ellery Queen, arrive a couple of hours later they are shocked to find this unknown man beaten to death in the locked waiting room. But the biggest mystery is why everything in the room has been turned backwards.
The pictures and bookcases are turned to face the walls and every the victims clothes have been removed and replaced backwards on his body. Ellery assists his father, Inspector Richard Queen, in investigating this baffling case. Why was everything turned backwards? What was the killer trying to communicate. The investigation delves into publishing, stamp collecting, China, Hebrew documents, art, and jewels as the Queens try to solve the case. One neat feature is that about three quarters of the way through the author stops to challenge the reader to solve the mystery. All of the necessary clues are there.
Nothing is hidden. But I was not able to put the clues together to solve it. I would have rated this higher except for a slow start and the jaded language which made it hard to follow at times. But it was still an excellent mystery and well worth reading. Nov 27, Jon rated it liked it.
- Cookie Settings.
- Works (58).
- Clinical skills.
- Ellery Queen Page at BlackHat Mystery Bookstore.
I read somewhere recently that this is possibly the best Ellery Queen mystery, so I decided to give it a shot. The puzzle is outrageous--a man found dead in the anteroom of an office he can only have been there for about an hour with all his clothes on backwards, the rug turned upside down, all the pictures and furniture facing the walls instead of into the room.
After much tedious wit on the part of Ellery the only character who "drawls" and repeated annoying refusals to reveal what he I read somewhere recently that this is possibly the best Ellery Queen mystery, so I decided to give it a shot. After much tedious wit on the part of Ellery the only character who "drawls" and repeated annoying refusals to reveal what he's thinking, the authors challenge the reader that Ellery now has all the clues he needs, and you do too. I of course was baffled; but the explanation when it finally came certainly accounted for all the details.
Whether it was the only possible explanation, as Ellery insisted, I'm not sure. The authors produced similar weekly half-hour radio dramas over a number of years their sheer inventiveness is astonishing , and I'd say the radio shows were superior, in that they had to cut all the annoying extraneous and rather badly written color. May 08, Rob Trans rated it really liked it. I was interested to compare an older detective novel with all of the modern ones I have read over the years. I was pleasantly surprised.
This is mostly an investigation by interview and off the scenes police shoe leather. The authors handle language quite well. There are quite a few literary and historical references. M I was interested to compare an older detective novel with all of the modern ones I have read over the years. Many of the characters are well fleshed out and most of them fall in the wealthy class.
The murder scene and a few others are very well described. Part way through the authors present a challenge to the readers to solve the mystery because you have been taken through the investigation and presumably have access to all of the facts of the case. I was able to narrow it down to two suspects, one of which was the actual murderer. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle that can be solved based on the clues.
I was able to narrow my suspects down much more quickly than the detective or his clever son, Ellery Queen. Ellery got started down an odd, wrong track at the start. There really wasn't a lot more to go on by the time the author asked the reader to guess whodunit than there was shortly after the murder. Still, it was entertaining to see the results of Ellery following up on every "backward" lead. I was able to guess whodunit after we're given the vague details of the experiments that Ellery performed AFTER the author suggested that the reader guess at whodunit.
However, I could not guess how or why. Home Sweet Homicide is a comic tale of a group of young siblings who decide to use the lessons their mystery writer mother taught them to solve a crime in their neighborhood. The So Blue Marble follows the hunt for a valuable gemstone in the twisted world of New York high society and the glitterati. The Red Lamp combines a ghost story with the investigation of slaughtered livestock and mysteriously deceased residents of the countryside. Finally, The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan has a teacher with a flair for investigation looking into a murder on the set of a major motion picture about the Lizzie Borden case.
A few aspects of the books underscore the fact that they are products of their times. The first six books in the series will be a treat for mystery fans, especially those who are tired of the darkness, violence, gloom, and depravity that characterize so many twenty-first-century crime tales. These six books are meant to bring gentle smiles to all who read them. Your email address will not be published.