Gun Mystery (1933)
In the arena of a vast New York
sports palace, a man lay dead, murdered during the opening scene of a spectacular rodeo.
This mystery is about...
The American Gun Mystery (1933) has a solution that is far fetched even
by the standards of the Golden Age. The solution is a cheat, violating Golden Age
standards of fair play. The solution is also unusual in that it involves a whole complex,
public enterprise behind the crime, one involving both the rodeo and other aspects of show
biz. So many Golden Age novels involve one solitary criminal dashing around the bushes of
some country house, that it is interesting to see its exact opposite here. The final
chapters, however goofy, have a grandeur of conception. However "unfair", they
show the wild imagination at work in the Golden Age detective novel. They also show the
surrealism that EQ brought to his work. There is also a good deal of interesting logic and
deduction in Queen's finale; the whole thing hangs together as a unified and internally
logical plot, however implausible. The book also suffers from the fact that the
storytelling leading up to the finale is stiff and uninspired. This is a common problem in
EQ; many of the early novels have much better solutions than the narrative between the
crime and its solution. The business of the disappearing gun is well done by any
standards. (Michael E.Grost)
With a challenge to the reader included.
The American Gun
Other articles on this book
(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The American Gun Mystery Jon Mathewson (Nov 2013)
(2) The Poetry of Ellery Queen Pinakothek (Dec 2, 2008)
b a c k t o Q B I
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