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...
Buck Horne is shot with a .25 automatic in N.Y's new Colosseum on Broadway. Dr.Prouty reappears and from the N.Y.P.D. we get assistance from Thomas Velie, Hesse (blond and stolid), Pigott (thin and shy), Ritter (burly member), Johnson, Inspector Knowles, Hagstrom and Flint. Ellery wearing his pince-nez receives a telegram from Hollywood and sends them a story. With plan and challenge to the reader.
"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)
"It could have been some sort of political commentary, that when it came time to add an "American" book to EQ's series of country titles, he choose The American Gun. Perhaps this reflects America's gun enthusiasm. One rodeos must have visited New York in that era and made a tremendous impression. A similar rodeo is featured in Stuart Palmer's Murder on Wheels (1932), and probably share a common real life ancestor."(Michael E.Grost)
With a challenge to the reader included.
A bit mind boggling at first, this strange reference to Queen which takes us into poetry. Which is interesting because of the special interest in poetry the nephews, (especially Dannay) had. Although this isn't obvious the following is to be read in a JJMcC kind of way... in it's entirety
"Above, a poem drawn from the depths of The American Gun Mystery (1933) ... The extraction was the work of an anonymous member or members of the Resurrectionists, a shadowy group devoted to finding the poetry hidden in the works of the most prosaic authors. The members never made their identities public, although rumors flew during their heyday, from the late 1950s to the mid-'70s. This anonymity, which seems to have begun as a whimsical cloak-and-dagger affectation, was before long cemented by threats of lawsuits from touchy authors. ... ." (more at Pinakothek)
The American Gun
b a c k t o Q B I
Copyright © MCMXCIX-MMXIII Ellery Queen, a website on deduction. All rights reserved.