Wrightsville is a typical American town, buried in the great American heartland, up to its neck in good old American corn. No family in town is more respected than the one named, naturally enough, the Wrights. Daddy Wright is the town banker, Momma Wright is the town social lioness, daughter Patricia the town beauty, Nora the town recluse, Lola the town scandal. Ellery Queen likes sophistication, savoir faire, and all the swinging assets of Manhattan and its environs. So what in the world is he doing in this unearthly place? It is the job of the famous detective to find out which of the Wrights is the town poisoner. He must match his wits with a diabolically cunning and ruthless killer, while defending himself against a charge of murder.
It all starts when Ellery Queen goes to a small town, disguised as Ellery Smith, to write a novel. He moves into a little house originally built for Nora Wright, whose fiancé, Jim Haight, had left town on the eve of the wedding three years before. Then Jim comes back, and things begin to happen. There are the three post-dated letters, for instance, and the attempted arsenic poisonings, which convince Ellery that someone is going to be murdered - but who? and why? Then the poisoned cocktail at Nora's New Year's Eve party, and the trial by public opinion on the streets, and what turns out to be a mistrial in court. Two more deaths follow, from more-or-less natural causes, before Patricia, Nora's sister, supplies Ellery with the one fact he needs to make a perfect and logical whole out of what he calls "the oddest case of mixed-up people, emotions, and events I've ever run across." This is one of Queen's best. (Cover)
Apparently the story grew out of a casual,
one-sentence reference to predated letters which one of the partners ran
across in reading a popular biography (Bainbridge).
January 29. 2013 playwright and
87th Street Irregular Joe Goodrich
brings 'Calamity Town'!
Deceit, madness and murder
rip the social fabric of a New England village. Calamity Town is based on
Ellery Queen's 1942 mystery novel. Directed by Dan
Winerman. Tony Award
nominee John Cariani (Fiddler on the Roof) will play detective
Ellery Queen in this reading of Calamity Town.
b a c k t o Q B I
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