|he Door Between (1937)
Take Karen Leith's house. It faced Washington Square, meeting place for poets and painters. It was tall, skinny, and filled with exotic Japanese art objects. It also held a corpse -- Karen Leith's corpse.
Karen Leith was dead. She had died quite alone, in a small secluded room in her weird Greenwich Village house. It was, of course, suicide. Some hideous secret long ago had transformed Karen into a silent, unhappy woman. Ellery Queen was one of the few who doubted the suicide theory. As he penetrated deeper and deeper into Karen's past, he became certain that the woman had been murdered -- killed in as clever and horrifying manner as he had ever encountered. As he followed a strange and devious trail to the solution he found out why she was so dangerous to one person that she had to die.
Ellery Queen knew that Karen was a Village character...a
silent, unhappy woman who found escape only when she was working on one of her brilliant
novels. As he penetrated deeper and deeper into Karen's past, he learned her hideous
secret. He became certain that this strange woman, living in New York's strangest
neighborhood, had been murdered . . . but how? And by whom?
A departure: much of the story is told from the perspective of one of the female characters. The effect of the magazines in which Queen pre-published is seen throughout this tale of love triangles and relationships. His attempt to appeal to 'the lowest common denominator' proved fatal for the story. Despite Ellery's brilliant solution(s) to a classic "locked room" mystery, which is quite well worked out but in the end fails to save the story as it is to much based on guesswork rather than deduction. The greatly altered story was used for the movie Ellery Queen, Master Detective. By this time the cousins had come to know S.S. Van Dine socially and rumor has it that Dannay based a number of characters on him. John MacClure,"... worn out by years of search for a cancer cure, has come to treat money and fame and life with detached scientific aloofness' could have been modeled on Van Dine" (Nevins).
In Japan, the book is actually called
Kashidori no Nazo aka The
Japanese Jay Mystery, and therefore also
considered part of the "nationality" series there (Ho-Ling)
The Door Between
Other articles on this book
(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The Door Between Jon Mathewson (Dec 2014)
b a c k t o Q B I
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