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The French Powder Mystery (1930)

The French Powder Mystery is a spell-binding tale of crime, intrigue, and extraordinary detection. At crowded noon, in front of Fifth Avenue's most fashionable department store, while hundreds of sidewalk onlookers watch a demonstration of modernistic furniture in the window, the demonstrator touches a button regulating a concealed wall-bed--the bed swings out of the wall--and from its dark recesses tumbles the distorted, crumpled corpse of a beautiful woman....

Ellery Queen moves vitally and refreshingly through his own story -- a slender, cynical young man with a genius for piercing the veil of commonplaces and arriving at foolproof conclusions. Old Inspector Queen, his father, again takes you through the complicated process of a police investigation, although it is Ellery who is responsible for the solution of one of the most stimulating and baffling detective stories ever written. And the denouement is surprising and yet inevitable.

"A brilliant, thrilling, ingenious story." -- William Lyon Phelps

"The logical successor to Sherlock Holmes." -- London Times

"Ellery Queen belongs with Sherlock Holmes, Arsene Lupin, Philo Vance, and other master-minds. -- William Lyon Phelps

The French Powder Mystery - cover -  A Jonathan Press Mystery No. J5 - Jonathan Press Publish., New YorkThe French Powder Mystery -  hardback coverThe French Powder Mystery - Tower Books, 1947The French Powder Mystery - cover International Readers LeagueThe French Powder Mystery - cover Hamlyn, 1981
The French Powder Mystery - Dustcover Stokes, 1930The French Powder Mystery - Dustcover Grosset & Dunlap, 1930The French Powder Mystery - cover Grosset & DunlapThe French Powder Mystery - audio coverThe French Powder Mystery - cover Otto Penzler Classic American Mystery Library, 1995

The fact that this title went through seven impressions, three before publication, before being handed over to the reprinters is some indication of how big a splash Ellery made-and how quickly. The dust jackets of the first prints are extremely elusive, and a high four figure item. "The French Powder Mystery (1930), like its successor, contains a strong initial investigation. It takes up 25 chapters, or the first two thirds of the book, and shows EQ's astonishing skills April 1931 Publication in Detective Book Magazineat constructing a detective story plot. The crime and the events surrounding it develop into ever more complex and logical patterns; Ellery moves through several stages of deduction, each leading to a deeper understanding of the crime itself. The story has considerable beauty; the inquiry about the keys, or the timetables involved show EQ's ability to create fascinating patterns of plot. EQ likes boundaries involving space, time and knowledge. He is fascinated with rooms that have not been entered, lines that have not been crossed, apartments that have been guarded and watched. He is also concerned with who knew things and didn't know things, which in turn often depends on who has participated in events and who hasn't. These become boundary markers in the complex logical geometry of his plots. The limitations of the novel, and its reason for still classifying it as a journeyman work, deal with the solution. Later EQ novels will often have the most startling surprises in their solutions; this book runs out of steam two thirds of the way through, and its solution adds only a single new clue, together with the identity of the murderer. Although logical and fair, not the deeply creative finales of the great EQ books. EQ, as is his wont, has given partial solutions to the crime at several stages in the book, so the reader gets a full mead of deduction and revelation in the novel which leaves almost nothing for the finale."(Michael E.Grost)

The French Powder Mystery - cover audiobook Blackstone audiobooks  read by Scott Harrison, 1997The French Powder MysteryThe French Powder Mystery - cover Pocket BooksThe French Powder Mystery - coverThe French Powder Mystery - cover SignetThe French Powder Mystery - 50th Ann. Edition
The French Powder Mystery - cover Penguin, 1956The French Powder Mystery - cover Victor Gollancz, 1930The French Powder Mystery - cover Victor Gollancz 1931. Second edition.The French Powder Mystery - cover eBook edition MysteriousPress.com/Open Road, February 5, 2013
The French Powder Mystery - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Robert Fass, September 15, 2013

We get to know Ellery, again with walking stick, a thin silver watch and pince-nez (which isn't exactly the same as a lorgnet), in a much more physical way. He is described as a tall athletic man with the suggestion of force, looked very intelligent around the forehead had long fingers and cool stiff lips. He looked thirty but was actually younger. His clothes came from Bond street. Several references to other cases: The arrest of Don Dickey, an American jewel thief in Berlin for which the mayor gave him a special aluminum tool for research as award. In the Kingsley Arms murder, O'Shaughnessy had killed Herrin, which was proven by lifting his fingerprints from dead man's shoe.
Ellery also got an idea for a short-story by reading something about 'the Retreat of the 10000 in the Old Armenia.' the sandals these man wore during sleep were frozen to the ground.

Richard Queen again handles the old brown snuffbox and is involved in the case of Pete Slavin's gang.
The 'monkeylike' Djuna, Hagstrom (who performs steno!), Hesse, Flint, Ritter, Johnson, Pigott and Velie reappear. As do Dr.Prouty, Henry Sampson (involved in the White Test Case) and the redheaded Timothy Cronin.
The story again takes place in N.Y. at the French warehouse on the corner of  39nd street and Fifth Avenue.
Winifred March gets murdered with a French colt .38

The French Powder Mystery - cover Large Print edition



"This is not a book that you pick up; it is a book that you don't put down!"
                                -- Elizabeth Bibesco Week-End Review

"The furniture in The French Powder Mystery is probably Art Deco, although it is never called by that name in the novel. EQ calls it "modernist", and gives a vivid and accurate description of how it was viewed by its contemporaries, both artistically and sociologically. Considering the tremendous enthusiasm today for preserving America's great Art Deco heritage, with Deco societies springing up in every city, this book should be better known. EQ was deeply interested in the world around him. His books form a record of an important era in American life."(Michael E.Grost)
In chapter 22 some of the great adventure (and sometimes mystery) writers of an earlier generation (Doyle, Jack London, Robert W. Chambers, George Barr McCutcheon, Richard Harding Davis) are mentioned.

The challenge to the reader is included, as is the map and the list of characters.


Het Lippenstiftmysterie - cover Dutch edition Zilvermeeuw Nr.9Het Lippenstiftmysterie - dutch coverLe mystère de l'éléphant - cover French edition by la Nouvelle Revue Critique in the collection l'Empreint N°108, january 1937Le Mystere French - French edition N° 24 collection Le Limier, P, Albin Michel, 1950. Nice coverphoto in colour by SavitryLe Mystere French - French edition Le Limier éditions Albin Michel, 1950Das Geheimnis des Lippenstifts - cover German edition Kaiser KrimiDas Geheimnis des Lippenstifts - German edition
Das Geheimnis des Lippenstifts - cover German edition Ullstein Krimi N° 1235,  1969Das Geheimnis des Lippenstifts - cover German edition Ulsteinhaus Berlin,1930Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, 1937Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, 1969Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, 1979Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition series 'Sfida al lettore' N°.9, 1984Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, 1990

The French Powder Mystery Translations: 
Chinese: 法蘭西白粉的秘密 
Czech: Zlocin v obchodním dome 
Danish:Stormagasinets hemmelighed 
Dutch/Flemish: Het Lippenstiftmysterie 
German: Das Geheimnis des Lippenstift(e)s 
Greek:
Ποιος σκότωσε την κυρία Φρανς 
French: Le mystère de l'éléphant (aka Le Mystére French) 
Finnish: Sormenjälkijauheen arvoitus 
Italian: Sorpresa a mezzogiorno 
Japanese: フランス白粉の謎 (furansuosiroinonazo
(aka フランス・デパート殺人事件) 
Korean: 프랑스 파우더 미스터리  
Norwegian: Mord og narkotika 
Portuguese: O mistério das impressões digitais 
(aka O mistério do pó francês) 
Russian: Тайна французского порошка
 
Spanish: El misterio de los polvos (aka El misterio del Elefante) 
Swedish: Varuhusmysteriet 

Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, I Classici del Giallo Mondadori, Nr.815, 21/4/1998Sorpresa a mezzogiorno - cover Italian edition, I Classici del Giallo Mondadori, Nr.1876, 1/9/2005El misterio del Elefante - cover Spanish edition, Libreria Hachette, Buenos Aires, March1945, Serie Naranja, nº 102El misterio del Elefante - cover Spanish edition, Libreria Hachette, Buenos Aires, 1954El misterio de los polvos - cover Spanish editionO mistério do pó francês - Cover Portuguese edition, Minerva, Lisbon, 1958O Mistério das impressões digitais - cover Portugese uitgave, Livros de bolso Europa-América, 1987
Stormagasinets hemmelighed - Cover Danish edition, Rosenkilde & Bahnhof, 2015Sormenjälkijauheen arvoitus - cover Finnish edition SAPO Deckare, 1978Zlocin v obchodním dome - cover Czech edition, 2016Тайна французского порошка - Cover Russian edition, 2005 (also contains A Study in Terror)The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, SomatoshaThe French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Shoten, 1952The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, July 7. 1961
The French Powder Mystery (フランス・デパート殺人事件) - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Bunko, 1966The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Tor Books, Apr 1984 reprinted as eBook Mar.29 2013The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, 1987The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition  'furansuosiroinonazo', 2000The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, 2012The French Powder Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Dec 25. 2012,  illustration by Takenaka
The French Powder Mystery - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, June 2008The French Powder Mystery - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, August 2013The French Powder Mystery - cover Taiwanese editionThe French Powder Mystery - cover Taiwanese edition, December 20. 1995The French Powder Mystery - cover Taiwanese edition, November 1997프랑스 파우더 미스터리(The French Powder Mystery) - cover South-Korean edition, Sigma Books, Oct 1. 1994프랑스 파우더 미스터리(The French Powder Mystery) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, Ellery Queen Collection, Dec 1. 2011
 


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