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A forest fire which hems in a mountain-top mansion on every side and creeps gradually closer and closer is a sinister background for the equally sinister tale of murder. It was murder with such complicated and subtle clues that no one but Ellery Queen could have unraveled the tangled web, and even he thought more than once that he held the end in his hands only to discover that it was really a loose end. What was the mystery of the isolated mansion? Why had the famous surgeon John Xavier, come there to live? Why was Marie Carreau, a society beauty supposedly traveling in Europe, hiding in one of the rooms? What was the Thing which Inspector Queen saw and could describe to his son only a giant crab? All the questions puzzled Ellery even before the first murder - and then there was another one.
The fire crept closer; there was no way to escape from it and neither was there any way for the murderer to escape from his guilt. It was death one way or another. But Ellery, the connoisseur of murder, was not satisfied with the idea of an impersonal punishment by impersonal forces. He must find out and confront the murderer with his crimes.
And then the miracles happened - Ellery Queen's miracle of brilliant deduction and the simple, impossible miracle of Nature. You'll be left gasping by this story of sordid crime and tortuous involvement's and tense horror. Ellery Queen has never done better, either as author or detective.

"Who the devil do you think you are anyway?" Mark Xavier shouted. Ellery's father took a worn black case from his pocket and snapped the lid open. Inside lay a round embossed gold shield. "Inspector Queen of the Homicide Squad, New York City Police Department", he said. "I'm sorry I didn't announce last night that I'm a copper. "Because if I had, I'm certain that Dr. John Xavier would be alive this morning. And it's too damned beautiful a morning to be dead in."

We've got to get under cover," Ellery Queen insisted. "The house is burning now.... The cellar -- where's the cellar? Lord, what unmitigated idiots! Talk, will you, somebody?"
"The cellar," they chanted obediently, fixing glassy eyes on his face.
"Behind the stairs," rasped Mrs. Xavier. Her gown was torn away from one shoulder. "Oh, hurry, hurry." She sped down the hall.
Ellery Queen, his father and an odd group of people were trapped in a mountaintop house. A raging forest fire surrounded them.
Two of their number had already perished ... by murder.
And the murderer was still in their midst!

"Mr. Queen handles his story elements-the growth of fear, the interplay of emotion, the delineation of common people helpless before an uncommon situation-equally as superbly as he does his mystery and detective elements, in the concoction and treatment of which he is a past master."

"Here is a thriller and no mistake." --
Will Cuppy,  New York Herald-Tribune
 
The Siamese Twin Mystery - dustcover Stokes edition, Published Nov 9. 1933 (2nd printing before publication Oct 26. 1933)The Siamese Twin Mystery - hardcover Stokes edition, 1933The Siamese Twin Mystery - dustcover Grosset & Dunlap editionThe Siamese Twin Mystery -  cover Grosset & Dunlap. copyright 1933The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Triangle Books, New York, 1942 , two different jackets exist with different colours for Triangle logoThe Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Triangle Book (published by The Blakiston Company)
The Siamese Twin Mystery -  harde kaft Triangle, reprint September 1940 variationThe Siamese Twin Mystery - dustcover Center Books, 1943The Siamese Twin Mystery - hard cover Comet, reprint 1943The Siamese Twin Mystery - dust cover Tower Books edition,  April 1945 manufactured in compliance with the War Production Board's ruling for conserving paperThe Siamese Twin Mystery - hard cover Tower books, April 1945 manufactured in compliance with the War Production Board's ruling for conserving paperThe Siamese Twin Mystery - hard cover Tower Books (variation)
Above: The first books published sometimes had identical front covers. The spine of the books/dust cover only differ in the publisher's logo. Top row left to right: Both dust cover and hard cover for Stokes, Grosset & Dunlap & Triangle Books edition. Bottom row left to right: Another hard cover variation for the Triangle Books edition, dust cover and hard cover for the Center Books edition and finally dustcover & two hard covers for World Publishing Company, Tower Books edition (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
 
The Bulletin (Australia), Jan 24, 1934

"The weakness of practically all American thrillers is stridency, a tendency to overstate everything. Ellery Queen's 'The Siamese Twin Mystery' is another of them. The characters shout at one another like lunatics, tremble, turn pale, 'sway with disbelief, nausea, mounting rage,' sit rigid, 'stand glaring with awful triumph like mythological figures of vengeance,' and so on. The reader longs for the disciplined restraint of the policemen in an English thriller as he considers the hysterical reaction of Inspector Queen to the loss of his ring.

'By God, I'll have the eye-teeth of the so-and-so who stole it... I'm going to search everyone down to their skins.'

The plot is ingenious and there is an exciting finish."

 
The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Mercury Mystery nr.36The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Pocket BookThe Siamese Twin Mystery - coverThe Siamese Twin Mystery - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book N°.6135, 1962 (12th printing).
The Siamese Twin Mystery - coverThe Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Signet
The Siamese Twin Mystery/Kill as Directed - cover paperback edition, Signet Double Mystery, 451-AE2271, May 3. 1983The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover paperback Otto Penzler Classic American Mystery Library, 1993
Something a little different for the Queens, with a remote house, raging forest fire and peculiar characters. Although some typical characteristics remain as (e.g. a map is provided) some aspects illustrate the change in the Queen approach to the story. The increasing departure from the fair play-rules of "The Golden Age" as the final solution depends a little to much on guesswork than deduction. The characters taking some of the time away from the otherwise slightly straightforward plot and the telltale absence of the "Challenge to the Reader". The second time after The Tragedy of X (1931)  the Queen hallmark of the "dying clue" was introduced.
The Siamese Twin Mystery - dustcover Victor Gollancz, LondonThe Siamese Twin Mystery -  dustcover Victor Gollancz, London, 1934The Siamese Twin Mystery -  dustcover Victor Gollancz, London 1949, 10th edition (with red hard cover with golden lettering on spine)The Siamese Twin Mystery -  dustcover Victor Gollancz, London (Complete Crime Novels of Ellery Queen), 1971
The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Penguin Books, 1961The Siamese Twin Mystery -  cover HamlynThe Siamese Twin Mystery -  cover audiobook read by Michael PrichardThe Siamese Twin Mystery - audio cover, read by Michael PrichardThe Siamese Twin Mystery - audio cover
40th edition from the French magazine Yard (June 1952) featured Le Mystère des Frères Siamois de Ellery Queen.The story is set two days from N.Y. on Arrow mountain (close to the Tomahawk valley in the Tepee mountains). Quiet accurately put at the 60th km on  the road Tuckesas to Osquewa (which was 80 km in total).The Queens are returning from holiday in Canada in the Duesenberg which plays a major role at the beginning of the story.

Dr.Xavier is poisoned. When the victim has diabetes rigor mortis sets almost immediately, EQ had encountered this once before (The Egyptian Cross ?)
Often some new discoveries are featured in Queen books here a new medication is mentioned: alpha-lobeline.
Ellery remarked that the etching on the wall was etched after the "grisly" Rembrandt painting The Anatomy Lesson.
Ellery's mother is mentioned. Not so long ago he was in Florence were he bought a ring. He still wears a lorgnette and smokes cigarettes.
Richard is close to sixty, uses his snuffbox and wears a cheap wedding ring.
Above right: 40th edition from the French magazine Yard (June 1952) featured Le Mystère des Frères Siamois de Ellery Queen.
The Siamese Twin  Mystery - cover eBook edition MysteriousPress.com/Open Road, February 5, 2013The Siamese Twin  Mystery - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Fred Sullivan, November 1. 2013The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover, Otto Penzler presents American Mystery Classics, February 2020 
 
 
  Jeffersonian, January 26. 1934

 

                          Frigates

                        
Prologue
    No masterpiece of author great
       Do I review today,
    But views about a humbler work
       Would I to you convey.

    A type condemned by critics as
      Not even literature,
    Detective stories ne'ertheless
      Contain for all a lure

                         Review
    This book by noted Ellery Queen,
      The Siamese Twin Myst'ry,
    As it is called, is one that should
      Be Read exstatic'ly

    Consisting of macabre scenes,
      Laid on a mountain-top
    Ringed 'round by flame, the characters
      Have forced on them a cop.

    Inspector Queen is the cop's name,
      And with him, his son El--
    These two become enamored with
      The eyrie's weird spell.

    Two doctors there are seeking rest
      At least ostensibly,
    While various house-guests of the plot,
      Do make a mystery.

    One of the elite upper set
      Seeks also refuge there,
    While her offspring, "Siamese" from birth,
      Do complicate the air.

    Two of the household are "knocked off,"
      Then come the climax high.
    Though staged below, hemmed in by fire,
      The actors do not fry.

                         Epilogue
    If this you cannot quit make out
      And read the meaning clear,
    I would suggest you get the book
      Your lonely hours to cheer.

                                                    - Ed Roper.
 
 


De Siamese Tweeling - coverDe Siamese Tweeling - hard cover Dutch edition, Grote Letter Bibliotheek, Amsterdam 1975Le mystère des frères Siamois - French coverL'Assassin Est Dans La Maison - cover French edition, Collection La Clé N°49, Editions Rouff Paris - Broché, 1947L'Assassin Est Dans La Maison - cover French edition, Collection La Clé N°49, Editions Rouff Paris - Broché, 1947Le mystère des frères Siamois - cover French edition, Les Grands Maîtres du Roman Policier - Famot, 1979 (click to see full version including inside artwork)
Le mystère des frères Siamois - cover French edition, éditions J'ai lu, Paris, 1990Le mystère des frères Siamois - cover French edition éditions J'ai lu, Paris, 1990Le mystère des frères Siamois - cover French edition, Archi Poche, Suspense, 2019Die siamesischen Zwillinge - German edition Goldmanns Täschen Krimi, Bd. 0131, 1961Die siamesischen Zwillinge - German edition Goldmann Krimis, 1961Das Rätsel der siamesischen Zwillinge - cover German edition

The Siamese Twin Mystery Translations
Czech: Záhada siamského dvojčete 
(aka Příběh siamských dvojčat) 
Danish: De siamesiske tvillinger 
Dutch/Flemish: De Siamese Tweeling 
German: Die siamesischen Zwillinge 
(aka Das Rätsel der  siamesischen Zwillinge) 
French: Le mystère des frères siamois 
(aka L'Assassin Est Dans La Maison) 
Greek: Το μυστήριο των Σιαμαίων διδύμων 
aka Το μυστήριο των σιαμαίων 
aka Τό μυστήριο τῶν σιαμαίων ἀδελφῶν 
Hebrew:
תעלומת רצח 
Indonesian: Mistery Sikembar Siam 
Italian: Il caso dei fratelli siamesi 
Japanese: シャム兄弟のひみつ (syamufutagononazo) 
Korean: 샴 쌍둥이 미스터리 
Persian: کتاب معمای دوقلوهای بهم چسبیده 
Portuguese: O Mistério dos Gémeos Siameses 
aka O Mistério dos Irmãos Siameses 
Russian: Тайна сиамских близнецов 
Spanish: El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses 
Thai:ปริศนาแฝดสยาม  

Turkish: Siyamlı İkizler 

Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition, I Gialli, 1938Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition Mondadori, 1961Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition, Oscar del Giallo Mondadori 1976Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition, I Classici Del Giallo Mondadori N° 490, 1985Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition, Delitti d'Autore, 1995, Milan
Il caso dei fratelli siamesi - cover Italian edition, 2005El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, Nr. 98 Libreria Hachette, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1945El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, coleccion Caiman, Ed. Diana, 1962, MexicoEl Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - Cover Spanish edition, Biblioteca Jucar, Nov 1974El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - Cover Spanish edition, 1974El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, 1981
El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, Coleción Polismen, ediciones Picazo, 1975El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, El País, Serie Negra, 2004El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - Cover Spanish edition, june 2005El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - Cover Spanish edition, March 2007El Misterio de los Hermanos Siameses - cover Spanish edition, Ciudad de Libros (eBook)O Mistério dos Irmãos Siameses - cover Portugese edition, Empresa Editorial Édipo, Colecção: O Escaravelho de Ouro 13, 1951
O Mistério dos Gémeos Siameses - cover Portugese edition, Livros de Bolso / Serie Clube do Crime  N°39, Publicações Europa-América, April 1984Το μυστήριο των σιαμαίων - cover Greek edition, Νέα Σύνορα, Athens, 1988Το μυστήριο των Σιαμαίων διδύμων - Cover Greek edition, 2009, Δημοσιογραφικός Οργανισμός Λαμπράκη (Lambrakis)De siamesiske tvillinger - Cover Danish editionDe siamesiske tvillinger - Cover Danish edition, Rosenkilde & Bahnhof, 2015Το μυστήριο των Σιαμαίων διδύμων - cover Greek edition, editions Viper, ΒΙΠΕΡ Νο 422, 1973
Siyamli Ikizler - cover Turkish edition, 1965תעלומת רצח - Cover Israelian editionСмерть в театре - cover Russian compilation contains three stories by different authors. "Killer On the Catwalk" (Смерть в театре) by Hugh Pentecost, "The Siamese Twin Mystery" (Тайна сиамских близнецов) by Ellery Queen & "No Crime in the Mountains" (В горах не бывает преступлений) by Raymond Chandler, Bestseller series published by SKS, 1993.Тайна исчезнувшей шляпы - cover Russian compilation, includes "The Roman Hat Mystery" (Тайна исчезнувшей шляпы) & "The Siamese Twin Mystery" (Тайна сиамских близнецов), publisher Centrograph (Центрполиграф), 2005کتاب معمای دوقلوهای بهم چسبیده - cover Persian edition from 2011 by ویدا (Vida)ปริศนาแฝดสยาม - Cover Thai edition of "The Siamese Twin Mystery"
Mistery Sikembar Siam - cover Indonesian editionThe Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, Tokyo Sogensha, 1960-03-11The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, Tokyo Sogensha, April 21. 1961The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, 1961The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanese edition containing three stories (The Two-Headed Dog and The Seven Black Cats from The Adventures of Ellery Queen the others), published by Tsuru Shobo SeikoSha  The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, 5th Printing (Reason Toyoto Miyanishi)
The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, Teen's Young Books, April 1969The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, Hayakawa, June 1978The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanse edition, Shincho Paperback, 1989Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanese edition, 1999シャム兄弟のひみつ (The Siamese Twin Mystery) - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Bunko, July 2. 2011The Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Shoten published October 25. 2014, artwork by Takenaka
Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Taiwanese edition, January 15. 1995Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Taiwanese editionSiamese Twin Mystery - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, June 2008Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, November 10. 2012Siamese Twin Mystery - cover Taiwanese edition, December 27. 2004샴 쌍둥이 미스터리(The Siamese Twin Mystery) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, Ellery Queen Collection, Jul 2.2012
 


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Other articles on this book

(1)
Solve-Along #3 Rich McD (May 2012)
(2) Reading Ellery Queen Jon Mathewson (Jan 2014)
(3) The Queen's Tale  Ho-Ling (May 15. 2013)
 
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