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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 20 July 2014

"The King is Dead" by Ellery Queen

This is a strange combination of a thriller with a classic locked room whodunnit mystery.

Ellery and his dad, Inspector Queen of NYPD, travel to a mysterious island where arms dealer 'King' Kane (Cain) Bendigo and his brothers Judah (Judas) and Abel rule a heavily militarised kingdom, an atomic scientist is kept in captivity and assorted world leaders are bribed. Heavy overtones of James Bond plots such as Dr No or You Only Live Twice, the megalomaniac rich man seeking to take over the world with his own private army in a mysterious location. This book was written in 1952.

The crime, the attempted assassination of the King, takes place in a sealed room in which only he and his wife are present. At exactly the same moment, Judah, heavily guarded by Ellery, raises an empty pistol and fires in the appropriate direction. Abel and other potential suspects are with Inspector Queen outside the door of the sealed room. No weapon is found in the room.

An impossible crime? Ellery delves into the King's background to find the truth.

Very easy to read (virtually one sitting although I could have put it down with little problem had I not been seeking to switch off my brain) and a classic puzzle. But the situation requires a greater suspension of disbelief than I could manage. Minimal characterisation, despite an attempt to provide a psychological motive to the killers.

June 2014; 294 pages


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