Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Siamese Twin Mystery (Ellery Queen Detective #7)

The Siamese Twin Mystery is the 7th book in the Ellery Queen mysteries. Originally published in 1933, this reformat and re-release 4th Feb 2020 by Penzler is 293 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats (other editions available in other formats).  It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

I've been a fan of Ellery Queen mysteries for decades and by some odd twist of fate had never before read this early entry. It's neither the acme nor nadir of the series. The pacing is very odd, sometimes standing virtually still for pages on end then racing ahead. The dialogue is often forced and stilted (and dated with fair lashings of sexism and melodrama). The atmospheric setting and moody buildup are done perfectly but the payoff and denouement weren't worth the trip.

As always, the introduction by mystery maven Otto Penzler, is erudite, incisive, informative, and interesting.

Three stars. Worth a look for completist fans of the series, and for the insighful history lesson from Mr. Penzler. It's also very nice to see these classics (however dated) being re-released for a new generation of fans.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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