The Chinese Orange Mystery - Ellery Queen - ebook
Opis

A puzzling publishing murder attracts the eye of Ellery Queen Mandarin Press is a premier publishing house for foreign literature, but to those at the top of this enterprise, there is little more beautiful than a rare stamp. As Donald Kirk, publisher and philatelist, prepares his office for a banquet, an unfamiliar man comes to call. No one recognizes him, but Kirk's staff is used to strange characters visiting their boss, so Kirk's secretary asks him to wait in the anteroom. Within an hour, the mysterious visitor is dead on the floor, head bashed in with a fireplace poker, and everything in the anteroom has been quite literally turned upside down. The rug is backwards; the furniture is backwards; even the dead man's clothes have been put on front-to-back. As debonair detective Ellery Queen pries into the secrets of Mandarin Press, every clue he finds is topsy-turvy. The great sleuth must tread lightly, for walking backwards is a surefire way to step off a cliff. Review quote "A new Ellery Queen book has always been something to look forward to for many years now." - Agatha Christie "Ellery Queen is the American detective story." - Anthony Boucher, author of Nine Times Nine "A great way to visit Moscow without having to live there." -San Jose Mercury News Biographical note: Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905-1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age "fair play" mystery. Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen's first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that was later published as The Roman Hat Mystery. Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee's death.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

FOREWORD

THE IDYLL OF MISS DIVERSEY

STRANGE INTERLUDE

THE TOPSY-TURVY MURDER

MR. NOBODY FROM NOWHERE

ORANGES AND SPECULATIONS

DINNER FOR EIGHT

TANGERINE

TOPSY-TURVY LAND

FOOCHOW ERROR

THE QUEER THIEF

UNKNOWN QUANTITIES

A GIFT OF GEMS

BOUDOIR SCENE

THE MAN FROM PARIS

THE TRAP

CHALLENGE TO THE READER

THE EXPERIMENT

LOOKING BACKWARD

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

A puzzling publishing murder attracts the eye of Ellery Queen

Mandarin Press is a premier publishing house for foreign literature, but to those at the top of this enterprise, there is little more beautiful than a rare stamp. As Donald Kirk, publisher and philatelist, prepares his office for a banquet, an unfamiliar man comes to call. No one recognizes him, but Kirk’s staff is used to strange characters visiting their boss, so Kirk’s secretary asks him to wait in the anteroom. Within an hour, the mysterious visitor is dead on the floor, head bashed in with a fireplace poker, and everything in the anteroom has been quite literally turned upside down.

The rug is backwards; the furniture is backwards; even the dead man’s clothes have been put on front-to-back. As debonair detective Ellery Queen pries into the secrets of Mandarin Press, every clue he finds is topsy-turvy. The great sleuth must tread lightly, for walking backwards is a surefire way to step off a cliff.

Review quote

“A new Ellery Queen book has always been something to look forward to for many years now.” - Agatha Christie

“Ellery Queen is the American detective story.” - Anthony Boucher, author of Nine Times Nine

“A great way to visit Moscow without having to live there.” —San Jose Mercury News

About the Author

Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age “fair play” mystery.

Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen’s first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that would eventually be published as The Roman Hat Mystery. Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee’s death.

The Chinese Orange Mystery

Ellery Queen

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2014 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2013 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1934 by Ellery Queen

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Jim Tierney

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-406-7

 

www.luebbe.de

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Cast of Characters: In the order of their appearance

MISS DIVERSEY: who nursed a sick man—and a hope

DR. HUGH KIRK: septuagenarian scholar, who was often buried—in a book

MRS. SHANE: the Hotel Chancellor’s floor clerk

JAMES OSBORNE: Donald Kirk’s secretary

“MR. NOBODY FROM NOWHERE”

HUBBELL: a gentleman’s gentleman—but no gentleman

GLENN MACGOWAN: who proved that a friend in need is a friend in deed

IRENE LLEWES: who played her part in the taming of the shrewd

JO TEMPLE: whose knowledge of Chinese helped Ellery get oriented

DONALD KIRK: publisher of books and collector of gems, stamps—and trouble

ELLERY QUEEN: who collared the criminal—and his victim

MARCELLA KIRK: who fainted or feinted when she saw the corpse

NYE: the hotel manager

BRUMMER: the hotel detective

INSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN: of the Homicide Squad

DR. PROUTY: Assistant Medical Examiner

SERGEANT VELIE: of the Homicide Squad

FELIX BERNE: the man who came late to dinner

Foreword

I AM NATURALLY PREJUDICED in favor of my friend Mr. Ellery Queen. Friendship aborts the critical faculties; especially friendship which has been invited to partake of fame. And yet, ever since those ancient days when I was first persuading Ellery to whip his notes into fiction form—through all the exciting novels that followed that first adventure—I cannot recall being more genuinely impressed than I was as I read the manuscript of The Chinese Orange Mystery.

It might well have been subtitled: The Crime That Was Backwards. With a further addendum: The Most Remarkable Murder-Case of Modern Times. But, as I say, I am prejudiced and perhaps that is a modest overstatement. The point is that if the crime itself was extraordinary, the mentality that went to work upon it was gigantic. Even now, knowing the answer, I sometimes disbelieve. And yet it was all so simple, indeed so inevitable. … The trouble is, as Ellery likes to point out, that all puzzles are irritatingly cryptic until you know the answer, and then you wonder why you were baffled so long. But I cannot quite subscribe to that; it took genius to solve the crime that was backwards, and I will stick to that opinion tho’ Hell freeze over and I lose my friend—which is a potent possibility.

Sometimes, too, I feel secretly glad that I had nothing to do with that case. Ellery, who is in many ways a thinking machine, is no respecter of friendships when logic points an accusing finger. And it might very well have been that had I been in some way involved—if even as, let us say, Donald Kirk’s attorney—Ellery might have caused good Sergeant Velie to clap the cuffs on my poor wrists. For it is remarkable that when I was at college I achieved a definitely fleeting fame in two athletic fields: I was my class backstroke swimming champion, and I rowed stroke-oar on the crew.

How these innocent facts would have made me a potential—no, no, a very active—suspect in the murder with which these pages are concerned I shall leave you to discover—unquestionably with pleasure—for yourself.

J. J. McC.

NEW YORK

“The detection—or rather the solution—of crime calls for a combination of scientist and seer in the completest development of the detective. The genius for prophesying from events is a very special endowment of Nature and has been granted in its highest form only to a favored few. …

“I might paraphrase that interesting observation in Schlegel’s Athenæum which goes:

‘Der Historiker ist ein rückwärts gekehrter Prophet?’

by pointing out that: ‘The detective is a prophet looking backwards.’ Or Carlyle’s more subtle observation about history by agreeing that: The process of detection (as opposed to History) is ‘a distillation of rumor.’”

—Excerpt from an Anonymous Article in Esoterica Americana, Attributed by Some to Matsoyuma Tahuki, the Noted Japanese Authority on the Occident.

The Idyll of Miss Diversey

MISS DIVERSEY FLED DR. Kirk’s study followed by a blistering mouthful of ogrish growls. She stood still in the corridor outside the old gentleman’s door, her cheeks burning and one of her square washed-out hands pressed to the outraged starch of her bosom. She could hear the angry septuagenarian scuttling about the study in his wheel chair like a Galapagos turtle, muttering anathemas upon her white-capped head in a fantastic potpourri of ancient Hebrew, classic Greek, French, and English.

“The old fossil,” thought Miss Diversey fiercely. “It’s—it’s like living with a human encyclopedia!”

Dr. Kirk made Jovian thunder from behind the door: “And don’t come back, do you hear me?” He thundered other things, too, in the argot of strange tongues which filled his scholar’s brain; things which, had Miss Diversey been possessed of the dubious advantages of higher culture, would have made her very indignant indeed.

“Slush,” she said defiantly, glaring at the door. There was no reply; at least, no reply of a satisfactory nature. There’s nothing, she thought with dismal consternation, you can say to a ghostly chuckle and the slam of a dusty book dug out of somebody’s grave. He was the most exasperating old—She almost said it. For a moment, in fact, it trembled upon the brink of utterance. But her better nature triumphed and she closed her pale lips sternly. Let him dress himself if he wanted to. She had always hated dressing old people, anyway. … She stood irresolute for a moment; and then, her color still high, clumped down the corridor with the firm unhurried steps of the professional nurse.

The twenty-second floor of the Hotel Chancellor was pervaded, by inflexible regulation, with the silent peace of the cloister. The quiet soothed Miss Diversey’s ruffled soul. There were two compensations, she thought, to playing nurse to a creaking, decrepit, malicious old devil afflicted—thank heaven there was justice!—with chronic rheumatism and gout. One was the handsome salary young Donald Kirk paid her for the difficult task of taking care of his father; the other was that the Kirk ménage was situated in a respectable hotel in the heart of New York City. The money and the geography, she thought with morbid satisfaction, made up for a lot of disadvantages. Macy’s, Gimbel’s, the other department stores were only minutes away, movies and theatres and all sorts of exciting things at one’s doorstep. … Yes, she would stick it out. Life was hard, but it had its compensations.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!