Saturday, December 14, 2019
Reprint of the Year: The Dutch Shoe Mystery
Last year, Kate at Cross Examining Crime came up with brilliant brainstorm. In the wake of various publishing houses recognizing the virtues of Golden Age (and more recent) vintage crime novels through reprint editions of both well-known and more obscure titles, Kate thought those of us who love those vintage mysteries would like the chance to feature the year's reprints and make a pitch for our favorites to be voted Reprint of the Year. We loved the idea so much that we're going to do it again.
So, this Saturday and next, I and my illustrious colleagues Steve, Brad, Moira, John, Puzzle Doctor, Rehka, and Kate will feature our picks of the 2019 reprint crop and make our best bid for reprint stardom. Now, I do have a confession to make upfront--I am (as many of my blog followers know) a challenge-aholic. So, I made my choices blind--based purely on what books I had lurking on my TBR shelves that would work for challenges as well.
First up is a Reprint for those of you who are Ellery Queen fans (yes, JJ, I know that's not you), The Dutch Shoe Mystery (1931), which was reprinted by American Mystery Classics in March of 2019. It's a natural choice for those who enjoy a good mystery set in hospital; in this case the Dutch Memorial Hospital of New York City--where comes the nationality for the title. It features not one, but two murders carried out--practically under the nose of Ellery Queen himself (in the first instance) and a whole posse of NYC policemen (in the second). You have to admire a murderer with that much moxie. The initial set-up of the novel is really well done--with Ellery and a small audience on hand to witness the discover of the first murder in the operating theater.
Now, if you look at my full review of the novel (HERE), you might wonder why I would go ahead and offer up what I rated as a middle-of-the-road novel for Reprint of the Year. Well... the longer I've let the Queen nomination simmer, the more I realize how much I enjoyed it. Yes, there are quibbles that I mention--but I did enjoy how engaged I was in the story. I've gotten to the point in my life where it feels like plots and names and clues run straight through my head like water through a sieve and to have been interested enough to question the clues and...several weeks later still be engaged with Queen's handling of the wrap-up, well I think that indicates the quality of the writing and the story-telling. The Dutch Shoe Mystery is definitely worth a GAD fan's attention and worth a nomination for Reprint of the Year.