Monday, June 24, 2024

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Aug 1959

 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine Aug 1959 by Ellery Queen (eds)

Another in a bunch of EQMM's I've picked up over the years. And, as with all of the collections, it is a mixed bag. Two of the stories (Pentecost & Lord Dunsany) I've read before. Some are so short as to barely qualify, though "Smoke Rings" by Craig Rice has a nice little kick in the tail end. The best of the stories are "The Seeds of Murder" (an apparently impossible crime--if you believe the detective that the most obvious suspect didn't do it) and "Look to Your Skeletons." ★★  for the collection.

"The Ring in the Fish" by Charlotte Armstrong: Sally Cassidy, in a fit of wifely virtue, offered to filet the fish that her husband caught that day. When she slit it open and found a diamond ring, she felt that virtue had been rewarded. But her husband, being an honest man, thought they should advertise for an owner first. If not claimed, she'll be able to keep it with a clear conscience. Will Sally be able to keep the ring out of the clutches of a couple of con artists and keep it as planned?

"The Girl Who Lived Dangerously" by Hugh Pentecost (Judson Philips): A man who runs rigged carnival games finds himself caught up in a much more deadly game when his helper is killed--apparently over a poker game gone wrong. [two shot; one hit on head]

"The Seeds of Murder" by Rufus King: When Mikhail Natakova is shot in his study, there are many suspects. Each member of his family had monetary reasons for wanting him dead. But the prints in the wet cement outside his study make it seem that only one of them could have done it. But is that true? (one shot; two natural)

"Jeeves & the Stolen Venus" by P. G. Wodehouse: Bertie's Aunt Dahlia wants him to steal a certain painting to ensure that she will receive the serial rights to a famous author's latest novel. And of course the plot is even more intricate than that. But with the help of the inimitable Jeeves, Bertie will be able to help his aunt as desired.

"The Case of the Two Questions" by E. X. Ferrars: Uncle Jonas, retired investigator, relates one of his first cases. The questions:#1 Can someone run outside and shoot someone and run back inside within five minutes? #2 Can someone drive through a watersplash without getting their tires wet? But Uncle Jonas knows those aren't the most important questions.(one shot)

"Rich Little Poor Girl" by Dick Ashbaugh: When a mink coat gets mixed up in a donation basket, the two teenage girls who are sent to return the coat to the rightful owner find themselves mixed up in a plot to extort a huge sum of money from the owner's mother.

"In the Morgue" by Dashiell Hammett: The discovery that his wife was killed in a theater fire isn't the only shock in store for Walter when he goes to the morgue.(one fire)

"Three Men in a Garden" by Lord Dunsany: The "mystery" of the murder in an Irish garden--and the real mystery to me is why it's been included in this collection. There's no mystery--we know who did what. But we never learn the "why" behind the initial set-up. [one shot]

"Widow's Mite" by C. B. Gilford: A 70-year widow decides that, rather than live her last years in poverty, she's going to use her ingenuity and a bit of nerve to live it up a little. It helps that other people are a little gullible and eager to get revenge on rivals. (one natural)

"Smoke Rings" by Craig Rice: Who ever heard of woman shooting her husband just because he blows smoke rings? And why is the psychologist so sure that John J. Malone will be able to get her off? (one shot)

"Look to Your Skeletons" by Eva-Lis Wuorio: Willie likes to invite his "friends" to visit periodically--so he can give the skeletons in their closets a good shake. But this time one of them has had enough. It may add another skeleton to their closet, but at least Willie won't be around to expose it. (one stabbed)

First line (1st story): Sally Cassidy found the ring in the fish.

Last line (last story): "Let's get out of here, Jeff," he said.

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