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The Greek Coffin Mystery Hardcover – March, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Amereon Ltd (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848818725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848818722
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,219,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

ELLERY QUEEN is the pen name of two cousins from Brooklyn, NY, Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–1971), as well as the name of their famous fictional detective. Dannay and Lee created Ellery Queen in 1928 and spent over four decades writing and editing under the pseudonym, spanning radio, television, comics, board games, and film. Leading the Golden Age of “whodunit” mysteries, Dannay and Lee also cofounded Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time.

JESSICA HISCHE is a letterer, illustrator, typographer, and web designer. She currently serves on the Type Directors Club board of directors, has been named a Forbes Magazine "30 under 30" in art and design as well as an ADC Young Gun and one of Print Magazine’s "New Visual Artists". She has designed for Wes Anderson, McSweeney's, Tiffany & Co, Penguin Books and many others. She resides primarily in San Francisco, occasionally in Brooklyn.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I recommend this to all mystery lovers.
Patricia Dunning
Too many solutions by Ellery and very complicated explanations as he kept trying to solve the mystery.
Marie Balcazar
It keeps you guessing until the very end.
Akamai Tutu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Not even Agatha Christie in her prime could construct a detective story plot of this complexity, with so many delicious twists and turns. Ellery Queen investigates the murder of a man who was found mysteriously buried in another man's coffin. There are many suspects, and as the story progresses the plot just gets more and more complex (for most mysteries it's the reverse).
What's notable about THE GREEK COFFIN MYSTERY is the number of solutions. There are no less than four solutions to the mystery, but only one of them--the last one--is the true one. The final solution comes as a genuine shock--when I found out who the murderer was, I was momentarily tempted to throw down the book in disbelief. But Ellery Queen's careful deductive processes show that only (blank) could possibly have committed the crimes. This is an absolute tour de force, a must-read for mystery readers like myself who have, until this point, lived under the illusion that only English writers can construct ingenious plots. Ellery Queen has more than proven that the quality can be an American one as well.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By jenny mah chin hua on June 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the first Ellery Queen's books that I read. Before I used to read books by 'Agatha Christie'. Being introduced to EQ character and his method of deduction for the first time had me hungry for more. As with the other reviews regarding this book I agree with them totally. The grand finale is mind boggleling.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on April 20, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Ellery Queen stories will remain among the most remarkable American classic mysteries ever written. And this superbly constructed story, The Greek Coffin Mystery, is among the best of Ellery Queen.
Ellery Queen first appeared in June, 1929 in The Roman Hat Mystery, followed by The French Powder Mystery (1931), and The Dutch Shoe Mystery (1932). The plot in the fourth story, The Greek Coffin Mystery (1932), actually pre-dates The Roman Hat Mystery and reveals a younger, less-experienced Ellery Queen. We readers see an overly confident Ellery Queen stumble in his deductions and are led through not one, but a several flawed solutions.
Not only is this "younger and cockier" Ellery Queen misled and chastised, but it will be a rare reader indeed that does not likewise become ensnared in faulty deductions and erroneous conclusions. Ellery Queen regains any lost prestige in his final, remarkable deductions that lead unerringly to the actual solution.
The New York City setting is an old, drooping brownstone at 11 East Fifty-Fourth Street. Adjacent to the Georg Khalkis residence is one of the oldest private cemeteries in the city. Georg Khalkis had died, apparently of heart failure. His burial is in an old brick-lined subterranean crypt.
I am hesitant to say anything more about the plot itself for fear that I might unwittingly say too much. Just be prepared to be surprised.
The reader acquainted with Ellery may notice that his penchant for quoting literature (and thereby exercising his ivy league education) is more marked in The Greek Coffin Mystery than in his later stories. We encounter literary and philosophical observations in English, French, German and Latin. Ellery is even able to roughly translate a note in modern Greek from his knowledge of the classical Greek language.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read al lot of detective stories, but I have never found one with a more complex plot than this one. This is not like an Elizabeth George detective or something like that. This book focuses on the mystery. Even more special: the reader gets all the clues the detective finds (not like Sherlock Holmes, who keeps everything to himself), so you can find a solution yourself,........ but than you have to be brilliant!!
Read it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D.K. Henderson on May 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was delighted to find this available for Kindle; I've searched for a used copy for years. It is, for the most part, a wonderful mystery.

There is a Queen collection, THE BEST OF ELLERY QUEEN; FOUR DECADES OF STORIES FROM THE MYSTERY MASTERS, edited by Francis M. Nevins, Jr, and Martin H Greenberg. The introduction consists of a fascinating essay on the creation and evolution, over four decades, of the character known as Ellery Queen. It divides the stories and novels into four distinct periods, with Ellery's personality changing to suit changing literary tastes.

THE GREEK COFFIN MYSTERY belongs to the first period. At the time, the best-known contemporary literary detective was Philo Vance, the creation of S.S. van Dine, and Ellery was first modeled on him. As a result, early Ellery is, to put it bluntly, a prig. Very aware of his superiority, he looks at lesser mortals with amused and lofty contempt. He carries a pince nez, and is prone to swinging it negligently on its ribbon rather than wearing it to improve his vision. He is also given to literary quotations that he knows his listeners will not understand, especially since a lot of them are quoted in their original languages. Sometimes he deigns to translate (and in one case, the book's "editor" provided a translation in a footnote) but quite often he doesn't bother, no doubt irritating his listeners and his readers both. And yet, such is the quality of the writing and the plot that Ellery is somehow likeable, all the same.

This story, the fourth one published, states that it is the very first case in which Ellery formally involved himself with the police.
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