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Showing 1-10 of 13 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 24 reviews
on May 9, 2013
This Queen mystery is in a transitional period between the plot driven early books and the "psychological" period that began with Calamity Town. Queen the author has by this time streamlined his books by jettisoning the clumsy frames of the early ones supposedly written by "J. J. McC." The mid-story "Challenge to the Reader" has also disappeared. Queen the detective is no longer a stuffed shirt but has not completely morphed into the likeable, sensitive, and vulnerable character to come.

The mystery is fairly deep with a lot of complexity and easily a half dozen plausible suspects. Queen mixes it up somewhat by making a lot of the suspects quite sympathetic which impaired this reader's efforts to be objective. The murder itself was quite plausible with few strains on the credulity of the reader. On the other hand, I had just read The American Gun Mystery so maybe it looked better by comparison.

Besides the mystery itself Queen spends much time lampooning Hollywood culture in particular and California in general. There is no doubt much real life experience being put to use here.

The Kindle version of the book has a few flaws but nothing major. The Table of Contents is present and linked but does not appear in the menu. It can be reached easily enough however by going to the beginning and going back a page. The progress bar is sparsely populated with only the 5 "Parts" marked instead of the more numerous 21 "Chapters". Annoying, but not a deal breaker.

All in all, fairly entertaining and perplexing. Recommended.
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on November 23, 2015
This series continues at a pace full of adventure and intrigue for even the most casual reader. I read book #2 & book #3 as one continuing story line. As such, I submit the same review for both here.
What I find notable about this series is the depth and complexity of the story line. In many ways the story takes on more complexity as we get more information of the time and place of this series in history. To this degree, our hero has obviously grown in ability and accomplishment, but, he still remains somewhat of a mystery. We see so little of his personal history and his story. We see, how even with all of his success, our hero never quite measures up to his fellows in the Navy who can claim nobile connections. The real story of these early books in the series is the British Navy. The history, strategy and tactics of sailing warships at sea, and the men who manned, fought, and died on them remains the story here. This is understandable given that the author has a background in naval history of this period with the British Navy in particular.
This series remains a good read, and I look forward to our hero’s new adventures.
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on January 4, 2012
Ellery Queen was a master at the "fair play" mystery story. All the clues were there, even if the reader was unable to decipher them. Unfortunately the series (both the books starring the fictional detective and those only written by him) are hard to find. I applaud the print on demand method of keeping these classics alive. Anyone unfamiliar with Queen's work firsthand will love this mystery about a despised man who is murdered. Hardly anyone mourns for his loss, but how do you find a murderer amongst practically everyone the deceased knew?
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on December 13, 2015
Earl Thompson had a style all his own and wasn't afraid to be edgy. The few books he wrote are gems of character study- too bad he hasn't found a wider audience.
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on October 13, 2013
Man, when Ellery Queen does it right, ain't no party like an Ellery Queen party. This one isn't as slam-dunk as some others; the clues rely on some pretty outdated knowledge, but what are you going to do, insist that it be re-written? It's like 100 years old.
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on December 27, 2001
This novel, first published in the U.S. in 1973, jumps forward over 11 years from the end of book No. 1 in the series. The reader finds himself in the middle of a scene in 1794 with no knowledge of preceding actions. Richard Delancey is still a lieutenant - assigned to the Grafton, a hulk at permanent anchor, after some unexplained incident alluded to in the plot. A temporary assignment takes him back to Guernsey and the coast of France, but he then finds himself on the beach again, unemployed with no prospects.
Being in the right place at the right time, Delancey receives the temporary command of a Revenue Service cutter. His success leads to certain business interests offering him command of a privateer both in recognition of his abilities and as a means of removing him from the Revenue Service where he was a bit too successful. This provides Delancey with some profit, but also leaves him shipwrecked on the French coast and attempting to escape through Spain, just as the Spanish are entering the war. The remainder of the novel covers his flight through a hostile countryside, and action in Leon as he rejoins the Royal Navy.
The story is a mixture of action on land and at sea. Delancey has some interesting interactions with smugglers. Interaction with smugglers was also used in the plot of "Ramage and the Guillotine" by the late Dudley Pope.
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VINE VOICEon September 14, 2003
This book deals with Lieutenant Richard Delancey's efforts to find a purpose and direction in his career after stagnating for several years. It is the second in a series, I didn't read the first one, but didn't feel like I'd lost much by skipping it.
For the first two-thirds of the book, the "purpose and direction" plot dominated (at least for me) the naval elements of the story. In fact, very little of the book covers dashing nautical adventure of the type C.S. Forester might have written--Most of it takes place on shore, and the ships seem to be just platforms and vehicles, rather than central elements. Naval battles barely intrude into the story at all.
As another reviewer commented, the last third of the book deals with a spy mission similar to the unfinished Hornblower novel. In effect, the book is four different "episodes" strung together. It is adequately good reading, but not brilliant. The most interesting part for me was watching Delancey grow in ability, find a purpose, and gain confidence in himself as an officer and a leader.
Not a brilliant book, but good enough to make me seek out others in the series (this is the first one I read). I'd give it three-and-a-half stars, if I could.
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on April 20, 2013
Ellery Queen' s books are always so intriguing. It is usually very hard to tell who is the murderer until you need the end of the book. However, this particular book was easier than most of his books to discover who the murderer was much earlier in the book.
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on February 10, 2017
as described
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on January 3, 2014
Well written with good ACTION!
The author has good grasp of the times.
I hope to read more novels by this author
Would like to see listing of books by this author.
Would recommend books by this author to anyone.
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