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Old August 11th, 2009, 02:42 PM
Edward J. Cunningham Edward J. Cunningham is offline
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The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erland Gadde
I read The Egyptian Cross Mystery in my teens, and I was then deeply impressed with the logic of the solution, and I thought than it was the best mystery novel I ever read. But I now realize that a competent defence lawyer could easily smash Ellery's impeccable logic into dust (not that it would help, since the murderer get caught anyway):
Spoiler
The last murder takes place in a cabin in the woods. The murderer get injured and uses iodine from a bottle in the cabin for his wound. But why does the murderder use an opaque iodine bottle without a label, when there is another iodine bottle with a label easily visible on the shelf? If the murderer was a stranger to the cabin he couldn't know that the first bottle contained iodine, and he would have no reason to investigate this bottle instead of taking the other, labelled, bottle. Hence, the murderer was no stranger to the cabin but its inhabitant, i.e. the man believed to be the victim (who was decapitated). This clue solved the entire mystery.

But, as a lawyer would point out: this proves nothing at all. For it happends that people under stress act strangely and don't see the obvious. Hence, even a stranger to the cabin might very well have failed to notice the labelled bottle, and started to investigate the unlabelled bottle.

Other things hard to accept in the novel is how a man can drag bodies of full grown men and nail or tie them to big T-like objects, such as a road sign or a totem pole, risking that some witnessess see him (at a road, in a garden, at a yacht under surveillance, albeit at night in all three cases).

Still, the Egytpian Cross Mystery is my favourite Queen novel.
Erland Gadde's question in The Egyptian Cross Mystery thread got me thinking. Ellery's solution in that book isn't by itself enough (in my opinion) to convict the murderer in a court of law. Still, the killer was caught in a manhunt a few days after the last victim's body was found, and the killer's blood was on the scene of the crime. Even by 1932 standards, the forensic evidence alone should be good enough for a judge and jury.

However, in the case of The Spanish Cape Mystery, the only thing pointing the finger at the murderer is Ellery Queen's brilliant deductions based on the clues left at the scene of the crime. But if you look closely, the victim was wearing more clothing than there is any hard evidence to convict---and
Spoiler
the murderer's accomplice Captain Kidd has not been captured. (Even if he were, I'm not sure if a jury would believe his story if he decided to turn evidence.)
Ellery says that he thinks the murderer will get off because the victim was an unsympathetic blackmailer, but I don't think there is going to be a trial, period. Anybody with me on this one?
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Old October 20th, 2010, 11:28 AM
ASZ ASZ is offline
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Re: The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward J. Cunningham View Post
However, in the case of The Spanish Cape Mystery, the only thing pointing the finger at the murderer is Ellery Queen's brilliant deductions based on the clues left at the scene of the crime. But if you look closely, the victim was wearing more clothing than there is any hard evidence to convict---and
Spoiler
the murderer's accomplice Captain Kidd has not been captured. (Even if he were, I'm not sure if a jury would believe his story if he decided to turn evidence.)
Ellery says that he thinks the murderer will get off because the victim was an unsympathetic blackmailer, but I don't think there is going to be a trial, period. Anybody with me on this one?
I was thinking it was because of being rich =and= because of your point. Perhaps I'm cynical. :>

Spoiler

I liked this one because I'd figured out a few things early on because of the cape, and because of the showy alibi. Anyone who couldn't have done it because of a kidnapping that provided him an alibi was fingered. With the victim being despoiled of his clothes, I knew it had to be like a later Queen short story...


Also, watching Ellery tear out his hair is fun.
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Old October 20th, 2010, 01:31 PM
Edward J. Cunningham Edward J. Cunningham is offline
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Re: The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

Man, I'm getting old---I don't remember making that last post!
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:59 PM
Archer Brisbane Archer Brisbane is offline
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Re: The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

In a spoiler, ASZ points out the similarity between this novel and a later Ellery Queen short story. I agree, though I find the short story superior and, indeed, perhaps the greatest of his short stories.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 06:08 PM
Theimprobable1 Theimprobable1 is offline
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Re: The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)

I just finished reading the spanish cape mystery tonight. It was okay, about 25 pages in, I thought i knew who the murderer was, 50 pages I was deadsure. There was no evidence to convict, other than a confession. Captain kidd had not been captured as someone above posted. If the guy hadnt confessed(which a good defense lawyer could hammer away at) there would never have been charges. It was a good read in terms of language and plot development, but as for an actual mystery....not so much.
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