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The House of Brass by Ellery Queen

The House of Brass

by Ellery Queen

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This is the second mystery that finds Inspector Richard Queen retired. But he now married Jessie Sherwood, whom he met in "Inspector Queen's Own Case: November Song". When Jessie is summoned to the Brass mansion millionaire Hendrik Brass, Inspector Queen insists on coming along.

Arriving to a grotesque, gothic style mansion out in the countryside they find they are not the only ones who received the invitation. The Queens arrived to find Mr. and Mrs. Allistairs, a couple looking refined but with a bit of tarnish around the edges; Keith Palmer, young, good looking and athletic; Dr. Thornton, nerdish looking medical type; Miss Openshaw, a spinster with man-eating eyes and Lynn O'Neill, a natural, outdoorsy young girl. Their host was a withered, old man, who wore outrageous sunglasses to hide his blind eyes. Their accommodations were in a mansion where everything that could be brass was brass, shining, heavy and golden coloured. What parts were all these characters to play, and who would be the victim and who would be the perpetrator and what would be the crime? There is also the 87th Street Irregulars and Vaughn J. Vaughn for more colour.

Twists, turns and red herrings. Inspector Queen may be retired, but he can't stop investigating. And his wife Jessie won't let herself be left out. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Jun 23, 2016 |
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When Jessie receives a mysterious invitation to Hendrik Brass' country home, containing $100 and half a $1000 bill, Jessie and Richard once again get to tackle a case on their own.

Hendrik Brass is an old man now, but he once ran a Fifth Avenue jewelry store - the House of Brass, specializing in gold. Richard's first reaction is to steer clear, but Jessie wants a little adventure, so after checking up with a few phone calls, they accept the invitation to the house party upstate.

Apart from Jessie Queen, retired nurse, the other guests are a mixed bag. The Alistairs are con artists. Dr. Thornton is the GP of his medical practice, too soft-hearted to make real money. Cornelia Openshaw is a stereotypical old maid. Keith Palmer can't settle back into civilian life after too many copter crashes in Vietnam. Lynn O'Neill seems like a good egg, but as a layoff victim she needs money. According to old man Brass, each of them is the son or daughter of someone who did him a good turn once, having been unearthed by a private investigator, and he intends to return the favor by at least supplying the missing half of each $1000 bill. If they'll stay for a few weeks and let him get to know them, he'll decide which of them should be in his will.

The only catch is, Jessie (after hearing her supposed connection to Brass) knows that she's not the woman he's looking for. At that point, Richard Queen starts getting interested in just how much is rotten about this setup, and how many ringers have been invited to the party...
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Inspector Richard Queen and his new wife engage in a manor house mystery Ellery Queen is vacationing in Istanbul when he learns that his aging father, the retired police inspector Richard Queen, is getting married. The world-famous sleuth rushes home to congratulate the happy couple and enjoy the unique experience of giving his father away to the bride. The honeymoon over, Richard and his new wife return home to find an envelope containing a $100 bill and half of a $1,000 bill-a down payment for one of the most puzzling cases the Queen men will ever encounter. Accompanying the money is a letter summoning Inspector Queen and his spouse to a peculiar vacation in the wilds of New York. Also invited are a con man, a country doctor, a charitable spinster, and a few other disreputable characters who have been assembled for a weekend of murder and mystery they will never forget.… (more)

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