The Imaginary Realms of
Gilbert M. Stack



The French Powder Mystery by Ellery Queen

Posted by Gilbert Stack on June 10, 2022 at 7:30 AM

The French Powder Mystery by Ellery Queen

The second Ellery Queen mystery is very different from the first. Right from the start the reader is able to follow with Ellery and his father a large collection of clues that show not only that the murder was not committed where the body was found but that all of the clues point toward one suspect. Naturally, the reader immediately assumes that the suspect cannot be the guilty party because Ellery Queen solutions are never obvious—and there in lies part of the genius of this story. The crime has clearly been very carefully planned. So it’s only in a few dangling places where there is a piece of easily overlooked evidence that does not fit the other facts that the reader gets the chance to find the true murderer.


I didn’t come close to solving this case. I fell back on the “who do I least suspect?” method. I also tried taking a second look at the most obvious suspect. But nothing helped me. I certainly didn’t figure out the crime based on the clues in the story, but I should have. The authors played fair and they even told us how to go about solving the crime if I had paid enough attention to their hints. So despite my failure, this was a solid case that played true to the Ellery Queen challenge. It was possible to solve this mystery.


Categories: Reviews