To help an amnesiac, Ellery Queen must destroy the sick man's family.
Howard Van Horn wakes up in a Bowery flophouse. His knuckles are bruised, his head is bloodied, all his valuables are gone, and he has a strong urge to leap out the window. He has been unconscious for nineteen days - another in a long line of amnesiac episodes that have destroyed this once-promising sculptor. As he comes to grips with this latest blackout, he realizes something awful. The blood on his clothes suggests that another life has been wrecked.
Van Horn goes to an old friend, amateur sleuth Ellery Queen, who works hand in hand with the New York Police Department. Though Queen has solved countless murders, never before has he been asked to determine whether a crime was committed at all. To get to the root of the sculptor's attacks, Queen forces him to return to Boston, to confront a family secret so dark that Van Horn's mind destroyed itself rather than face it.
"A new Ellery Queen book has always been something to look forward to for many years now." - Agatha Christie
"Ellery Queen is the American detective story." - Anthony Boucher, author of Nine Times Nine
"A great way to visit Moscow without having to live there." - San Jose Mercury News
Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905-1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905-1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age "fair play" mystery.
Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen's first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that was later published as The Roman Hat Mystery. Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee's death.
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