Dead Man’s Tale (1961) was (ghost) written by Stephen Marlowe . Barney Street, a fixer, was part of the Allied airforce during world war II whose life was saved by a Czech double agent Milo Hacha. Now Barney has willed all his property to Hacha much to the consternation of his wife, Estelle Street. Estelle forces a former friend, Steve Longacre, to go to Europe and finish off Hacha if he is still alive. Much against his wishes, Steve proceeds to Europe along with his college-educated brother, Andy. They are shown official documents certifying Hacha’s death but there are also certain clues which point to the fact that Hacha might very well be alive. The ‘dead’ man’s trail takes them to Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and finally behind the iron-curtain to Czechoslovakia. In the cold war scenario where does a man who helped the Allied forces, stand?
I liked this book because of the relationship between the two brothers as well as the depiction of people who have their lives irrevocably changed because of the war. On the flip side, too many convenient deaths take away the edge from the narrative.
Okay for a one-time read.
Wife or Death (1963) was actually written by Richard Deming. Jim Denton, the editor and proprietor of a newspaper, in a small town in the US knows that his wife Angel is being unfaithful to him. His love for her having died long time ago, he doesn’t even feel like divorcing her and is actually shocked when she decides to walk out of the marriage. But what he hadn’t realised was that she would end up dead and the DA of the town, who was one of her lovers, would take it upon himself to prove him the murderer. This turned out to be an okay mystery with more or less unpleasant characters.
First Line: Steve Longacre wheeled his convertible out of Neck Road and into the long driveway delicately.
Title: Dead Man’s Tale
Author: Ellery Queen
Publication Details: NY: Pocket Books, 1961
First Published: 1961
Source: H.M. Library [F.Q. 18]
First Line: At midnight, when the masks came off, Jim Denton had not been yet on the dance floor.
Title: Wife or Death
Author: Ellery Queen
Publication Details: NY: Pocket Books, 1963
First Published: 1963
Source: H.M. Library [F.Q. 19]
Other books read of the same author: Cat of Many Tails, The Murderer is a Fox.
Submitted for FFB @ Pattinase
Hope you all had a Happy Diwali. Here’s wishing you joy and prosperity in the new year.