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Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

A Study in Terror by Ellery Queen

Ellery Queen Vs. Jack the Ripper A Study in Terror - Ellery Queen

The novelization (1966) of the film (1965).

It's part Ellery Queen, part Paul W. Fairman. Fairman wrote the novelization (as an unpublished manuscript by John Watson in which Holmes takes on Jack the Ripper) and Queen wrote the framing story (in which Ellery reads the manuscript and comes to his own conclusions).

It's a fast, entertaining read, but that's as far as it goes.

I had hoped for more. You know, a book about finding Jack the Ripper. One that cleverly accounts for all (or at least many) of the clues that the real Ripper left behind. But, no, Fairman quashes that when he has Holmes say that the Ripper is too clever to leave clues behind. As if (one objection among many) the bodies themselves aren't clues. In this book, the Ripper doesn't even taunt the police. Whoever this clown is, he ain't Jack the Ripper. So the whole thing is reduced to a shameless marketing ploy.

The only really clever bit is the way Queen keeps you guessing at the Ripper's identity. (I changed my mind three times in the book's last 20 pages or so.) And that's fun--up to a point. When the crimes are as heinous as these, however, it seems a little crass to pass them off, in the end, as nothing more than a parlor game.