The Affair of the Bottled Deuce Author:Harry Stephen Keeler Lousy Lou Ousley, the detective, has been given another impossible case: the murder or suicide of a crackpot novelist in a locked room. Everything points to suicide but there's the sticky point of the gun being made of wax. And what's with the bottle on the desk with a deuce of diamonds inside it? In this novel, written in 1958 but never publish... more »ed anywhere until now, Harry Stephen Keeler pulls out all the stops and creates a tale that Arthur Conan Doyle might have written. With an introduction by noted author and Keeler scholar Francis M. Nevins, and a mapback by Gavin L. O'Keefe.« less
Keeler has one of those reputations in mystery-reading circles (at least those who enjoy golden-age mysteries) that I think puts him in a higher regarded class than this book would warrant. He wrote lots of books, and maybe it was unfortunate that I picked this one to read as an introduction to him. It doesn't make me anxious to read more of his books.
I found this one way too long (even at only 157 pages) with lots of rambling paragraphs and dialogue that was pretty unrealistic. His prose is too purple for my taste, and I lost patience with his plot dragging and only managed to finish it by skimming and skipping. Even though it contains a "locked-room" the policeman explains how someone could have left the scene of the crime and made it seem sealed early on in the book. The puzzle doesn't really give you the satisfying feeling a well-thought-out whodunit should.