The Chinese Orange Mystery Author:Ellery Queen WHO was the dead man? — WHERE had he come from? — WHAT was the motive for murder? — WHY was everything at the scene of the crime turned backward? — Nobody knew him. Yet everyone found his life changed by the nameless corpse! It was a riddle almost beyond solution. Then Ellery Queen took over, and THE CHINESE ORANGE MYSTERY proved to be one of the mo... more »st unusual cases in his brilliant career.
A wealthy publisher and collector of precious stones and Chinese postage stamps has a luxurious suite in a hotel that serves to handle his non-publishing business and the comings and goings of his staff, his relatives, and his female friends. When an odd and anonymous little man arrives and refuses to state his business, no one is surprised; he is locked in an anteroom with a bowl of fruit (including tangerines, also known as Chinese oranges) and left to await the publisher's arrival. When the door is unlocked, though, a truly bizarre scene is displayed. The little man's skull is crushed -- his clothing is reversed, back to front -- all the furnishings of the room have been turned backwards -- and two African spears have been inserted between the body and its clothing, stiffening it into immobility. The circumstances are such that someone has been observing every entrance to the room, and no one has apparently entered or left. The situation is further complicated by some valuable jewelry and stamps, the publisher's business affairs and romantic affaires, and a connection with "backwardness" for seemingly every character. It takes the considerable talents of Ellery Queen to sort through the motives and lies and arrive at the twisted logic that underlies every aspect of this very unusual crime.« less