The Spanish Cape Mystery Author:Ellery Queen 10th printing, October 1943. — THE SPANISH CAPE MYSTERY is a study in jealousy, revenge and mistaken identity. The setting is a brooding headland called the Spanish Cape. The cast contains the monstrous Captain Kidd, the ill-fated David Cumer and his beautiful niece Rosa, and Rosa's suitors. Into this scene drives Ellery Queen, intent on a holida... more »y. Instead he must solve a baffling kidnap-murder!
Men hated John Marco just as much as women adored him. for other men's women were Marco's meat, high-priced sex his trade, and perhaps it was fitting that he died absolutely naked. The moment Ellery Queen unwrapped the long black opera cloak from Marco's nude corpse, he know the naked truth would be even nastier. Every guest at the isolated mansion had had a shameful tie with MArco - but which one had twisted it into a strangler's knot?
The story begins with a pretty young heiress and her uncle seated outside their summer home on Spanish Cape, escaping the guests at her parents' house party. Suddenly a one-eyed giant bursts onto the scene and kidnaps them, misidentifying the uncle as John Marco, a house guest. The giant removes them both, ties the heiress to a chair in an empty neighboring home, and disappears with the uncle. Ellery Queen and a friend arrive at the neighboring home in the morning and release the heiress, but by the time they can return her to her home, Marco has been found on the terrace, strangled, and nude except for an enveloping opera cape.
The house party and the household contain many people who had good reason to want the victim out of the way, some because he was blackmailing them. As Ellery is investigating the crime, another household member commits suicide out of sheer desperation at the potential revelation of a dread secret. By the time the uncle escapes his captor and swims to shore, Ellery is ready to reveal the identity of the murderer and the reason for the victim's nudity in a dramatic final scene.« less