Sunday, November 5, 2017

The King is Dead by Ellery Queen

King Bendigo was incredibly rich, and someone wanted to kill him. King had made his fortune selling munitions during World War II, and he was continuing his business, and the money was rolling in. He lived on his own private island which was not shown on any map. He had a huge house, a private security force, and defensive armaments which would attack an unwary visitor.

His family lived on the island with him. He had a very beautiful wife, Karla, who was quite clever. His brother, Abel, was his business manager and had a lot of power in the business. Then there was his brother, Judah, who was an alcoholic who had stashed bottles of brandy all over the house and the island. Judah was the intellectual in the family and appreciated literature, art and classical music.

Abel Bendigo came to visit Ellery Queen and his father, Inspector Queen. He told them that King Bendigo had received letters which told him that he was to be murdered, and he ordered Ellery and his father to come to the island and find the letter writer. He had made prior arrangements with police department which gave the inspector time off. Apparently rich people can do this kind of thing. So Ellery and his father were put on a plane and flown off to the Bendigo's island. There they were given almost freedom of the island as long as they did not go any place which was not allowed. They met King, Karla, and brother Judah who always seemed to be in an alcoholic stupor. King did not take the death threats seriously because he believed that he was totally protected by his security forces.

Then a crime occurred. I will not tell you who or where or when because that would be a spoiler. It is definitely a locked room crime. This book has political overtones which applied when it was written, and still apply in the present when those with great wealth are involved in the political process.

I found the beginning of the book to be a bit dull with too much of description of Bendigo's wealth and power. When the actual crime occurred, I couldn't put the book down as I waited for Ellery and his father to find the perpetrator. This book was published in 1952, and you are probably aware that Ellery Queen was the duo of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee. I have read this book for the 2017 Golden Mystery Scavenger Hunt in the category of a book with a flower on the cover.

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