Thursday, December 20, 2012

Calamity Town

Calamity Town is a 1942 mystery novel by Ellery Queen. I read this almost 8 years ago and am re-reading it now because key plot elements happen around Christmas time. I remembered it well even after all these years, so I enjoyed it less this time around. I think that speaks well of the writing, though, that the plot and characters stuck with me.

from the back of the book:
Wrightsville is a typical American town, buried in the great American heartland, up to its neck in good old American corn. No family in town is more respected than the one named, naturally enough, the Wrights. Daddy Wright is the town banker, Momma Wright is the town social lioness, daughter Patricia the town beauty, Nora the town recluse, Lola the town scandal. Ellery Queen likes sophistication, savoir faire, and all the swinging assets of Manhattan and its environs. So what in the world is he doing in this unearthly place? It is the job of the famous detective to find out which of the Wrights is the town poisoner. He must match his wits with a diabolically cunning and ruthless killer, while defending himself against a charge of murder.

There's an accurate description of Halloween in a 1940-ish small town that's notable for the lack of trick-or-treating and the prevalence of pranks. The Grandmother says trick-or-treating is a fairly recent innovation absent from her childhood and young adult-hood. She says in her youth, a common neighborhood prank was putting peoples' porch rockers up on their roofs.


  1. In all my years of reading mysteries I've never picked up an Ellery Queen. Can you believe that? Must make amends.


    1. i found this title years ago on a list of 100 best crime and mystery books: . i am a sucker for lists lol

    2. and i wish i could figure out why my comments sometimes have such odd spacing problems