The Siamese Twin Mystery by Ellery Queen

the siamese twin mystery

Alright, before I move on to the review, I would like to warn my readers that this is going to be a rant-ish post.

Psst: If you haven’t read our discussion post, you can read it here.

The Siamese Twin Mystery is the seventh book in Ellery Queen Detectives series. This also happens to be my second EQ read. The story was totally unexpected – be it the plot or the suspense or the ‘mystery’ – I really have second thoughts about this. Should I continue to read this series? If you have read any of EQ, let me know your favorites.

If I have to sum up The Siamese Twin Mystery in a word, I would say… Melodramatic! Hardly any ‘mystery’ in it. Halfway through the story, I felt like I was watching a telenovela! Uff the drama! I am really disappointed. The story had so much potential I tell you.

Ellery and his dad Queen are trapped in a mountain retreat, thanks to a raging forest fire. The next day, their host is found murdered. The other members in the house are the weird lot. Now, with the forest fire and nowhere to go, they are trapped – even the murderer. Now, doesn’t this sound like an interesting plot? I told ya, the story had a lot of potential…

It all starts with the freaking fire and ends with fire! FIRE! The uncontrollable FIRE! The story starts on a…um, fiery note. The father-son duo have a ‘this is it! this is how we are going to die’ kinda moment. Pretty scary right, when one is stuck in a forest fire. They somehow manage to find the retreat. Discrimination seems to be a part of EQ novels – in The Roman Hat Mystery, the Queens’ butler/servant is called a ‘monkey’ and whatnot. In this story, Mr Bones has some deformation and is called the “The Thing.’


What happens next is a series of blunders committed by our renowned Detective! Ugh! Totally off-putting, I tell you! As a reader, one expects the detective in the story not to make mistakes. A teeny-weeny misdirection is okay, after all, detectives are human beings (though fictional). But the ‘blunders’ that I am talking about are not worth it. Uh-huh. Nope. I am not going to discuss this here and make this review a spoiler but if you have already read the book, you know what I am talking about, Dontcha?

Queen sees a ‘crab man’. A what now? Once the ‘crab man’ appears, it is kinda difficult to imagine how they look like a crab – unless you try to act like one and see for yourself… (Hint: The title) The cards!! Doctor Xavier is found with a half-torn six of spades clutched in his hand. Then comes the famous left-handed, right-handed ‘test! Yawn!

Queen shoots someone and this is the reason he gives – he ran so I shot. Well now, that’s not a good reason to shoot someone, is it? Remember the FIRE? The killer cannot escape, thanks to the raging fire. So even if that someone did run, why shoot? He wouldn’t barbecue himself in the fire, would he?

The story starts on a good note – the tension and suspense build-up, it’s all there. But as the story proceeds, there isn’t any ‘suspense’ and the ‘mystery’.

Since the FIRE is so hyped up in the story, maybe, just maybe, it was supposed to be locked-room mystery of sorts. Makes sense, right? Raging fire and trapped on a mountain retreat with nowhere else to go; the murderer lurking around, hopefully not planning their next kill.

If you are new to Ellery Queen, do not start with this book. Nope, Nada. It’s just eh, meh and everything else. Not recommended for an intro to the series read.

4 thoughts on “The Siamese Twin Mystery by Ellery Queen

  1. Oooh pretty bad story… They are not nice at all… Name calling in a book puts me off. But your review was fun to read. Hope your next read is great.

    1. Given that this book was written in the 1930’s, I guess one has to make do with the name calling. 😑

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