Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Spanish Cape Mystery - Ellery Queen

I like Ellery Queen.  I love the TV series from the 1970s and I love the books it was based on.  It's the whole stylish 1930s and 1940s that I love.  Men wore hats and suits and women wore hats and, well, always looked more pulled together than we do today.  Not that I want to wear those styles, but they just look so great.

The Spanish Cape Mystery starts with Ellery and an older friend, a judge, heading off to the shore for a vacation.  They arrive to find that the cottage they've rented has been broken into and there's an unconscious woman tied to a chair!  She and her uncle were kidnapped, her uncle was spirited away on a motorboat, and she was left in the cottage.

She is the daughter of a wealthy man who owns an estate on Spanish Cape, a promontory on the  Atlantic coast.  Back at the estate, a man has been murdered.  Although the rest of the household and guests are shocked, none are sad.  He had been staying there for months and no one liked him.  So why was he there?  That's part of the mystery.  He was found completely naked except for a long  cape.

Ellery has to find the clues, put them together, and solve the mystery.  As with, as far as I know, all Ellery Queen books and TV shows, the reader (or viewer) is challenged to solve the mystery before Ellery reveals the solution.  I've just discovered that The Spanish Cape Mystery was a movie and is available on YouTube.  You know what I'll be doing for the next two hours!

P.S.  Wow, was the movie ever different from the book!  The motive was completely different, the murderer was the same, Spanish Cape was in California, some of the names were partially changed (Rosa Godfrey was Stella Godfrey, Paul Kummer was David Kummer), and there were more murders!


  1. And don't forget the women wore gloves, even cotton ones in summer!
    Did you enjoy the movie? I like the book cover. When you see Ellery Queen books here they are usually those very plain yellow Gollancz ones, not very stylish.

    1. I borrowed that photo of an old cover from another site. I read the book on my Kindle, so there was no exciting cover for me to take a lousy photo of. The movie was fun, but it was so different from the book that it was almost like watching a completely different story.
      I'd forgotten about gloves! I had to wear them to church when I was a little girl. Something about them made me feel that I couldn't breathe and I hated to wear them.

  2. It's always a toss up to watch the movie first or read the book first. The movie always wanders away from the book it seems. If I read the book first then I am 'irritated' at the movie for messing with the book!

    I've never worn 'fancy' gloves! Only winter ones to keep warm.

    1. PS the youtube movie has been removed, darn!

    2. I know. I'm always torn about watching movies based on books. My rule of thumb is to read the book first.
      I'm sorry the YouTube movie's no longer up. That's frustrating. I love those old mystery movies. They should have a whole channel of them on cable.