Read Dutch Shoe Mystery Online

Authors: Ellery Queen

Dutch Shoe Mystery

The Dutch Shoe Mystery
Ellery Queen

To
DR. S. J. ESSENSON

FOR HIS INVALUABLE ADVICE ON CERTAIN MEDICAL MATTERS

CONTENTS

FOREWORD

CHARACTER LIST

PART I
TALE OF TWO SHOES

1
OPERATION

2
AGITATION

3
VISITATION

4
REVELATION

5
STRANGULATION

6
EXAMINATION

7
IMPERSONATION

8
CORROBORATION

9
IMPLICATION

10
MANIFESTATION

11
INTERROGATION

12
EXPERIMENTATION

13
ADMINISTRATION

14
ADORATION

15
COMPLICATION

16
ALIENATION

17
MYSTIFICATION

18
CONDENSATION

PART II
DISAPPEARANCE OF A CABINET

19
DESTINATION

20
CAPITULATION

21
DUPLICATION

22
ENUMERATION

23
TRIPLICATION???

24
REEXAMINATION

25
SIMPLIFICATION

26
EQUATION

Challenge
TO THE READER

PART III
DISCOVERY OF A DOCUMENT

27
CLARIFICATION

28
ARGUMENTATION

29
TERMINATION

30
EXPLANATION

FOREWORD

T
HE DUTCH SHOE MYSTERY
(a whimsicality of title which will explain itself in the course of reading) is the third adventure of the questing Queens to be presented to the public. And for the third time I find myself delegated to perform the task of introduction. It seems that my labored articulation as oracle of the previous Ellery Queen novels discouraged neither Ellery’s publisher nor that omnipotent gentleman himself. Ellery avers gravely that this is my reward for engineering the publication of his fictionized memoirs. I suspect from his tone that he meant “reward” to be synonymous with “punishment”!

There is little I can say about the Queens, even as a privileged friend, that the reading public does not know or has not guessed from hints dropped here and there in Opus 1
*
and Opus 2.
*
Under their real names (one secret they demand be kept) Queen
père
and Queen
fils
were integral, I might even say major, cogs in the wheel of New York City’s police machinery. Particularly during the second and third decades of the century. Their memory flourishes fresh and green among certain ex-officials of the metropolis; it is tangibly preserved in case records at Centre Street and in the crime mementoes housed in their old 87th Street apartment, now a private museum maintained by a sentimental few who have excellent reason to be grateful.

As for contemporary history, it may be dismissed with this: the entire Queen
ménage,
comprising old Inspector Richard, Ellery, his wife, their infant son and gypsy Djuna, is still immersed in the peace of the Italian hills, to all practical purpose retired from the manhunting scene. …

I remember clearly the gasp of horror, the babble of conjecture that rippled outward from New York, spreading through the civilized world, when it was learned that Abigail Doorn, the mighty, had been murdered like any poor defenseless devil. She was of course a figure of international stature—an eccentric whose least financial operation, whose quietest benefaction, whose most ordinary family affair were automatically front-page news. Distinctly a “press personality,” she was one of perhaps two dozen in the past decade who, struggle or protest as they might, could not escape the all-seeing eye of the journalistic and consequently the lay world.

Ellery’s pertinacity in resolving the strange and perplexing circumstances which accompanied Abigail Doorn’s death, his masterly manipulation of the many people involved—some famous, some wealthy, some merely notorious—and his astonishing revelations at the last, added considerably to the prestige of the old Inspector and privately, needless to say, magnified Ellery’s reputation as adviser extraordinary to the Police Department.

Please bear in mind that the story about which
The Dutch Shoe Mystery
revolves is in essence truth, although from policy names have been altered and for fictional purposes certain details revised.

In this puzzling chase Ellery indisputably reaches the full blossom of his mental prowess. Not even the maze of the Monte Field investigation or the remarkable complexity of the French murder case demanded more of that amazing intellect. I firmly believe that no keener deductive mind has ever, in fact or fiction, probed the murky depths of criminal psychology or unraveled the twisted skeins of criminal deception. I wish you pleasure in the reading!

J. J. McC.

*
The Roman Hat Mystery; The French Powder Mystery; Signet Books, The New American Library, Inc.

CHARACTERS

ABIGAIL DOORN
a millionairess

HULDA DOORN
an heiress

HENDRIK DOORN
an
ovis ebenus

SARAH FULLER
a companion

DR. FRANCIS JANNEY
a Head Surgeon

DR. LUCIUS DUNNING
a diagnostician

EDITH DUNNING
a sociologist

DR. FLORENCE PENNINI
an obstetrician

DR. JOHN MINCHEN
a Medical Director

DR. ARTHUR LESLIE
a surgeon

DR. ROBERT GOLD
an interne

DR. EDWARD BYERS
an anæsthetist

LUCILLE PRICE
a trained nurse

GRACE OBERMANN
a trained nurse

MORITZ KNEISEL
a “genius”

JAMES PARADISE
a superintendent

ISAAC COBB
a “special”

PHILIP MOREHOUSE
an attorney

MICHAEL CUDAHY
a racketeer

THOMAS SWANSON
a mystery

LITTLE WILLIE, JOE GECKO, SNAPPER
a bodyguard

BRISTOL
a butler

PETE HARPER
a newspaperman

HENRY SAMPSON
a District Attorney

TIMOTHY CRONIN
an assistant D. A.

DR. SAMUEL PROUTY
a Medical Examiner

THOMAS VELIE
a Detective-Sergeant

LIEUTENANT RITCHIE
a District Detective

FLINT, RITTER, PIGGOTT, HESSE, JOHNSON
a detective squad

INSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN
a policeman

ELLERY QUEEN
an analyst

Part One
TALE OF TWO SHOES

“There are only two detectives for whom I have felt, in my own capacity as hunter-of-men, any deeply underlying sympathy

transcending racial idiosyncrasies and overleaping barriers of space and time.

These two, strangely enough, present the weird contrast of unreality, of fantasm and fact. One has achieved luminous fame between the boards of books; the other as kin to a veritable policeman. …I refer, of course, to those imperishables

Mr. Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street, London, and Mr. Ellery Queen of West 87th Street, New York City.”

—from 30
YEARS ON THE TRAIL

—by Dr. Max Pejchar
*

*
Ed. Note: Viennese police-consultant

Chapter One
OPERATION

I
NSPECTOR RICHARD QUEEN’S
A
LTER
ego,
which was in startling contrast with his ordinarily spry and practical old manner, often prompted him to utter didactic remarks on the general subject of criminology. These professorial dicta were habitually addressed to his son and partner-in-crime-detection, Ellery Queen, in moments when they browsed before their living-room fire, alone except for the slippery shadow of Djuna, the wraith-like gypsy lad who served their domestic needs.

“The first five minutes are the most important,” the old man would say severely, “remember that.” It was his favorite theme. “The first five minutes can save you a heap of trouble.”

And Ellery, reared from boyhood on a diet of detectival advice, would grunt and suck his pipe and stare into the fire, wondering how often a detective was fortunate enough to be on the scene of a crime within three hundred seconds of its commission.

Here he would put his doubt into words, and the old man would nod sadly and agree—yes, it wasn’t very often that such luck came one’s way. By the time the investigator reached the scene the trail was cold, very cold. Then one did what one could to atone for the unsympathetic tardiness of fate. Djuna, hand me my snuff! …

Ellery Queen was no more the fatalist than he was the determinist, or pragmatist, or realist. His sole compromise with
isms
and
ologies
was an implicit belief in the gospel of the intellect, which has assumed many names and many endings through the history of thought. Here he swung wide of the fundamental professionalism of Inspector Queen. He despised the institution of police informers as beneath the dignity of original thinking; he pooh-poohed police methods of detection with their clumsy limitations—the limitations of any rule-plagued organization. “I’m one with Kant at least to this extent,” he liked to say, “that pure reason is the highest good of the human hodge-podge. For what one mind can conceive another mind can fathom …”

This was his philosophy in its simplest terms. He was very near to abandoning his faith during the investigation of Abigail Doorn’s murder. Perhaps for the first time in his sharply uncompromising intellectual career, doubt assailed him. Not doubt of his philosophy, which had proved itself many times over in former cases, but doubt of his mental capacity to unravel what another mind had conceived. Of course he was an egoist—“bobbing my head vigorously with Descartes and Fichte,” he used to remark … but for once in the extraordinary labyrinth of events surrounding the Doorn case he had overlooked fate, that troublesome trespasser on the private property of self-determination.

Crime was on his mind that raw blue Monday morning in January, 192-, as he strode down a quiet street in the East Sixties. Heavy black ulster bundled about him, fedora pulled low over his forehead shading the cold gleam of his
pince-nez
glasses, stick cracking against the frosty pavement, he made for a low-slung group of buildings clustered solidly on the next block.

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