• Dead Man's Tale

  • By: Ellery Queen
  • Narrated by: Mark Peckham
  • Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

When Barney Street, the fixer, was in Holland in World War II, his life had been saved by a German soldier.

Now Barney is dead and his two million dollar estate is left entirely to the soldier who saved him, Milo Hacha. But that fortune comes with a death sentence, for Barney's widow, Estelle, won't rest until she gets back everything that is rightfully hers.

She sends Steve Longacre, once one of Barney's boys, to Europe to find Hacha, trailing him from Holland to Switzerland, to Vienna, and finally to Prague. Longacre has Hacha on the run, fleeing love, money, and a velvet-lined coffin...

©1961 Ellery Queen. Renewed by Ellery Queen (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Not the deception I was expecting.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not really. It wasn't wasted, since I listen at work, but if I'd known certain things going in, I wouldn't have bothered with this one. It's not an Ellery Queen Mystery. It's an "Ellery Queen" spy thriller.By that I mean, it wasn't written by the same people who did the original Ellery Queen stories. It was written by someone else who was writing under the Ellery Queen house name. Several Authors did this, but they wrote mysteries as far as I know. This was not a mystery. There were twists and intrigue, but nothing of whodunit kind.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I can't say any made much of impression. There weren't really any good guys. Everyone was a criminal in some form. If pressed, I'd go with Theresa, who was at least true to her specific moral weaknesses.

What about Mark Peckham’s performance did you like?

He gave a good performance. There wasn't a lot of variation in many of the characters, but that was true for the print version of them as well.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It depends. This was a spy thriller set in Europe. If I saw a trailer for a new Sherlock Holmes movie but got to the theater and found it was really a Victorian version of "The Bourne Identity," I'd probably be miffed. If I went in expecting the Victorian Era Bourne, then it would have been pretty good.Ellery Queen's name on the cover carries a certain expectation. Be it the early works with the challenge to the reader, or the later stories where he goes off to Hollywood or up to Wrightsville, an Ellery Queen book is a mystery above all else.Except this one.

Any additional comments?

I tried to grade the story on it's own merit, but may have been a little harsh. I spent so long waiting for the mystery to develop that I got a little snotty when it didn't. It's not a bad story if you're into stories about hit men darting back and forth across the Iron Curtain on a job to makes sure someone reported to be dead really is. I'm really not.