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On a dark, gloom-filled night, two things happened on Spanish Cape, a headland of sheer rock on the North Atlantic seaboard. Rosa Godfrey and her uncle, David Kummer, were kidnapped by a grotesque, one-eyed giant; and John Marco, Rosa's handsome gigolo, was found dead on the terrace. The only clue: an opera cape wrapped around Marco's dead, naked body.
Memo from Ellery Queen
Subject: The Case of the Naked Gigolo
1. Why was John Marco at Spanish Cape?
  Women? Money? Vacation?
2. Why did everyone hate him?
  His good looks? Blackmail?
3. Who killed John Marco?
4. Why was his corpse completely naked?
The were the questions Ellery Queen asked when he found John Marco's body. At first, the  answers seemed simple. But Queen soon realized that no case in his brilliant career had  prepared him for the shocking events that followed this horrible murder!
John Marco, handsome despoiler of women, is found murdered on the beach of Spanish Cape. This  piece of land and rock juts out into the Atlantic like some sleeping monster. It is owned by an  eccentric millionaire, Walter Godfrey. At the time of Marco's death a number of ill-assorted  people are visiting at Spanish Cape. Marco seemed to have some kind of an evil hold over these  desperate women. But strangely enough, of all the people gathered there, his was the only face  that did not wear the tense mask of dread.
When Marco's body was discovered, he was sitting naked in a chair on the beach. His corpse was  completely naked with the exception of a long opera cape draped about him. Fortunately, Ellery  Queen was vacationing nearby.
     The Spanish Cape Mystery contains an ingenious solution. The strange facts about the corpse's nakedness parallels the book's predecessor, The Chinese Orange Mystery, and its reversal of everything about its corpse and crime scene. The solution also shows EQ's admirable use of logic: once EQ figures out the method of the murder, he can deduce from it the identity of the murderer, in a way that seems paradigmatic for the use of deduction in the mystery. The Spanish Cape Mystery shares a family resemblance in its plotting to The Roman Hat Mystery (1929), The African Traveler (1934), parts of The Devil to Pay (1938), and Mind Over Matter (1939). However, the solution is fairly simple, the plot is not especially complex, and the body of the book is way over long for the substance of the plot. The whole thing would be much better as a short story.
     The book shows EQ's ability to create a natural landscape, and integrate it into a story. It seems unusual for EQ, after the urban setting and delightful floor plans of so much of his fiction. The Treasure Hunt (1935) of the same year also has a dramatic, isolated natural location. Such lonely buildings in inaccessible settings are a tradition in 1930's mysteries. Several were made into movies, and the lonely mansion near the sea on a dark and stormy night is a staple of the 1930's Hollywood whodunit.

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Author(s) Book :Ellery Queen
Publish Year :1970 Publisher :
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