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Locked-Room Murder: The Mandarin Mystery (1936)

Written by Kami at Classic Couple

A blonde beauty arrives from China to the port in New York City having arranged to sell a one-of-a-kind Chinese postage stamp to a well-known collector. Before disembarking she encounters mystery writer Ellery Queen who, smitten with her, makes her business his business.

As Queen woos Miss Josephine Temple, he digs into her plans to sell the so-named Mandarin stamp to collector Dr. Alexander Kirk. Dr. Kirk plans to pay $50,000 for the stamp as part of his investment portfolio to provide for his two young wards.

Such a spectacular rarity attracts the attention of a thief, and the stamp is soon stolen from Miss Temple’s hotel room.

Note before reading on—contains plot spoilers...

Worse still, the suspected thief is found, without the stamp in his possession, murdered in a locked room. When the police are called in, Ellery Queen’s father Inspector Queen leads the investigation.

Father and son quickly clash on who’s in charge of the investigation as mystery writer Ellery cannot help but try to solve the crimes. Fervently believing in the innocence of Miss Temple who is now a suspect, the son sets out to solve the crimes himself, maneuvering around his father and his team of police officers. As the investigation heats up, relationships between the suspects begin to fracture and soon another locked room murder takes place.

To read the rest of Kami's review, click here!

Be sure to head over to to catch the 1936 film, "The Mandarin Mystery."


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