Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mom in The Spring - James Yaffe

Story: Mom in The Spring
Author: James Yaffe
Source: The Quintessence of Ellery Queen
Story Number: 63
This modern version of the armchair detective story is as impressive as the old traditional ones of Christie and Boucher and Orczy. Meticulously plotted, ingenious building up of the puzzle, fairly presented clues, thought provoking questions posed by Mom to her son who is presenting the case to her over dinner, Mom’s supreme capability of reading between the lines and unraveling of the puzzle plot with her deep insight into the human nature to reveal an entirely different aspect to the case which was hitherto camouflaged – all add up for a most interesting read. This story was my first introduction to James Yaffe and the Crippen and Landru collection My Mother, The Detective is high on my TBR pile – if I can find a decently priced copy!
David and Shirley are trying to play matchmakers for Mom and they have come to dinner with the most eligible bachelor in the Homicide Squad – Inspector Millner. During the course of the meal, David recounts the current case he and the Inspector are working on, a case where the police were fully warned. Mr. and Mrs. Winters approach the police with a story that somebody is out to kill their lonely and rich aunt. The aunt has been answering the lonely hearts advertisements and in the course of time has got one admirer in Keith – whom the Winters’ loath as they think that Keith will be instrumental in depriving them of their aunt’s inheritance.
When the old lady is found dead with a photo of a conman under her pillow, it doesn’t take long for the police to trace him and arrest him. But Mom believes that they have got the wrong person – she asks four questions and based on the answers to those 4 questions, she is able to tie up all loose ends in a most emphatic manner and direct them in the right direction to apprehend the guilty party.

1 comment:

  1. James Yaffe's big distinction is that he had his first story published in EQMM when he was a teenager. I've read some of his very early stories in 1940s issues of EQMM. They remind me of the kind of solve it yourself mystery I read in the Encyclopedia Brown books of my youth. Never read one of these Mom stories though they sound like they are probably of the same ilk.