MARTIN H. GREENBERG, Editor – Deadly Doings. Ivy, paperback original; 1st printing, 1989.

#6. ERIC AMBLER “The Case of the Emerald Sky.” Short story. Dr. Jan Czissar #2. First published in The Sketch, 10 July 1940. Reprinted in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, March 1945. Collected in The Waiting for Orders (Mysterious Press, hardcover, 1993; published in the UK as The Story So Far (Weidenfeld, hardcover, 1993) with one story addded).

   When Asst. Commissioner Mercer receives the following card, he at first refuses to see the man waiting in his outer office:

Late Prague Police

   Now in England, and apparently having plenty of time on his hands, Dr. Czissar has interfered with one of Scotland Yard’s investigations on one previous occasion. That Dr. Czissar was right and Scotland Yard was wrong did not go over well with Asst. Commissioner Mercer, and only a phone call from a superior convinces the letter to let the former in.

   There is no action whatsoever in this short concise tale. The two gentlemen discuss the death of a mean man by arsenic poisoning, and at length, after going through all of the various forms of arsenic and how they affect the human body, Dr. Czissar prevails. Scotland Yard was wrong again! Deservedly so. They did a very inadequate job of investigating.

   And sad to say, this is not a story I can recommend. It’s lifeless and worse than that, it depends far too greatly on esoteric medical knowledge that no amateur armchair detective in the world could be expected to know. I wish I could be more positive, but I can’t.


Previously in this Martin Greenberg anthology: WILLIAM CAMPBELL GAULT “Never Marry Murder.”

        The Dr. Jan Czissar series —

The Case of the Pinchbeck Locket. The Sketch, July 3 1940
The Case of the Emerald Sky. The Sketch, July 10 1940
The Case of the Cycling Chauffeur. The Sketch, July 17 1940; also as “A Bird in the Tree”.
The Case of the Overheated Service Flat. The Sketch, July 24 1940; also as “Case of the Overheated Flat”.
The Case of the Drunken Socrates. The Sketch, Julu 31 1940; also as “Case of the Landlady’s Brother”.
The Case of the Gentleman Poet. The Sketch, August 7 1940