ELLERY QUEEN – The Four of Hearts. Stokes, hardcover, 1938. Pocket Books #245, paperback, 1943. Reprinted many times, including as one of the three novels in the omnibus volume The Hollywood Murders (J. B. Lippincott, hardcover, 1951).

   The producer, not quite as eccentric as previously pictured (*) puts Ellery to work on a screenplay of the life stories of a famous actress and as equally famous actor. When they decide to patch up their feud which kept them apart for thirty years and finally marry, they are poisoned during their honeymoon flight. Ellery tried to keep the son and daughter apart but fails. The murderer plunges to his death as he tries to stop their wedding too.

   An interesting interpretation of Hollywood types, and not only includes the two wild Hollywood weddings, but the double funeral is also extravagantly Hollywood. Ellery falls in love with Paula Paris, a columnist who will not leave her home, but who is able to provide him with clues to solve the case.

   Good detection, a nicely complicated plot [with lots of detection and, even more, fun to read] – one of EQ’s best.

Rating: *****

–Nov-Dec 1967

(*) I assume but am not sure that this refers to the same producer Ellery worked for in The Devil to Pay, the previous “Hollywood” mystery and reviewed here.