Blue Book October 1939The third of the Ellery Queen sports mystery short stories, with special guest Paula Paris, takes place at a New York City boxing match. Certainly better than the previous entry in the series, it still is not one of the cousins’ better pieces. Perhaps they were too caught up in writing weekly radio scripts for The Adventures of Ellery Queen to dedicate themselves to short stories which paid less and reached smaller audiences.

Having said that, one paragraph does stand out as remarkable for its insight and imagery:

“The crowd was so dense it overflowed into the adjoining shower-room. There were empty bottles on the floor and near the shower-room window, pushed into a corner, five men were shooting craps with enormous sobriety.”

The image of Ellery, obsessing over his stolen coat, also adds some humor to the situation. Throughout the story, Ellery wanders around the crime scene looking for his stolen coat, informing the police that not only has a murdered occurred, but someone had stolen bios coat, as well. Of course, it turns out the two are connected.

The title, incidentally, comes from Ellery impressing Paula with his mind, as opposed to the “matter” of the boxer’s muscles, or, for using brain over brawn.

2 thoughts on “Mind Over Matter (1939)

  1. Long ago, someone christened this famous Sherlock Holmes exchange as the “Sherlockismus”: “I call your attention to the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” “the dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That was the curious incident.”

    “Mind Over Matter” contains the “Elleryismus”: “In fact, I’m glad my coat was stolen.” “Why, Ellery?” “Because now I have to go looking for it.”

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