Based on the radio episode “Kidnaped,” (May 9, 1943), published as “Kidnaped,” (This Week, July 8, 1951) and as “Kidnaping Dept: Child Missing,” in QBI (1954), this one of the few This Week stories to be based on one of the old radio shows, and the improved quality comes through. However, it is yet another lover’s triangle story, with three suspects, and, thinking outside the box, Ellery finds the fourth, and guilty, suspect.
The story opens with one more of the cousin’s bizarre food references:
The Billy Harper kidnaping case-in Sergeant Thomas Velie’s quaint linguistic goulash-took the cake for kicking the form sheet in the brisket.
Difficult to parse, and what do they mean by “form sheet?”
The defining clue in this one is so obvious, and so out of place, that I marked it to make note that the cousins had made a glaring error. Turned out not to be the case, they had instead dropped a garish, flashing neon clue!