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This Week August 14 1960

Once again, a dying clue, and only a few paragraphs in This Week to figure out if a curvy three is a 3, an M, a W, or something more bizarre. Of course, it is the more obscure notation for the small Greek letter Omega, the last, or 24th letter of that alphabet, which everyone has on the tip of their conscious thoughts. The deceased had just 23 visitors sign the admittance register to access his secure tower that week, so the number 24 can only refer to the last visitor, the one who did not sign in, because he did not need to sign in. Breathlessly told in just a few paragraphs, which also include a possible love triangle and Cold War intrigue. Phew!

The highlight quote of the story gets to the very notion of the absurd dying clue:

” “Agon’s left a clue to his murderer’s identity.”

The General grunted at such outlandish notions. “Why couldn’t he have just written the name?”

“The classic objection. The classic reply to which is that the he was afraid his killer might come back, notice it, and destroy it,” Ellery said unhappily, “which I’ll admit has never really satisfied me.” He was scowling at the symbol in great puzzlement.”

As with the Phoenician alphabet in The Finishing Stroke, nearly everything I know about the Greek alphabet I learned from Ellery Queen!

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