Slaying of Joseph Bowne Elwell

Slaying of Joseph Bowne Elwell

2 (3 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

List price: US$14.83

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks

Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 142.24 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 40ill.
  • 024554481X
  • 9780245544811

Review Text

A real-life whodunit harkening back almost seven decades to the famed, unsolved murder of dandy Elwell in his Manhattan pad in 1920. Goodman, who has made a career out of similar cases (The Killing of Julia Wallace, 1976; Who He? Goodman's Dictionary of the Unknown Famous, 1984), even attempts an Ellery Queen-style finish, claiming to solve the 68-year-old mystery. Elwell was a high-society character whose true calling in life was high-stakes gambling, particularly in the game of bridge (he wrote several of the period's most well-respected bridge manuals). He was also one of the era's prolific playboys, a sideline that garnered him a fair share of potential enemies among cuckolded husbands. At Elwell's residence on West 70th Street, such luminaries of the day as William Barnes, Harold Vanderbilt, and banker Walter Lewisohn were among the feted. But when, on the morning of June 11, 1920, Elwell's housekeeper reported for duty, she discovered the sad result of her employer's extravagant life - Elwell sitting upright in his chair, a bullet hole in his forehead. The case became the murder case of the decade - but despite mounds of publicity, no one was ever brought to trial. Goodman, inspite of his claim to have solved the crime at long last, fails to satisfy. The best he can conjure is: "Joseph Bowne Elwell was slain by, or in obedience to the order of, Walter Lewisohn. That is my firm belief." Goodman's explanation, however, is full of conjecture and innuendo against long-since deceased participants. It hinges on the assumption that Lewisohn became crazed with the notion that Elwell was enticing the lovely Leonara Hughes away from him. Lewisohn was, indeed, committed to an asylum two years later. Goodman's conclusion can only remain a supposition in a case that is still important largely as the seedbed for the detective novels of both S.S. Van Dine and Ellery Queen, who realized that the popular taste for such urban mysteries could be tapped in fiction. Still, this is a sure-fire hit for inveterate sleuthaholics. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

3 ratings
2 out of 5 stars
5 0% (0)
4 0% (0)
3 33% (1)
2 33% (1)
1 33% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X