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4038233594_ed51dffa7d_bAnthony Abbot was the pseudonym of Charles Fulton Oursler(1893-1952) who wrote religious fiction under his given name. One of his religious works was THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD, with which I’m sure everyone is familiar. He used the pseudonym in a similar manner to Ellery Queen. Thatcher Colt’s assistant is Anthony “Tony” Abbot and the novel is told in first person style ala Sherlock Holmes with Abbot telling the story as he aids Colt in solving the mystery. It was made into a movie starring Adolphe Menjou, THE CIRCUS QUEEN MURDER, which I covered this past Tuesday for Todd Mason’s Overlooked Movies.

The circus was playing Madison Square Garden and Police Commissioner Thatcher Colt was there looking into some “accidents” that had befallen the troupe and led to one death. Some of the star acts had received letters warning them not to perform opening night, which happened to be Friday the Thirteenth. All the artists insisted they would go on anyway.

“The Queen of The Air,” Josie LaTour plunges to her death from the high rings and it doesn’t take Colt long to figure it’s murder.

The suspects are many. From the husband, family finances are tight and she has a big insurance policy, to the catcher in the act who has loved for years, since before she married her husband, to the rich man that owned majority interest in the circus and wanted her, she not him.

Then there’s the personal maid, a former well-to-do lady who was on the end of LaTour’s high temper more than once. As was her equipment manager.

Her husband’s ex-wife refused to acknowledge the divorce and hated LaTour.

And the Africans in the sideshow she had been known to beat occasionally.

Colt keeps dogging along checking out every clue. The district attorney is concentrating his efforts on the husband and his ex-wife, believing them to be the guilty parties to the exclusion of all other evidence.

Nice little mystery. About the title(pun intended). Abbot started all the early books with About to put it early in alphabetization on book shelves.

Todd Mason is doing the collecting this week for Friday’s Forgotten Books. So hop on over to SWEET FREEDOM and check them out.

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