The Chinese Orange Mystery (#1)

Next: The Dutch Shoe Mystery

Mandarin Press is a premier publishing house for foreign literature, but to those at the top of this enterprise, there is little more beautiful than a rare stamp. As Donald Kirk, publisher and philatelist, prepares his office for a banquet, an unfamiliar man comes to call. No one recognizes him, but Kirk’s staff is used to strange characters visiting their boss, so Kirk’s secretary asks him to wait in the anteroom. Within an hour, the mysterious visitor is dead on the floor, head bashed in with a fireplace poker, and everything in the anteroom has been quite literally turned upside down. 

The rug is backwards; the furniture is backwards; even the dead man’s clothes have been put on front-to-back. As debonair detective Ellery Queen pries into the secrets of Mandarin Press, every clue he finds is topsy-turvy. The great sleuth must tread lightly, for walking backwards is a surefire way to step off a cliff.


“If this creates a new audience for a genre giant, Penzler, editor of the American Mystery Classics series, will have done yet another service for whodunit lovers.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“After all these years, the unbridled ingenuity of its central puzzle has never been surpassed.”


“It would be extremely difficult to devise a more puzzling problem than the one that Ellery Queen solves in this story.”

New York Times

“Probably Ellery Queen’s most dazzling case.”

Washington Post

“As an anthologist, Ellery Queen is without peer, his taste unequalled. As a bibliographer and a collector of the detective short story, Queen is, again, a historical personage. Indeed, Ellery Queen clearly is, after Poe, the most important American in mystery fiction.”

Otto Penzler, Publisher of The Mysterious Press

“I’ll just say it right out–The Chinese Orange Mystery is the best Ellery Queen novel that I’ve read yet.”

My Reader’s Block

“The Chinese Orange Mystery is for my money one of the most completely successful of the early Ellery Queen mysteries. Very highly recommended.”

Vintage Pop Fictons

Awards & Accolades