The Elwell Enigma

The Elwell Enigma

The Elwell Enigma, Rick Geary’s Kickstarted graphic novel, is exactly what I expected, fitting in nicely with his previous murder stories. The differences are minimal, although noticeable if you’re looking for them:

  • This book is slimmer, 48 pages instead of 80 or so.
  • It’s a self-covered hardcover, without a dust jacket.
  • The paper stock is thinner, although nice and white.
  • When examined very closely, the lettering is a little bit fuzzy. (I only noticed because I was reading the book without my glasses, and I’m very near-sighted, so I had to get really close to it.)

The Elwell Enigma

I compared with a copy of The Saga of the Bloody Benders, although I probably should have used one of the XXth Century Murder books, since the story in The Elwell Enigma took place in 1920.

Joseph Elwell was a noted bridge expert found shot one morning in his home. Geary’s eye for detail is on clear display in the telling of his last hours, with a map of Manhattan and several room layout diagrams. His thin-line style is well-suited, as always, to a historical tale.

As with many other of his murder stories, the ending is ambiguous. Geary seems to like the cases where there are open questions. Most often it’s “who did it?”, but sometimes it’s “why would they?” (As, for example, with The Beast of Chicago, the story of H.H. Holmes’ multiple murders.) Here, the short length isn’t obvious to the reader, since there’s not much to say about what happened beyond what Geary presents.

In lieu of finding new ways to say, “It’s as good as Geary’s other books,” I’ll share a curiosity. I inherited from my grandmother a copy of Elwell’s book, Elwell on Bridge, dated 1906. I’ve never read it, but it has lovely gilded page edges, and I am reminded fondly of playing bridge with her when I see it.

Elwell on Bridge

The Elwell Enigma can be purchased from Rick Geary’s website for $12 plus shipping.

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