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There are several indications that Queen meant for this to be his last book featuring writer and detective Ellery Queen. For one, there's the title. And the story harkens back to the very first Queen mystery, The Roman Hat Mystery. And in the story, EQ is having a hard time coming up with a book, thinking that 30 novels is enough for any author. Luckily, there were several Queen novels that followed this, many of them very, very good. The Finishing Stroke is essentially a Christmas mystery taking place over three time periods. It begins in 1905 and describes the events leading up to the birth of John Sebastian. The bulk of the story takes place over the holiday period of 1929 / 1930 and is the mystery concerning the 12 nights of Christmas and the sinister presents given to John along with cryptic messages meant to indicate his death on 12th Night. Skip 27 years into the future to where Ellery is given the Sebastian file and remembers the events and correctly solves the crime. We're even given the old Challenge to the Reader one last time, although good luck solving this one!
I enjoyed this book. I was shocked a couple of times when the bad language went too far but the overall story was very good.