Twist For Twist by Christianna Brand
Source: Ellery Queen’s Mystery Parade
Story Number: 85
From the introduction to this story by EQ: “Twist For Twist” featuring Inspector Cockrill, won the First Prize in the special 1966 short-story contest sponsored by Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine for members of Crime Writers Association of England. You will find this First Prize winner a twisting, turning, twisting story of “pure” detection in the grandest tradition of what John Dickson Carr has called “the grandest game in the world.” A fascinating cast of characters – a baffling murder committed right before your eyes – a detective on the spot (in both senses of the phrase) – a plot that will whirl you like a top, with ingenious theory piled on ingenious theory until the truth finally emerges – in an image, the “Golden Age” detective story in the seventies!…
“At certain times of the year, there are numerous males called the drones, which have very large eyes and whose only activity is to eat and to participate in the mass flight after the virgin queen. But only one of the hornets succeeds in the mating and he dies in the end,” quotes Harold Caxton to his fellow guests on the occasion of his second wedding. Nurse Elizabeth, who nursed the first wife of Caxton plays the role of the virgin queen where as three young men who are all smitten by Elizabeth play the roles of the drones to perfection. Before the dinner is over, Caxton is found dead of cyanide poisoning and Cockie unravels a very elaborate, deep-laid, long-thought-out, absolutely sure-fire plot of murder, and all of it conceived with utter cleverness and infinite patience!