Ellery Queen has an important place in the world of US crime fiction, but is less well-known in the UK. The empire of the detective, the writers, the magazine, and the radio & TV series, is too complex to go into here, but is a good read on Wikipedia. The key fact is that the ‘author’ (really two people) has the same name as the investigator.
This is Queen’s very last book (one of the two writers died that year) and is a weird combo of traditional 1930s clueing, plotting and goings-on in the library, and an attempt to be very 1960s. The setup is very old-fashioned – Ellery-the-writer ‘helps out’ his Dad, Inspector Queen the policeman, in the investigation, and that isn’t something you expect to find in a 1971 book. Virginia is married to a horrible, rich, much older man, but is having an affair with Peter. The solution didn’t surprise me much. But it was an easy read, with its strange attempt at a swinging atmosphere, and it was mercifully short.
Pozzuoli seems to be an invented designer, and a muumuu (not a term found in the UK) is a large shapeless dress or robe rather like a kaftan. It is a bit disappointing that the mysterious stain on the front of her coat is not a clue.
With thanks, yet again, to Margot.