Monday, September 10, 2012

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter Q

This week in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme, the Letter Q is up. For the rules one may visit Kerrie's website at Mysteries in Paradise to view the rules and other contributions. This week I will profile the classic Ellery Queen.

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Q is for Ellery Queen

Ellery Queen is both a fictional character and a pseudonym used by two American cousins from New York, Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay (October 20, 1905 – September 3, 1982) and Manford Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee (January 11, 1905 – April 3, 1971). The fictional Ellery Queen created by Dannay and Lee as a mystery writer and amateur detective who help his father, a New York City police inspector, solve baffling murders.  They were also responsible for co-founding and directing Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, generally considered one of the most influential English Language crime fiction magazines of all time. The fictional Ellery Queen was the hero of more than 30 novels and several short story collections written by Dannay and Lee and published under the Ellery Queen pseudonym. They allowed the Ellery Queen name to be used as a house name for a number of novels written by other authors, as paperback originals, and not featuring Ellery Queen as a character. Ellery Queen was created in 1928 when Dannay and Lee entered a writing contest sponsored by McClure's Magazine for the best first mystery novel. The Ellery Queen novels are examples of the classic whodunit mystery, textbook examples of what became known as the "Golden Age" of the mystery novel. Because the reader obtains clues in the same way as the protagonist detective, the book becomes an intellectually challenging puzzle.

  • The Roman Hat Mystery — 1929
  • The French Powder Mystery — 1930
  • The Dutch Shoe Mystery — 1931
  • The Greek Coffin Mystery — 1932
  • The Egyptian Cross Mystery — 1932
  • The American Gun Mystery — 1933
  • The Siamese Twin Mystery — 1933
  • The Chinese Orange Mystery — 1934
  • The Spanish Cape Mystery — 1935
  • The Lamp of God — 1935
  • Halfway House — 1936
  • The Door Between — 1937
  • The Devil to Pay — 1938
  • The Four of Hearts — 1938
  • The Dragon's Teeth (aka.The Virgin Heiresses) — 1939
  • Calamity Town — 1942
  • The Quick and the Dead — 1943
  • There Was an Old Woman — 1943
  • The Murderer is a Fox — 1945
  • Ten Days' Wonder — 1948
  • Cat of Many Tails — 1949
  • Double, Double — 1950
  • The Origin of Evil — 1951
  • The King is Dead — 1952
  • The Scarlet Letters — 1953
  • The Glass Village — 1954 (neither Ellery Queen nor Inspector Queen in book)
  • Inspector Queen's Own Case — 1956 (Inspector Queen only)
  • The Finishing Stroke — 1958
  • The Player on The Other Side — 1963 (ghost-written with Theodore Sturgeon)
  • …and on the Eighth Day… — 1964 (ghost-written with Avram Davidson)
  • The Fourth Side of The Triangle — 1965 (ghost-written with Avram Davidson)
  • A Study in Terror — 1966 (Movie tie-in)
  • Face to Face — 1967
  • The House of Brass — 1968 (ghost-written with Avram Davidson) (Sequel to Inspector Queen's Own Case with a minimal appearance by Ellery.)
  • Cop Out — 1969 (neither Ellery Queen nor Inspector Queen appear)
  • The Last Woman in His Life — 1970
  • A Fine and Private Place — 1971


  1. I've read some of their books but I have to read more. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Scott - An excellent choice! The "Queen team" contributed quite a lot to the genre and to me it's interesting how the character of Ellery Queen developed over the course of the novels. Nice overview here.

  3. I read a lot of Ellery Queen when I was young.

  4. Ellery Queen was a great favourite of mine in my teens and I still really enjoy them - it may be worth knowing that Dannay alone was responsible for the 'Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine'. The STUDY IN TERROR tie-in was partly ghosted by Paul Fairman. Also, in your bibliography you include THE LAMP OF GOD, which is a novella and not a novel, while THE QUICK AND THE DEAD is just an alternate title used for a paperback reprint of THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN. Also they published four mysteries featuring the Shakesperean actor 'Drury Lane', books originally published as by 'Barnaby Ross'. Of these the first two, THE TRAGEDY OF X and THE TRAGEDY OF Y, are particularly good.