, By Ellery Queen
I can recommend to the detective novels (that must not be confused with the mere adventure novel or those of international espionage, inevitably inhabited by sumptuous female spies that fall in love and secret documents) amateur this last book of Ellery Queen. I can say that meets the first requirements of the genre: statement of all the terms of the problem, economy of characters and resources, primacy of the how about the whom, necessary and wonderful solution, but not supernatural. (In detective stories, hypnotism, telepathic hallucinations, elixirs of evil operation, witches and warlocks, the real magic and recreational physics, are scams.) Ellery Queen plays with the supernatural, as Chesterton, but in a lawful way: it suggests it to make the mystery bigger in the problem statement, forgets it or denies it in the solution. In the history of the detective genre (dating from April 1841, the date of the publication of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe) Ellery Queen novels import a deviation, or a little progress. I refer to his art. The novelist often propose a vulgar clarification of the mystery and dazzle his readers with an ingenious solution. Ellery Queen proposes, like all the others , a not so interesting explanation, suggests (at last) a very beautiful solution, from which the reader falls in love with, refutes it and he discovers a third solution , which is the correct one: always less strange than the second, but entirely unpredictable and satisfying. Other great novels of Ellery Queen: The Egyptian Cross Mystery, the Dutch Shoe Mystery, The Siamese Twin Mystery
Golden age mystery writer, used as both a pen name for two authors and as the eponymous character.
For the television series featuring the character, see Ellery Queen
Books by (and/or) featuring Ellery Queen:Novels
Short Story Collections
- 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
- There Was an Old Woman AKA The Quick and the Dead 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
and on the Eighth Day
- The Fourth Side of The Triangle 1965
- A Study in Terror AKA Ellery Queen vs Jack The Ripper 1966
- Face to Face 1967
- The House of Brass 1968 (A 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
As Barnaby Ross
- The Adventures of Ellery Queen 1934
- The New Adventures of Ellery Queen 1940
- The Case Book of Ellery Queen 1945
- Calendar Of Crime 1952
- QBI: Queen's Bureau of Investigation 1955
- Queens Full 1966
- QED: Queen's Experiments In Detection 1968
- The Best Of Ellery Queen 1985 (includes "Wedding Anniversary", otherwise uncollected, and a complete list of Ellery Queen short stories)
- The Tragedy Of Errors 1999 (a previously unpublished synopsis written by Dannay, which was to be a Queen novel, plus all the previously uncollected short stories)
- The Adventure of the Murdered Moths and Other Radio Mysteries 2005
- The Tragedy Of X 1932
- The Tragedy Of Y 1932
- The Tragedy Of Z 1933
- Drury Lane's Last Case 1933
Tropes used by Ellery Queen:
- Asshole Victim: Particularly in the television adaptation, the victims often were involved in underhanded dealings, had some sinister secret or were revealed to treat others by anything other than the Golden Rule.
- Autopsy Snack Time: Doc Proutie has been known to do this.
- The Boxing Episode: "Mind Over Matter" and "A Matter of Seconds".
- Canon Immigrant: Ellery's secreatary Nikki Porter was originally created for the radio show, but went on to appear in two of the novels and several short stories.
- Character Name Alias: In The Origin of Evil, there is a character who calls himself Alfred Wallace. Recognising the connotations of the name (Wallace was a naturalist and contemporary of Darwin who independently proposed a theory of natural selection) is what starts Ellery down the path to the solution of the mystery.
- Christmas Episode: The Finishing Stroke
- Cigar Chomper: Sgt. Veelie
- Clear Their Name: In Calamity Town Ellery tries to help Patricia Wright clear her brother-in-law Jim Haight when he is accused of the attempted poisoning of his wife Nora and the Accidental Murder of his sister Rosemary. Not only does all available evidence work to convict Jim, but he flat out refuses to testify on his own behalf.
- Connect the Deaths: Averted in Cat of Many Tails; while the deaths are plotted on the map, the pattern is irrelevant.
- Corruption of a Minor: The Tragedy of Y
- Couldn't Find a Pen: In The Scarlet Letters, a dying man uses his own blood to write XY on a wall in an extremely cryptic Dying Clue.
- Cramming the Coffin: In The Greek Coffin Mystery, the Queens search a dead man's man coffin for a missing will, and find two bodies inside instead of one.
- Dead Man's Chest: What appears to have happened to the victim in "The Three Rs" in Calendar of Crime.
- Direct Line to the Author
- The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: At one point in The Tragedy of Y, the York family doctor lets amateur detective Drury Lane read the family medical history, specifically all the parts that talk about the positive Wasserman tests. The book never uses the word "syphilis". Not even when Lane gets access to those medical files by proving to the doctor that he already knew the York children had been born with the disease.
- Distaff Counterpart: Murder, She Wrote
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Ellery sometimes smokes one. It appears to be another of his affectations that comes and goes according to his mood.
- Driven to Suicide: Howard van Horn in Ten Days' Wonder.
- Dying Message: Many, many variations.
- Faked Kidnapping
- Finger-Licking Poison: The Three Widows had a victim being slowly poisoned even though everything she ate and drank was carefully screened beforehand. It turned out the would-be killer was her doctor and the poison was on the thermometer with which he took her temperature each day.
- Friend on the Force: Ellery's father, Inspector Richard Queen.
- Genteel Interbellum Setting: The novels started in this period.
- Iconic Item: Ellery's got pince-nez glasses in the early books. In the TV series he's always wearing or carrying a Bear Bryant fedora.
- Informed Flaw: Drury Lane's deafness.
- In Which a Trope Is Described: The Roman Hat Mystery
- Jack the Ripper: In A Study in Terror, Ellery reads a manuscript detailing Sherlock Holmes's battle of wits against Jack the Ripper.
- Jury Duty: The radio show had an episode where Ellery and his secretary Nikki both ended up on the same jury, and Ellery ended up solving the case and revealing the true killer who was also in the courtroom.
- Kangaroo Court: The Glass Village
- Leave Behind a Pistol: Ellery does this with the murderer at the end of Ten Days' Wonder.
- Let Off by the Detective: The Finishing Stroke
- Lights Off, Somebody Dies: Happens during a game of Murder in the Dark in the short story "The Dead Cat" in Calendar of Crime. The fact that the murderer was able to commit the crime in a pitch black room is what clues Ellery in to the solution.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: In a foreword to The Roman Hat Mystery, the Fictional "J. J. McC." explains that Ellery and Inspector Richard Queen are pseudonyms picked out by the real man who inspired Ellery, and further that the "real" Ellery is married. Subsequent books drop the roman ΰ clef conceit, and Ellery remains a bachelor throughout the series. The reason for the discrepancy is probably that this novel was written for a whodunit contest, and Dannay and Lee rethought some things when they chose to continue the series.
- Locked Room Mystery: Several including The King is Dead.
- The Chinese Orange Mystery is a locked room mystery with exceedingly weird clues, including the fact that the murder victim is found with his clothes on backwards.
- Lost Will And Testament: The Greek Coffin Mystery starts when Ellery and his father Inspector Richard Queen are called in to locate the missing will of a wealthy art collector. Ellery narrows down the possible location of the will to a single location: the dead man's coffin. When it is exhumed, however, it contains no will but the surprising addition of a strangled ex-convict.
- Murphy's Bed: Not the murder method, but in The French Powder Mystery the body is hidden in a Murphy Bed that was part of a department store window display. When the demonstrator got to "see how easy this is to open?", the corpse popped out.
- Mystery Writer Detective
- Never Suicide: In The Greek Coffin Mystery, the second solution involves a "suicide" not meant to convince the reader.
- Pass Fail: The "One-Drop Rule" gets blackmailer Monte Field killed in The Roman Hat Mystery.
- Phantom Thief: Comus in "The Dauphin's Doll" in Calendar of Crime.
- Ponzi: Used in one of the short stories in the collection QBI - Queen's Bureau of Investigation.
- Serial Killer: Cat of Many Tails
- Serial Killings, Specific Target
- Significant Anagram:
- The Fourth Side of the Triangle / Too Many Suspects: The victim named her clothing lines after her boyfriends.
- Ten Days' Wonder: Salmonia (Mona Lisa) and H. H. Waye (Yahweh)
- The Blue Movie Murders: The director used an anagram of his real name.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Ellery breaks up two weddings at that line because one of the parties is a murderer. One of them is Face to Face.
- Spinning Paper: Used in the TV series.
- The Summation: A staple of both the novels and the TV series.
- Ten Paces and Turn: There Was An Old Woman
- Theme Serial Killer:
- In Ten Day's Wonder, the theme was :the Ten Commandments.
- Double, Double used :the children's rhyme Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggarman, Thief.
- Tontine: Last Man To Die.
- And "The Inner Circle" in Calendar of Crime.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: In Ten Days' Wonder, Howard Van Horn suffers blackouts. He will wake up days or weeks later with no idea where he is or what he has done in the meantime.