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Ellery Queen challenges you to solve these clues to death. A thin envelope--worth a man's life. A shattered display case--whose stolen contents a thief replaced with a strange manuscript. The murder symbol: 3HS wM-...the queer cipher found to be an old mark of death. These are but a few of tPatience Thumm in art work from the "Toronto Star Weekly" dated Sunday November 16, 1946.he baffling signs Drury Lane follows down a path of deception and murder to one of the most startling climaxes in mystery fiction!
Cornered! The roadster screeched to a halt. A Cadillac was blocking the road. Suddenly a masked figure leaped from the big car, a gun in its hand. Patience Thumm screamed, then struggled to open her car door. But the gun came down sharply on her knuckles. "Give me the letter," the masked figure commanded.

When Inspector Thumm was given a thousand dollars to guard a letter, he thought that someone was playing a practical joke. But when a masked stranger threatened his daughter, the inspector knew he had been handed a case loaded with intrigue and death.

Above right: Patience Thumm in art work from the Toronto Star Weekly dated Sunday November 16, 1946.

"A highly original and fascinating story, full of exciting episodes, with a delightful love affair and some excellent scholarship thrown in for good measure."  -- Elizabeth C. Moore, The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

"They should have left open a little lane for a comeback."
--
 W.C. Rogers, The Niagara Falls Gazette.
 
Drury Lane's Last Case - dust cover edition, Viking Press, 1933Drury Lane's Last Case - hard cover edition, Viking Press, 1933Drury Lane's Last Case - dust cover edition, Grosset & DunlapDrury Lane's Last Case - hard cover edition, Grosset & DunlapDrury Lane's Last Case - dust cover edition, Little, Brown & co. , March 1946Drury Lane's Last Case - hard cover edition, Little, Brown & co., March 1946
Above left to right: Both dust cover and hard cover for Viking Press, Grosset & Dunlap and Little, Brown & co. (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
 
Schenectady Gazette, "The Literary Guide Post" by John Selby, September 26. 1933

"NEW YORK — Even more than plausibility, a mystery tale should have suavity; It Is meant to amuse, not instruct, and a slick surface is far to be preferred to verisimilitude.  But when one may also have plausibility within reason and the pleasant concomitant of logic well developed, he is doubly lucky.
Barnaby Ross, who continues to hide his face behind a mask even though there is no need therefore, has again done a mystery that conforms to the foregoing specifications, and perhaps betters them. This time the tale is called 'Drury Lane's Last Case,' and how ever charming the reader may have found that deaf old actor, he probably will feel relief that Drury is finished off while he still is interesting, and not left to drag through a long series of books, each progressively less interesting than its predecessor. This time, also, the mystery goes far back into history —back to Shakespeare, indeed. William himself is a figure, in the only way possible after this lapse of years; there also is a group of elderly Indiana school teachers in a motor bus, a mysterious gentleman, in a violently colored beard who is not at all who you think he is, and heaven only knows how many others of more or less portent in the story. It would be dastardly to betray much of the plot; the mysterious Mr. Ross has quite outdone himself, be it remarked, and has managed in particular to take his mystery outside the channel in which most others flow. There is a curious paper having to do with the reputation of one long-dead gentleman and the fate of another. The paper becomes tangled in the threads of a modern plot. People become tangled in the threads as well, and the result is in doubt up to the last part of the last chapter.
And if someone says this all sounds very Barnaby Ross-like, all one can answer is that it is."
 
 
Drury Lane's Last Case - cover pocket book edition, PocketBook #669, December 1949 (art by Bernard Safran)Drury Lane's Last Case - cover pocket book edition, Avon  #488, 1952Drury Lane's Last Case - cover pocket book edition, Avon T184, 1957Drury Lane's Last Case - cover pocket book edition, Avon T381, ca 1962Drury Lane's Last Case - cover pocket book edition, Popular Library,  SP386, 1965Drury Lane's Last Case - cover edition, International Polygonics, Ltd., 1986-1987 (art by Quay
Reverting to a third-person narrative, possibly the most intriguing and gripping plotline of the series, full of surprise twists, reverses, and inexplicable events. Although a key clue is "Mystery League" - N°1 October 1933.dropped rather unsubtly but nobody in the story picks up on it until long after the reader catches on. There are loose ends and unexplained developments here and there that never do get dealt with. And the "startling" identity of the murderer, in the back of the alert reader's mind from the first chapter, becomes less and less startling as the story proceeds. It's a tricky matter to the solution logically rather than through mere guesswork, and the logical clues are all there to be read. EQ's writing is here at a peak--the notion that characterization and emotion in his early work were shortchanged is neatly demolished by this tome. Great climax!

Above right: Mystery League - N°1 October 1933.
Drury Lane's Last Case - dust cover English edition, Cassell (UK, Australia), first edition, 1933.Drury Lane's Last Case - cover English edition, Cassell (UK, Australia), first edition, 1933.Drury Lane's Last Case - cover English edition, Cassell (UK, Australia), first edition, 1933.Drury Lane's Last Case - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Mark Peckham, October 1, 2014Drury Lane's Last Case - cover MysteriousPress.com/Open Road (July 28, 2015)
 
New York Evening Post, "Post Mortem" by Norman Klein, 1933

"What a pity. Folks, you've got to write, telegraph or telephone Barnaby Ross and scold him. No more Lane, that noble old Shakespearean?
Eh-hu. .. . At any rate, morbid ones, fill your bosom with heartbeats and let spasms quiver on the back of your neck while you read this, 'the tragedy of 1599.'
Scene: Mostly around New York. Plot: zigzag. Suspense: Gloriously sustained. The crime: You see it as you read. A honey: Honey-haired Patience Thumm."

 


Een Spelletje Patience - dutch coverEen Spelletje Patience - dutch coverLa Dernière Affaire du Drury Lane - cover French edition Gallimard, Détective n°44, 1935Drury Lanes letzter Fall - cover German edition Ullstein KrimiDrury Lanes letzter Fall - cover German edition, SM-Bücher, Sigbert Mohn Verlag, Gütersloh, 1960Cala la tela - cover Italian edition I Gialli Mondadori, nr. 163, 1952.Cala la tela - cover Italian edition, reprint I Capolavori dei Gialli, Arnoldo Mondadori editore Nr.57, Dec 26 1956
Cala la tela - cover Italian edition Il Classici del Giallo, 1971Cala la tela - cover Italian edition, editions Mondadori, series  Il Classici del Giallo N°612, 1990L'Ultimo Caso di Drury Lane - Cover Italian edition, 2014Drury Lane Abandona La Escena - cover Spanish edition, Nr. 147 Libreria Hachette, Buenos Aires, 1947, ArgentinaEl último caso de Drury Lane - Cover Spanish edition, 1980El último caso de Drury Lane - Cover Spanish edition El Païs, 2004El último caso de Drury Lane - Cover Spanish edition, Madrid, October 2005

Drury Lane's last case Translations: 
Chinese:哲瑞.雷恩的最後探案  
Danish: Drury Lanes sidste sag  
(aka Bogen der dræbte) 
Dutch/Flemish: Een spelletje patience 
French: La Dernière Affaire du Drury Lane 
German: Drury Lanes letzter Fall 
Hebrew: האיש שגנב את שקספיר 
Indonesian: Djasa Terachir (aka Tugas Terkhir) 
Italian: Cala la tela 
(AKA L'Ultimo Caso di Drury Lane)
 
Japanese: レーン最後の事件 (dorurii.reiensaigonojiken) 
Korean: 최후의 비극 
Russian: Последнее дело Друри Лейна 
aka Тень Шекспира 
Portuguese: A última tragédia 
Spanish: El último caso de Drury Lane 
(aka Drury Lane Abandona La Escena) 
Vietnamese: Bi kịch cuối cùng 

A última tragédia - cover Portuguese editionBogen der dræbte - Cover Danish edition, Lommeromanenהאיש שגנב את שקספיר - Cover Israelian edition, 1965Золотой фонд детектива Том 9 Чандлер - cover Russian edition, issue of a 20 part compilation of detectives, Raymond Chandler's "The Little Sister" and "Trouble is My Business", Ellery Queen's "Inspector Queen's Own Case" (Расследует инспектор Куин), "Drury Lane's Last Case" (Тень Шекспира) & from "Queen's Bureau of Investigation" "Driver's Seat" (Место за рулем), 1992Тайна египетского креста - cover Russian compilation, contains "The Egyptian Cross" (Тайна египетского креста) & "Drury Lane's Last Case" (Последнее дело Друри Лейна), in the series "Foreign detectives of the twentieth century" by publisher Igor, AzBuki, 1993.Последнее дело Друри Лейна - cover Russian compilation, includes "Drury Lane's Last Case" (Последнее дело Друри Лейна"), "Cop Out" (Я больше не коп) & "The Last Man Club" (Клуб оставшихся) and "The Murdered Millionaire" (Убийство миллионера), publisher Centrograph (Центрполиграф), 2007.
Djasa Terachir - cover Indonesian edition, A DetektipTugas Terkhir - cover Indonesian editionDrury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Ogihara Hosibunkan, 1936Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket Mystery Book, Jan 15. 1957Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, November 13. 1959Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, 1957 (?)
Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, March 25. 1960Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Obunsha editions, April 1965Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Tokyo Sogensha, 80sDrury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Bunko, 1983 (re-issued May 5. 2011)Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing, March 1996
Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Bunko, September 23. 2011Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Japanese edition, e-Book edition, December 19. 2012Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Taiwanese edition, Face Press, September 1. 1995哲瑞.雷恩的最後探案 - Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Taiwanese edition, 1995The Tragedy of Z, Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Chinese edition, Masses Press, October 2000
Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, 2009Drury Lane's Last Case - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, Jan 2017Bi kịch cuối cùng - cover Vietnamese edition of  'Drury Lane's Last Case", Văn học editions, 2016최후의 비극(Drury Lane's Last Case) - cover Korean edition,  시그마 북스 (Sigma Books), Feb 1. 1994최후의 비극(Drury Lane's Last Case) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, The Ellery Queen Collection, 2013


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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - Drury Lane's Last Case Jon Mathewson (Jan 2014)
(2) A Battle of Bibliophiles Ho-Ling (Feb 2016)
(3) The Tragedy of Zzzzzzz Brad Friedman (Oct 23. 2018)
 
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