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The House of Brass (1968)

Why did the last survivor of a wealthy family bring together six people whom he didn't know and had never seen? Why did he decide to make these perfect strangers his heirs? And where was old Hendrik's fortune hidden? Ellery Queen's latest adventure is a satirical murder-comedy of the turned-on sixties which combines hilarity with the deadly macabre, and, of course, the full Queen-quota of fair-and-square deduction and endless surprise.

"You are invited to a murder"

That was how the invitations should have read when aged millionaire Hendrik Brass sent out his messages to six oddly assorted men and women who knew neither him nor each other.
All arrived at the isolated Brass mansion, lured by the tantalizing promise of fabulous wealth. But from the moment the shining brass doors of the grotesquely constructed house swung shut behind them, they began to realize they had been enticed into playing parts in a monstrous joke...the joke of a twisted, brilliant mind...a joke whose punch line was murder.

House of Brass - coverHouse of Brass - cover New American LibraryPublished by The New American Libary, Inc.The House of Brass - coverThe House of Brass - cover Penguin First Edition published in 1971. Cover design by Goodwin/Sorrell.

Inside cover reads: The House of Brass stood in Sleepy Hollow-a squat, rambling structure of wayward ells sprouting a crop of mushroom chimney stacks. The original building was 16th-Century Dutch Colonial, shaded by crouching trees that still trembled-you could swear-from the hoof beats of the Headless Horseman. And the front door was of solid shimmering brass. To each of the invited guests Hendrik Brass's ancestral relic promised much; dreams come true, new riches...and with this, the first faint gnawing of an inexpressible fear. Why did the last survivor of a wealthy family bring together six people whom he didn't know and had never seen? And where was old Hendrik's fortune hidden?

Another IQ in retirement tale, and a direct sequel to "IQ's Own Case." Not that much plot, but there's a neat double twist and EQ has to come up with the real answer. Dad ties the knot with Jessie Sherwood.

Francis Nevins states Avram Davidson as the ghostwriter for this novel. While Henry Wessells
(Something Rich and Strange : The Writings of Avram Davidson, 1999) states that "Avram Davidson apparently considered writing a third Ellery Queen novel and began negotiations. But the book was ultimately written by Theodore Sturgeon." He goes on by mentioning a passing reference in a letter (
Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University) indicating that Avram looked at the outline for The House of Brass. Richard Dannay clarified the issue "There was a completed manuscript of his (Avram), based on my father’s extensive outline, at Columbia but it was rejected by Fred & Manny, who completed the outline themselves and published their own finished work."

The House of Brass - cover UK edition, 1968The House of Brass - cover audiobookThe House of Brass - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Mark Peckham, June 17, 2014The House of Brass - cover Road, August 4, 2015

De Maniak - Dutch cover
La maison aux etrangers - cover French edition Editions J'ai Lu, Paris, Nr.2192, 1987Bonze in Bronze - cover German edition Ullstein Krimi 1205, 1968.Und kann ich dein Erbe sein - German edition Und kann ich dein Erbe sein - Cover German edition ScherzUnd kann ich dein Erbe sein - German edition Scherz - Munchen, 1997
La febbre dell'otone - cover Italianse edition Mondadori, series Il Giallo Mondadori  Nr 1038, December 22.1968La febbre dell'otone - cover Italian edition Mondadori, series Il Classici del Giallo Mondadori Nr 546, 1987.La febbre dell'otone - cover Italian edition, Giallo Mondadori, N°1062, 2005La febbre dell'otone - cover Italian edition, Oscar Mondadori, April 2011La Casa de laton - cover Spanish edition, Editorial DianaA Casa dos Bronzes - cover Brazilian edition, Editora Nova Frontera

The House of Brass Translations:
Brazilian: A Casa dos Bronzes 
(aka A casa de latão)
Czech:  Mosadz je pasca
(aka Tajemstvi kovového domu)
Danish: Messing huset 
Dutch/Flemish: De maniak 
French:La maison aux étrangers 
German: Und kann ich nicht dein Erbe sein (aka Bonze in Bronze) 
aka Τό σπίτι τοῦ Μπράς 
Italian: La febbre dell’ottone 
Japanese: sincyuunoie 
Russian: Дом Брасса 
Spanisch: La Casa de latón 

A Casa dos Bronzes - cover Brazilian editionA Casa dos Bronzes - cover Brazilian edition, Editora Nova Fronteira, 1972A casa de latao - Cover Portuguese edition, Enigma Nr 142Messing huset - cover Danish edition, Lommeromanen, 1970Tajemstvi kovového domu - cover Czech edition, Omnia, 1973
Mosadz je pasca - Cover Czech edition, 1980Tajemstvi kovového domu - Czech edition, 2011, Naše vojskoΤΟ ΣΠΙΤΙ ΤΟΥ ΜΠΡΑΣ - Cover Greek edition, Viper, 1977Дом Брасса - Cover Russian edition, 2006 (also includes The Adventures of Ellery Queen)House of Brass - cover Japan

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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The House of Brass Jon Mathewson (May 2016)

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