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Queen’s Bureau of Investigation is now open for business – and in each department of this new enterprise Ellery finds ample opportunity to exercise the brilliant, ingenious, and at times startling talents of his crime-laboratory mind. For to the bureau come some of the most plaguy cases in Queen’s career, including: 
“The Three Widows” – of whom two were wealthy Theodore Hood’s daughters and one his widow, all caught in a murder that Ellery reluctantly relegated to the Impossible Crime Department.
 “The Myna Birds” – the story of old Mrs. Andrus, whose bequest of a million dollars to thirty-eight observant and talkative birds sets off a chain of violent events leading straight to the Embezzlement Department – and the only bird-detective on record!
 “A Question of Honor” – a matter of considerable international delicacy, involving indiscreet letters, a Shakespearean scholar from Scotland Yard, and a crime at once assigned to the Suicide Department.
And numerous other criminals, crimes, follies and felonies find their way to the bailiwicks of the Q.B.I. From the files of the Buried Treasure Department comes “Miser’s Gold”; from the Narcotics Department, “The Black Ledger”; from the Kidnapping Department, “Child Missing!”; - and many others. In each and every case, Ellery Queen demonstrates the powers that make him unique among detectives.”

To: The Reader
The Queen's Bureau of Investigation
In the closely guarded record room of the Q.B.I. is a top-secret file marked Special. This file contains the most unusual cases I have ever worked on- cases that are memorable because of an unusual clue, a unique criminal, a surprising situation or a shocking crime. From these special cases of murder, blackmail, kidnapping and narcotics, I have chosen eighteen that posed the most mystifying problems I have ever encountered.

All short stories, except were noted, are © 1949 to 1954. All are copyright to the United Newspaper Magazine Corporation and were apparently published in This Week.

“‘With one exception the tales are just longer than a short-short story, but each is ingenious and as a lot they are agreeably various.” James Sandoe  The Herald Tribune

“Personally, I find them too brief for comfort —pared down to little more than statement- and-answer of (in most cases) a not exactly startling gimmick, But they’re neat and professional, and often colorfully amusing in what background the brevity permits. Anthony Boucher  New York Times

“Most of them are of the extremely brief type that turns upon a single point—a transatlantic phrase, a victim’s unfinished scrawl, an enigmatic physical clue. Each of these is exploited to its fullest by Ellery himself, in a fine exhibition of masterminding, Particularly engaging are the yarns labeled ‘Holdup Dept.’ and ‘Buried Treasure Dept.’ Fine for a quick pick-up.”  L. G. Offord  San Francisco Chronicle
Queens Bureau of Investigation - dust cover Little, Brown, Book Club Edition, 1955 (Jacket design J. V. Morris)Queens Bureau of Investigation - hardcover Little, Brown edition, Book Club edition, 1955Queens Bureau of Investigation - dust cover Gollanz edition, London, 1955 (1st)
Above left to right:  dust and hardcover for the Little, Brown edition BCE; dust cover for Gollancz edition (1955). (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
Evening Star, Washington D.C. June 19. 1955

"In 18 new and reprinted short stories, Queen runs the gamut of criminal lore - from suicide that wasn't to the impossible crime. There's murder, kidnapping, embezzlement and robbery, all stripped down to the bare essentials of the plot. Most are devious, a few obvious. An uneven collection but with some surprises."

The little stories collected in Q.B.I. show EQ's storytelling ability. Some of them involve very clever puzzle plots by any standards, such as "My Queer Dean!" and "Snowball in July". But even in minor pieces like "Cold Money", the reading is surprisingly satisfying. (Michael E.Grost)

In "Cold Money", the bad guy keeps renting Room 913 of a hotel; as Francis M. Nevins pointed out, this recalls a similar situation in Cornell Woolrich's The Room With Something Wrong (1938), which also involves mystery in Room 913. The house dick of the hotel plays a major role in both tales, as well. This is clearly a homage to Woolrich and one of his best stories. One suspects that EQ has added little homage’s and in jokes to many of his works, playful references to other mystery writers' stories; maybe they are as numerous as Alfred Hitchcock's cameo appearances in his movies.

In EQ, there is a situation, then some event occurs, and one is in a logical variation of that situation, and then another event takes place leading to a logical variation of the preceding, and so on. Even little pieces that are not triumphs of puzzle plotting can show this kind of unfolding in EQ. Maybe that is why many of EQ's short pieces are so much fun. EQ's radio play "The Adventure of the Mark of Cain" is a good example of this. Its use of a kind of logical analysis of a situation through progressive plotting is especially striking.

Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book N° 1118, 1956Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Pan Books PAN G484, 1961Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Books N° 50488, 1965 (4th)Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Mayflower Books Ltd. N° 112218, 1968Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Signet 451-T5428, April 1973 (1st - with at least 10 printings)
Queens Bureau of Investigation - cover pocket book edition, Signet 451-Y7695, 1973Q.B.I. - cover Road, July 28, 2015Q.B.I. - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Traber Burns, December 2015

The stories in Q.B.I. deal more with the underworld than is typical of EQ. The stories move very fast and are quite compressed. Often this is done by humorously invoking clichés of underworld stories, films, and news accounts. The invocation is often done with wit and clever phrasing. Events are often more synopsized than dramatized, usually considered a second rate approach, but one that works beautifully here, partly due to EQ's skill with "le mot juste". This allows tremendously complex stories to be told in a small space. Even the detection often gets ingeniously summarized." (Michael E.Grost)

"The Yellow Ledger" aka "Ellery Queen's Greatest Case" a radio script broadcast on 12-17-42 or 12-19-42 was adapted "The Black Ledger" and collected here after originally being published in This Week.

Many of the tales focus not on murder, but on crimes such as robbery or impersonation. Three stories of 1951, "Driver's Seat", "Double Your Money", and "The Gambler's Club", all deal with ingenious swindles. "Double Your Money", and "Money Talks" (1950) portray poor, ethnic, working people in New York City, whereas "The Robber of Wrightsville" (1953) shows class conflict in the "typical" American town of Wrightsville. This is one of the most left wing of EQ's tales. Most of Q.B.I. strives for relative sociological realism. There is little overt surrealism, although the disappearances in "Double Your Money" (1951) and "Snowball in July" (1952) have their moments of magical strangeness. This realism might not have been entirely a matter of EQ's personal preference. By the 1950's, when these tales were published, Golden Age flamboyance was considered old-fashioned by most mystery critics. Realism was regarded as the most important trait of a detective story, and EQ obliged here. The series probably was modeled on William MacHarg's1  The Affairs of O'Malley (collected 1940), which is a similar series of brief tales set against authentic New York City backgrounds, with "ordinary people" as characters. Some of MacHarg's tales, such as "Broadway Murder" and "Murder Makes it Worse", include swindles as well as murder, although EQ's approach to swindles is far more mathematical than MacHarg's.

1 MacHarg, William (Briggs)  (U.S. journalist and mystery writer, 1872-1951)  His major contribution to crime fiction was The Achievements of Luther Trant (1910), written in collaboration with Edwin Balmer. Thirty years after the cerebral Trant book, MacHarg approached the hard-boiled school with The Affairs of O'Malley, a collection of short stories about a cop who isn't as dumb as he says he is.
Northport Journal, New York  January 6. 1955 - "Mainly about BOOKS" by John Coyle

"There is no question that the status of the detective story today would not be in the respectable category that it is if two gentlemen by the names of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee weren’t around. Of course, their reading public does not know them as such but ‘under the name of Ellery Queen, pseudonym, as well known in other countries of the world as it is here in America.
It is good news that Ellery Queen (as we shall call Dannay-Lee) have written another book. It is QUEEN'S BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (228 pp. Little, Brown, $3). Here are eighteen stories of deduction as slick and well done as any to be found anywhere. Mr. Queen is up to his usual tricks of letting the reader in on all of the facts and then pulling the rug out from under his feet so that the end of the story finds the reader kicking himself for not seeing the obvious solution. The word obvious is used for after reading any Queen case one is always forced to agree that the solution is obvious for with the facts presented there could be no other ending than the one revealed. The only trouble is that the deductive powers of Ellery Queen and his inspector father are not average whereas those of the reader usually are. It is a disadvantage for the reader but not an unfair one.

Almost quarter of century ago 'The Roman Hat Mystery' was published. This was the case which introduced Ellery to since admiring public. The fact that this story stands up today and is not dated: in style or presentation is tribute to the writing and plot construction. How many other so-called detective stories of that period are still about? Very few. But to get back to 'Queen’s Bureau of Investigation,' it wouldn't be fair to go into the stories themselves, for the giveaway is better left to the radio show than the detective story. But couple of stories especially stand out in retrospect. There is one called 'A Lump of Sugar' that looked as near to being impossible of solution of any in the book. In another the killer is caught because the right sleeve of the raincoat was wet and the left one dry. In 'The Three Widows' the reader is again out-faxed and by such common everyday object that he will wonder why he never thought of it.

Actually though, it is the full length mystery novel where Ellery Queen's deductive powers are put to the strongest test and the results are wonderfully frustrating to the reader. Once in Very great while. such as in “Halfway House' the solution is arrived at before the end of the book and for weeks after there is smug feeling of satisfaction in our own deductive powers. But 'The Greek Coffin Mystery,' 'The American Gun Mystery,' and 'The Dutch Shoe Mystery,' to mention a few of the forty odd books published under the name of Queen, threw us for a loss when it came to wrapping up the loose ends and arriving at a logical solution.

That we are prejudiced we cheerfully admit, when it comes to the Ellery Queen case histories. But one thing we are willing to do. We are willing to recommend 'Queens’ Bureau of Investigation' to those who DON'T like mysteries. It is almost sure bet that after reading this collection of stories that they will become the rabid fans we are and will be looking for the next Queen book."


Bureau de Recherches - cover French edition Un Mystere N°242  1955Ellery Queen E L'Accusato - cover Italian edition, Il Giallo Di Epoca, N°1346, July 21. 1976Agenzia investigativa di Ellery Queen - Italian cover ed.Mondadori, series 'Il raconti di Ellery Queen' N° 4, 1984Agência de investigações - cover Portuguese edition, Minerva, N°82Oficina de investigación de Queen - cover Spanish edition, Molino, coleccion selecciones de Biblioteca Oro, 1949Золотой 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), 1992
БЮРО РАССЛЕДОВАНИЙ КВИНА - Cover Russian edition, 2007 (also includes The Tragedy of Z.)Queen's Bureau of Investigation - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing (full cover)Queen's Bureau of Investigation - Cover Japanese edition, Nan'un-do,  Tokyo Queen's Bureau of Investigation - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, April 1. 2012Queen's Bureau of Investigation - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, April 1. 2012퀸 수사국(Queen's Bureau of Investigation) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, Ellery Queen Collection, Jan 25 2016

Q.B.I.: Queen's Bureau of Investigation Translations:
French: Bureau de recherches 
Italian: Agenzia investigativa di Ellery Queen 
(aka Ellery Queen E L'Accusato) 
Japanese: kui-nkensatsukyoku 
Korean: 퀸 수사국 
Portuguese: Agência de investigações 
Место за рулем "Driver's Seat" 
Spanish: Oficina de investigación de Queen 

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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The Lady Couldn't Explain Jon Mathewson
(2) Reading Ellery Queen - Miser's Gold Jon Mathewson
(3) Reading Ellery Queen - Money Talks Jon Mathewson
(4) Reading Ellery Queen - The Three Widows Jon Mathewson
(5) Reading Ellery Queen - The Vanishing Wizard Jon Mathewson
(6) Reading Ellery Queen - Kidnaped Jon Mathewson
(7) Reading Ellery Queen - Lady You're Dead Jon Mathewson
(8) Reading Ellery Queen - Cold Money Jon Mathewson
(9) Reading Ellery Queen - The Mysterious Black Ledger Jon Mathewson
(10) Reading Ellery Queen - My Queer Dean! Jon Mathewson
(11) Reading Ellery Queen - The Phantom Train Jon Mathewson
(12) Reading Ellery Queen - The Myrna Bird Mystery Jon Mathewson
(13) Reading Ellery Queen - The Accused Jon Mathewson
(14) Reading Ellery Queen - A Question of Honor Jon Mathewson
(15) Reading Ellery Queen - A Matter of Seconds Jon Mathewson
(16) Reading Ellery Queen - G.I. Story Jon Mathewson
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