| Study in Terror (1966)
Queen and Sherlock Holmes-Undisputed masters of analytical deduction - their talents and
methods strikingly, almost uncannily, alike. Through the strange interlocking of events
past and present, two celebrated detectives meet to focus their razor-sharp intellects,
their brilliant powers of observation on the mystery of... Jack the Ripper. History's most
depraved murderer, his victims were the whores of Whitechapel. Lurking in narrow,
fog-shrouded alleys, he crept forth night after night to murder and mutilate. Eluding
Scotland Yard's most heroic efforts to track him down, the Ripper continued to satisfy his
unnatural appetites, unrestrained and unidentified!
Frederic Dannay and Derek Ford
(1933-1995) got the writing
credits for the movie
A Study in
Terror (aka Fog,
Conan Doyle never addressed the
problem of the Ripper in any of his Sherlock Holmes stories (despite many letters asking
him to do so), his followers have done it several times. Holmes appears in center stage in
Ellery Queen's A Study in Terror.
The story was
also published in Argosy
as The Adventure of the Surgeon's Kit.
The Holmes part of story of the movie was rewritten by Paul W. Fairman and then Ellery
Queen added a second solution that trumps the great Holmes! In
our 2002 interview Edward Hoch
stated that just prior to Face to Face, Lee collaborated with
Dannay on the framing sections of A Study in Terror added to Paul
W. Fairman's novelization of the film.
As such the novel is, in actuality, two novels in one. Ellery Queen (the character) is given an unpublished manuscript by a woman who asks that Ellery use his powers of deduction to clear the man Holmes names as the Ripper. The Watson manuscript is interwoven with Ellery's as he reads through the book. This evokes mixed feelings "..One reason why the book is so unsatisfactory is the denouement in which six of the principal characters are killed, murdered, or commit suicide in a little over four pages. One impales himself on his sword stick; four more are burned to death; and the sixth is stabbed by somebody pretending to be Jack the Ripper" (Rumbelow, Donald. Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook. Revised, 248).
Critics accused EQ of taking this job just for the money and based on both movie and book
we have to say the money seems well-spent, as it remains a clever, creative pastiche.
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