|he Adventures of Ellery Queen
That is what Ellery Queen has been
called, and from tens of thousands of Queen fans, readers, and radio listeners, comes a
roar of approval. Here are eleven of the slick, tricky young investigator's most
amazing adventures, each one an appetizing snack for the gourmet at the table of thrills,
- "The African Traveler" (original story)
- "The Hanging Acrobat" (Mystery, 5/34 as "The Girl on the
- "The One Penny Black" (Great Detective Stories, 4/33)
- "The Bearded Lady" (Mystery, 8/34 as
"The Sinister Beard")
- "The Three Lame Men" (Mystery, 4/34)
- "The Invisible Lover" (Mystery, 9/34 as "Four Men Loved a
- "The Teakwood Case" (Mystery, 5/33 as "The Affair of the
- "The Two-Headed Dog" (Mystery,
- "The Glass-Domed Clock" (Mystery
- "The Seven Black Cats" (Mystery, 10/34 as "The Black Cats Vanished")
- "The Mad Tea-Party" (Redbook, 10/34)
All titles begin with "The Adventure of...." Short stories originally
appeared in Redbook, Mystery, Great Detective Stories, and Mystery
Although a series of short-stories still an intro by JJMcC is provided.
EQ's early short stories (1933 - 1935) are notable for the
substance and complexity of their plots. EQ's first short story, "The One Penny
Black" (1933) and "The Glass Domed Clock"
(1933), share some common
features. Both deal with dealers in precious objects (stamps and gems, respectively), and
form a portrait of the world of collectors, anticipating The Chinese Orange Mystery. Both have an
ethnic character, the first from Germany, the second from Czarist Russia. Both have a plot
two levels deep, where Ellery unearths first a main plot, and then another behind it. The
first story is weaker; the second is a gem that starts EQ's interest in dying messages. The early stories shows signs of influence from Morley's The Haunted Bookshop
(1919) and Doyle's "The
"The Teakwood Case"
(1933) is a quintessential early EQ, investigate a situation
puzzler. It adopts the same approach as such novels as
The French Powder Mystery
Ellery learns more, then deduces some more, then gets deeper in
precipitating more things happening, followed by more deductions... The chain of
deductions ultimately becomes very satisfying. The story also shows
EQ's interest in
Two-Headed Dog" (1934)
is a combination puzzle plot and
"Nancy Drew type" adventure story (ghost and treasure at sinister cabin). The mystery
solution is unveiled at the end, Agatha
Christie style, without the sort of intermediate deductions of "The Teakwood
Case". This story is quite entertaining, with good New England atmosphere, and its
solution is fairly clever.
"The Hanging Acrobat"
(1934) is poor,
aside from some vaudeville lore; it reads as if EQ were trying to add some spice to his
tales to increase their sale ability, an experiment he did not repeat, although he came
close with the perversity of "The Bleeding Portrait"
(1937). Some of the best
tales in the collection are the last.
"The Seven Black Cats"
(1934) is very
clever. "The Mad Tea Party"
(1934) is a classic of misdirection. EQ picked it as
his best short story; after Agatha
Christie's "The Affair at the Bungalow", it is the subtlest and most
deceptive of all detective short stories. It was made into a superb and faithful TV show,
as an episode of the 1975
Ellery Queen TV