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And on the Eighth Day (1964)

It's April 1944 and Ellery Queen has been working for the military making films in Hollywood. Driving through Death Valley on his way home, his car breaks down. Stumbling over a rise in the desert, he encounters an odd man who seems to come from an earlier time, and is welcomed into his community as a sort of prophet. Queen must root out a growing corruption while operating within the limits of an alien world and comes to the realization that evil can invade the most guarded of people's hearts and societies.

Dorothy B. Hughes in Book Week: The most unusual mystery in memory and perhaps in filled with legitimate mystery fiction excitement that it is an edge-of-the-chair, can't-put-it-down reading experience. Ellery Queen takes a wrong turn on the great southwestern desert and finds a hidden valley, populated by a strange religious group. Take it from there yourself, for the book is not one to be divulged in bits and pieces; it is a tremendous whole.

The Old Man of the Mountain

It was the last thing that Ellery Queen ever expected to encounter. He was on his way from Los Angeles to New York. He took a wrong turn. Suddenly there it was, a figure standing on the cliff above him.
It was a man -- an old man dressed in a hooded brown robe. In one hand he carried a crooked staff, in the other a curiously shaped instrument, something like a trumpet. As Ellery got out of the Duesenberg and walked toward him, the old man turned his gaunt profile and jutting beard.
"The Word be with you."
And thus began one of the most curious adventures that has ever befallen Ellery Queen.

An On the Eighth Day - dustcover, Random House, 1964 first editionAnd on the Eighth Day - cover Random House, 1964 first editionAnd On the Eighth Day - coverAnd On the Eighth Day - cover Gollancz, 1964And On the Eighth Day - cover Random House, 1979And On the Eighth Day - cover Random House, 1979
And On the Eighth Day - cover Ballantine 24552, August 1975.And On the Eighth Day - coverAnd On the Eighth Day - Audio coverAnd On the Eight Day - cover eBook edition Road, February 5, 2013
And On the Eight Day - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Mark Peckham, June 2014

Ghost-written by Avram Davidson from a 66 page long Dannay outline, extensively revised both by Dannay and Lee. The result is one of the more  unusual novels bearing the Ellery Queen name, and evidence of Davidson's style can be seen throughout. A novel like And on the Eighth Day lends itself to more than one interpretation--as detective novel, as religious allegory, as social novel, and as utopian novel. Dannay stated that he conceived this book after reading about the Dead Sea Scrolls and noting their parallels to the Gospels. "Queen's religious themes remind us that popular, escapist fiction can be meaningful while it entertains and his writings merit a revival and serious reassessment" (S.T.Karnick). Atmosphere and pace are emphasized more than plot and story. The final you will have seen before, but it's a clever, well-hidden variant. The plot in Queen stories always has been paramount and to say the nephews had nothing to do with this book is clearly wrong. I do not comprehend the persistent disbelieve concerning authorship of some Queen-novels. "Ellery Queen" is a partnership and And on the Eighth Day was a three-man-enterprise. Davidson should be given his due credit herein. Dannay's hand in the plot is proved by use of the recurrent Easter theme in several Queen novels.

Dannay always paid great attention to the form of his novels and it is this characteristic which betrays the hand of the master....

Spoiler WarningHidden message - You could hold a flame behind the screen to see if the lemon juice shows it's true color. Selecting the text (pointing & dragging or ctrl+A) is even easier...

In this book Ellery goes back 20 years in a strange community led by a Master. Someone named Storicai is murdered, and the Master himself dies on a Friday only to rise again on Sunday April 9. 1944... yes, an Easter Sunday completely in tune with the theme of the resurrection.
This is not the only book where Dannay/Lee had hidden "Easter dates" it also has a lot of Easter Eggs:

     *  Storicai is an anagram of Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed his Master.
     * This books consists of eight chapters (the days of "the good week")
     * The Master is helped by a Council of Twelve...
     * The Master bought his book April 8. 1939 (Easter Saturday)
     * The pilots' name: Manuel..."...And they shall call his name Emmanuel"
         referring to the text in Isaiah (7:14) "Behold, the virgin shall be with Child,
         and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel" which is
         translated "God with us." 
     * There is reference to "thirty pieces of silver", ...

It also mingles elements of Easter with characteristics of an in origin Jewish community who worship a Holy book. This book appears to be, no less than, Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Hitler is born on April 20 1889, ... an Easter Saturday. Dannay was born on October 20 which in the "circle of the year" is the exact opposite to April 20. Dannay was born as Daniel Nathan, into a family of Polish-Jewish origins. In the Jewish calendar October 20. 1905 corresponds to 21 tishri 5666, the day of Hosha'ana Rabba, 7th day of the 8 days of the Soukkot. This Eighth day is identified with the day of Dead and Resurrection: on this day the reading of the Jewish Holy book, the Tora, is ended and restarted from the beginning.
In the previous novel  The Player on the Other Side  Dannay places Ellery against a strange criminal who identifies with the "day of the Jews" and with a certain Nathaniel (Daniel Nathan?), born on 20 April (Hitler!)1924, an Easter Sunday as Ellery clearly indicated. 

(based upon "Les Queen maudits" Rémi Schulz 

Spoiler WarningFollowing a discussion in March 2002 in a readers forum Dale C. Andrews tried his hand at writing a "new" form of pastiche. It provides an epilogue to an existing story. Dale has been so kind allowing me to put it here


En op de Achtste Dag - coverEn op de Achtste Dag - coverEn op de Achtste Dag - dutch cover Prisma-Detective nr.521Et le huitième jour... - Cover French edition, translation by Jean-Paul Gratias, Collection Red Label, Editions PAC, 1978 (despite stating 1979 the price was for the 1978 edition)Et le huitième jour... - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, Paris, Nr.1560, 1983Et le huitième jour... - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, November 01. 1995Et le huitième jour... - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, April 18. 1997
Mord im Paradies - cover German edition Ullstein KrimiE l'ottavo giorno - cover Italian edition...E l'ottavo giorno - cover Italian editionOch på åttonde dagen... - cover Swedish edition, Bonniers, 1966Och på åttonde dagen... - cover Swedish edition, Albert Bonniers, 2001.E No Oitavo Dia - cover Portuguese edition, Coleção Mistério nº12, April 1981Um Crime No Paraiso - cover Portuguese edition, Collecao Vampiro, Livros Do Brasil, Lisboa, 1992

  And On the Eighth Day Translations
Dutch/Flemish: En op de achtste dag 
French: Et le huitième jour 
German: Mord im Paradis 
Italian: E l'ottavo giorno 
Japanese: Dai-Hachi No Hi 
Portuguese: E No Oitavo Dia 
(aka Um Crime No Paraiso)
Spanish: Y en el Octavo Dia ... 
Och på åttonde dagen ... 

Y en el Octavo Dia ... - cover Spanish edition, DianaИ НА ВОСЬМОЙ ДЕНЬ - Cover Russian Edition, 2006 (Also includes Inspector Queen's Own Case)On the Eight Day - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing (full cover)On the Eight Day - cover Taiwanese edition, November 20. 1997On the Eight Day - cover Taiwanese edition, New Star Press, December 6. 2006On the Eight Day - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, October 2012On the Eight Day - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, October 2012

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Other articles on this book

Reading Ellery Queen - And On The Eighth Day Jon Mathewson (Apr 2016)
(2) The Grandest Game in the World Nick Fuller (Aug 30. 2021)
(3) crossexaminingcrime armchairreviewer (Jan 26. 2018)
(4) Recurring Bafflement Wesley Osam (Dec 19. 2015)
(5) The Passing Tramp Curtis J. Evans (Jul 14. 2014)
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