|nd on the Eighth Day
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 time...so 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.
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....
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