of Crime (1952)
In the merry month of May,
Ellery Queen made a trek to Gettysburg to witness an annual celebration--and an annual
murder. February found the ingenious Ellery locked in a furious battle of wits with a dead
US President. Come September, America's top sleuth visits a far-out college
for a refresher course in the fine art of murder. And April's arrival asks
Ellery to solve a decade-old murder -from among a houseful of madman.
Herald, Jun 18,1950 abridged as "The President's Coin"; reprinted
in Adventure Magazine, 2/1959)
in True Adventures, 12/58
EQMM, 11/6 and Ellery Queen's Eye Witnesses, 1982)
Mystery" in EQMM, 12/65)
Comus" in EQMM 01/68)
the Master tends to repeat himself, but, all in all, this is as good a
bedside (or fireside) book as you could want for winter nights.
Incidentally, I am not quite clear how Mr.Queen comes to be carting an intrusive and tire-some young woman named Nikki Porter about in all these stories. I seem to remember that some 20 years ago, Mr. Queen had already acquired a wife and child. Is it too much to ask that the chronology be cleared up?" -- The Argus, Melbourne
top left to
dust and hardcover for Little, Brown &
dust cover for Gollancz edition (1952);
Top Below left to right: cover Pocket Book, cover Signet first and second printin; cover Penguin. (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
Note: "Unicorn Mystery Book Club News", Vol 4. N°6 contained a 2-page article on the "Unicorn Mystery Book Club News Selection" edition of "Calendar of Crime" (March, 1952). Unsure how that edition looked.
|The Herald, Melbourne "New Books
Reviewed" by A. R. McElwain,
June 21, 1952
"Ellery Queen has done more than any other practitioner to promote the student's interest in the short detection story.
His enthusiasm has also influenced a number of top writers to try the shorter form which, in this field, is generally admitted to be a much tougher proposition than the full length thesis.
Queen himself is, of course, a slick performer over both long and short courses. His 'Calendar of Crime' contains 12 of his own offerings — one for each month of the year, he explains, which is as good an excuse as any for running up an anthology.
There are no classic cases among this latest Queen collection. But all the stories are facile examples of the master's style, depending for their solutions on sudden intuition rather than a studied approach to clues (if any), and each having a neat twist in the tail.
Queen, as ever, has on hand his old father, Inspector Queen, of the New York Police Department, and his secretary, Nikki, an attractive wench with a positive genius for glamorizing even the dullest crime."
|The radio plays and Calendar include a new character, Ellery Queen's secretary and gal Friday, Nikki Porter. She only shows up here and in a few novels, such as the excellent The Scarlet Letters (1953), but she seems an important part of the Ellery Queen saga. These "typical" American detective short stories give a typical portrait of EQ as a detective. He is helpful, responsive, flexible, with a full support team of Nikki, the Inspector, Sgt. Velie, and so on. He is open minded, intelligent, investigatory, exhaustive in his searches, fertile in coming up with new ideas, and deductive in his solutions (Michael E.Grost)|
Janus, the god of two faces, and a college alumni class introduce Ellery to a secret society ...
Especially satisfying as a work of storytelling. The whole tontine insurance/ last survivor policy at the heart of "The Inner Circle" would also provide the basis for the radio story "The Last Man Club" which can be found in The Adventure of the Murdered Moths and Other Radio Plays (2005)
Ellery wrestles with the ghost of a President of the United States to solve a buried coin mystery ...
Many of EQ's previous stories had elaborate quasi-historical backgrounds, based in a family history, or an earlier crime. In "The President's Half Disme" (1946), EQ takes the plunge into fiction involving actual historical characters, solving a mystery involving George Washington. As part of EQMM's 80th-year anniversary celebration this year (2021), they offered this seasonally appropriate history-laden mystery as podcast (click EQMM icon to hear it).
|Above: "Look, Mister, either someone dug that stuff up a hundred years ago or the whole yarn's a Saturday night whopper." illustration in The Sunday Herald, Jun 18. 1950|
A stolen income-tax form, a kleptomaniac, a bookie, and an artist become the ingredients of a murder ...
Ellery unravels an old crime with the help of the Roman Emperor, Caligula, and a pair of dice ...
A battle-scarred bugle and three Civil War Veterans almost baffle Ellery ...
Here we find a last survivor theme which could well be based on Death Points a Finger (1933) by Will Levinrew. Queen's three Civil War veterans have a yearly ritual at Memorial Day and a last-survivor-takes-all scheme of themselves. In Levinsrew's story there's a reunion of fourteen Civil War veterans, the last members of a group of two hundred and thirty seven Confederate and a few Union soldiers. This group is held together and gathers every Fourth of July by a Tontine insurance policy, giving the last surviving members the pot, and after more than sixty years that amounts to several million dollars. (11/20/13 - "A Union of Rivals" - Tom Cat)
The goddess Juno, shades of the Borgias, and a modern Helen of Troy play havoc with a June wedding ...
first three covers on the left are covers for audio books
Dercum Audio "July-December"; "January-June" and "July-December"
(Click on the covers to
see the differences) *
Note: There is also a Dercum audio edition called "The Inner Circle and Other Mysteries" (audiocassettes), July 1986. unsure how it looked.
A stone gargoyle, falling from a gloomy Gothic like tower, nearly causes sudden death ...
In the moonstone month, Ellery hunts for buried treasure ...
in True Adventures, 12/58 The pirate tale "The Needle's Eye" (1951) has an island setting, just like "Portrait", but otherwise it seems far more similar in its detailed enjoyable storytelling to "The Treasure Hunt" (1935).
A Missouri professor, interested in Edgar Allan Poe, leads Ellery to a frightening conclusion ...
The story mentions Anthony Abbot, G.K. Chesterton, Doyle, Poe, and Israel Zangwill. It also is EQ's take on an R. Austin Freeman style plot. Like several stories in Calendar of Crime, it has elements of parody of standard mystery approaches. Like "The Inner Circle" (1947) and "The African Traveller" (1934), it has a University setting, something that always results in sophisticated wit and satire in EQ's work.
A Halloween party turns out to be more grim than expected ...
in EQMM, 11/65 and Ellery Queen's Eye Witnesses, 1982) "The Dead Cat" (1946) is not a great mystery plot, but it does have an intriguing background of a crime committed in near darkness, reminiscent of "The House of Darkness" (1935) and "The Adventure of the Mouse's Blood" (1946). The last is a radio play with some good storytelling, and a sports milieu like the Paula Paris stories of 1939. Its mystery plot recalls Melville Davisson Post's "The Straw Man".
Ellery and Nikki deliver Thanksgiving baskets to the needy and discover a dangerous secret ...
The famous jewel thief, Comus, nearly outwits Ellery in a Christmas mystery of dolls, danger and deception ...
|During the 1940's EQ wrote a large number of radio plays. Several of these were later converted into prose works and collected in Calendar of Crime. Among the best of these works are the radio play "The Man Who Could Double the Size of Diamonds" (1943) and the Calendar story "The Dauphin's Doll". These works are both about seemingly impossible jewel robberies, and share a distinct family resemblance. Although they did not specialize in impossible crimes, many members of the Van Dine school occasionally wrote about them, starting with Van Dine himself.|
|The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney
"Reviews in Brief" by J.J.Q.,
August 2, 1952
"The 'Calendar' displays astonishing freshness of invention when the authors' many-volumed production is considered. The non-lethal problems are as good as those involving murder. In
one case, Inspector Queen scores over his son, but in the others, Ellery produces solutions while his father, his pleasant secretary, Nikki Porter, and Sergeant Velie, appear as querulous, admiring or bewildered Watsons."
Other articles on this book
(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The Ides of Michael Magoon Jon Mathewson
(2) Reading Ellery Queen - The President's Half-Disme Jon Mathewson
(3) Reading Ellery Queen - The Inner Circle Jon Mathewson
(4) Reading Ellery Queen - The Telltale Bottle Jon Mathewson
(5) Reading Ellery Queen - The Dead Cat Jon Mathewson
(6) Reading Ellery Queen - The Three R's Jon Mathewson
(7) Reading Ellery Queen - The Dauphin's Doll Jon Mathewson
(8) Reading Ellery Queen - The Needle's Eye Jon Mathewson
(9) Reading Ellery Queen - The Fallen Angel Jon Mathewson
(10) Reading Ellery Queen - The Medical Finger Jon Mathewson
(11) Reading Ellery Queen - As Simple as ABC Jon Mathewson
(12) Reading Ellery Queen - The Emperor's Dice Jon Mathewson
(14) Mysteries, short and sweet Christian Henriksson (Feb 22. 2018)
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