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Calendar 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. These are but two of the 12 appointments with crime that make up Queen's baffling calendar of conundrums. Each elegant enigma ticks off all the surprise and excitement that have made Queen the dean of American detective fiction.

  • "The Inner Circle" (EQMM, 1/47)
  • "The President's Half Disme" (EQMM, 2/47; reprinted in The Sunday
    ,  Jun 18,1950 abridged as "The President's Coin"; reprinted in
    Adventure Magazine, 2/1959)
  • "The Ides of Michael Magoon" (EQMM, 3/47 and reprinted as
    "Filled in for Murder" in
    Adventure Magazine, 6/1959)
  • "The Emperor's Dice" (EQMM, 4/51)
  • "The Gettysburg Bugle" (EQMM, 5/51, as "As Simple as ABC")
  • "The Medical Finger" (EQMM, 6/51)
  • "The Fallen Angel" (EQMM, 7/51)
  • "The Needle's Eye" (EQMM, 8/51) as "Death is my business"
      in True Adventures, 12/58
  • "The Three R's" (EQMM, 9/46)
  • "The Dead Cat" (EQMM, 10/46 as "The Halloween Mystery" in EQMM, 11/65  
    and Ellery Queen's Eye Witnesses, 1982)
  • "The Telltale Bottle" (EQMM, 11/46 as "The Thanksgiving Day Mystery" in
    , 12/65)
  • "The Dauphin's Doll" (EQMM, 12/48 as "With the Compliments of Comus" in EQMM 01/68)

All of the above titles begin with "The Adventure of..." and were published first in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine before being collected into this compilation volume.

Calendar of Crime - coverCalendar of Crime - cover Little & Brown co,Book club edition, 1952.Calendar of Crime - cover Audiobook July - December gelezen door Ray MontecalvoCalendar of Crime - Victor Gollancz,1952 First UK edition

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.

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.

"The Three R's" (1946) 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.

"The Inner Circle" is 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)

But it's in "The Gettysburg Bugle" 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)

Pocket Book, 1957Calendar of Crime - coverCalendar of Crime - cover Penguin books, Penguin Fiction-Crime Green Paperback Book No 3518, 1972Calendar of Crime - Cover Road  (July 28, 2015)Calendar of Crime - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Traber Burns, December 1. 2015

"The Medical Finger" (1951) refers to Frederick Irving Anderson's The Notorious Sophie Lang. It is one of the last and least of EQ's minimalist poisoning tales and features the same sort of perverse personal relations as "The Bleeding Portrait" (1937). 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). "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".

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 EQ 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

Private eyes and Raymond Chandler are memorably satirized in the opening of "The Ides of Michael Magoon" (1947).  (Michael E.Grost)

Calendrier du Crime - cover French publication, Un Mystère N° 110, 1952Calendrier du crime - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, April 18. 1997Die verräterische Flasche - cover German edition Blau-Gelb Kriminalroman 32, 1959. Translation Heinz Friedrich Kliem. Der verhängnisvolle Ring - Cover German edition, Signum Verlag, Gütersloh, Humanitas-Verlag Zürich, 1963Il calendario del delitto - cover Italian edition, GarzantiIl calendario del delitto - cover Italian edition, Mondadori N°3, 1984
Il calendario del delitto - cover Italian edition, N° 1277, I Giallo Mondadori Classici, 2011La Bambola Del Delfino - cover Italian edition, Interlinea, November 2004Calendario del Crimen - cover Spanish edition, Hachette, 1953Календарь преступлений - Cover Russian edition, 2006 (Includes Lamp of God from the New Adventures from Ellery Queen)Calendar of Crime - cover Japanese editionCalendar of Crime - cover Japanese edition

Calendar of Crime Translations: 
Dutch/Flemish: none made 
French: Calendrier du crime 
German: Die verräterische Flasche
(aka Der verhängnisvolle Ring)
Italian: Il calendario del delitto 
(aka La Bambola Del Delfino) 
Japanese:七匹の黒ネコの冒険他 (世界の名探偵 5) 
Russian: Календарь преступлений 
Spanish: Calendario del Crimen

Calendar of Crime - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket edition Nr 700, January to June, May 15. 1962Calendar of Crime - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket edition Nr.701, July to December, May 15. 1962七匹の黒ネコの冒険他 (世界の名探偵 5) - cover Japanese edition shortstory collection with "The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats",  Iwasaki Shoten, Feb.15 2001 also includes "The Dead Cat" + "The Telltale Bottle" (from Calendar of Crime)The Player on the Other Side/Calendar of Crime - cover Chinese edition, Masses Press, January 1. 2001Calendar of Crime - cover Taiwanese edition, Face Press, June 3. 2005Calendar of Crime - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, May 2011Calendar of Crime - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, May 2011

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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

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