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previous indepth review... Calendar of Crime (1952) next indepth review...

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.
These are but four 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
      Herald
    ,  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
    , 11/6
    and Ellery Queen's Eye Witnesses, 1982)
  • "The Telltale Bottle" (EQMM, 11/46 as "The Thanksgiving Day
      Mystery" in
    EQMM, 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.

 
"Occasionally 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 
 
Calendar of Crime - dust cover Little, Brown & co. edition, Book club edition, January 1952 (2 printings). (Cover design Samuel Bryant)Calendar of Crime - hardcover Little, Brown & co. edition, Book club edition, January 1952 (2 printings).Calendar of Crime - dust cover Victor Gollancz edition, London, 1952 (1st).
Calendar of Crime - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book N° 960, Published October, 1953 (1st printing August 1953) (Cover art by Richard Powers)Calendar of Crime - cover pocket book edition, Signet 451-Q5166-095, September 1972 (1st)Calendar of Crime - cover pocket book edition, Signet 451-Y7262, 1972 (Second printing based on the number line)Calendar of Crime - cover pocket book edition, Penguin books, Penguin Fiction-Crime Green Paperback Book N° 3518, November 1972
Above top left to right:  dust and hardcover for Little, Brown & co., 1952; 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) 
 
January
Janus, the god of two faces, and a college alumni class introduce Ellery to a secret society ...
  • "The Inner Circle" (EQMM, 1/47)

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)

 
February
Ellery wrestles with the ghost of a President of the United States to solve a buried coin mystery  ...
  • "The President's Half Disme" (EQMM, 2/47; reprinted in The Sunday
      Herald
    ,  Jun 18,1950 abridged as "The President's Coin"; reprinted
     in 
    Adventure Magazine, 2/1959)

Many of EQ's previous stories had elaborate quasi-historical backgrounds, based in a family history, or an earlier crime.As part of EQMM's 80th-year anniversary celebration this year (2021), they offer a seasonally appropriate history-laden mystery by the multitalented writing team of Ellery Queen: "The President's Half Disme," originally published in EQMM in February 1947. 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).

"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
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
 
March
A stolen income-tax form, a kleptomaniac, a bookie, and an artist become the ingredients of a murder ...
 
  • "The Ides of Michael Magoon" (EQMM, 3/47 and reprinted as
     
    "Filled in for Murder" in
    Adventure Magazine, 6/1959)

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

 
April
Ellery unravels an old crime with the help of the Roman Emperor, Caligula, and a pair of dice ...
  • "The Emperor's Dice" (EQMM, 4/51)
May
A battle-scarred bugle and three Civil War Veterans almost baffle Ellery ...
  • "The Gettysburg Bugle" (EQMM, 5/51, as "As Simple as ABC")

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)

 
June
The goddess Juno, shades of the Borgias, and a modern Helen of Troy play havoc with a June wedding ...
  • "The Medical Finger" (EQMM, 6/51)
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).
 
Calendar of Crime - cover Audiobook edition, Dercum Audio, cassettes "July - December", December 1991 (?) (Read by Ray Montecalvo)Calendar of Crime - cover audio book edition (January - June), Dercum Audio 6 hours- 4 cassettes, November 1997Calendar of Crime - cover audio book (July - December), Dercum Audio 6 hours- 4 cassettes, June 1997Calendar of Crime - cover MysteriousPress.com/Open Road  (July 28, 2015)Calendar of Crime - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Traber Burns, December 1. 2015
Above: 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.
 
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."
 
July
A stone gargoyle, falling from a gloomy Gothic like tower, nearly causes sudden death ...
  • "The Fallen Angel" (EQMM, 7/51)
 
August
In the moonstone month, Ellery hunts for buried treasure ...
  • "The Needle's Eye" (EQMM, 8/51) as "Death is my business"
      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).
 
September
A Missouri professor, interested in Edgar Allan Poe, leads Ellery to a frightening conclusion ...
  • "The Three R's" (EQMM, 9/46)

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.

 
October
A Halloween party turns out to be more grim than expected ...
  • "The Dead Cat" (EQMM, 10/46 as "The Halloween Mystery"
      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".
 
November
Ellery and Nikki deliver Thanksgiving baskets to the needy and discover a dangerous secret ...
  • "The Telltale Bottle" (EQMM, 11/46 as "The Thanksgiving Day Mystery" in EQMM, 12/65)
 
December
The famous jewel thief, Comus, nearly outwits Ellery in a Christmas mystery of dolls, danger and deception ...
  • "The Dauphin's Doll" (EQMM, 12/48 as "With the Compliments of Comus" in EQMM 01/68)
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.   Detail cover art from the Italian edition "Il calendario del delitto", I Giallo Mondadori Classici N° 1277, 2011 
 


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, Collana Serie Gialla n. 162 ed. Garzanti, 1959
Il calendario del delitto - cover Italian edition, Mondadori N°3, 1984Il 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 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) 
Korean: 범죄 캘린더 
Russian: Календарь преступлений 
Spanish: Calendario del Crimen
 

Calendar of Crime - cover Japanese editionCalendar of Crime - cover Japanese editionCalendar 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 2011범죄 캘린더- cover Korean edition for "Calender of Crime", Black Forest Publishing (South-Korea), 2017


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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
(13) Crossexaminingcrime
(14) Mysteries, short and sweet Christian Henriksson (Feb 22. 2018)
 
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