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                  aka   The Virgin Heiresses (1939)

When a very odd but important millionaire was buried at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, it might have embarrassed Ellery Queen. After all, the millionaire had been the first client of Ellery Queen, Inc. And now the client had joined the mackerels he was deader than. The crew of his yacht was scattered, and there was no autopsy to suggest the ways and means of his death.
However, Ellery Queen, case-hardened and unembarrassed as ever, stepped into the case without batting an eye, bringing along his new partner, Beau Rummell, a tough egg with a yolk of gold. Together they sliced away as mysterious a tangle of events as even Ellery Queen had ever seen. For clues they had one fountain pen covered with tooth marks, and a few additional corpses. The climax delighted Queen. He liked his cases dramatic, especially with a beautiful girl or two thrown in
.

 
"Expertly told and recommended without qualm." --  The New Yorker

"Queen fans will find cause for huzzahs in this demonstration of the famous Queen analytico-deductive method."
--  Will Cuppy,  N.Y. Herald Tribune

"There is a love story too, for Ellery Queen has taken as partner an interesting young man whose course of true love, once he's met the lovely girl, is given every chance to run very roughly and very romantically." --  Windham N.Y. Journal
 
The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Stokes edition, 1939The Dragon's Teeth - hard cover Stokes edition, 1939The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Grosset & Dunlap edition, reprintThe Dragon's Teeth - hard cover Grosset & Dunlap edition, reprintThe Dragon's Teeth - hard cover International Readers League, New York, 1939
The Dragon's Teeth - soft cover Triangle Books edition, 1945The Dragon's Teeth - hard cover Triangle Books edition (Blakiston), Jan, Feb and May 1945. (Several colour variations exist)The Dragon's Teeth - hard cover Triangle Books edition (Blakiston), January 1945. (Several colour variations exist)The Dragon's Teeth - hard cover High School Book League, New York, January 1941. (special printing)The Dragon's Teeth - hard cover High School Book League, New York, January 1941. (special printing) Variation
Above left to right: Both dust cover and hard cover for Stokes, Grosset & Dunlap editions; hard cover for International Readers League edition.
Below left to right: Dust and 2 hard covers for Blakiston/Triangle books and two hard cover variations for High School Book League (Little & Ives) special edition. 
(Click on the covers to see the differences) *
 
The Brooklyn Eagle - "New Books in review" by Arthur Rodes, November 29, 1939

"
Ellery Queen is a bit too eager to be deceptive in The Dragon's Teeth (Stokes, $2.00), but there are occasional flashes of those expert methods of deduction practiced so ardently by this writer of the pseudonym. The name of the millionaire who hires Ellery Queen, Inc., for an undetailed job of detection to be performed at an uncertain future date is Cadmus Cole, and Cadmus itself is a downright mystical name for a a man. Upon Cadmus' death there is an apparent search for his heirs. But Mr. Queen nurtures a fine suspicion that the fellow has been murdered. To strengthen this supposition, there are succeeding efforts at murder and, ultimately, a blood bath. Ellery teams with Beau Rummell, an earnest young man, whose romantic urge is permitted to rove far and frequently because Kerrie Shawn, one of Cole heirs, is a beauteous maiden. It is also permitted to run not too smoothly."
 
The Dragon's Teeth - cover digest edition, Mercury Mystery #57, 1942. (cover art by George Salter)The Dragon's Teeth - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book #459, 1947 (1st printing).  (See full image top of the page)The Virgin Heiresses - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book #459, 1954The Virgin Heiresses - cover pocket book edition, Great Pan Books, 1959
The Dragon's Teeth - cover pocket book edition, Penguin, 1971The Dragon's Teeth/Calamity Town - cover pocket book edition, Signet Double Mystery, J9208, May 1 1980 (with mistake in naming of the pictures?)Calamity Town/The Dragon's Teeth - cover pocket book edition, Signet Double Mystery, J9208, May 1 1980 (without correction in names)Calamity Town/The Dragon's Teeth - cover pocket book edition, Signet Double Mystery, J9208, May 1 1980 (with correction in the naming of the pictures?)
 

The story was published as supplement to The Philadelphia Inquirer dated January 21, 1940.The Dragon's Teeth (1939) is an unusual book in the Queen canon. It is certainly not centered on deduction, or the other things that make most of EQ great. Things which one could find disturbing  although the storytelling of the book is much more advanced. EQ tries to create a new hero for the book, and get him involved in romantic adventures. The story succeeds admirably as romantic fiction. If you are going to enjoy it, you just have to accept the book on its own terms, and adjust yourself to its orientation away from EQ's traditions. (Michael E.Grost)
False identities including even a fake Ellery Queen! All a bit cartoonish. The ultimate deductions do take big leaps, but the romance/marriage subplot is quite entertaining.

Above right: The story was published as supplement to The Philadelphia Inquirer dated January 21, 1940.

 
The Dragon's Teeth - cover pocket edition, Berne/Paris, Phoenix Publishing Co./Scherz & Hallwag, N°75, 1947 (240 pages)The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Gollancz edition, 1939The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Gollancz War edition on thin paper, 1941.The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Victor Gollancz edition, London, 1950The Dragon's Teeth - dust cover Gollancz edition, London, 1973
The Dragon's Teeth - cover Audiobook Chivers Audio Books, March 1989. (read by Blain Fairman, audio cassettes)The Dragon's Teeth - cover audiobook, The Audio Partners, March 6. 2001 (6 audio cassettes)The Dragon's Teeth - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Fred Sullivan, January 17, 2014The Dragon's Teeth - cover MysteriousPress.com/Open Road, July 28, 2015
 
Cadmus Cole was missing at sea. The story is set in N.Y. City, Hollywood and Tarrytown (in the "Villanoy" room 1726).
A  little while back the Ellery Queen detective agency was founded by Beau Rummell. His father Johnny Rumell was chief inspector of the narcotics department, and Beau was born in Cherry street, N.Y. in 1914. He wore a moustache and impersonated Ellery on two occasions, once in Hollywood and once in Tarrytown.
Ellery smokes and had appendicitis. He was hospitalized in Adirondacks and was several weeks out.
After this case Ellery immediately starts on a new case.
Richard Queen seldom appears when official business has to be taken care of. Dr. Murphy and dr. Prouty both appear as does justice officer Sampson.  NYPD: Velie, Flint and Pigott who knew Beau from childhood.

The story is set between June and Wednesday July 5. Although no year is mentioned we learn that Cole is 66 years old and born in 1873 so it is fair to establish 1939 as the year wherein this story takes place.

No map no challenge to the reader.
 
Above: Add by Stokes for "The Dragon's Teeth" 
 


De Drakentanden - cover Dutch edition MimosaDe Tanden van de Draak - coverLes Dents du Dragon - cover French edition Editions Albin Michel - Le Limier, 1950Les Dents du Dragon - cover French edition Editions Albin Michel - Le LimierLes Dents du Dragon - French edition J'ai Lu  N° 2148, 1987Die Drachenzähne - German edition SchertzDrachenzähne - cover German edition Scherz 507
Die Drachenzahne - cover German edition Scherz-Verlag, Bd.0419, 1973Drachenzähne - cover German editionDrachenzähne - cover German edition, Scherz Krimi, 1997Drachenzähne - German cover American Crime Classics, 2000Drachenzähne - German cover Fischer Crime Classic, 2009I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition, series I libri gialli, Nr 246, 1937I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition, series I gialli Mondadori,  N° 202, July 22. 1962

The Dragon's Teeth  
 (aka The Virgin Heiresses)Translations
:
  
Danish: Døden lurer (aka Dragens tænder)  
Dutch/Flemish: De Tanden van de draak  
 (aka De Drakentanden)  
French:  Les dents du dragon  
German: Drachenzähne (aka Die Drachenzähne)  
Greek: Τά δόντια τοῦ δράκοντα  
Hebrew: תעלומת היורשת הבתולה   
Italian: I denti del drago  
Japanese: ドラゴンの歯 (aka doragonnoha)  
(aka 許されざる結婚)  
Portugese: Os Dentes Do Dragão  
Romanian: Coltii Insangerati Ai Dragonului  
Russisch: Зубы дракона  
Spanish: Los dientes del dragón  
Swedish: Draksådden  
Turkish: Milyoner Kızlar  

I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition Mondadori, series I Classici del Giallo, N° 375, 1981I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition Oscar Mondadori, N° 1671, 1983I Denti Del Drago - italian cover, collana Oscar leggere i classici, 1996I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition San Paolo, series Il Giallo dell 'estate, 1997I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition Mondadori, 2001I Denti Del Drago - cover Italian edition Mondadori, 2005I Denti Del Drago - cover italian edition I Libri Gialli N. 118 - Arnoldo Mondadori Publisher
Os Dentes Do Dragão - Cover Portugese edition, Coleccao XIS, Editorial Minerva, Lisboa, 1953Los dientes del dragón - cover Spanish editionLos dientes del dragón - cover Spanish editionΤά δόντια τοῦ δράκοντα - cover Greek edition, Viper, 1977Draksådden - Cover Swedish edition, Bonniers, 1940Dragens tænder - Cover Danish edition
Coltii Insangerati Ai Dragonului - cover Romanian edition, Editions Lucman, 1999
Milyoner Kızlar - cover Turkish edition, Akbaba, 1965. Translation by Gülten Suverenתעלומת היורשת הבתולה - Cover Israelian edition, 1973Зубы дракона - Cover Russian edition, 2004 (includes The Door Between)The Dragon's Teeth - cover Japanese editionThe Dragon's Teeth - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket Mystery book, 1958
The Dragon's Teeth - cover Japanese edition; Somoto reasoning paperback 104-20, July 23. 1965The Dragon's Teeth - cover Japanese edition, Somoto Reasoning, 1974 or 1977The Dragon's Teeth - cover Japanese edition, 1995 ドラゴンの歯 (The Dragon's Teeth) - cover Japanese edition, Kadokawa Bunko, June 4. 2011The Dragon's Teeth - cover Taiwanese edition, March 18. 2005The Dragon's Teeth - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, January 1. 2011
 

 

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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The Dragon's Teeth Jon Mathewson (Jan 2015)
(2) St. Ellery Slays the Dragon Ho-Ling (Dec 3. 2013)
(3) The Dragon’s Teeth In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel -  Steve Hockensmith (Aug 5. 2013)
 
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