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Halfway House, where a strange man finds final rest on his tortured journey through life . . . Halfway house, where, under the grim shadow of a sensational murder, opposites meet and clash -- common peddler and financier, young housewife and cold society woman, struggling lawyer and millionaire debutante... Halfway house, where Ellery Queen, crime consultant to the world-at-large, returns to his old love of pure and pungent deduction in what is unquestionably his most fascinating narrative of real people and subtle violence.

The victim had lived two lives, but a single knife thrust ended both of them. The trail of suspicion led into the guilt-edged world of the beautiful people—and climaxed in a vicious courtroom battle that ended with a shattering verdict. It seemed that for the first time Ellery had met his match—until the sleuth blended his usual impeccable logic with a most unusual fling … .

 
"An extraordinary murder mystery solved by a paper packet of matches." --  The New York Post. 

"It is a straight-out murder mystery with no fancy trimmings, in which Ellery Queen tantalizes and challenges the deductive powers of the reader with his usual fascinating method of analysis and his own attractiveness."
--  Margaret Germond,  The Evening Star,  Washington D.C.
 
Halfway House - dust cover Stokes edition, June 1. 1936Halfway House - hard cover Stokes edition, June 1. 1936The Halfway House - dust cover Grosset & Dunlap edition, 1936The Halfway House - hard cover Grosset & Dunlap edition, 1936Halfway House - dust cover Triangle Books edition
Halfway House - hard cover Triangle Books edition, November & December 1940, ReprintHalfway House - hard cover Triangle Books edition, January 1941, ReprintHalfway House - hard cover Triangle Books editionHalfway House - dust cover Tower books edition, The World Publishing Company, 1st Edition January 1, 1947Halfway House - hard cover Tower books edition, The World Publishing Company, 1st Edition January 1, 1947
Above left to right: Both dust cover and hard cover for Stokes and Grosset & Dunlap; dust cover for Triangle.
Below left tor right:  Three hard cover variations for Triangle Books;  dust and hard cover for Tower (World Publishing co.)
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San Pedro News, "Life, Literature - New Mystery Holds Thrills" by William Lyon Phelps , August 14. 1936

"One of our best writers of murder mystery books calls himself Ellery Queen, and so far as I know, that is what his father and mother called him. A few years ago he captured the public with an ingenious and exciting thriller —speedily followed with eight others. These nine books all end their titles with the word mystery “The Roman Hat Mystery,” “The Siamese Twin Mystery,” “The Greek Coffin Mystery,” etc. They are well written, they are studded with interesting quotations from classic literature, which will please those who recognize them, and will not annoy those who don’t. I have enjoyed all these books. Ellery Queen and his father are a remarkable pair of sleuths. But now and all of a sudden Ellery Queen has beaten his greatest rival—himself, his own past; the most cruel and uncompromising competitor any artist has to fight. His new story, with its entirely different and unexpected title, “Halfway House” (and the unexpected change from the titles of the nine previous books is discussed in a Foreword) is a whole class ahead of the nine. This novel has not a dull page, paragraph, or sentence; it is both ripping and gripping. My attention was seized by the first page; partly, I admit, by my intimate topographical familiarity with the scene—Trenton, but any other town with the same story would have done well enough. The persons in this drama are divided into three groups—the New Yorkers, the Philadelphians, the Trentonians. I don’t know why the author made his most offensive character a polo player. I don’t play polo, because I can’t ride a horse; but every polo player I have ever known, and I know many of them intimately, are all exceedingly attractive. However, that’s a small matter; in a murder story, anything can happen. I suppose other readers do not share my dislike of another feature, which this novel has in common with many other thrillers; I suppose so, because if they did, the writers and publishers would not make use of it. On page 252 the reader is challenged. He is told that all the elements of the plot are now before him, and he is invited to work his brain and see if he can solve the problem. This always irritates me. I read murder stories for pure diversion and for nothing else. I would no more waste my time in trying to guess their solutions than I would do anything else that was unpleasant and futile."

 
Halfway House appeared in full in 1936's June edition of (Hearst's International) Cosmopolitan. Nash's Pall Magazine also owned by Hearst had published the story in 5 parts between May and September 1936. 

In his foreword Ellery points out to JJMcC that the book might have been called The Swedish Match Mystery but it was not. It did however keep the subtitle of its predecessors "a problem in deduction". The departure from the "national" format was more than appropriate as it marks more than one shift. Although Queen's earlier work had been published in so-called women's slick magazines, it wasn't until Halfway House that it's influence took hold of the writing. The stories evolved with a reduction in cast of characters, a scaling down of the pure puzzle-element and a decline of the fair play rules. Halfway House is the last to contain the Queen "Challenge" which made him so distinct. (reappearing only in
The Finishing Stroke.) Although being well conceived the puzzle is simpler, great attention is given to the trial of the culprit and several human interest stories were mixed in with the mysteries. Probably because it was his first step after his "Golden Age" period it still stands as one of the better stories of the time.
Halfway House - cover digest edition, Mercury MysteryHalfway House - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book #259, 1944 (Artwork Edward McKnight Kauffer)Halfway House -  cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book #259, 1944  (Horz cover rare horizontal binding. Binding is at the top, resulting in a wider and shorter page.)  (Artwork Edward McKnight Kauffer)Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Reader's League of America, special edition for free distribution by the American Red Cross  (Artwork Edward McKnight Kauffer)Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Reader's League of America, 1942  (Artwork Edward McKnight Kauffer)
The Halfway House - cover PocketBook, Pocket Book, 12th Printing May 1953, Illustration by Clyde RossHalfway House - cover pocket book edition, Great Pan paperback, U.K., 1959Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book, N°6133, 1962Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Signet, February 1971The Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Signet 451-E8895,  February 1971 (1st) (50th Anniversary edition)
Four of Hearts/Halfway House - cover pocket book edition, Signet Double Mystery, January 1. 1983
 

The finale depends on one strand in EQ's writing. Various clues to the killer's identity left at the crime scene are developed by EQ into a profile of the potential killer. Then EQ goes through the list of characters in the story, showing how this profile fits one and only one of the suspects. It is similar to the deductions from the shoe in The Dutch Shoe Mystery. Fans of physical detection might enjoy this, and the book follows in a honorable tradition of "deduction through clues" in the detective story. But it seems very mild compared to EQ's best work. There is no complex plot, no wild crime schemes or final revelations. Some of Queen's logic is interesting, especially his reasons for concluding one character is speaking the truth. (Michael E.Grost)

On April 27, 1937 a magazine reported the acquisition by M-G-M of Halfway House, mystery novel by Ellery Queen. However, to our knowledge this novel was never converted into a movie.

Half-way House - cover Victor Gollancz edition, first editionHalf-way House - cover Victor Gollancz edition, 7th impression April 1950Half-way House - cover Victor Gollancz edition, 1972, London
Halfway House - cover paperback edition, Langtail Press, Jan 1. 2011Halfway House - Cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, read by Fred Sullivan, 2013
Halfway House - cover eBook, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc, Feb 16. 2017
 
The Rhinebeck Gazette, Rhinebeck, N.Y., August 14. 1936

"Halfway House , where a strange man finds final rest on his tortured journey through life . . . Halfway House, where, under the grim shadow of a sensational murder, opposites meet and clash — common peddler and financier, young housewife and cold society woman, struggling lawyer and millionaire debutante . . . Halfway House , where Ellery Queen, crime consultant to the world - at large, returns to his old love of pure and pungent deduction in what is unquestionably his most fascinating narrative of real people and subtle violence- to date — a modern Tale of Two Cities by the master mystery teller."


The Mercury Week-end Magazine Section September 19. 1936 - "Book Reviews Half-Way House, by Ellery Queen" by "Scribe"

"I suppose everyone by this time knows the Ellery Queen mystery stories. Any one who does not can make a good start by reading "Half-Way House" and then going backwards through to rest. For I think that having read this one the reader is pretty certain to want to try the others. "Half-Way House" really begins when Bill Angel in his Pontiac coupe acting on certain instructions, halts at a lonely building outside New York, to meet his brother-in-law. And while he waits a woman's shriek startles him, followed by her appearance rushing from the building to jump into a magnificent car and drive away at furious speed. Bill then enters the house to find his brother-in-law on the floor dying from a stab in the chest. This is merely the setting for a very skillfully traced crime, the doer of which is hidden till almost the end. There are not many writers who can more success fully work up interest In the actual tracking of crime and maintain it through some 320 pages or so. It is in this direction that Mr. Ellery Queen has made his name and fame and each book that he writes comes with the same impact of skill and clever reasoning."

 
Cover "Cosmopolitan" magazine June 1936: first publication of this story.Page in "Cosmopolitan" June 1936: first publication of this story.
Above: Cover and page in the magazine Cosmopolitan June 1936, first publication of this story.


Het Huis Halverwege - dutch coverHet Huis Halverwege - dutch coverHet Huis Halverwege - cover Geillustreerde Pers nr.14Le Mystère de l'allumette- cover French edition Collection L'Empreinte, N° 121, éditions de La Nouvelle Revue Critique, July 1937La maison à mi-route - cover French edition Le Limier, 1951La maison à mi-route - cover French edition J'ai Lu, 1984Une maison dans la nuit - cover French edition Libr.des Champs-Elysees "Masque de l'année 2001" N° 1163 translation Jean Mactar
Der Schrei am Fluss - cover German edition Heyne Crime ClassicsDas Haus auf halber Strecke - cover German edition Schertz nr.127Das Haus auf halber Strecke - cover German edition Die Schwarzen Kriminalromane ,1962Das Haus auf halber Strecke - cover German edition Scherz ,1972Das Haus auf halber Strecke - cover German edition Scherz ,1982Auf Halbem Weg - cover German edition Heyne-Verlag Nr 1151Die Dame mit dem Schleier - cover German edition Ullstein Krimi N°1814, 1977

Halfway House Translations: 
Danish: Huset på halvvejen 
Dutch/Flemish: Het huis halverwege 
Finnish: Puolmatkan Talo 
French: La maison à mi-route (aka Le Mystère de l'allumette 
 aka Une maison dans la nuit) 
German: Das Haus auf halber Strecke (aka Auf Halbem Weg) 
(aka Der Schrei am Fluß) (aka Die Dame mit dem Schleier) 
Hebrew:  הבית על אם הדרך  
Hungarian: Ház a félúton 
(aka A kétlelkű Gimball)
 
Italian: La casa delle metamorfosi 
Japanese: 途中の家 (cyuutonoie) 
Korean: 중간지점의 집 
(aka 중간지대) 
Mexican: La casa en la mitad del camino 
Portuguese:O misterio dos fosforos quiemados 
Russian: Дом на полпути
 
Spanish: La casa a medio camino (aka El misterio de las cerillas) 
Swedish: Mannen som var två 
Czech: Přestupní stanice 

La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, Giallo Mondadori N°81, 1950La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, Giallo Mondadori N°17, 1955La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition Arnoldo Mondadori, series Biblioteca del Giallo Mondadori 6, 1963La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition Sfida al lettore N°16, 1985La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, I Classici del Giallo Mondadori N°688, June 1993La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, I Classici del Giallo Mondadori Nr1035, nov 2004
La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, I Giallo Mondadori classici, Jan 2018O misterio dos fosforos quiemados - cover Portuguese editionO misterio dos fosforos quiemados - cover Portuguese edition Livros do Brazil, Vampiro Nr.2, Livros do Brasil, LisboaO misterio dos fosforos quiemados - cover Portuguese edition, Os Mestres Da Literatura Policial, Livros do Brasil, Vampiro Oct 2016La Casa en la mitad del camino - cover Mexican edition Colecction Incognita #1, 96 pp, September 1954La casa en la mitad del camino - Cover Spanish edition, Ed. Diana Mexico, Caiman series, 1957
La casa a medio camino - cover Spanish edition, Ediciones Picazo, 1973El misterio de las cerillas - Cover Spanish edition, Editorial Hachette, Biblioteca de bolsillo Nr10, Buenos Aires, 1943.El misterio de las cerillas - Cover Spanish edition, Círculo del Crimen, Ediciones Forum, Barcelona, 1983Huset på halvvejen - Cover Danish edition, LademannHuset på halvvejen - Cover Danish edition, LommeromanenPuolmatkan Talo - cover Finnish edition, 1948
A kétlelkű Gimball - Dustcover Hungarian edition, Budapest, 1937A kétlelkű Gimball - Cover Hungarian edition, Budapest, 1937A kétlelkű Gimball - cover Hungarian edition, Budapest, 1937Ház a félúton - cover Hungarian edition, Albatrosz Konyvek Budapest, 1977Ház a félúton - cover Hungarian edition, Magyar Könyvklub-Saxum Budapest, 1977
Přestupní Stanice - dustcover Czech edition, Mladá fronta, Praha 1968, edice SmaragdPřestupní Stanice - hardcover Czech edition, Mladá fronta, Praha 1968, edice SmaragdPřestupní stanice - cover Czech edition, Mladá fronta, 1970Přestupní stanice - cover Czech edition, Mladá fronta, 1970Přestupní stanice - cover Czech edition, 2011 הבית על אם הדרך - cover Israelian edition Halfway House, 1970
Дом на полпути - Cover Russian edition, 2005 (also includes The American Gun Mystery)Halfway House - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket Mystery Book, 1956Halfway House - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa-mystery paperbackHalfway House - "cyuutonoie" Japanese edition, Somoto Reasoning Publishing, 1962Halfway House - "cyuutonoie" cover Japanese edition, 1981, Tokyo SogenshaHalfway House - Japanese cover with cover art by Takenaka, Published by Kadokawa Shoten July. 2015
The Halfway House - cover Chinese edition, Masses Press, April 2000Halfway House - cover Taiwanese edition, March 25. 2004Halfway House - cover Chinese (Mongolian) edition, Inner Mongolia People's Publishing House, April 2009Halfway House - cover Chinese edition, Chemical Industry Press, June 1. 2013중간지대 (Halfway House) -  cover South-Korean edition,  Sigma Books, Feb 1 1995중간지점의 집(Halfway House) - cover South-Korean edition, Dongsuh Mystery Books, 검은숲, Jul 1. 2003
 


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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - Halfway House Jon Mathewson (Dec 2014)
(2) #446: Spoiler Warning 8 – Halfway House (1936) by Ellery Queen JJ at The Invisible Event (Oct 13, 2018)
(3) "Ellery Queen and The Mystery of the Hidden Name Dale C. Andrews
    (and Kurt Sercu)
(4) Halfway House - Suddenly at his Residence (Oct 12. 2018)
 
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