New Adventures of Ellery Queen (1940)
Nine new adventures of Ellery Queen! A complete novel and eight more short stories! The Lamp of God, the novel, is one of the weirdest stories about a disappearing house that only can be matched by Poe.
... A most ingenious tale about a curious treasure hunt, hidden gold, a house of horror, and murder. The solution depends on the whim of a dead man in building two identical houses, and fate in producing two almost identical people.
Four sports mysteries featuring baseball, horse racing, pugilism and football full of the sporting world vernacular, will delight the fans. The New Adventures of The Treasure Hunt, The Hollow Dragon, The House of Darkness and The Bleeding Portrait complete the list of stories.
Ellery Queen at his best.... New adventures.... humor.... horror.... romance.... and the supreme in deduction and observation! Try and match Ellery Queen with your wits. Enjoy his versatility in this marvelous variety of stories.
"Suspect everything, everybody. Be careful, Mr.
Queen, as if your life depended on it."
Lamp of God was what Ellery Queen named the light that gave him the clue
which helped solve one of the most eerie cases in his career -- the case of the
disappearing house containing a fortune in gold, and a murder plot that was almost beyond
belief. "The Lamp of God" (1935) deals with an impossible
an entire house vanishes, a typical EQ trick, given his use of very eccentric Howard
Hughes types somewhere along the line -- this is much more fun in short-story format than
at novel length. It does have features of real imagination, especially dealing with the
impossibility. The first half of Lamp is a full Gothic tale. There is a
full atmosphere of horror, climaxing on Ellery's speculations of a science fictional
explanation for the crime. The tale has affinities with
The Tragedy of X (1932).
Both deal with a long complex history, in which villains engage in elaborate
plots. Neither is especially plausible. Both have a somewhat sinister
atmosphere. In different ways, it is similar to "The Bearded Lady" (1934), in which complex family relations converge
on sinister events at an isolated house. (Michael
The cubist inspired designer of the "The House of Darkness" is a Frenchman, and recalls the similar French designer of the Art Deco furniture in The French Powder Mystery (1930). Another noteworthy feature of the early EQ stories is the presence of black people among the suspects. EQ is clearly trying to treat them in non-stereotyped ways. They are most fully present in "The House of Darkness". "The Bleeding Portrait" (1937), has some good atmosphere in its first half, but which never builds up much of a mystery plot.
After writing 14 short stories, including a novella, in the three years 1933-1935, EQ
largely gave up the form in the next three, publishing only two mediocre shorts in
1936-1938. In 1939 EQ returned to the short tale with a series of four stories, all with
sports backgrounds. Each co stars Paula Paris, with whom EQ fell in love in
The Four of Hearts (1938). She is a
good character, but unfortunately she seems never to have returned after these works. The
first three stories are well done, and even the weaker final tale ("The Trojan
Horse") is a game attempt with some pleasant mystery; like "The
Treasure Hunt" it involves a long search for some stolen jewels. "Man
Bites Dog" has some affinities with the minimalist tales of poisoning EQ was
essaying in these years, such as The Four
of Hearts and Calamity Town
"Long Shot" returns to the turf of
The American Gun Mystery
(1933), with a tale combining
Western characters, horses, and guns, the same elements of the earlier book. (Michael E.Grost)
In How to Read a Short Story by Marjorie L. Burns the plot is discussed as having four elements. First the author reveals the situation that the characters find themselves in. The problem or conflict is exposed either by narrative or immediate action. Second, events and actions grow out of the conflict if it was fully revealed at the outset of the story. If the conflict is not immediately revealed because the author starts with action rather than narrative, then the readers must discover the conflict by carefully reading and observing what the characters do and say. This part of the plot is called rising action. Readers identify opposing forces in the story, perhaps two characters, a character and a force of nature (a storm), or a character and the problem he faces. Third is the turning point or climax in which the action reaches its acme and one opposing force wins and the other loses. In mystery or detective fiction the crime is solved. Fourth, the author shows the results of whatever was decided or revealed at the climax. The resolution in mysteries can be the explanation of the crime as only the detective or private eye could have determined it.
"Man Bites Dog" is a good example of a story which is heavily reliant on plot and can be classified as an American version of the formal detective novel. The setting is the seventh game of the world series between the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. The characters include EQ, his date, gossip columnist Paula Paris, Inspector Queen and Sergeant Velie in one box behind the Yankee dugout. Below them are two boxes occupied by one couple each Big Bill Tree, ex-pitcher and Lotus Verne, shapely movie star, in one. In the other box were Big Bills estranged wife Judy Starr, Broadway celebrity and her escort Jimmy Connor, song-and-dance man. The exposition is in the introduction of the characters and the tension between the two couples, who are being closely scrutinized by Ellery Queen. To define "rising action", one would examine all of the characters by-play.
Pocket Books awarded Gertrudes (little
metal kangaroos) to authors whose books had sold over a million copies. In
January 1946 presentations were made at a party at the Rainbow Room NY to
Ellery Queen "Messrs. Dannay and Lee" for The New
Adventures of Ellery Queen.
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