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The Origin of Evil (1951)

Ellery Queen was sun-bathing in the doorway of his Hollywood bedroom when the pretty young girl appeared. She was dressed in zebra-striped culottes and bolero over a bra-like doodad of bright green suede. "I don't think there's anything funny in a dead dog, do you?" she asked. "Dogs die all the time," Ellery said in a kindly voice. The girl stared down at her cigarette. "He was a gift, and it killed my father." "How exactly did a dead dog 'kill' your father?" "It murdered him."

Ellery Queen is in tremendous form... First rate" -- Norman Blood Time and Tide

"Even this master of plot, surprise and the bizarre has never done anything better... For sheer ingenuity and the piling on of new surprises when one feels that the story is over, this is a winner... The maestro excels himself" -- Joseph Taggart  The Star

"Doubtful he will ever write a more teasing mystery than 'The Origin of Evil', but doubtless he never has" - Daniel George

"The old fascination is as strong as ever. The narrative suspends not only disbelief but everything else except attention" - Punch

"Nearly incredible ingenuity" - Manchester Evening News

"Fiendish ingenuity... Of world-championship class" - Birmingham Post

The Origin of Evil - coverThe Origin of Evil - cover Pan books PAN G517, 1961The Origin of Evil - Little & Brown dustcover 1951The Origin of Evil - Little & Brown hardcover 1951

EQ returned to Hollywood for a third novel."The book is filled with fairly unlikable characters, and once again, like The Devil To Pay, it deals with crooked businessmen in L.A., not the movie industry. The plot rings every possible change on a single detective theme (the avenger from the past) as if it were a Jack Ritchie short story swelled to giant size. There is some ingenuity here, but as a whole the novel seems pretty minor. 

The Origin of Evil - cover Harper Perennial,1982The Origin of Evil - cover SignetThe Origin of Evil - cover Little Brown, 1951, Book Club EditionOrigin of Evil - cover edition Penguin The Origin of Evil - Orion Books, UK, 19 Jun 2014The Origin of Evil - cover Gollancz 1951.
The Origin of Evil - cover Victor Gollancz, Ltd., London 1953The Origin of Evil - cover Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 2nd edition, London 1953The Origin of Evil - cover Volume XXI from the Complete Crime novels first published in 1951, reissued in 1976.The Origin of Evil - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Fred Sullivan, March 1. 2014The Origin of Evil - cover Road, September 29 2015

The book expresses pessimism over the arms race, and describes Yugoslavia and Iran and Korea as possible places where war could break out: 48 years later this seems frighteningly prophetic. The name of the young hero, who lives in a tree house like Tarzan, Crowe Macgowan, seems to be inspired by Cro-Magnon Man, suggesting he is an evolutionary throwback; an appropriate enough choice in a novel whose title derives from Darwin's The Origin of the Species. Although this suspect (as in The Chinese Orange Mystery) named Macgowan (with a small g) could also be a reference to Kenneth Macgowan, who edited the anthology Sleuths (1931).(Michael E.Grost)

Several references to Hollywood stars and movies e.g. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) (Laughton), The Beachcomber, (1938) (Laughton),...

Ellery takes up his smoking habits with cigarettes and pipe. Also he drives a rented Kaiser which ties in with Ellery's 1950-51 appearances on TV's The Adventures of Ellery Queen (aka "'a Kaiser-Frazer Adventure in Mystery"). Ellery is a sexual being!

Bron van het Kwaad - cover Dutch edition Servire, cover art Auke A. TademaDe Bron van het Kwaad - kaft Prisma-Detective nr.150Bron van Het Kwaad - coverBron van het Kwaad - coverL'arche de Noe - cover French edition Un Mystere N° 91,1952 L'arche de Noe - cover French edition J'ai Lu, N°1978, 1986L'arche de Noe - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, May 19. 1998
Vom Teufel gehetzt - German cover Ullstein KrimiVom Ursprong der Bösen - cover German edition, Dumonts, 2002Vom Ursprong der Böse - cover German edition, e-book DuMonts Digitale Kriminal-Bibliothek, March 27. 2014L'Origine del Male - cover Italian edition,editions GarzantiL'Origine del Male - cover Italian edition,editions Garzanti, 1953.L'Origine del Male - cover Italian edition, editions I Classici del Giallo Mondadori, N° 200, September 24.1974L'origine del male - cover Italian edition Classici del giallo Mondadori N° 844, 1999

The Origin of Evil Translations
Brazilian: O mistério da Arca de Noé 
Czech: Koreny zla 
Danish: Det manglende T 
Dutch/Flemish:De bron van het kwaad 
French: L'arche de Noé 
German: Vom Ursprong der Bösen 
 (aka Vom Teufel gehetzt) 
Greek: Τό μάτι τοῦ Σατανά 
האיש שחזר מהעבר  
Hungarian: A bűn eredete  
Italian: L'origine del male 
Japanese: akunokigen 
Korean: 악의 기원 
Russian: Происхождение зла  
Spanish:El origen del mal 
Swedish: Roten till det onda 

O mistério da Arca de Noé - cover Portuguese edition Livros do Brasil, 2nd edition, Vampiro Nr.80, 1991 (Identical cover for 1996 and Oct 2014 editions)El origen del mal - cover Spanish edition, Argentinia, 1952El origen del mal - cover Spanish edition, Ed Diana, Coleccion Caiman, MexicoEl origen del mal - cover Spanish edition, Picazo, 1973El origen del mal - cover Spanish edition, Plaza & Janes, Barcelona, 1981Τό μάτι τοῦ Σατανά - cover Greek edition, Viper, 1975A bűn eredete - Cover Hungarian edition, Metrum, 1989
Roten till det onda - cover Swedish editionRoten till det onda - cover Swedish edition Bonniers, 1952Roten till det onda - cover Swedish edition Bonniers, 1958Det manglende T - cover Danish edition האיש שחזר מהעבר - Cover Israelian edition, 1971Происхождение зла - Cover Russian edition, 2005 (together with Cat of Many Tails)The Origin of Evil - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing (full cover)
The Origin of Evil - cover Taiwanese edition, February 20. 1997The Origin of Evil - cover Taiwanese edition, Face Press, 2006The Origin of Evil - cover Chinese (Mongolian) edition, Inner Mongolia People's Publishing House, April 2009The Origin of Evil - cover Chinese edition, Chemical Industry Press, January 2014악의 기원 (Origin of Evil) - cover South-Korean edition, Sigma Books, May 1. 1995악의 기원(Origin of Evil) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, Ellery Queen Collection, Apr 25 2016

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Other articles on this book

(1) The Rap Sheet - The Book You Have to Read: The Origin of Evil  J. Kingston Pierce (Mar 2017)
(2) Reading Ellery Queen - The Origin of Evil Jon Mathewson (Jul 2015)
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