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Foster Benedict, aging matinee idol, was doing the lead in the Wrightsville production of The Death of Don Juan. He didn't like playing the sticks, and he was sabotaging the performance, turning it into a farce...
"If I get my hands on him," screamed the amateur producer, "I'll..." But it was too late. When the curtain rose on the second act, Benedict was dead.
There were plenty of suspects--it seemed Foster Benedict had upstaged everyone in town. Ellery Queen's job was a little like a casting director's--there was plenty of talent, but no one was right for the part of killer!

It was "murder, murder most foul...."
Foster Benedict, his back to the door, was in the chair at the dressing table, half lying among the wigs and make-up boxes.
He was partly dressed in a Don Juan costume. The shirt was of flowing white silk and just below the left shoulder blade, from the apex of a red ragged stain, the handle of a knife protruded... He was dead Don --.
And the cast, the crew, and everyone in the audience was suspect!

  • "The Death of Don Juan" (Argosy, 5/62 reprinted in EQMM, 8/64)
  • "The Wrightsville Heirs" (Better Living, 1/56 & 2/56 reprinted in EQMM, 11/57)
  • "The Case Against Carroll" (Argosy, 8/58 reprinted in Suspense 04/59 and in EQMM, 9/60)
  • "E = Murder" (This Week, 8/14/60 reprinted in EQMM, 5/61)
  • "Diamonds in Paradise" (EQMM, 9/54 and reprinted in Swank, 6/1969)
"Should have an avid audience. Contains 3 fine meaty puzzle-novelettes in best Queen tradition."  -- Anthony Boucher, The New York Times
Queens Full - dust cover Random Books (including Book Club edition), 1965 (Jacket design Arthur Hawkins)Queens Full - hardcover Random Books, 1965Queens Full - hardcover Random Books, Book Club Edition (BCE), 1965.Queens Full - dust cover Gollancz edition, London 1966.
Above left to right: dust and hardcover for Random House; hardcover for Book Club Edition Random House; dust cover for Gollancz (1966). (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
Three Queen novelets ...

The Death of Don Juan

"On stage and in life, he was Don Juan, the Great Lover. But was this the clue to the knife in his back?"

This Wrightsville novelette with another dying clue, is probably the best of the bunch. It certainly caught the imagination of most artists asked to provide a cover for this collection. Anthony Boucher claimed "The Death of Don Juan" to be "a prime specimen of the true whodunit, complete with baffling clues and faultless amateur detection".
Police Chief Anselm Newby has replaced old reliable Chief Dakin!
"Don Juan, the Great Lover, would never again break a female heart!" illustration by Sanford Kossin ("Argosy" 5/62) for "The Death of Don Juan". 
Above: "Don Juan, the Great Lover, would never again break a female heart!" illustration by Sanford Kossin (Argosy 5/62) for "The Death of Don Juan".
The Wrightsville Heirs

"Young Amy Upham inherited a million dollars - but there was a death warrant in the will"

Another visit to Wrightsville. Amy Upham, orphan companion to wealthy Bella Livingston, is the creator of an atmosphere of fear produced by the visit of Bella's stepchildren, Samuel Jr. Everett and Olivia ... for the old lady hasn't long to live and Herbert Wentworth, family lawyer, has indicated a new will in Amy's favor. Then Bella is murdered - and Ellery Queen is summoned to find the answer. Amy is terrified knowing that a killer is loose, and that she may be the next victim of a ruthless and clever schemers. She clings to Ellery for protection ...
"There was no love lost between Mrs. Livingston and her three stepchildren. But murder? - that was different. Or so they said." Illustration detail for the first part of "The Wrightsville Heirs" as published in "Better Living" Jan 1956.
Above: "There was no love lost between Mrs. Livingston and her three stepchildren. But murder? - that was different. Or so they said." Illustration detail for the first part of "The Wrightsville Heirs" as published in Better Living, Jan 1956.
The Case against Carroll

This story is having Ellery in doubt again but providing a clear surprising ending. Unusual since the story is told from Ellery's point of view (and partly from the suspect's). Better than many would suggest!

Though names, details and clues are very different this story seems to be the main outline for the TV plot of Ellery Queen's "The Adventure of the Wary Witness".

The Queen story evokes Hitchcockian circumstances when Carroll is caught by partner Hunt while borrowing some money. The latter, of course, dies and Carroll is the main suspect. Ellery is called in to clear Carroll of the murder. When it turns out that Carroll was also attracted to Hunt's wife things don't get any easier for Ellery.

Just wondering if the following provided inspiration. In 1936 the film The Case Against Mrs. Ames featured a debutante Madeleine Carroll (by 1938 she was world's highest paid actress.) The film has a similar storyline where one Matt Logan, officer of the O.M., falls in love with the beautiful Carroll. Problem is she is a suspect in the murder of her husband.
Queens Full - cover pocket book edition, Signet D2894, April 1966.Queens Full - cover pocket book edition,  Penguin, 1971. (cover design Goodwin Sorrell)Queens Full - cover pocket book edition, Ballantine Books N° 24666, December 1975.Queens Full - cover Road, July 28, 2015Queens Full - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Traber Burns, December1. 2015
and a pair of Queen short shorts

E = murder

"The dead scientist's fist clutched a crumpled ball of paper. The single letter scrawled on it held the clue- but what did it mean?"

"E Equals Murder" involves a top-secret Pentagon project; a shapely young wife - or rather, widow; and a clue that would mean nothing to anyone but the infallible Ellery. Here is a Queen's puzzler to the king's taste." (Clifton Fadiman)
Diamonds in Paradise

A cross dressed man steals a diamond from a Broadway singer at The Paradise Gardens, and falls to his death while trying to escape. Delivered as if it was the punch line to a joke, he reveals the place where he hid the diamond with his last words: “Diamonds in Paradise.”

La mort de Don Juan - coverMortissimo - cover German edition Ullstein Krimi 4 stories, 1968Le avventure di Ellery Queen - cover Italian edition, series  'I racconti di', N°6La Morte Di Don Juan - cover Italian edition I Classici Del Giallo MondadoriΟ θάνατος του δον Ζουάν - cover Greek edition (The Death of Don Juan), 1960s (?)Matinja Don Juan - cover Indonesian edition of The Death of Don Juan, Editions Penerbit - P.Y.Kinta, Djakarta
Some stories from Queens Full - Cover Russian edition, 2007 (also contains The Tragedy of X)Some stories from Queens Full - Cover Russian edition, 2007 (also includes The Tragedy of Y)Queen's Full - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket Mystery Book, January 1, 1968Queen's Full - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing (full cover), 1995Full de reinas - Cover Spanish edition, Mexico, Colleccion Caiman °376, 1966مرگ دون ژوان  - cover Persian edition "Queens Full", by هزار افسان, in  2005

Queens Full Translations:
Dutch/Flemish: none 
French: Le mort de Don Juan 
German: Mortissimo 
Grieks: Ο θάνατος του δον Ζουάν 
Indonesian: Matinja Don Juan 
Italian: Full di Queen (aka La Morte Di Don Juan) 
Persisch: مرگ دون ژوان  
Spanish: Full de reinas

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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - Diamonds in Paradise Jon Mathewson
(2) Reading Ellery Queen - The Wrightville Heirs Jon Mathewson
(3) Reading Ellery Queen - The Case against Carroll Jon Mathewson
(4) Reading Ellery Queen - The Death of Don Juan Jon Mathewson
(5) Reading Ellery Queen - E=Murder Jon Mathewson
(6) The Coincidence of the Two Events on a Night with a Full Moon
     Ho-Ling (July 22. 2011)
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