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The whole case had sounded fishy from the beginning. Why would an amnesia victim go to a detective when he needed a doctor?
But Ellery investigated and soon discovered why they needed him. Howard Van Horn and his beautiful stepmother were being blackmailed for adultery. It was an ugly situation.
Then it exploded into murder!
Ellery solved the case in record time. But suddenly. while he was accepting everyone's praise, he realized he had made a horrible mistake.

A Triangle for Murder

These are the people who formed the triangle:
Howard Van Horn -- a young sculptor suffering from strange attacks of amnesia. He goes in desperation to Ellery Queen with a baffling problem.
Diedrich Van Horn -- Howard's millionaire foster father. His money bought him a wife tailor-made to his specifications. He needed Ellery Queen too -- but for a more sinister reason.
Sally -- the young and beautiful wife. She came from the wrong side of the tracks but moved in the Van Horn mansion with complete assurance.
Ellery Queen finds a pattern of sins that leads irrevocably to murder.

Ellery is persuaded to accompany an old friend to his ancestral home when the latter arrives at Ellery's house covered in blood and unable to remember anything from the past few weeks. There, tensions erupt and foul play results in the murder of one of the household's members.

 
"The last chapter contains the best surprise and the handsomest solution of the year." -- New York Herald Tribune

"Very Good." -- Saturday Review

"Enigmatic entertainment... masterful." -- Kirkus Reviews 

"Howard was really a foundling and grew up subject to periodic blackouts which kept him out of the services. What happened in these amnesic mind periods will keep the reader wondering."
--
The West Australian

"Ellery Queen's detection is cleverer and more complicated than ever and elicits the gasp of astonished admiration rather than the deep sigh of contentment. But as a change from thrillers this is a gasper de luxe."
--
Brisbane Telegraph
 
Ten Days' Wonder - cover Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 1949 1948 book club editionTen Days' Wonder - hard cover Little, Brown and co. edition, October 1948 (1st) (several different editions had other colours, first edition green lettering on gray background)Ten Days' Wonder - hard cover Little, Brown and co. edition, 1948 (several different editions had other colours, 1948 edition dark brown lettering on beige background)Ten Days' Wonder - hard cover Little, Brown and co. edition, 1948 & 1949 (several different editions had other colours, 1948 edition guilded lettering on dark gray background)Ten Days' Wonder - hard cover Little, Brown and co. edition, 1949 (several different editions had other colours, 1949 edition red lettering on green background)
Ten Days' Wonder - hard cover Little, Brown and co. edition, 19?? (several different editions had other colours, 19?? edition red lettering on darkgray background)Ten Days' Wonder - dust cover Little, Brown & Co., Book Club edition, Boston. 1948Calamity Town - hardcover Little, Brown & Co., Book Club edition, Boston. 1948 (Red with gold lettering on spine)Ten Days' Wonder - dust cover Grosset & Dunlap, 1949Ten Days' Wonder - hard cover Grosset & Dunlap, 1949
Above left to right: dust and 4 (!) hardcover for Little, Brown & co. editions (1948-1949).
Below left to right:  Another hardcover for Little, Brown & co. edition (194?); dust and hardcover for Little, Brown & co., Book Club Edition 1948.; dust and hardcover for Grosset & Dunlap 1949 edition (Click on the covers to see the differences) *
 
The Indianapolis Times, by J.N. Williamson, November 6. 1948

"New Ellery Queen book called 'Absolutely Unique'.
It is seldom that a book is published about which a reviewer can report, 'absolutely unique.' That phrase comes to my mind after reading 'Ten Days’ Wonder,' Ellery Queen’s first novel since 1945.
'Ten Days’ Wonder’s' construction is unusual, it being divided into two parts: 'Nine Days’ Wonder' and 'Tenth Days' Wonder'.

THE BOOK IS the history of many people, largely the Van Horns and Ellery Queen, that detective about whom we think, as did Sherlock Holmes, of Poe’s Dupin long ago: 'That trick of his of breaking in on his friends’ thoughts with an apropos remark ... is really very showy...' In Queen's case it is necessary and clever.

Howard Van Horn goes to Queen’s home, determined to get aid from him. Howard has occasional amnesia-spurts that psychiatrists are unable to cure due to his subconscious resistance. Howard's fear is that he may commit crimes while out of his head, and so he takes Queen home with him to Wrightsville. Wrightsville was the popular locale of EQ's 'Calamity Town' and 'The Murderer Is a Fox.'
What takes place in the Van Horn home is, paradoxically, incredible and plausible. The author again demonstrates his understanding, drawing his characters with an artist’s brush.
...
Being an EQ-correspondent, I thought that I could inveigle him into commenting on the book. I received a missive in which he declared: 'I am afraid I cannot write any comment on ‘Ten Days’ Wonder’ or on EQMM. Honestly, Jerry, I do not feel it is fitting or proper for an author to write about his own book, or an editor to write about his own magazine (except in the magazine itself).' Innate modesty indeed!
'Ten Days' Wonder' is a tale of violence, love and murder. The climax is the most extraordinary that I have read in years, and will remain long in that portion of the memory reserved for exceptional stories."

 
Ten Days' Wonder - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book N° 740, December 1950 (1st and 2nd?) (Cover by Stanley Meltzoff)Ten Days' Wonder - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book N° 2740, October 1957 (3rd printing)Ten Days' Wonder - cover pocket book edition, Penguin Books, 1966Ten Days' Wonder - cover pocket book edition, Signet Q4907, 1972 (with special 8 page movie insert)
Ten Days' Wonder - cover Large Print edition, 1976Ten Days' Wonder/The King is Dead - cover paperback edition, Signet Double Mystery, 451-E9488, Jan 1980Ten Days' Wonder/The King is Dead - cover paperback edition, Signet Double Mystery AE2774, 1984 

Another trip to Wrightsville, the first of the self-doubting tales, and another double-twist ending. Brilliant portrayals.  One of the first Queen's I read and it immediately reminded me of a Ten Little Indians. Which at the time wasn't that difficult because Agatha Christie was much more popular at that time. To me Queen seemed more fair as I thought Christie's detectives always seemed to withhold clues whereas Queen gave you, what seemed, a "fair" shot at the solution.

Movie: Ten Days' Wonder.

Ten Days' Wonder - dust cover Gollancz edition, London, 1948 (1st) (wit blue hardcover with guilded lettering on spine)Ten Days' Wonder - dust cover Gollancz edition, London, 1951.Ten Days' Wonder - dust cover Gollancz edition, London, 1974.Ten Days' Wonder - cover paperback edition, Harper Perennial, Harper Collins Publ., 1994 (designer Elan M. Cole)
Ten Days' Wonder - cover paperback large print edition, G. K. Hall and Chivers Press (September 1998) (cover illustration John Paul Genzo)Ten Days' Wonder - cover eBook edition MysteriousPress.com/Open Road , February 5, 2013Ten Days' Wonder - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Robert Fass, February 1. 2014
 
Daily Telegraph, Sydney - March 5 1945 "Mystery of the Week: Ellery Queen's Last Case!" by Dr. Watson Jun.

"SINCE Mr. Philo Vance was called to consort with the cherubim, and Inspector Appelby plunged into the more sombre oblivion of marriage, Mr. Ellery Queen is, by long odds, the most erudite; of contemporary detectives.
In this remarkable case history of Ten Days' Wonder — the first Queen dossier to appear for some years — Mr. Queen's erudition coruscates like the diamonds in a jockey's shirtfront.
In it, for example, he quotes Goldsmith, Disraeli, and Thomas Hardy, discusses Cellini, Pope Julius, and Count Waldstein, lectures on the relationship of Odin's Wife to Friday superstitions, ' the transliteration of the Hebrew tetragrammaton (though he carelessly calls it 'tetragrammation') translated as Jehovah in the Christian exegesis, the Oedipus complex, and such odds and ends as the fact that the phrase "the coast is clear" was used first in 1590 and that there was a double observance of the Sabbath for several centuries after the Resurrection.
But even this vast and varied encyclopedic lore does not save Mr. Queen from stumbling into the most dreadful blunder of his career — nothing less than allowing himself to be used as an important instrument in the devilish stratagems of a masterly double murderer.
Frankly, I don't blame Ellery. The case is, as Moriarty would put it, a little trimmer.
It is a fantastic complex of Old Testament theology and New Textbook psychoanalysis.
Its components are a megalomaniac millionaire, his girl wife, and his neurotic adopted son, a Jung Woodley who has amnesic blackouts and apparently', with deliberation, violates every commandment in the Decalogue seriatim.
Mr. Queen makes no apologies for his profound error. He confesses it with humility, and, indeed, makes the startling announcement that, having lost his belief in himself, he will retire from detection.
'I'm finished,' he says unequivocally. 'I can never take another case.' It is to be hoped that, on calmer reflection, Mr. Queen will reconsider this lamentable decision.
It would be a very serious loss to detection, mitigated only by the prospect that if Mr. Queen does retire he will be able to devote more time to his invaluable Detective Magazine.

There will still remain, too, the possibility that Queen, in retirement, will draw upon his notes to present some of his yet unpublished cases.
I look forward especially to two mentioned briefly in 'Ten Days' Wonder'-, the case of the spastic bryologist, in which Queen made the vital deduction from a dried mass of sphagnum no larger than his thumbnail, and the case of Adelina Monquieux, though unfortunately his remarkable solution of this, "by arrangement with that curious lady's executors," cannot be revealed before 1972.
Footnote for the Advanced Student: It is not often that a Queen dossier is open to criticism on the grounds of dishonest presentation.  I regretfully commend to the attention of the discerning a careful comparison of pages 135 and 232 (Gollancz) - The ordinary reader, of course, will only waste his time examining them."

 


De Tiendagsvlieg - cover Dutch/Flemish pocket book edition, Pyramide Boeken, 's Graveland, 1950 (Omslag ontwerp Guus Hans)De Tiendagsvlieg - dustcover (partial?) Dutch/Flemish glued to hardcover edition, probably the same HC edition pictured right of this thumbnail, ca. 1950 (illustration Ben Mohr)De Tiendagsvlieg - harde kaft Dutch/Flemish editionDe Tiende Dag - cover Dutch/Flemish pocket book edition, Het Spectrum Prisma-Detective N° 259, 1973.De Tiende Dag - cover Dutch/Flemish pocket book edition, Het Spectrum Prisma-Detective N° 518, 1983 (2de druk) (illustratie Guuske Kaayk)De Tiende Dag - cover Dutch/Flemish pocket book edition, Hema Trendboek B.V., 1987 (illustratie Guuske Kaayk)La Décade prodigieuse - cover French edition Collection le Limier, 01/10/1950
La Décade prodigieuse - cover French edition J'ai LuLa Décade prodigieuse - cover French edition Stock, 1971La Décade prodigieuse - cover French edition, Le Livre de Poche N° 3492, 1973La Décade prodigieuse - cover French edition J'ai Lu, 1984La Decade prodigieuse - cover French edition, J'ai Lu, November 23. 1997La Decade prodigieuse - cover French edition, editions Rencontre Lausanne (Edito-Service)Der Zehnte Tag - German cover Ullstein Bucher, 1976

Ten Days' Wonder Translations: 
Czech: Drama desatera dní 
(aka Zázrak trvá devět dnů) 
Danish: Ti dages frist 
Dutch/Flemish: De Tiende Dag 
 (aka De Tiendagsvlieg) 
Finnish:
Kymmenes rikos 
French: La Decade Prodigieuse 
German: Der Zehnte Tag (aka Am Zehnten Tag) 
Greek: Ερωτηματικά δέκα ημερών 
Italian: Dieci giorni di dubbio  (aka Dieci incredibili giorni) 
Japanese: 十日間の不思議 (tookakannofusigi) 
Korean: 열흘간의 불가사의 
Norwegian: Ti dagers underverk 
Persisch: ده روز شگفت انگیز 
Portuguese: Dez Dias de Misterio  aka Un Misterio De Diez Dias) 
Romanian: Minunea de zece zile 
Russian:   Чудо десяти дней  
aka Десять ступеней к истине
 
Spanish: La maravilla de los diez dias (aka La década prodigiosa) 
Swedish: Tio dagars underverk 

Am Zehnten Tag - German cover DuMonts Kriminal Bibliothek, 2000Am Zehnten Tag - cover German edition, e-book DuMonts Digitale Kriminal-Bibliothek, March 27. 2014Dieci giorni di dubbio - cover Italian edition Amena Garzanti n. 68 , 1950Dieci giorni di dubbio - dustcover Italian edition  Garzanti series Gallia N°74, 1956Dieci giorni di dubbio - hardcover Italian edition  Garzanti series Gallia N°74, 1956Dieci incredibili giorni - cover Italian edition I Classici del Giallo N°138, May 1972.Dieci incredibili giorni - cover Italian Edition, N° 1913 - 153, 1986
Dieci incredibili giorni - cover Italian edition Giallo Mondadori,  Nr.784,  January 28. 1997Dieci incredibili giorni - cover Italian edition Il Giallo Mondadori classici ,Mondadori, Dec 2009Dez Dias de Misterio - Cover Portuguese/Brasilian editionUn Misterio de Diez Dias - cover Argentinian edition, 1949Un Misterio de Diez Dias - cover Argentinian edition, Hachette, 1951La maravilla de los diez dias - cover Spanish edition Picazo, 1975La década prodigiosa - Cover Spanish edition, Coleccion Circulo del Crimen,  1984
La maravilla de los diez dias - Cover Spanish edition, Ciudad de Libros (eBook)Dez Dias de Misterio - cover Portuguese edition, Ed. Livros do Brasil, Coleção Vampiro, Sep 2019Ti dages frist - cover Danish edition, Lommeromanen, 1952Ti dages frist - cover Danish edition, Martin KobenhavnTio Dagars Underverk - cover Swedish edition Albert Bonniers Forlag, Stockholm, 1949Tio Dagars Underverk - cover Swedish edition Bonniers Folkbibliotek, 1958
Drama desatera dní - cover Czech edition, 1981, VysenhradDrama desatera dní - cover Czech edition, 2001Drama desatera dní - cover Czech edition, 2013, Naše vojskoDrama desatera dní - cover Czech edition, 2014Kymmenes rikos - cover Finnish editionMinunea de zece zile - cover Romanian edition, 1991
Ερωτηματικά δέκα ημερών - cover Greek edition, Viper N°684, 1976Остросюжетный детектив (Thrilling Detective, 20) - cover Russian compilation, contains two Ellery Queen stories, "The Greek Coffin Mystery" (Тайна греческого склепа) & "Ten Days' Wonder" (Десять ступеней к истине), Publisher Themis-Yu (Фемида-Ю), 1993.Две возможности - cover Russian compilation, includes "Ten Days' Wonder" (Чудо десяти дней) & "Double, Double" (Две возможности), publisher Centrograph (Центрполиграф), 2005.Ten Days' Wonder - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing (full cover), 1979ده روز شگفت انگیز - cover Persian 1974 edition by انتشارات طرح نو (New Modern Publications)ده روز شگفت انگیز - cover Persian 2013 edition by ویدا (Vida)
ده روز شگفت انگیز - cover Persian 2017 edition by طرح نوTen Days' Wonder - cover Chinese edition, Huaxia Publishing House, 1989Ten Days' Wonder - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Pocket Mystery Book, Feb 28. 1959Ten Days' Wonder - cover Japanese edition, Pocket Bunko, Feb 17. 2021Ten Days' Wonder - cover Chinese edition, Masses PressTen Days' Wonder - cover Chinese edition, Masses Press, June 1. 2000
Ten Days' Wonder - cover Taiwanese edition, Face Press, November 8. 2005Ten Days' Wonder - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, November 2010Ten Days' Wonder - cover Taiwanese edition, February 20. 1997Ten Days' Wonder - cover Taiwanese edition, 2005열흘간의 불가사의 (Ten Days' Wonder) - cover South-Korean edition, Dongsuh Mystery Books, 검은숲, Sep 1. 2003열흘간의 불가사의 (Ten Days' Wonder) - cover South-Korean edition,  검은숲, Ellery Queen Collection, Nov 27. 2014
 



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Other articles on this book
(1)
Something is going to Happen Arthur Vidro (Jul 2017)
(2) Reading Ellery Queen Jon Mathewson (Apr 2015)
(3) My Case - Wonders of the World Ho-Ling (Apr 2018)
(4) The Grandest Game in the World Nick Fuller (Aug 20. 2021)
(5) The Green Capsule (Nov 7. 2019)
(6) Justice for the Corpse Rusty (May 15. 2018)
(7) Typings Reese Warner (Dec 4. 2017)

 
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