York versus Wrightsville, Ellery's two favorite places and a tale of two cities in more
ways than one. His
stories take place in a New York populated with
and eccentrics. If "Ellery Queen is the American detective story"
in this century New York must have been the setting par excellence for his adventures.
Large buildings with buzzing streets where crime lurks behind each corner and yet it keeps
something sophisticating up his sleeve. Some trips to Hollywood aside in the 1940's he
invented a small New England manufacturing town, Wrightsville and located several works
Above left: Map of Manhattan as found in Cat of Many Tails
(click for a bigger version)
Above right: Map of Manhattan as found in Cat of Many Tails
(Bantam) clearly depicting the places where
the bodies of the victims were found.
Below: Nowadays we tend to think of Manhattan as a place packed with
skyscrapers from the Bronx to the Battery... this wasn't the case when
Ellery Queen started writing. Aerial photo of Manhattan in
anhattan in particular was
strongly featured in Cat of Many
Tails and served much in the same way as a game board would
serve. Ellery lives in West
87th Street and apparently moves around New York without the aid of his Duesenberg which
serves him well when visiting outside New York.
Queen often chose a site a block or two from a real life prototype for his
fictional sites. "The Longacre Theater" gives away
it's use by age, handsome terra cotta facade, and two stage doors on either
side of the main marquee. It's make it one of the best substitutes for the
new (1920s) Roman Theater in
Ellery Queen's first mystery, which is supposed
to be two blocks south, at West 47th Street.
Reader's Walking Guide: New York - Alzina Stone Dale)
The Scarlet Letters also
comes to mind. Edward D. Hoch
said about this novel ''... he wrote, 'The
Scarlet Letters,' about a blackmail plot, with a guide to New York marked up
on 26 locations, A to Z, all with clues. The Hayden Planetarium, Yankee
Stadium, right through the alphabet. It really uses New York."
(New York Times, "They love New York" by Dilys Winn,
Oct 31. 1999)
American Gun Mystery Buck Horne is
in N.Y's new Colosseum on
Broadway. The back cover of the Dell pocket book seems to
indicate the World Trade Center as the venue for its location. The map is by
Above left: Not "the" French department store
but a very similar store on the corner of Fifth Avenue & 53 Street (1922).
The French department store was located on the corner of Fifth Avenue & 39th
Above right: Back cover of the Dell pocket
book, Dell Books 4.
Published 1943, 2nd edition 1946 with map on the back.
Other articles on this location in Ellery Queen books
The French Powder Mystery at Clothes in Books (March 22. 2021)
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