|n Calamity Town (1942) the New England town of Wrightsville
is introduced, the place where many of Ellery's novel-length and short story adventures of the next three decades take place. Wrightsville was a place in the U.S. where people lived, worked and died in an atmosphere of decency and independence. A typical American town, buried in the great American heartland, up to its collective neck in good old American corn. One could freely breath the air here, although the industry has had his influence. As to it's origin... on the criminous level, the central influence seems to have been Alfred Hitchcock's 1941 film Suspicion. Of course Wrightsville's milieu, people, plot, details, overall framework, and everything else about it are fully organic to Queen's own vision, not yanked bodily from any prior source but shaped in part by earlier work just as everything we say and do is shaped at least in part by what others have said and done before us. And so Wrightsville seems to be influential on later work in the mystery genre and especially on another extraordinary film by Alfred Hitchcock Shadow of a Doubt (1943) It's primary scenarist was Thornton Wilder. His famous play Our Town (1938) surely influenced Wrightsville but in the movie, although some resemblance to Grover's Corners in Our Town is a fact even more this is the case with Queen's Wrightsville. The girl Charlie (played by Teresa Wright) is a near-perfect cinematic image of Pat Wright even to the point that both their fathers were bankers...
Richard and Douglas Dannay have since stated that it was poetry which inspired Wrightsville: Spoon River Anthology (Tragedy of Errors, 1999). This is a book by Edgar Lee Masters from 1914-15 which consists of a collection of poems/epitaphs. In it the dead on "the cemetery on the hill" relay details from their lives. The fictional town of "Spoon River" was named after the river which ran near his hometown. This innovative approach was interwoven with childhood memories Masters' had of former residents of Lewistown and Petersburg, Illinois.
Above: Claremont, NH, has a Square
which was round... with five streets hooked up to it. Bandstand and
At least it is clear that the area East of New York plays a special part in Ellery Queen's life. The creators lived there for most of their life and many of there stories are situated in that area. No wonder that in The Finishing Stroke their main figures traveled through this region...
A typical American town with a Memorial Park which was once called the Green and the river 'Willow'. On the town's Square (which was actually round) one could found Jezreel Monument. Great-great-great-great-something of John F.Wright (banker) had founded Wrightsville in 1702. The thoroughfares which radiated like spokes from the hub of the square. One spoke was a was a broad avenue: the Wrightsville National Bank (on the Northern Arc of the square), the red-brick Town Hall were State Street began, Carnegie Library and beyond WPA-looking buildings. Another spoke was Lower Main: stores, the Wrightsville Record offices, a Five-and-Dime, the "new" Post Office buildings, "Bijou Theater", J.C.Pettigrew's real estate office and Al Brown's Ice Cream Parlor.
How about law and justice in Wrightsville?
Wrightsville Murders" are: