Queen's Bureau of Investigation: the Casebook

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1954-1963   ELLERY QUEEN    To list

Since 1950 Dannay and Lee had been recruiting and training ghostwriters they already had used on some juvenile adaptations of Queen movies and radioshows. In the late 60s Manfred suffered a series of heart attacks which forced him to lose a great deal of weight. Among other psychological ailments he also suffered writer's block. The cousins decided to farm out a series of paperback originals. This kept the two names current in the minds of the reading public -- even if the Ellery character was absent.
Harsh critic about the ghosted paperbacks (and their authorship) was avoided by keeping their exact contribution a secret. The main reason being the possible negative effect on Lee's health. For years this part of the deal was held up, but when it did surface it has led, again, to controversy about the true authorship. Each time Manfred Lee provided the basic idea and edited these paperback originals until his dead. Lee did eventually conquered writer's block with Cop Out.
The paperback originals are graded significant lower than the true EQ novels. Still, some are fairly good (the two 'authentic' Queens 'The Glass Village', 'Cop Out'  and 'A Room to Die In':  a better locked-room mystery than most ).

 

The Glass Village (1954)

The Glass Village - Q.B.I.When mere accusation takes the place of evidence, freedom is in peril. What happens after the murder is the story of what Johnny Shinn -- late of Army Intelligence and veteran of two wars, in spite of himself, does about it. The tense lynch trial that is the focus of the action is really the trial of Johnny Shinn as an American.


The novel is supposedly an allegory on and an attack at McCarthyism. Considering the works were EQ nor his father appeared in, this book together with 'Cop Out' (1968) are the only two books really 'worth' reading. Written by Queen 'himself'.

Dead man's Tale (1961)

Dead Man's Tale - Q.B.I.When Barney Street, the fixer, was in Holland during World War II, his life had been saved by a German soldier. Now Barney was dead; his estate was worth $2,000,000. But in his will Barney left it all to Hacha, the German soldier who had saved his life. Barney's wife, Estelle, wanted that money. If Hacha was dead, she would get it. If not...? So she sent Steve Longacre to Europe to find out.

Written by Stephen Marlowe

Death Spins the Platter (1962)

Death Spins the Platter - Q.B.I. Every time he spun a platter on "The King's Session," gold came out: TV earnings, returns on his secret holdings in recording companies, the old payola that some bright young men think only their rightful due. Tutter was a gay young man-around-town. He was also involved in some hanky-panky with his pretty blond assistant, Lola Arkwright. And then the roof started to cave in.

Written by Richard Deming

 

Murder with a Past (1963)

Murder with a Past - Q.B.I. Who killed Cox, the robber? Was it Ruth Tully, who visited Crandall Cox on the night of his death? What about Sandra Jean who knew more than she was telling about the sudden demise of blackmailer Cox? Or had some past scandal driven lawyer Ollie Hurst and his wife, Norma, to claim the blackmailer's life? Dave Tully didn't know who the killer was, but if he didn't find out fast, the price of failure could be death...!

Cast of characters. Written by Talmage Powell

Wife or Death (1963)

Wife or Death - Q.B.I. Angel was voluptuous child-woman, bouncing in and out of every bed in town, until she landed in the wrong one and found death was her lover.  But what could Jim do when even the D.A., last in a parade of Angel's lovers, was out to pin the murder on him? He had to find the one who had played Angel false or let an avenging Angel cheat him again. Only this time he would pay with his life...!

Cast of characters. Written by Richard Deming

Kill as Directed (1963)

Kill as Directed - Q.B.I.Competent, respectable Dr. Harry Brown   - failure! Until the day old man Gresham, with his bum ticker, his millions, and his voluptuous young spouse, hired Harry as his doctor. Then it was money, luxury- and love. But what happens to a doctor when someone slips a corpse into his locked apartment? How can Harry tell his richest patient he's having an affair with the man's wife? It's enough to give a man a heart attack. But which man?

Cast of characters. Written by Henry Kane. 

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