1940-1949 ELLERY QUEEN
hese are the years where Ellery Queen went Hollywood! The great
detective is confronted with romance just because the
critics said he needed that little bit of spice. It's fair to admit that
Nikki Porter brought some charm to the series.
And it's fair to say that the "Hollywood novels"
read, but nothing more. Tinseltown didn't treat Dannay and Lee very well.
They felt their talent was
wasted on small pictures. Burdened by
the lack of
success they let their feelings get through in the novels.
Without those they could have been better books. Years later
in 1950, EQ returned to Hollywood for a third novel,
The Origin of Evil. It
was a common practice to revamp movie scripts into novelizations which were
commercialized in the slipstream of the movies. So indeed a few scripts of
the Columbia B-films
were published. Neither
Dannay nor Lee did any work on
them. But they were adaptations of the movies or
in which they did have a hand.
So they are included
here but are not considered "pur sang".
The first thing to vanish is a worthless doorstop. Then, in the twinkling if an eye, goes its rich and elderly owner. And, for the grand finale, both reappear--each as dead as the other. Then the piece de resistance. This time it's an entire house, a real house, a solid house which Ellery had been in only the day before...vanished from the face of the earth. And in its place, one of the most incredible conundrums ever to face the master crime solver.
The vanishing house bit seems spectacular, but is easily thought through, and not entirely logical as done here. Several Hollywood stories keep EQ romancing Paula Paris fromThe Four of Hearts. (Click on the cover to read more...)
Queen Master Detective
aka anishing Corpse (1941)
Halfway across the room, Nikki stopped abruptly. From behind the desk protruded a leg. Then she saw it all - the hand, the blood. The police believed Nikki Porter had murdered John Braun, but Ellery set out to prove that she was innocent. Working alone, he matched his wits against a brilliantly clever criminal who twice stole the body of the murdered man from under the very nose of the police.
Loosely based on The Door Between, later re-issued as The Vanishing Corpse. An Ellery Queen story but no real Queen, it featured the character of Nikki Porter. Written by Laurence Dwight Smith. (Click on the cover to read more...)
The body in the trunk, the vanishing jade necklace, the ventriloquist, the magician & the cardsharp. A fast-paced puzzler. Sheila Cobb turned to Ellery Queen in desperation when her father disappeared. And within half an hour, Ellery found Gordon Cobb... but the solution didn't get him very far. For Gordon Cobb was dead, his body concealed in his own wardrobe trunk in a luxurious penthouse.
Again an Ellery Queen story but no real Queen recycled from a B-movie which was based on a radio plot “The Three (Four) Scratches” (12-17-39) by the Queens. (Click on the cover to read more...)
Adventure of the Murdered Millionaire (1941)
Another non-Queen story with Ellery "sleuthing" around. Based on a radio play by EQ. Published in 1942 as one of the Better Little Books (1472). Published by Pyramid books together with The Last Man Club (Click on the cover to read more...)
Again based on a radio play by Ellery Queen. But aside the leading role no real Queen. First appeared as one of the Better Little Books (1406) in 1941. Published by Pyramid books together with The Adventure of the Murdered Millionaire. (Click on the cover to read more...)
With $250,000--of somebody else's money--in his pocket, Ellery had the time of his life buying in the famous Garten book collection as it was auctioned off. But the fun didn't last long, for before evening John Mathews, who had been responsible for Garten's ruin, was found murdered. And neither the book collector, nor the dead man's nephew, Walter, who was engaged to Garten's daughter, had any kink of an alibi
Non-Queen based on the movie Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime so again the plot of The Devil to Pay was used. Nikki Porter reappeared. Also appeared as one of the Better Little Books in 1942. (Click on the cover to read more...)