1953-1963 ELLERY QUEEN
Scarlet Letters (1953)
Ellery had a simple case. A few days of discreet snooping, some choice advice, and the inimitable sleuth would blithely restore domestic harmony to the millionaire couple Dirk and Martha Lawrence. And then came the scarlet letters. And finally the cryptic clue...scrawled in a murdered man's blood. A simple case? Unless Ellery did some super-fast sleuthing, he'd have nothing to show but a very scarlet face.
An odd EQ, where the murder occurs 3/4 way into the story, and most of the book is a suspense tale, though admittedly with some tricky deception.
The Letters Racket--A is for Alfred, who left his poor wife ripe for a blackmailer late in her life. B is for Brothers, three of that name, who skewered one morning the fourth Brother's dame. On through the files of Q.B.I., from Bacon to Kidnap to a Poisoner's try. The victims are many, the killers are, too, and only Ellery Queen can find out who's who!
|nspector Queen's Own Case (1956)
For years, Inspector Richard Queen had been outshone by his writer son. Now, with Ellery away, he had a case all his own--or did he? The verdict had been accidental death, and only the victim's nurse had seen the one thing that made it murder. Recruiting a Senior Citizens corps of retired cops, Dick Queen tracked a murderer--and found himself courting his only witness! No wonder he kept muttering, "What's Ellery going to say...?"
The first IQ retirement case, it really isn't up to the level of the best of the rest--but makes quick, entertaining read nonetheless. Introduces the future Mrs. Richard Queen.
On the 8th night of Christmas your true love sends to you a head with one closed eye--a warning you will die... A gay Christmas party in a snowbound mansion turns grim when a guest begins sending anonymous gifts to his hosts. The presents are a slow, deliberate warning of murder--scheduled to arrive on the 12th night with the final gift--the finishing stroke
Lee and Dannay almost certainly intended their 30th novel, The Finishing Stroke, to be their last (as even the title suggests).
he Finishing Stroke for many people is as Lee and Dannay intended the last real
Queen. But they didn't leave it at that.
Lee started developing among other ailments writer's block so they turned to a well-tried method. Science-fiction writers Theodore Sturgeon and Avram Davidson were brought in uncredited to turn the Dannay outlines into new Queen novels.
Both cousins extensively revised the manuscripts. This has led to some controversy to determine the extent of participation by either cousin in these books. However it's fair to conclude both man kept such a large portion of control over the result of each of the books to state that they stand as an inextricable part of the Queen output.
A 5-sided card with the letter J stamped on it appeared in Robert York's mail. A day later a huge boulder crushed him dead. It was no accident. And then a card stamped with the letter H showed up for Emily York, and all the police protection in the world couldn't save her. Ellery Queen was up against a brilliant sick killer who liked to play games. Now it was Ellery's move, and he had to make it quick...or else another card would turn up!
Good story-telling, with the mysterious letters making for suspense. You've probably seen this final twist before, but it's as well-hidden as possible.