still find it
hard to imagine that it was as early as the late 20s when the two Queen cousins worked in
N.Y. as advertising
Cousins Lee and Dannay were not only the creators of the character Ellery Queen, one of the most successful in history, they (especially Dannay) did more to support and nurture detective fiction in that country than anyone else. Dannay himself speculated about the possible future significance of the mysteries, "In 20 or 30 years, the literary historians will go back to the good mystery novel to find out what was really going on. Our books are as much a canvas of their time as the books by Proust were of his time."
|y the end of
the century the author's ideas and plots have been so many times copied and
"slightly" altered it is easy to forget the genius behind the masterfully plotted stories.
Ellery Queen is the last of the great classical detectives
were the plot of the mystery is always paramount, far more important than
characterization , social relevance, great writing, or anything else. The
classical detectives don't have personalities, they have mannerisms.
Obviously, this focus on the puzzle aspect of the whodunit lends itself well
to short-stories -- we shouldn't forget that the whole mystery genre was for
decades primarily focused on stories rather than novels; nowadays, very few
crime writers can do a good short whodunit, and even these accomplish the
task largely by referring to the characterizations they have established in
previous novels. However, here the puzzles are good, scrupulously observing
the fair-play rules of the classic whodunit: in fact, there is usually a
clear demarcation just before the solution to the puzzle, so that the reader
will have a chance to take a stab at the case. The topics of the various
stories run the familiar gamut of classical short story territory, including
rare books, vanishing trains, poisonings over inheritances, and dying
messages identifying the killer. As true representative of "literature" Ellery Queen has found his
equal but not so in de development of a detective-story with all the playful accessories
he made his own. It is far more difficult to differentiate between the
figure Ellery Queen who appears in the books and Ellery
Queen, the "real writer" and pseudonym for two cousins (or even the two cousins
as separate persons) than at first one could expect. In true Ellery
Queen style the dates on which the cousins were born and died were often
interchanged (even by
very renowned sources). Confusion all around as even the places are not exactly the same.
Nowadays (2018) access to genealogical sites has become more common. David Nathan is confirmed as being born on October 20. However Emanuel Lepofsky has a birth certificate on file which says January 12. not January 11. However Rand B. Lee informed us the following "On his certificate of death my father's birth is listed as Jan. 11, 1905; we always celebrated his birth on Jan. 11th; he always claimed that was his birthday, and his sisters, my aunts, confirmed it many times. Jan. 12th is an error in the document."
Oct. 20, 1905, Brooklyn (Kings), N.Y. City - Sept. 3, 1982, White Plains, N.Y
(Emanuel) Lepofsky alias
xtra - xtra
Reproduced Newspaper articles: