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Frederic Dannay was not only a highly popular writer and an in-
fluential editor, he was also a great bibliophile. In 1938, Dannay edited Challenge to the Reader, the first of numerous Queen-edited anthologies
(70), including 101 Years' Entertainment; Great Detective Stories, 1841-1941 (1945). Dannay updated and expanded Haycraft's list a number of times until it reached its final form in 1952 and became known as the Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones list (or H-Q). This list begins with Voltaire's Zadig in 1748 and continues through the early 1950s.
Under their Queen pseudonym, Dannay and Lee published a number of books and essays relating to the history of detective/mystery fiction that began to generate interest in collecting.
Dannay's critical writings in EQMM, are partly collected in their major critical works on the detective short story. Among those books were The Detective Short Story, which appeared in 1942 followed by In the Queen's Parlor, and Other Leaves from the Editors' Notebook in 1957. Their most influential work was Queen's Quorum, A History of the Detective/Crime Story which was published in a variety of forms until its final appearance in 1969. Dannay was the principal author of this landmark scholarly work which provided in-depth historical and bibliographical information regarding the most important short-story volumes by single authors in the genre. The work of many writers was discussed following a time line from 1845 with Poe's Tales up through 1967 when Queen gave up adding to the "lustrum." Although wide ranging, the book centers around the best books in each era or decade, and these volumes are now know as Queen's Quorum. This important work gave focus and direction to a generation of new collectors and Queen's Quorum, like the H-Q List is still used as a "shopping list" by many collectors today.

The Detective Short Story - cover Queen's Quorum - cover  101 Year's Entertainment - cover published by Garden City Publishing Company 1945.

Early in 1945, a group of mystery writers met at a New York
watering hole to discuss forming a professional organization. Among those present were Ellery
Queen, Baynard Kendrick, and Erle Stanley Gardner. From this small meeting grew the Mystery Writers of America, with membership in the thousands and nine chapters nationwide. The MWA holds regional monthly meetings and an annual meeting in New York at which the Edgar Awards are given. They excluded most of Ellery's classic novels from award consideration.
But Ellery Queen' did receive more awards than any other 'writer' in crime fiction history, and has left an indelible, uniquely American mark on the crime genre.

John Dickson Carr presents Fred Dannay the Best Short Story Edgar for ten years of editing Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 1950.

For nine years The Adventures of Ellery Queen was a weekly favorite on the radio; and in 1950 TV Guide gave the Ellery Queen program its national award for the best mystery show on TV. Ellery Queen has won an unprecedented five annual Edgars (the national Mystery Writers of America Awards, similar to Hollywood's Oscars), not including the Grand Master award in 1961, three MWA scrolls and one Raven (Edgar) and both the silver and gold Gertrudes awarded by Pocket Books, Inc. (in 1946 for The New Adventures of Ellery Queen) Mystery writers of Japan gave him their gold and onyx Edgar Allan Poe ring at that point only awarded to only five non-Japanese authors. In 1968 Iona College honored Queen with its Columbia Prize in Mystery.

Dannay and Lee in Dannay's living room in Larchmont (1967), surrounded by their MWA Awards, Lee (right) is holding a MWA's Raven whilst Dannay (left) holds an Edgar. The portrait of Dannay above the mantel is by Maurice Libby.


The full list of Ellery Queen's Edgars:
  • 1946 Ellery Queen (CBS) Best Radio Drama
  • 1950 "for ten years service through EQMM." Short Story Award
  • 1952 Special Edgar: for Queen's Quorum: The 125 Most Important Books of Detective-Crime Mystery Short Stories. (Note: Queen's Quorum was first published in nine parts in EQMM during 1949-1950.)
  • 1969 40th anniv. of The Roman Hat Mystery Special
  • 1979 Special Edgars Award, Celebrating 50 years since the publication of his first novel

            New Wrinkle in commercial programs is this two play mike setup - NBC at left, CBS at right. Event occurred in NBC studios, Radio City, in presentation of "Edgars" for best radio mystery program to the winners, Ellery Queen (CBS) and Mr. & Mrs. North (NBC). Left to right: Joe Curtin (Mr. North); Alice Frost (Mrs. North); Ellery Queen (face lost in embrace); Howard Haycraft; Santos Ortega (Inspector Queen). "Edgars" are awarded by Mystery Writers of America, the name honoring Edgar Alan Poe. (July 1946) 

Other Edgar nominations were: In 1962 for Ellery Queen 1962 Anthology  in the category Best Short Story and a 1964 nomination for The Player on the Other Side in the "Best Novel" category.


In 1978 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (International Category) went to Ellery Queen for And on the Eighth Day.
Since 1983, the MWA has also issued "Ellery Queen Awards," given to the person who has best exemplified the spirit of Ellery
Queen, for outstanding writing teams and editors.


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