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PASTICHES

Jon L. Breen best stories are loving recreations of Van Dine and Ellery Queen. Breen is remarkably good at conveying the "feel" of these authors - although it is a parody, "The Lithuanian Eraser Mystery" (EQMM March 1969 and EQ's Eyes of Mystery, 1971) recaptures all of the excitement of reading the stories themselves. During the theater season of 1968 E. Larry Cune returns to New York's Greek Theater, scene of the prior triumph when he solved the murder of the asthmatic Mr.Anagopolous -- a case known as "The Greek Coughin' Mystery" E.Larry's companion is Nora Redcap, and we are also introduced to Inspector Cune and Sergeant Healey. 
Breen did this once over in "
C.I.A. Cune's Investigatory Archives. PLAGARISM DEPARTEMENT: The Idea Man" (The Queen Canon Bibliophile Volume 1 Nr.4 1969) and twice in EQMM "The Swedish Boot Mystery"(EQMM November 1973) and "The Adventure of the Disorientated Detective" (EQMM September 1976) all with variations on the 'dying message'.
 

"Open Letter to Survivors" by Francis M.Nevins (EQMM, N°342, May 1972) starts off with a line from  "Ten Days' Wonder" (Chapter 10) : "... There was the case of Adelina Monquieux, his remarkable solution of which cannot be revealed before 1972 by agreement with that curious lady's executors..." Nevins takes it from here in this 1972 story about a unnamed "big whodunit writer who's cleaned up umpteen cases for the New York force" who came to Adelina Monquieux's home. Adelina's will stipulates that her three identical looking sons Xavier, Yves & Zachary will get half a million dollars plus the income from another half a million in a trust. Her niece Marie get a few hundred thousands. The remaining twenty millions will go to charity and of course Adelina gets murdered! The name of the sleuth is never mentioned but is obvious.

Nils Hardin publisher and editor of the fanzine "Xenophile" published a special Ellery Queen-edition in June 1975. In it he tried his hand at a mystery story "The Ghana Word Mystery" by L.Ray Quaine, sadly due to some printing problem, aside from the title and two unreadable lines, two blank pages appeared...

Detective Comics No. 459 - May 1976 On the cover one can clearly make out Alfred Pennyworth, the police, Batman unmasking, and Elliot Quinn's corpse. (Art: J.L.Garcia Lopez - Editing Julius Schwartz)
Marty Pasko wrote the script for a 12 page Batman-
comic story called "A Clue Before Dying" (Detective Comics N°. 459 - May 1976) Batman tries to find the man who killed mystery writer Elliot Quinn, and who may be the same man who killed an architect in Quinn's home years ago. Not only an homage to Queen but in the story also "a" Lt. Dannay appeared!
Again we sidestep into the realm of pop music. A little more known than our previous examples is the 1977 Tavares hit single Whodunit written by K.St.Louis and F.Perren:
      She went dancin' in the dark, somebody stole her heart
     
Ellery Queen if you're so keen
      Won't you help me find my sweet thing (Yeah, yeah)


In 1997 a 1977 Kyotaro Nishimura story was translated into French. Nishimura was born in 1930 in Tokyo and belongs to the second generation of Japanese detective writers. Together with Matsumoto Seicho and Akagawa Jiro he is one of the most popular writers in his country.

What would happen if Maigret, Ellery Queen and Hercule Poirot met in Tokyo?

What would happen if Maigret, Ellery Queen and Hercule Poirot met in Tokyo? Their rich host certainly seems to know. Solely for his pleasure to see his favorite detectives at work. One other old Japanese detective is present: Kogoro Akechi, the hero in the books of Edogawa Rampo.
The book confronts the techniques of each of the master detectives with the Japanese culture. Two years before this Tokyo gathering the city was hit by a spectacular theft. 300 million yen was mysteriously stolen without any trace. Following a few clues and using the outline of the psychological profile of the thief, M Sato, an old millionaire, decides to re-enact the whole heist under the noses of his four guests. He sets out to find a
guinea pig who fits the psychological profile and sets out to let him steal 300 million yen of his own A  Brazilian edition 'O Grande Desafio'A French version is obtainable called 'Les grands detectives n'ont pas froid aux yeux'money. His sole purpose being to find a trace of the first thief by following the facts and actions of his guinea pig. The investigations of our four detectives lead to an extraordinary finale. The story is not widely translated but a French version is obtainable called 'Les grands detectives n'ont pas froid aux yeux' as is a  Brazilian edition 'O Grande Desafio' (1992).
The original 1977 book is titled Meitantei nanka kowakunai ("Those famous detectives aren't afraid") and is the first in a series of four all of which have Queen, Maigret, Poirot and Akechi in them. The second part is Meitantei ga Oosugiru ("Too Much Detectives"), the third Meitantei mo raku janai ("Even famous detectives have troubles") and in 1983 Meitantei ni kanpai ("Cheers to the Famous Detectives").

When researching his 1981 'The Great Detectives' the late Julian Symons not only had the privilege of meeting Fred in Larchmont. He was able to put forward an interesting theory that there were in fact two Ellery's -- the earlier one with the pince-nez and the later one post "Halfway House" He even constructed a theory that the earlier Ellery was, in fact, Ellery's younger brother "Dan". Fred thought the theory was 'inventive' but stated that Julian underestimated the way people change and even went as far as saying the theory was unconvincing. Julian included a pastiche 'Dan and the Fair Sabrina' a story about a missing statuette called 'Sabrina'.

It's September 1982 when we see "The Adventure of the Logical Successor" by J.Randolph Cox appear in Volume 32, Number 3 of "The Baker Street Journal - An Irregular Quarterly of Sherlockiana". This edition of NY Baker Street Irregulars has Ellery Queen, in 1919 whilst studying at Harvard, visiting 'the Great Detective'. "On Opening the door I saw a young man dressed in tweeds and carrying a stout walking-stick. He was fully six feet in height, spare and square shouldered, and not unathletic. His eyes were those of a thinker, silver-grey in color. The one aspect of attire which seemed out of place was the pair of pince-nez eyeglasses, the lenses of which he was engaged in polishing. They were an incongruity on such an athletic figure. ...".  It has Ellery stating: "... I've read your accounts of Mr. Holmes's cases since I was a boy. My aunt brought me a copy of your Adventures of Sherlock Holmes when I was sick" and "In fact, it was probably that book that made me want to become a writer." Which of course point more in Dannay's direction than Ellery as a whole. It isn't a mystery story but reveals some of Sherlock's thoughts on Ellery Queen's future ("...both of his chose careers).

Truly a pity that some of these stories are unobtainable... Jon Breen describes 'The Persian Fez Mystery or "The Tragedy of Q" by Joe R. Christopher (1983) as "one of the cleverest send-ups of the Queen style. Found in 30 copy(!) chapbook "Queen's Books Investigated" or "Queen is in the Accounting House" it reveals that Elroy Queep "..only in his novels solved the cases before the police, in real life his suggestions were always wrong..."

The admiration for the Ellery Queen works in Japan is unsurpassed. No small wonder several examples are found in this section. In Yuki Misshitsu Snow Locked Room, (1989) by Rintaro Norizuki, police superintendant Norizuki Sadao is invited by, as it turns out, a female blackmailer to her guesthouse in the middle of winter. She's found hanged in a separate building on the premises. Local police treat it as an apparent suicide since the snow is trackless and the only key is inside the building itself. Convinced of foul play Sadao calls in the help of his son Rintarou Norizuki (same name as author!). There also a Norizuki volume called The Adventures of Norizuki Rintarou.... More an homage than pastiche, but close enough. (Nigel Holmes, Snow Locked Room)  As is the fact with Arisugawa Arisu (or Alice) since he doesn't actually includes Ellery in his stories but his work does include heroes with the same name as the writer and several EQ elements e.g. 'dying messages', 'challenge to the reader',... But his hero(ine) Arisugawa is more the narrator and also plays the Watson role. His books have titles clearly referring to the Queen opus. His first novel was called Moonlight Game, The Tragedy of Y '88, (1989) and the short stories with 'his' detective  have Nation+ titles e.g. The Russian Tea Puzzle (1994). (Nigel Holmes, Death in Nara by the Sea) The Swedish Museum Mystery (1995), The Brazilian Butterfly Mystery (1996), The English Garden Mystery (1997), The Persian Cat Mystery (1999), The Swiss Watch Mystery (2004) The Morocco Crystal Mystery (2006)  (Wikipedia)

The 70th anniversary edition of EQMM had two pastiches . Edward D.Hoch's "The Circle of Ink"(EQMM, September 1999) placed Ellery and his married father (Jesse Sherwood) in a University and  Jon L.Breen's "The Gilbert and Sullivan Clue" lets Ellery deal with Y2K.  Edward Hoch even got Ellery to revisit Wrightsville in "The Wrightsville Carnival" (EQMM September/October 2005). Whilst in the same issue Josh Pachter and Jon.L.Breen wrote "The German Cologne Mystery" subtitled an Ellery Queen parody it had Inspector Wretched Breen brake down the unlocked door of the fast-declining Hotel Madrid's room 521. In response to a phone call from his son, celebrated mystery writer and accomplished amateur detective Celery Breen.

Japanese Kazuo Miyamoto made his writing debut using the pen name Kaoru Kitamura. He is considered a pioneer of  the "everyday mystery". Initially, because the unnamed first-person protagonist of his early works "The Japanese Nickel Mystery" by Kaoru Kitamura, reissue. Publisher: Tokyo Somoto-sha (April 20, 2009)"The Japanese Nickel Mystery" by Kaoru Kitamura, 2005 Tankobon Hardcoverwas a female college student, and the name Kaoru is gender ambiguous, it was widely speculated that Kitamura was female. This speculation persisted until he revealed his identity upon accepting the Mystery Writers of Japan Award in 1991. In itself a tribute to EQ. He didn't leave it at that... in 2005 he published a full fledged pastiche called "The Japanese Nickel Mystery". Ellery Queen visits Japan at the invitation of a publisher and mystery writer, and gets sidetracked by infant killing incidents in Tokyo. The story includes a man who could change a thousand-yen bill into twenty coins of fifty yen and has our detective pointing out a relationship with a previous case.

(continued here...)


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