1920s, three of the most popular fiction characters
Tutt, Charlie Chan, and Philo Vance. Mr. Tutt was a lawyer (creator: Arthur Train), not a
detective, but stories about him often concerned crime and legal matters. Earl Derr
Biggers' Charlie Chan is important because he was probably the first Chinese detective in
fiction. S.S.Van Dine's Philo Vance
was once very popular, but his significance for us lies partly in the fact that he drew
attention to the American form. He also was a great influence on the early Ellery
Queen. Dannay recalled, "...Van Dine influenced us because he made so much
money; and then, the kind of thing he did appealed to us in those days. It was complex,
logical, deductive, almost entirely intellectual..."
When the cousins entered the McClure contest Van Dine was at his peak of success. The influence their idol had is obvious. As JJMcC pointed out Ellery Queen retires to Italy: exactly where Van Dine had said Philo Vance had retired. Ellery Queen is a pseudonym to conceal the real identity of the sleuth as was Philo Vance. They both like to use pompous literary references. Vance got access to the crimes through his friend Markham while Ellery's connection to the investigation was given by his father. Sergeant Velie, Doc Prouty and even Djuna all had a counterpart in the Van Dine novels as respectively Sergeant Heath, Dr. Doremus and the butler Currie. Ellery Queen (detective and author) went through several distinct changes in his series. Gradually, he developed a more personal style, although he always was faithful to the puzzle plot, intuitionist tradition of the Van Dine school. Along with Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, he was one of the three major writers of the puzzle plot detective story. As Jon Tuska pointed out Ellery Queen carried the classical plot as pioneered by Van Dine forward for another generation and created a haven for those readers who wanted to believe even for a moment or two, that the complexities of modern life could be reduced to a mere problem in deduction.
Poe was one
of EQ's favorite writers. However, Queen's solution to the concealed object problem are
slightly different from Poe's. In "The Purloined Letter", the missing
letter is concealed in a conspicuous place, one that is so "obvious" that no one
looks there. EQ's approach is related, but somewhat different. In EQ's tales, a public
ritual of some sort is often taking place. There is a container at the center of this
ritual, and the missing item is hidden inside the container. For example, in "The
Trojan Horse", there is a football game about to begin, and the missing gems are
hidden in the football itself. The containers can seem like womb or egg symbols. Often
they will be propelled or ejected outside the perimeter of the main search area. The
propulsive device is often another object, one with phallic or male symbolism. In "The
Trojan Horse" these propulsive figures are the football players themselves.
The next great impact proved to be an even more shattering experience: Maurice Leblanc's Arsène Lupin, that hero of extraordinaire verve, supreme cockiness, and flaming spirit. He was the "cool man", whereas Holmes was, by comparison the "cold" man, and Lupin's appeal to Fred's emotions was more compelling than Holmes' appeal to his intellect. In Fred Dannay own words: "Maurice Leblanc's plots, in books like 813 (his masterpiece), had an enormous influence, technical and creative on my own imaginativeness and I acknowledge this debt after all this years."
EQ influenced, although this is not much discussed in history
books, is John Dickson Carr. Carr's
impossible crime plots are modeled after G.K.
Chesterton. But his logical, systematic crime investigations remind me of Ellery
Queen's. Both authors explore every aspect of the crime in great depth,
constantly looking for new insights into its underlying causes, new clues, new
information. Both put great emphasis on the movements of people within a building at the
time of the crime, and their interactions, which they build up into complex patterns. Both
are interested in direct, in-depth investigation of the crime itself, whereas Agatha Christie's sleuthing often looks
into the background of the characters, their hidden past, their relationships, and so on
... (Michael E.Grost)
The concept that the three great writers of the classical detective novel are Christie, Carr and Queen is not new. The linking of the three names was seemingly first used by Anthony Boucher. He casually listed them once together in passing as the "greatest names" in detective fiction. More centrally and emphatically, Jon L. Breen described them as the big three of the classical novel. He also expressed his disappointment that there weren't more writers like these three lurking in detective tradition. Since Breen, this grouping, has been fairly casually referred to, in many other writers. It is beginning to take on the status of a cliché or a truism, as if it were a well recognized fact. People often cite the three merely to invoke a tradition, that of the well done puzzle plot novel, rather to launch a complex argument about detective history. For example, a reviewer might write (accurately) that Bill Pronzini's Case File excellent puzzle plot stories contains in the tradition of Christie, Carr and Queen. A basic excellence seems to be recognized here. Ultimately, one might say reality is source of this idea. The Big Three are the only detective writers I yet know of, who wrote a large number of brilliantly puzzle plotted novels.
Much of his technique that would later dominate Ngaio Marsh's novels. There is the floor plan, and the wanderings of the characters through it. They are well defined and varied types, each with its own active interest in the outcome. The chapter titles are all schematic. One may have wondered if Marsh is a Van Dinean; perhaps it would be more accurate to wonder if she were directly influenced by Ellery Queen. (Michael E.Grost)
In his article "Ellery
Queen is alive and Well and Living in Japan" Ho-Ling Wong describes
Ellery Queen's influence on Japanse writers.
Other popular writers of the New Orthodox School are Rintarō Norizuki and Alice Arisugawa. Both writers are strongly influenced by Ellery Queen. Both of them have named their protagonists after themselves, like their great example. Both writers often insert a Challenge to the Reader in their stories. As one can derive from his first name, Arisugawa often delves into imagery of Alice in Wonderland, just like Ellery Queen, while Norizuki Rintarō’s characters mimic Ellery Queen almost exactly. His protagonist is a writer, also called Norizuki Rintarō, who helps his father, a police inspector, mirroring the Inspector Queen dynamic. Norizuki’s prize-winning short story “An Urban Legend Puzzle” is a great example of the New Orthodox School. While it features a classic puzzle plot, the incorporation of urban legends is distinctly modern. More recent writers of this type include names like Natsuhiko Kyōgoku and Mori Hiroshi.
Writer-artist Gōshō Aoyama provided ingenious plots and puzzles that would entertain any crime fan for his Detective Conan series, ... more on those you read here