The Mis-adventures of
Sherlock Holmes an
an-thology of Holmesian pastiches and
parodies. He used this form of flattery to pay tribute to the most famous character in mystery fiction. It is but fitting to consider those same sort of tributes that have been made to Ellery Queen. The first attempt at this was apparently made by Queen himself. In The Devil to Pay he masquerades as Hilary "Scoop" King, newspaper reporter. That same year (1938) Queen, the editor also provided an anthology Challenge to the Reader in which the identities of 24 famous sleuths are disguised in the stories in which they appeared. "The Adventure of the Hanging Acrobat" was refurnished with Hilary King, detective. However we have to agree that simply replacing a name of the main character in a story will simply not suffice to warrant the etiquette of a real pastiche.
Above: Thor Fredric (Tor Fredriksson, 1913-1961) did cartoons for the Swedish language press in Finland during the 1930s and through WWII. Some samples of it were rediscovered in a book about WWII cartoons in 2014. Picture Courtesy Jyrki Vainio
Ellery Queen once described the difference between pastiche and parody in various ways:
"A pastiche is a serious and sincere imitation in the exact manner of the original author. But writers of parodies, which are humorous or satirical take-offs, have no such reverent scruples. They usually strive for the weirdest possible distortions, and many ingenious travesties have been conceived."
"A parody is a burlesque imitating some serious work; a pastiche is usually a serious imitation in the exact manner of the original author. Only the illustrious call forth such passionate homage. ... The pastiche, whose intent is serious, and the fashioning of which requires immense knowledge, discrimination, and courage, is necessarily a rare literary form."
(101 years of entertainment - 1946)
In listing these stories (pastiches, spoofs, tributes,...) we do have to bear in mind that our subject is not only a detective (1) but also writer (2) and editor of a magazine (3). Let's start with the detective...
"The Final Problem"
(1946) by Bliss Austin, a Baker
Irregular, one of its central characters is Christopher Morley.
This tale uses
Sherlock Holmes material to spoof EQMM's first Detective Short-Story Contest. The judges in that real life 1946 contest were Morley, Howard Haycraft and Ellery Queen, and Austin uses them as the detective protagonists of his story.
Even Richard is included! The tale is a delightful little detective story, with a good deal of tongue in cheek humor, and a nice spoof of both Holmes and the
Ellery Queen short stories.
1945 Thomas Narcejac wrote "Le
mystère des ballons rouges : à la manière d'Ellery Queen"
it was first published in Nouvelles confidences dans ma nuit
(1947). Later it found it's way
into a collection of pastiches of the great detectives called Usurpation
d'identité published in France in 1959 (1983, 2001).
In total it contained some 18 stories. Since March 2018 it's available in
English as "The Mystery of the Red Balloons" in the anthology
The Misadventures of
|Hardly a pastiche but surely a form of recognition albeit outside the field of mystery. In the Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Field' 1954-1955 play Anniversary Waltz, the leading character is subjected to a barrage of questions and responds by asking "Who are you, Ellery Queen?"|
|From the popular I Love Lucy series season 4 episode 4 "The Matchmaker" (Episode aired Oct 25, 1954): When an angry Ricky doesn’t come home from work one night, Fred placates a worried Lucy by saying “Suppose we wait a couple of weeks and notify Ellery Queen.”|
While we are on the subject of 'non-printed' tributes
we can also add the doo-wop group
"The Olympics" who, in 1959 had a
hit called "Private Eye" which
had the lines:
"I wanna be a private eye
I'm gonna get real mean like Ellery Queen"
Clearly written by someone who didn't read a lot of Queen novels...
"Ten Month's Blunder" (1961) by J. N. Williamson features detective Celery Keen in a dying message story. What does the word FAN written in blood indicate? The set-up is a classic, three suspect, elimination-style story. As parody, reasonably entertaining, but as often is the case, the interpretation of a dying message can be troublesome, since it requires somewhat specialist knowledge. (Ho-Ling Wong)
If Ellery Queen had ever been a supporting player in pastiches from the 60s onwards this wasn't the case. In the amusing "The English Village Mystery" by Arthur Porges (EQMM, December 1964) we find Mr.Celery Green solving a crime at Tottering-on-the-Brink, England. He is still in England when in the nearby community of Fretful Porcupine he made his next and last appearance In this "The Indian Diamond Mystery" (EQMM, June 1965) he is described as "brash, airy, sometimes flippant, and given to hasty conclusions". These airs the first but not the last of pastiches who used Queen's early method of naming mysteries.
Eve Titus is the author of twenty children's books, including those about the Basil of Baker Street. One of those stories made it into an enjoyable Disney movie. Both in Basil & The Lost Colony (1964) and Basil & The Pygmy Cats (1971) there are several cameos by Tillary Quinn.
Norma Schier wrote several stories in imitation of famous detective writers, she used anagrams for names of the sleuths and authors. She let Leyne Requel star in "Dying Message" (EQMM, July 1966) a fine example of titular gambit where almost everybody and anything to do with EQ was reduced to anagrams. At the time of publication in EQMM Dannay added an editor's note explaining all the anagrams Schier hid in the story. These stories were collected in The Anagram Detectives (Otto Prenzler Mysterious Press, 1979).
|"Elroy Quinn' Last Case" (EQMM, July 1967) is a poignant pastiche written by Dennis M.Dubin and involves an old and very infirm EQ who's called upon by Inspector Velie, Jr to solve a crime which threatens any chance for world peace. If the clues are guessable, they are also fun for reader of the Queen canon.||An intermezzo of a different kind. Queen actually did return in a spoof, in a comic called New Inferior 5 (Nr.7 March-April 1968) the five 'heroes' encounter "Allergy Queen" the sleuth for a criminal mastermind. Right before his great revelation Allergy is reduced to dust...|
|In "The Cataloging on the Wall" by David Peel (Wilson Library Bulletin, Apr 1971) contained a "Challenge to the Reader" and had librarian/ drug addict/ writer/ editor/ detective Quellery Een find a replacement for his deceased cataloger Slinki Porter (whom he himself killed).|
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 Nov 1973) and "The Adventure of the Disorientated Detective" (EQMM Sep 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.
"Whodunit?" (1976) (Jean Paul Satire aka Peter David & Myra "Emjay" Kasman) is a parody and crossover between Star Trek (the original series) and Hutton's Ellery Queen. In the TV show of Ellery Queen, starring Jim Hutton. James T. Kirk is found murdered (burnt to death by a phaser and margarine!) in his quarters, leaving only the dying message Uhu and Ellery, inspector Queen and Velie have to find the murderer among the crew of the USS Enterprise! The setting is bizarre, but it is definitely written as an "episode" of the Ellery Queen TV show, complete with the story beginning with several dialogue cuts featuring all the suspects and a Challenge to the "Viewer" (?)! Near the end, the story becomes more relient on Star Trek-fandomania Entertaining but weird. (Ho-Ling Wong)
|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 take a 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)..."