someone else take your name and let him publish a story must be
daunting for a writer. Especially one with the
success rate of Ellery Queen. Equally daunting for the ghostwriter who has to set aside a possible claim to fame... It was not something that happened overnight and it wasn't always clear-cut. Since 1950 Dannay and Lee had been recruiting and training ghostwriters they already had used on some juvenile adaptations of Queen movies and radio shows. In the late 60s Manfred suffered a series of heart attacks which forced him to lose a great deal of weight. Lee started developing among other ailments writer's block so they turned to a well-tried method.
Scott Meredith literary agency wanted to expand Queen's readership beyond the slowly fading genre of formal detective fiction and into the booming field of original crime novels without detection. Contingent to the cousins' approval they agreed to the publication of a cycle of non-series paperback originals, ghostwritten by other Meredith clients (many connected to Manhunt magazine, another project of Scott Meredith) for a flat fee of around $2,000 per book and published under the Queen name, with all royalties split between Fred and Manny after the agency took its commission. Manny, who had a large family to support and still was suffering from writer's block, favored the idea. Fred was violently opposed but felt that his cousin's financial and creative problems left him little choice to go along since Manny had save the Queen radio series when the death of Fred's first wife left him unable to perform that function. Lee provided the basic idea and the manuscripts were written by various ghost and submitted to Manny who edited them more or less as Fred edited the stories he bought for EQMM. But Fred even refused to read any of the books that were published under this scheme, and terminated the arrangement soon after Manny's death.
Harsh critic about the ghosted paperbacks (and their authorship) was avoided by keeping their exact contribution a secret. The main reason being the possible negative effect on Lee's health. For years this part of the deal was held up, but when it did surface it has led, again, to controversy about the true authorship.
Avram Davidson (b. Apr 23,1923 - d.May 8.1993) is the author of 17 novels and over 200 short stories. Davidson, born in Yonkers, N.Y, wrote Fantasy and Science Fiction novels in addition to mysteries. Davidson's first widely recognized story appeared in 1954, although he had been writing for several years before that. For a few years (1962-1965), he edited The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. A Davidson story appeared in EQMM in April of 1957, which may be what attracted Ellery Queen to Mr. Davidson. Reportedly when a friend asked Avram to sign one of the Ellery Queen books, he said something along the lines of, "I've never signed one of these before. What the heck" (Bulletin of Bibliography 1996-03)
Davidson won quite a few awards, including the Edgar and the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. He died in Bremerton, Washington.
Richard Deming (b.Apr 25, 1915 - d.Sep 5.1983) Captain in U.S. Army, social worker, employee of American Red Cross, 1976-83; wrote several novels, including Mod Squad, Dragnet, and other serializations. Deming was best known for these novels and for his work in the mystery field. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America from 1976 until his death in 1983. In a interview Deming talked about his contract with the cousins: "I wrote several books under contract. It stipulated never to reveal which books I wrote. I can only tell you I did write ten* books as Ellery Queen. Mind you, in none of them the hero by the same name actually appears. It involved ten original stories and were the result of an agreement with Manfred B. Lee. Fred Dannay wasn't involved and I think he wouldn't have agreed with the books themselves. He let Manfred handle these contracts in order to focus on his one true passion: EQMM"
In a 1972 letter to Nevins he stated "I'm not overly proud of the
Ellery Queen books, Manny Lee absolutely refused to share
any subsidiary rights on these, so they were
written for a flat fee. Since it would have killed me to have one of them
sell movie rights, I deliberately made them just barely acceptable, which is
really harder than writing your best. On top of that, although the books
were completely original to me, Lee did some rewriting... Lee's style did
not greatly impress me."
* Death Spins the Platter - Wife or Death - The Copper Frame -
Shoot the Scene - Losers, Weepers - Why So Dead? -
How goes the Murder? -Which way to Die? -
What's in the Dark - The Black Hearts Murder
Fletcher Flora (1914-1968) wrote various
"sensational" stories during the 40's and 50's. Flora started
writing right at the end of the pulp era, for magazines like
Dime Detective. Then
he moved on to do some 60 stories for the digests (Pursuit,
EQMM, Suspect, etc). He
co-authored Hildegarde Withers'
Makes the Scene with Stuart
Palmer, and ghosted a couple of books for Ellery
Queen. He also did about 15 paperback originals under his own
name (all involving suspense & lust). His mystery output includes over
sixty short stories and sixteen novels. The Hot Shot and Strange Sisters are
among his credits.
Henry Kane, (b. 1918 - d. 1988) Initially a lawyer, author of To Die or Not to Die, The Midnight Man, and other works is probably the least known of the Ellery Queen authors. Perhaps it was his Deadly Finger, a medical suspense novel, which drew the attention of the cousins Queen.* Kane also found time to write a number of episodes for TV's Martin Kane, Private Eye. If you like a slice of humor with your hardboiled eggs, Kane’s your man. Pseudonym: Anthony McCall.
(b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Aug 7, 1928
- d. Feb 22,2008), is better known as
Science Fiction author "Stephen
especially for The Lighthouse at the End of the World, but his mystery work (e.g., Model
For Murder) attracted Ellery Queen *. He too began writing for pulps
(such as the legendary Amazing Stories) and has gone on to have a
long writing career. He was awarded the French Prix Gutenberg du Livre in
1988 for The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus, and in 1997 he was awarded the
"Life Achievement Award" called "The Eye" by the
Private Eye Writers of America. He also served on the board of directors of
the Mystery Writers of America. He lived with his second wife Ann in
Talmage Powell (b. 1920 - d. Mar 9, 2000) Powell began his writing career in 1942. He created over 200 stories for the pulp fiction magazines, including Black Mask and Dime Mystery, writing in almost every genre and for all of the top magazines. After the demise of the pulps, Powell continued to write another 300 plus short stories for fiction magazines such as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Shayne, Manhunt and Suspense. During the 1950s and 1960s a number of successful novels were published. His Ed Rivers series is recognized as some of the best Private Investigator stories from that era. Powell also had written four novels under the Ellery Queen by line *as well. "The deals were set by the Scott Meredith agency and then offered, on the assumption I would accept. It was a difficult situation. We got on okay for a long while; then one day Manny went off like an ignited package of Chinese firecrackers. My reaction was to complete the work in progress on the fourth book (Who Spies Wo Kills, 1966) and quit, even though I empathized with Manny's state of health and career situation which must have been very galling to him. The book editors gave the Lee knuckles a rap, and efforts were made to have me continue, including an offer of a thousand dollars increase in the up-front money on each book. Jack Scovil at the Meredith agency phoned, apparently assumed that that would do the trick, and when it didn't, he went uptight and vented a couple of pettishly mean remarks, whereupon I hung him up. Scott told everybody else to shut up accepted my decision in a business-like way, an I continued as a client..." (Powell, 1993)
Powell also contributed his creative talents to screenwriting
and television work. Still active in the field, Talmage Powell has had a long and
successful career by delivering suspenseful, intelligent, action based stories that any
reader would enjoy. He died at a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina on March 9. 2000,
he was 79.
Walt Sheldon or Walter J.Sheldon (b. Jan 9, 1917 - d. Jun 9, 1996) was writing for the pulps as early as 1940. Having published over 30 stories for the Pulps and being a contemporary mystery magazine author, Sheldon was a natural choice to assume the moniker of Ellery Queen, which he did only one time. It looks like he went in for those interminable secret-agent novels in the '60s & '70s. The Blue Kimono Kill (1965), Devil's Box (1968), Gold Bait (1973), The House of Happy Mayhem (1967), The Red Flower Kill (1971), The Rites of Murder (1984) and The Yellow Music Kill (1974). As Shelly Walters he wrote The Dunes (1974), and as Shel Walker he published The Man I Killed (1952) and Tokyo Escapade (1955).
Jack Vance (b.
Aug 28,1916 - d. May 26, 2013) John Holbrook Vance sold his first story,
"The World Thinker," in 1945. His first novel, Vandals of the Void was
published in 1953. Better known as a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer,
has won several awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime
Achievement. Why did
Vance write the books? "Because
gave me a flat fee of 3000 dollars for each book. Which was then a lot of
money! I did have to sign a contract never to reveal I actually wrote the
books. Theoretically I never took his name."
Jack went on: "They did nevertheless take my good prose and
made it appear he had written it himself to make their own little soup".
Vance specialist Richard Chandler had this to say on the subject "My under standing is that copyright is the main obstacle. That is certainly reasonable, given that U.S. copyright law protects such works for 75 years after the death of the author. It’s not clear when ‘Ellery Queen’ died (Lee died in 1971 and Dannay in 1982), but certainly 75 years have not elapsed. Another reason seems spurious to me. It has been claimed that they are so poor as to not attain some minimal level of acceptance by the VIE. While perhaps not achieving the quality of 'The Man in the Cage', the Joe Bain mysteries, or 'The Deadly Isles', they are nonetheless entertaining, decent mysteries with more than the occasional touch of Vance." ("The Case of the Missing Vance", Richard Chandler in Cosmopolis N° 37, April 2003)
But then the original manuscripts were partially
recovered on the back of other manuscripts. Eventually an agreement was reached and the three books were
published as a special EQ-annex. The three Queen novels:
The Four Johns,
A Room to die In and
The Madman Theory are
available in their original titles: Strange She hasn't Written and
Death of a Solitary Chess Player
(1962) and the Man who Walks
Paul W. Fairman (b.1916
- d. 1977) Paul Warren
Fairman wrote among
others I, The Machine and The Golden Ape the latter with Milton Lesser.
He was an editor and writer in a variety of genres under his own name and
under pseudonyms. In 1952, he was the founding editor of If, but only edited
four issues. In 1955, he became the editor of Amazing Stories and
He held that dual position until 1958. After leaving Ziff-Davis for a short
while he was managing editor at EQMM. His science fiction short stories "Deadly
City" and "The Cosmic Frame" were made into motion pictures.
He wrote the "Man from S.T.U.D." series of espionage spoofs under the pseudonym
of F W Paul.
(b. March 25, 1911
- d. March 1,1987)
William Roos was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and
brought up by his German-born grandparents. He attended Allegheny College
but transferred to Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh to study drama. He began
writing light, comic plays. Audrey Kelley was born
in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but moved to Pennsylvania in her teens. She met
William Roos at Carnegie Tech. They were married
in November 1936 and moved to New York City. The idea to write mysteries
came from Audrey after the birth of her daughter Carol. Their first book,
Made Up To Kill, was published in 1940 by Dodd, Mead to favorable reviews
and went on to a paperback edition.
(b. Nov 20, 1922- d. 9 Jan 1983)
His full name was Gilbert John Brewer born in
Canandaigua, New York. He was the son of Gilbert T. Brewer, a New
Jersey-born pulp writer, and his wife, Ruth. Gilbert
T. wrote primarily for air war pulps. The
birth of a younger sister to Gilbert in 1927 was, perhaps, the
inspiration, and two more siblings followed (another sister and a
brother). They had a fairly impoverished upbringing, their father
addicted to drink and was later committed to a VA hospital after a
Feb 1930 - d. 17 Jan 2008), Longtime
mystery writer and editor Edward Dentinger Hoch is practically an institution in the
field. He has published over eight hundred mystery stories In December, 1962 the
author made his first appearance in EQMM with
"Death in the Harbor", #229. He made several entries since then but in May 1973
"The Theft of the Circus Poster", was published
issue #354, since then a continuous series of 335 original stories were
published in the uninterrupted sequence so far up to May, 1998. His TV
writing credits include episodes of MacMillan and Wife, Night Gallery,
The Alfred Hitchcock Show, and Tales of the
Unexpected. Mr. Hoch has served as president of the Mystery Writers of America. and
made his home in Rochester, New York. He has also written mysteries under the pseudonyms
Irwin Booth, Anthony Circus, Stephen Dentinger, Pat McMahon, R.E. Porter, Ellery
Queen, R.L. Stevens and Mr. X. He was given the Grand Master award
For EQMM he wrote a series of pastiches which were estimable mysteries in
their own right. In these series King Danforth and Martin Leroy
creators of the detective "Leroy King" solve crimes on their own
during a round-the-world-tour. The titles of these stories evocated the
early Queen-work. The cases on the high seas are masterpieces of
deductions and logic, following the smallest clues to their logical
deductions. Presumably the stories met with the approval of Dannay as the
works appeared first in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
In 2018 Crippen & Landru provided a collection The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery and other stories which included all ten stories in the series along with a brief biography of Holding and the most comprehensive bibliography of Holding’s short story works. Buy from Crippen and Landru
Holding would continue to write short stories, ultimately publishing over 100 stories in the mystery field. In addition to Leroy King, he wrote about series characters Manuel Andrada, also known as The Photographer, a hired killer and Hal Johnson, the Library Detective.
First book: The Lazy Little Zulu. New York, Morrow, 1962, and Kingswood, World's Work, 1963. - Mr. Moonlight and Omar - 1963 (Morrow) - Cato the Kiwi Bird - 1963 (Putnam) - The Mystery of the False Fingertips - 1964 (Harper) - Sherlock on the Trail - 1964 (Morrow) - Three Wishes of Hu - 1965 (Putnam) - Poko and the Golden Demon - 1968 (Abelard) - The Mystery of Dolphin Inlet - 1968 (MacMillan) - Robber of Featherbed Lane - 1970 (Putnam)- A Bottle of Pop - 1970 (Putnam)
Charles (West) Runyon (b. Sheridan, MO Jun 9, 1928 - d. Cedar Park, TX Jun 8, 2015) Author of several detective and sci-fi-stories. Wrote for magazines such as Manhunt magazine. Power Kill (1972) was nominated for an Edgar in the category of Best Original Paperback There is also the so-story I, Weapon (1974) where in a post-apocalyptic era "herd men" were herded by humans who had taboos against sex with them, etc., etc. He gave the following answer in a 2007 interview in that very same year to the question "Which of your novels would you most like to see reprinted and why?" - "There are at least three that might go down well with today's readers. 'The Last Score' was rushed to completion as a work-for-hire, for Manfred Lee and Fred Dannay, and published under their byline of Ellery Queen. I still have a paternal affection for the book, and would like to see it reprinted under its 'rightful' parentage."
Charles lived in Lampasas, TX, and taught English Composition. (Feb 2013).
Don(ald Fiske) Tracy (b. New Britain, Connecticut Aug 20,1905 - d. Clearwater Florida, March 10, 1976). He worked as a reporter for local newspapers in New Brittain from 1926-1928, then as editor of Radio News in New York from 1928-1934. In 1934, his first novel, All Sold!, and his second novel, Flash, were published. After World War II, he also taught summer courses at Syracuse University from 1955-1960, and become fairly well known for his historical novels, without abandoning the crime novel. Toward the end of his life, he met the president of the New Life Foundation, an anti-alcohol league. Under the pseudonym "Roger Fuller", he wrote novelizations of the films The Sign Of The Pagan (1954) and the television series The Defenders (1964, 1965), The Fugitive and Peyton Place. He died in Florida after a battle with cancer in 1976.
Other pseudonyms: Barnaby Ross, Roger Fuller