TO PAGES: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE (1)

The American cousins were co-authors of a series of more than 35 detective novels featuring a character named Ellery
Queen.
Which is about as accurate as one can get with all the mixed up aliases and frequent ghostwritten 'Faux-Ellery Queen novels'.
Some count as many as 25 novels by Ellery Queen, 4 under the name Barnaby Ross, 5 books with their own short stories, many anthologies under his name, 2 books of radio stories, 8 juvenile mysteries, and two volumes of detective bibliography, ...
Which could also be right... but who's counting? If anything is obvious it is the fact that their output was prolific. After the first three Ellery Queen publications Dannay and Lee wrote scripts for the long-running (9 years) Ellery Queen radio show that began in 1939.  In 1999 Ellery Queen already enjoyed book sales of 150 million.
And we haven't even began to consider that other grand opus: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine ... 

In 1933 both cousins tried their hands at a magazine entitled Mystery League which only delivered four issues and failed. To quote Manfred B. Lee : "Mystery League Magazine was the child of the Queen imagination and early ambition. It was published on the proverbial shoelace... Fred and myself were the entire staff. We did not even have a secretary. We selected the stories, prepared copy, read proofs, dummied, sweated,...and almost literally swept out the office as well."
A fifth number was assembled but never printed. All covers were photographs by Ben Pinchot and the illustrations by Eugene Thurston. Whilst laboring over Mystery League they did acquire expertise on  anthologies...

Mystery League - Nr 1 October 1933 Mystery League - Nr 2 November 1933
 Mystery League - Nr 3 December 1933 Mystery League - Nr 4 January 1934

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine was launched in the fall of 1941 when Dannay persuaded Lawrence E. Spivak of The Mercury Press (who subsequently founded and hosted the popular TV show Meet the Press) to let them take another try at a mystery magazine. EQMM quickly became, as it remains today, the top publication of its kind. Largely the brainchild of Fred Dannay, EQMM not only gave Ellery an outlet for their short stories which was self-owned but also it gave other authors the opportunity to showcase their works. They considered the so-called pulps unsuitable for their purpose because often the stories were poorly written or "trashy." And so, EQMM started as an experiment:

"As writers, readers, and collectors of detective-crime stories, we have for many years shouted the need for -- and deplored the lack of -- a quality publication devoted exclusively to the printing of the best detective-crime short-story literature... And so, Ellery Queen is editing and Lawrence E. Spivak is publishing this volume, which is planned as the first of a periodic anthology of detective-crime short stories, in which the sole editorial criterion will be quality."

In 1941 Dannay explained his manifesto for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine as being to "raise the sights of mystery writers generally to a genuine literary form," to "encourage good writing among our colleagues by offering a practical market not otherwise available," and to "develop new writers seeking expression in the genre." In pursuit of the first goal - to raise mystery writing to a respected literary form - he set about finding and publishing stories with elements of crime or mystery by great literary figures past and present. The result was the inclusion of more than forty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners in EQMM - Rudyard Kipling, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Norman Mailer, and Alice Walker among them. 

Dannay was always the driving force of the magazine (just as Lee was primarily involved with the team's radio efforts). Manfred did but occasionally contribute to EQMM. However their contract with Lawrence E.Spivak did specify that in the event Dannay died or was drafted into World War II Lee would take over.

A pioneering scholar of the genre, especially the mystery short story, Dannay personally supervised every issue of the magazine until shortly before his death. He was an indefatigable finder and reprinter of "lost" gems from pulps and dime novels. He actively solicited his peers to write for the magazine and encouraged new writers, instituting a "department of first stories" under which heading he printed at least one story in each issue by an author new to the mystery genre.

First issue Early covers featured art by Salter and others. As the magazine progressed, photographs were used, including this picture of pinup girl Bettie Page (9/53) Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine january 1957

The periodical began as a quarterly in Fall, 1941. By May of the following year, the reaction had proved so overwhelmingly accepting that the publication was accelerated to bimonthly. Soon, the magazine was coming out every month, leading to competition from The Saint's Magazine and from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The first Ellery Queen story to be featured in EQMM was a reprint. After that, there appeared several scripts from the EQ radio show. But Ellery would also premiere new stories in the magazine as well (as a scan of the "short story" page reveals). EQMM offered rewards for good stories, and especially for good "First Stories" -- a regular staple of the magazine.

Dannay edited the magazine personally until just a few months before his death, using his expertise (and his personal library) to rescue stories from oblivion and encouraging young writers to use the form.
This despite the obvious downsides to which Dannay wasn't blind:
"Has it ever occurred to you that an editor's life is no bed of roses? That an editor does not spend his time as a gentleman of (literary) leisure?
That many of an editor's working hours creep by in the smoking watches of the night, when people of saner vocations are slumbering peacefully? That, in a phrase, being the editor of a detective story magazine is not all silk and money?
" Ellery Queen "A Plea for Editors" (1981)

 

 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine july 1957 - Subscription copies Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine july 1957 Newsstand editions

For a time, subscription copies of the magazine had(dull) plain-looking covers, while newsstand copies were more appealing. (7/57)

continued here...

Visit Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's website...

TO PAGES: 1 2 3 4 56 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15


 

Introduction | Floor Plan | Q.B.I. | List of Suspects | Whodunit?  | Q.E.D. | Kill as directed | New | Copyright 

Copyright © MCMXCIX-MMIX   Ellery Queen, a website on deduction. All rights reserved.