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The Misadventures of Ellery Queen: Intro

The Misadventures of Ellery Queen coverIntroduction for The Misadventures of Ellery Queen edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews

Make room. Wildside’s new anthology is both an instant classic, and an instant pleasure to peruse. There is mystery history here. In 1929, writing cousins Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred Lee (1905–1971) created Ellery Queen as both character and author. In 1944, Ellery Queen (the writer) edited and published a collection called The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes. Apparently, Arthur Conan Doyle was not amused with other writers’ emulations of his famous detective, and the volume soon made itself scarce. Mystery fans, however, enjoy reading both a pastiche or a parody based on their favorite series, and the first of many such stories inspired by Ellery Queen (the character) began to appear as early as 1947.

Not long after Manfred Lee’s death, Josh Pachter suggested to Frederic Dannay it might be time for a collection of such stories, fittingly titled The Misadventures of Ellery Queen. Dannay agreed, but the concept languished for reasons lost to history. That is, until 2015, when Pachter met co-editor Dale C. Andrews, and together they brought the idea to life in a collection of 16 stories. After the Pachter/Andrews’ introduction, and two others by Richard Dannay (Frederic’s son) and Rand Lee (Manfred’s son); the volume is divided into three sections: pastiches (6), parodies (3), and potpourri (7), which are basically stories inspired by Queen but not featuring him.

To be continued . . .

Lawrence Block’s Death of Mallory Queen

Futures Mystery Jan/Feb 2006 coverFrom the Potpourri section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews:

Grand Master Lawrence Block provides “The Death of Mallory Queen,” which first appeared in Futures Mystery Jan/Feb 2006. Publisher Mavis Mallory urges Leo Haig, a detective second only to Nero Wolfe, and his assistant Chip Harrison, to save her from what she firmly believes is her impending murder. When and where? At the upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of Mallory’s Mystery Magazine. Who and how? She provides an impressive list of frienemies; all with good reason to want her dead. And it’s no surprise when she dies, but the fun here is in both the telling and the solution to the crime. Block’s tale is witty, light, and highly entertaining.

Cover image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on May 8 . . .

Joseph Goodrich’s 10¢ Murder

EQMM Aug. 2016 coverThe final story of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews, also wraps up the Potpourri section:

Joseph Goodrich’s “The Ten-Cent Murder,” from EQMM Aug. 2016, brings the collection to a satisfying close. Queen’s methods and his trio of leading suspects are strongly in evidence in this murder mystery presided over by a fictitious Dash Hammett and Fred Dannay. The dialog between the two famed writers alone is worth the price of admission.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or new to the Ellery Queen character or magazine, The Misadventures of Ellery Queen is a terrific collection, long overdue.

My review of Nigel Taylor’s Worlds of StrangeneSS No. 2 begins on May 16.

Arthur Vidro’s EQMM #1

EQMM No. 1 coverFrom the Potpourri section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews:

Arthur Vidro’s tale “The Ransom of EQMM #1” leverages a bit of “The World’s Best Selling Mystery Magazine” history to build a case that should delight collectors and engage readers who enjoy a good puzzle. The story first appeared on the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s website to help celebrate their 70th anniversary in 2011.

This review concludes on May 12 . . .

Patricia McGerr’s Last Check

EQMM March 1972 coverFrom the Potpourri section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews:

Stephen Coleman is rich, frugal, and able to learn from his mistakes. Like setting up a joint checking account with his wife. A mistake he’s careful not to repeat with wife number two. In “The Last Check” by Patricia McGerr (originally from EQMM March 1972), Coleman leaves a signature on a blank check as his dying message. It could be a clue to his murderer’s identity if only Captain Rogan can sleuth out its meaning.

EQMM base image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on May 4 . . .

Josh Pachter’s E.Q. Griffen

EQMM Dec. 1968 coverFrom the Potpourri section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews.

Remarkably, co-editor Josh Pachter was in high school when his first story appeared in EQMM Dec. 1968. In “E.Q. Griffen Earns His Name” a sixteen-year-old detective tackles two mysteries. The first involves a robbery, a baffling case in which his father, Inspector Ross Griffen, explains all the details. His son, E.Q., listens intently and pulls out the solution, thus “earning his name.” The second mystery is also a robbery, and its solution also lies in the details, but maybe not the ones even a clever detective might think.

This review continues on April 30 . . .

William Brittain’s The Man Who Read EQ

EQMM Dec. 1965 coverFrom the Potpourri section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen anthology edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews.

Ancient Arthur Mindy is “The Man Who Read Ellery Queen” in William Brittain’s fictional world of the Goodwell Senior Citizen Home, first printed in EQMM in Dec. 1965. Mindy’s prize possession is a complete set of books by Queen, and at the top of his bucket list is the chance to solve a mystery in the manner of the great detective. He sees his opportunity when the prize possession of another senior suddenly goes missing. It’s schmaltzy, but somehow Brittain keeps a low-key mystery vibrant and a feel-good ending, feeling good.

EQMM base image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on April 26 . . .

James Holding’s Norwegian Apple Mystery

EQMM Nov. 1960 coverThe third section of Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews’ anthology, The Misadventures of Ellery Queen, is Potpourri—stories inspired by Queen. First up is “The Norwegian Apple Mystery” by James Holding, originally from EQMM Nov. 1960.

Two mystery-writer partners, vacationing on a cruise ship, are intrigued by the death of one of their fellow passengers, who choked to death on an apple while reading in bed, alone. The event sparks their collective curiosity, and once they begin speculating that it was not an accident, they soon find themselves creating a plausible plot for murder. A highly entertaining lesson in how to create a murder mystery.

EQMM base image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on April 22nd . . .

Dennis M. Dubin’s Elroy Quinn’s Last Case

EQMM July 1967The final entry in the parody section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen, edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews:

Like co-editor Pachter, Dennis M. Dubin placed his first published story while still in high school—in EQMM (July 1967). However, unlike the former, Dubin’s story, “Elroy Quinn’s Last Case” was prophetic, as it seems to be the author’s last mystery as well. I can see why it concludes the parody section, yet its madcap elements balance nicely with its drama and provide a smooth transition to the collection’s final, more serious Potpourri section.

As the story opens, Elroy Quinn already long retired, is coaxed into action by Inspector Thomas Velie, who explains, “the king of Ubinorabia arrived here two days ago to begin talks on the huge oil deposit recently discovered in his country.” It’s large enough to incent dialog between East and West, but only the king supports it. His heir does not. One of the king’s bodyguards is dead, a victim of mistaken identity—meaning the monarch himself is marked for murder. Who wants him dead? The clues only deepen the mystery: “…a gladiator’s helmet and pair of cats, one with a plethora of tails.” Baffling to Velie and most mortals, but Quinn’s cogitations overcome all obstacles and justice, is at last, laid to rest.

EQMM base image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on April 18th . . .

Arthur Porges’ English Village Mystery

EQMM Dec. 1964The second of three entries in the parody section of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen, edited by Josh Pachter and Dale C. Andrews:

Arthur Porges wrote two Queen parodies. His first, “The English Village Mystery” from EQMM (Dec. 1964), is reprinted here. Celery Green is called into a case too baffling for authorities East, North, and South. A dozen residents of tiny Tottering-on-the-Brink are dead; which leaves only three remaining citizens. Can Celery thicken the plot before “on” becomes “over” the brink?

EQMM cover image from Galactic Central.

This review continues on April 14th . . .