Jonathan Press J28 is not a short story collection, the original intent of the series. It’s a novel, Jethro Hammer by Michael Venning, a pseudonym used by Craig Rice. J28 was a reprint of the hardcover of the same name published in 1944.
Jonathan Press J27 (1947) contains two Nero Wolfe novellas by Rex Stout, “Not Quite Dead Enough” (1942), the cover story, and “Booby Trap” (1944).
Unlike previous issues of the unpredictable Ellery Queen Selects series, Jonathan Press J25 featured a novel instead of a collection of short stories. John Dickson Carr’s It Walks by Night was the writer’s first novel, written at age 24, starring French detective Henri Bencolin, and had previously been published and reprinted at least a half dozen times by Pocket Books beginning in 1941.
The November Reader’s Digest is out, and besides “The 10 Nicest Places in America” check out page 32. Yup, it’s another cartoon from the prolific Bob Vojtko, the working-class cartoonist and long-suffering Cleveland Browns observer.
The grand plans for the Ellery Queen Selects series began in 1947. Jonathan Press J26, Stuart Palmer’s “The Riddles of Hildegarde Withers,” was numerically the second in the series.
The excerpt from Frederic Dannay’s introduction to J26 below refers to “First Edition Mysteries.” This was apparently an inside, working title, as the digests replaced it with “Ellery Queen Selects” displayed across the top of the covers.
“[W]e preserve in our noble experiment, our colossal publishing venture, and bring you the next in our series [starting with the Hammett collections] of First Edition Mysteries—“The Riddles Of Hildegarde Withers” by Stuart Palmer. Coming soon—watch for them!—will be John Dickson Carr’s never-previously-published book of short stories titled “Dr. Fell, Detective and Other Stories;” Roy Vickers’s never-previously-published “The Department Of Dead Ends;” and Margery Allingham’s “The Case Book Of Mr. Campion;” and unquestionably there will be additional First Edition Mysteries to follow.”
Steve Carper has turned in a terrific article for The Digest Enthusiast about the Ellery Queen Selects series. It’s a fascinating read, loaded with background information about Frederic Dannay’s pet project with highlights about each edition. The article is in layout now—7600 words—and will run about 22 pages.
The past is Steve Carper’s future. He created the Flying Cars and Food Pill website to bring the past future of technological marvels back into life. A long-term collector of digests, other paperbacks, mystery and science fiction and about 10,000 other books, he’s writing a new history and bibliography of the seminal f&sf publisher Gnome Press. A collection of his own published science fiction, Tyrannosaur Faire, is available in paper and electronic format.
Steve’s part articles for The Digest Enthusiast include:
“The Dashiell Hammett Digests” (TDE3 Jan. 2016)
“The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” (TDE4 June 2016)
The fifth volume of Dashiell Hammett’s short story collections from Ellery Queen, is Jonathan Press J29 (1947), aka Dead Yellow Women, also the title of the first of the six stories it provides—one of four with the Continental Op, originally from Black Mask (Nov. 1925).The digest is also part of the Ellery Queen Selects series which Steve Carper will enlighten us about in The Digest Enthusiast #5, due out in early 2017.
The story “Dead Yellow Women” opens with an introduction to the Op’s latest client Lillian Shan:
“She was sitting straight and stiff in one of the Old Man’s chairs when he called me into his office—a tall girl of perhaps twenty-four, broad-shouldered, deep-bosomed, in mannish grey clothes. That she was Oriental showed only in the black shine of her bobbed hair, in the pale yellow of her unpowdered skin, and in the fold of her upper lids at the outer eye-corners, half hidden by the dark rims of her spectacles. But there was no slant to her eyes, her nose was almost aquiline, and she had more chin than Mongolians usually have. She was modern Chinese-American from the flat heels of her tan shoes to the drown of her untrimmed felt hat.”