Monday, February 8, 2010

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Q is for Ellery Queen

I was introduced to Ellery Queen novels by my eldest brother, along with the Perry Mason books. At that time I didn't know about the authors of these mystery novels. Only later I got to know that Ellery Queen is the pseudonym of writers Manfred B. Lee and his cousin Frederic Dannay. The cousins also did much to preserve and promote the mystery short-story form. They produced the long-running Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, edited short story anthologies that promoted short fiction as a viable mystery vehicle, and avidly collected short-form mystery fiction. "

In the late 1920s, the cousins, Lee and Dannay (real names Manford Lepofsky and Daniel Nathan) decided to try writing a mystery novel in response to a contest. They chose the name Ellery Queen for their author and, reasoning that mystery readers are better at remembering the names of characters than names of authors, they decided to give their detective the same name. Rest, as they is history! The Roman Hat Mystery (1929) was the first Ellery Queen novel.

Ellery Queen continued to produce novels and short stories throughout the 1950s and 1960s, with the last book, The Last Woman in His Life, appearing in 1970. Manfred Lee died in 1971 and Dannay briefly considered continuing with the series with another writing partner, but he later rejected the idea. Dannay did, however continue to produce anthologies and personally edited the magazine until his death in 1982.

Ellery Queen novels are still very popular and are widely read by fans of older mystery fiction. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine continues to be the most popular and enduring of its kind and is considered a valuable training ground for future mystery novelists.

Sources of info: the web world!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the backgroud info, Gautami I guess I was only ever really familiar with the magazine.

Kerrie said...

Ellery Queen certainly has had an impact has "he"? Thanks for your support of the Crime Fiction Alphabet Gautami

BooksPlease said...

It's been years since I read any Ellery Queen - maybe the library will have some copies.

Anonymous said...

Gautami - Thanks for profiling "Ellery Queen." I've always liked those novels and, as you know, I'm highlighting a Queen book as my contribution for this week to the crime fiction alphabet meme, too : ). Nice review of these writers.