Ellery Queen

Queen - photo.jpg

Joint pseudonym of:

Frederic Dannay

Born: 20 October 1905, New York

Died: 3 September 1982


Manfred Bennington Lee

Born: 11 January 1905, New York

Died: 3 April 1971


“Ellery Queen is the American detective story.” – Anthony Boucher

As detective writer, critic, and founder of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, the two cousins who wrote as Ellery Queen shaped the American detective story mid-century.

Critics since Francis M. Nevins divide the Queen novels into four major periods:

Period I (1929-35): The formal fair play puzzle plot at its height: elaborate, intricate, and ingenious.  All the clues are given, and the Queens throw down their famous “Challenge to the Reader”: Can YOU solve the mystery before Ellery?

Period II (1936-40): Queen then went to Hollywood.  More characterization, slicker style, less analytico-deduction.

Period III (1942-58): World War II hit, Queen developed a social conscience, and Ellery suffers angst.  The experimental books, using the detective story to talk about religion, politics, and the nature of man.  Not always successfully.  The cousins intended to end their novels with The Finishing Stroke (1958), but returned five years later…

Period IV (1963-71): Deliberately artificial puzzles, playing with themes from earlier novels.  Many of these books are ghost-written.

Best books

  • The French Powder Mystery (1930)
  • The Tragedy of X (1932)
  • The Siamese Twin Mystery (1933)
  • The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934)
  • The New Adventures of Ellery Queen (1940)
  • Calamity Town (1942)
  • Ten Days’ Wonder (1948)

Recommended reading


Ellery Queen in all except The Glass Village (1954) and Cop Out (1969).

Drury Lane in the four Barnaby Ross novels.

  1. The Roman Hat Mystery (1929)
  2. The French Powder Mystery (1930)
  3. The Dutch Shoe Mystery (1931)
  4. The Greek Coffin Mystery (1932)
  5. The Egyptian Cross Mystery (1932)
  6. The Tragedy of X (1932; first published under the pseudonym of Barnaby Ross)
  7. The Tragedy of Y (1932; first published under the pseudonym of Barnaby Ross)
  8. The American Gun Mystery (1933)
  9. The Siamese Twin Mystery (1933)
  10. The Tragedy of Z (1933; first published under the pseudonym of Barnaby Ross)
  11. Drury Lane’s Last Case (1933; first published under the pseudonym of Barnaby Ross)
  12. The Chinese Orange Mystery (1934)
  13. The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934; short stories)
  14. The Spanish Cape Mystery (1935)
  15. Halfway House (1936)
  16. The Door Between (1937)
  17. The Devil to Pay (1938)
  18. The Four of Hearts (1938)
  19. The Dragon’s Teeth (1939; also published as The Virgin Heiresses)
  20. The New Adventures of Ellery Queen (1940; short stories)
  21. Calamity Town (1942)
  22. There Was an Old Woman (1943; published in the UK as The Quick and the Dead)
  23. The Murderer is a Fox (1945)
  24. The Case Book of Ellery Queen (1945; short stories and radio plays)
  25. Ten Days’ Wonder (1948)
  26. Cat of Many Tails (1949)
  27. Double, Double (1950; also published as The Case of the Seven Murders)
  28. The Origin of Evil (1951)
  29. Calendar of Crime (1952; short stories)
  30. The King is Dead (1952)
  31. The Scarlet Letters (1953)
  32. The Glass Village (1954)
  33. Q.B.I.: Queen’s Bureau of Investigation (1955; short stories)
  34. Inspector Queen’s Own Case (1956)
  35. The Finishing Stroke (1958)
  36. The Player on the Other Side (1963)
  37. And on the Eighth Day (1964)
  38. The Fourth Side of the Triangle (1965)
  39. Queens Full (1965; short stories)
  40. A Study in Terror: Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper (1966)
  41. Face to Face (1967)
  42. The House of Brass (1968)
  43. Q.E.D.: Queen’s Experiments in Deduction (1968; short stories)
  44. Cop Out (1969)
  45. The Last Woman in His Life (1970)
  46. A Fine and Private Place (1971)
  47. The Best of Ellery Queen (1985; short stories)
  48. The Tragedy of Errors (1999; short stories)
  49. The Adventure of the Murdered Moths and Other Radio Mysteries (2005)