Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge: Letter Q

Now up to day 17 of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays) I will be doing a post for each letter of the alphabet. It is my plan to make most of my posts reading &/or book-related. April 20th is brought to you by the Letter Q.

Q is for Queen....Ellery Queen, that is.

Ellery Queen is both a fictional detective and the pseudonym used by two American cousins: Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay (October 20, 1905 – September 3, 1982) and Manford (Emanuel) Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee (January 11, 1905 – April 3, 1971), to write mystery novels.

In a successful series of stories that covered 42 years, Ellery Queen served as both author's name and that of the detective-hero. During the 1930s and much of the 1940s, Ellery Queen was one of the best known American fictional detectives. Movies, radio shows, and television shows have also been based on their works.

Their first Ellery Queen novel was The Roman Hat Mystery, published in 1929. This initial mystery established a reliable formula: an unusual crime; a complex series of clues; supporting characters including Ellery's father, Inspector Richard Queen, and his irascible assistant, Sergeant Velie; and what became the most famous part of Ellery Queen's books: the "Challenge to the Reader." This was a single page near the end of the book declaring that the reader had seen all the same clues Ellery had, and that only one solution was possible.

I am also familiar with that "Challenge" from watching the 1970s television program. I loved it when Ellery would turn to the audience and ask us if we knew who did it. Because, after all, we had all the clues....The television version of Ellery Queen was a bit softer than the novels. The novels are more what I would call "soft-boiled"--not nearly as mean street as the hard-boiled school, but also not what you would call cozies. Kind of a blend of both--with some stories leaning more towards one side or the other.


SueH said...

Not read any (but shelved a fair few in my job at the library!) - yet more to be added to my TBR list, then!


fredamans said...

My Mom has a bunch of these old Ellery Queen books, but I've not touched them.