Reviewed by Philip Nathaniel Poggiali
Ellery Queen, the erudite master detective who first appeared in The Roman Hat Mystery (1929) and documented his cases as a series of mystery stories, was both the character and pseudonym created by Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee. The Brooklyn-born cousins had a system that produced highly successful mysteries for decades: Dannay outlined the stories and Lee would develop them as novels. At some point in the late 1950s Lee suffered writer’s block and was unable to keep up his part of the collaboration. Beginning with Theodore Sturgeon on The Player on the Other Side (1963), other authors were hired to expand Dannay’s outlines, and the cousins paid a flat fee to crime fiction specialists -- including Stephen Marlowe, Talmage Powell, and Richard Deming -- for a series of paperback originals under the Queen sobriquet that were edited by Lee (Nevins 4). Lee eventually returned to work with Dannay on the main series of novels until his death in 1971. Edward D. Hoch, who ghosted The Blue Movie Murders, said that one of the late-period Dannay/Lee collaborations was the framing material for the novelization of A Study in Terror (http://neptune.spaceports.com/~queen/The_Other_Side_
Hoch.html). This is not surprising when one considers the framing story has Queen experiencing writer’s block as he tries to make a book deadline.
For a reasonable time.
After which he got up from his typewriter, seized ten pages of doomed copy, and tore them into four ragged sections.
He scowled at the silent typewriter. The machine leered back.
http://www.hermancohen.com/interview-attack5.html). The story would inspire John Hopkins’ screenplay for the 1979 British/Canadian co-production MURDER BY DECREE (also featuring Frank Finlay in the role of Inspector Lestrade).
Holmes was on his knees, back bowed, head lowered, a picture of despair.
“I have failed, Watson. I should be brought to the dock for criminal stupidity.” (Queen 92)
The apartment bell was a carved rosebud set in ivory leaves. Grant Ames jabbed it, and the result was a girl wearing poisonous-green lounging pajamas. (Queen 79)
The first edition of the Lancer paperback promised “Ellery Queen and Sherlock Holmes,” and later editions “Ellery Queen vs. Jack the Ripper” (with Sherlock Holmes relegated to the back cover). A Study in Terror was published in hardcover in the U.K. as Sherlock Holmes versus Jack the Ripper (Gollancz, 1967).
Barnes, Alan. Sherlock Holmes on Screen: The Complete Film and TV History. 2nd ed. London: Reynolds & Hearn, 2004. Print.
Cohen, Herman. Interview with Tom Weaver. Attack of the Monster Movie Makers: Interviews with 20 Genre Giants. By Tom Weaver. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1994.
HermanCohen.com. Gerry Carpenter, 2012. Web. 10 May 2012.
Hoch, Edward D. Interview with Kurt Sercu. Ellery Queen: A Website on Deduction. Kurt Sercu, 25 Apr. 2002. Web. 10 May 2012.
Nevins, Francis M. “Death and Ghosts: The Ellery Queen Paperback Originals.” Dime Novel Round-Up Feb 1998: 3-17. Print.
Queen, Ellery. A Study in Terror. New York: Lancer, 1966. Print.