Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Fine Tribute to Ellery Queen

The connections between the American amateur sleuth Ellery Queen and Sherlock Holmes are many and strong, as I've written before. Ellery was even called "the logical successor to Sherlock Holmes." And Frederic Dannay, one of the two cousins who wrote as Ellery Queen, was a Baker Street Irregular. 

That's one reason I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting the world of EQ over the weekend in an unusual way: I reread a 1989 comic book called "The English Channeler Mystery." Written by Mike W. Barr to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first Queen novel, this was episode #9 in his Maze Agency comic book series.

Like the Queen novels and stories themselves, this first new Ellery Queen story in 14 years ignored time to make Ellery contemporary (i.e., about the same age in 1989 as he was in 1929). But multiple elements of the comic hearken back to the early days of Ellery and his father, Inspector Queen. For example:
  • The title follows the pattern of the first nine Queen novels, a national adjective followed by a noun -- The Roman Hat Mystery, The French Powder Mystery, etc.
  • There's the same subtitle as in those early novels: "A Problem in Deduction."
  • The victim apparently leaves a dying clue, a class Queen plot ploy.  
  • Near the end, there's a Challenge to the Reader -- an announcement that the reader now has all the clues to solve the crime. 
  • There's a solution before the solution, a perfectly satisfying answer that seems to be the solution for a while but then gives way to an even better solution.
  • The plot is quite complex, and not intended to be mistaken for reality
In short, "The English Channeler Mystery" is a great pastiche. Not being a collector of comics, I have no idea whether this comic is obtainable today at any reasonable cost. But for any Ellery Queen fan who hasn't read it, it would be a treat to do so.

Why can't Sherlock Holmes pastiches -- all of them, I mean -- be similarly faithful to the original?

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