I first became aware of Ellery Queen at a young age when I read Michael Avallone’s U.N.C.L.E. novel, The Thousand Coffins Affair, in which a dying agent frantically reverses his clothes in an effort to leave a clue. it worked, the clue being a reference the the Queen novel, THE CHINESE ORANGE MYSTERY. Even then, it was still years before I learned that Ellery was actually two men, cousins Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee.
The title QUEENS FULL refers to the lineup of the tales within the covers: three novelettes and two short stories.
Two of the novelettes are set in Wrightsville, the small New England town Ellery visits frequently and the scene of several novels.
THE DEATH OF DON JUAN: an abrasive actor hired at the last minute for an amateur production play in Wrightsville is murdered between acts one and two and names the killer with his last breath. Sort of. Only Ellery and one other heard him.
THE WRIGHTSVILLE HEIRS: an elderly woman is murdered after announcing she intends to change her will, leaving out her three stepchildren and installing the young woman/caregiver who’d slavishly devoted her life to care for the old woman as heir until after that one’s death, then the estate goes to the children. A couple of attempts are made on the young woman with Ellery there to protect and figure the real murderer.
THE CASE AGAINST CARROLL: a young lawyer is up for the murder of the man who caught him embezzling from a trust fund. It looks bad for him until Ellery gets involved.
And the short stories:
E=Murder: a scientist is stabbed to death from behind and leaves a clue with his dying breath.
DIAMONDS IN PARADISE: a young woman’s diamond earrings are stolen just as the police, Inspector Queen in charges, raids the gambling establishment. The thief falls and with his dying breath says the earrings are in Paradise. It takes Ellery to decipher that mumbled clue.
Always have fun with the Queen stories. Old fashioned fun.
For more forgotten books, check out Patti Abbott over at Pattinase.