Ellery Queen

This is a summary page linking to hopefully what will be a complete set of reviews of the Ellery Queen novels.

To provide myself with some boundaries, I’m only going to consider the books that deal with Ellery himself or that were definitely written by Fred Dannay and/or Manfred Lee
– the list of books follows and I would appreciate it if anyone better informed than me feels that I’ve missed something out or included something that I shouldn’t of. It’s based on the Wikipedia bibliography and the only omission that I’ve made is A Study In Terror as it sounds tangential at best. Links to reviews will appear as they are created. Obviously this is going to take a while to fill up, so be patient.

Novels Featuring Ellery Queen

Ellery’s first mystery (albeit not chronologically) as he investigates murder in a theatre and a vanishing top hat.

A dead body in a department store window leads to the first classic of the canon, with a spectacular denouement.

Murder in the operating theatre – a nice double bluff for those who’ve read too many detective novels.

Or the one everyone includes in their “Best Of” lists – with good reason. Ellery fails to find a hidden will in a buried coffin – but finds an extra body instead.

Crucified decapitated corpses. Do you need to hear any more?

Ellery goes to the rodeo – and the writers push credibility a bit too far.

Ellery gets stranded in a house by a forest fire. Murder and mayhem ensue. A classic.

A backwards crime scene and a missing tangerine (or Chinese Orange) lead to one of Ellery’s more impressive deductions – although it does stretch credulity somewhat.

A ladies man is found strangled, sitting on a patio, naked, apart from a cape draped around his body. A nice diversion for another of Ellery’s holidays.

A murder in five acts – a more restrained set-up than usual and probably more straightforward to work out the murderer… although you might have to put yourself in a 1930’s mindset to do so for one or two of the assumptions.

A rare locked room mystery for Ellery to sort out – no-one could have cut the throat of Karen Leith apart from the person who discovered the body. But we know she didn’t do it, so who on earth did?

It’s off to Hollywood and the murder of a businessman with plenty of enemies but very few friends. Ellery goes undercover as he tries to sort out who actually killed him.

Hollywood’s golden couple find themselves kidnapped and then poisoned. Ellery is in a race against time to prevent their children from suffering the same fate.

Ellery, along with his assistant Ellery, opens his own detective agency, just in time to deal with a most peculiar will and the murder that follows.

A more serious tale of family tragedy. No one but Jim Haight could have poisoned the victim. So why is everyone convinced of his innocence?

A typical mystery novel family – a domineering matriarch and a bunch of weird children – including how to use a duel to murder someone, but not in the obvious way.

A serial killer stalks the streets of New York in a change of pace for the series – currently links to a joint review by myself and Patrick of At The Scene Of The Crime, but I will update this with my own review when I get to it in sequence.

Possibly an early attempt at finishing the series – another odd household of guests – and some very odd cryptic messages.

The first ghost-written novel and a significant departure in plot as well. The murderer is clear, but who is giving him the instructions?

  • … and on the Eighth Day
  • The Fourth Side of the Triangle
  • Face to Face
  • The House of Brass
  • The Last Woman in His Life
  • A Fine and Private Place

Short Story Collections featuring Ellery Queen

Novels not featuring Ellery Queen

Drury Lane, retired actor, investigates the impossible poisoning of a businessman on a crowded tramcar.

Another barmy household – containing one of the cleverest things I’ve seen in a mystery – namely, why would someone choose an antique mandolin as a murder weapon.

  • The Tragedy of Z
  • Drury Lane’s Last Case
  • The Glass Village
  • Inspector Queen’s Own Case
  • Cop Out

Other Books

  • The Tragedy of Errors – detailed plot for an unwritten story + extras
  • The Adventure of the Murdered Moths and Other Radio Mysteries

ADDENDUM: For anyone who’s impatient or, for whatever reason, desires a second opinion, then try Ellery Queen: A Website In Deduction for an existing complete bibliography – it’s in the QBI section.


  1. A really excellent summary and extremely intelligible to the uninitiated I would have thought in providing a, overview of the strengths, weaknesses, themes, gambits and approaches of the Ellery Queen oeuvre – thanks.



    • To quote Wikipedia, “These novels were edited by Lee and ghosted by various authors, including Frank Belknap Long (who admitted writing two without mentioning the titles), Samuel Duff McCoy, and James Clark Carlisle, Jr., who “aroused the ire of Lee by farming out the writing of some of the books to a “sub-ghost”, which has made establishing authorship even worse”.”

      To be honest, I don’t have any interest in these books – if I stumble across one in a bookshop, then I might give it a go… possibly.


  2. Not sure how often you’re updating this list still, but I would recommend origin of evil as your next pick if you can find a copy. It was the first Queen novel I read, and both me and my friend enjoyed it a lot. I would love to see how it stacks up in your mind against the others.


    • Thanks for the tip. I am trying to do them in order so it should be The Murderer Is A Fox next but I might skip ahead as that one’s a bit dull. I have fond memories of Origin so I might jump to that one.


      • I see that you haven’t read The King is Dead yet. I was quite impressed with it, though it’s been several years since I read it. But, then again, I was impressed with The Murderer is a Fox, as well, though the puzzle element wasn’t as well integrated with the literary aspect of the book as it might’ve been. I gather that there was some tension at the time between Dannay’s puzzle plotting and Lee’s desire to write in a more literary fashion.


  3. I guess you will be inspired by Rich choosing 1945 to return to your Queen reviews with FOX. I just found this page and am looking forward to reading your previous reviews and comparing them with my own opinion! Long live the Queens!


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