Re: RARA-AVIS: Ellery Queen

From: Bob Toomey (
Date: 02 Mar 2000

Ned Fleming wrote:
> The latest National Review has an interesting article about Ellery
> Queen, which describes his (really their) work as the beginning of
> the golden age of "classic American mystery," from about 1930 to
> 1950. Prior to this, the essayist says, there were only puzzle
> mysteries and hard-boiled mysteries in Am. Lit.

Huh? Ellery Queen is the quintessential writer of puzzle mysteries. He began as a close copy of S.S. Van Dine who, obviously, preceded him, and would more properly serve as the beginning of the golden age, if you like that sort of thing.

> And Hammett was so
> impressed or influenced by Queen that he wrote his last good book,
> perhaps his best, The Thin Man, in the same vein. Unfortunately, the
> NatRev essay isn't on-line.

Well, some of us think The Thin Man is Hammett's worst book, since it's soft and filled with irrelevant digressions -- just the sort of thing, actually, that would appeal to fans of Ellery Queen, but maybe not so much to fans of hard, fast writing.


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