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Celebrate 70 years of mystery with a year of monthly features highlighting intriguing aspects from the pages of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

Click on an article title below to read more.
About Jon L. Breen and Our Cover
For more than thirty years (with only a short break in the 1980s), Jon L. Breen, a novelist, short-story writer, librarian, anthologist, and college English teacher, has written The Jury Box for EQMM with integrity, insight, and style. Covering a dozen books each month for three decades is a remarkable achievement in itself, but that's the least of his contributions to the field.

EQMM's Earlier Reviewers
For more than thirty years (with only a short break in the 1980s), Jon L. Breen, a novelist, short-story writer, librarian, anthologist, and college English teacher, has written The Jury Box for EQMM with integrity, insight, and style. Covering a dozen books each month for three decades is a remarkable achievement in itself, but that's the least of his contributions to the field.

2010 Readers Award
This year's Readers Award results are notable for the fictional time spectrum they span: both forward in time with first-place winner Dave Zeltserman's "Archie's Been Framed," whose technology requires a bit of suspension of disbelief to imagine put in practice in the here and now, and backward in time in Doug Allyn's second and third place stories "The Scent of Lilacs" and "Days of Rage," which, respectively, look at the American Civil War and revisit the turbulent 1960s.

A Global Focus
Seventy years ago, when Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee were deciding how to orient their new magazine, there could not have been any question that its outlook would be global. Both men had cosmopolitan tastes and a knowledge of world literature. It has become part of EQMM lore that Dannay, who soon took over the editing of the magazine, aimed to prove, in its pages, that every great writer in history had written at least one story that could be considered a mystery.

The Changing Face of EQMM
During this 70th anniversary year we've talked about various aspects of EQMM's entry onto the mystery stage and its subsequent run. A place in all of this should be given to the magazine's physical appearance, in particular its covers.



Seven Anniversaries
EQMM began in an attempt to fill a literary void. It was a noble experiment launched with great hope. As founding editor Frederic Dannay explained in his introduction to that first issue (Fall 1941), the world lacked "a quality publication devoted exclusively to the printing of the best in detective-crime short-story literature." 


 

The Ransom of EQMM #1
As part of our celebration of EQMM's 70th anniversary year, we are presenting, on our website only, an original short story entitled "The Ransom of EQMM #1" by Arthur Vidro. This first work of fiction by a new writer contains some EQMM lore, plus images of EQMM's first issue, which figure importantly in the mystery. Don't miss it! - Janet H.
 

ABOUT JON L. BREEN AND OUR COVER

 

Shakespeare's "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" has inspired several mystery novels playing on the comedic suggestion, but many writers, in moments of private fantasy, probably also have a book critic or two they'd like to put in a killer's sights. It takes courage to be a book reviewer, not, of course, because anyone expects the murderous impulses aroused by a stinging review to be put into action, but because the critic often knows the writers whose books he or she must give less than favorable comment. Friendships may be at stake, and if the reviewer is also a fiction writer, giving an unfavorable review to a book by a bestselling author could jeopardize any chance of helpful endorsements from that author later.

Many publications give their reviewers the cover of anonymity. One of EQMM's proudest traditions is the signed review column. Since 1970 that column has gone out under the heading "The Jury Box." For more than thirty years (with only a short break in the 1980s), Jon L. Breen, a novelist, short-story writer, librarian, anthologist, and college English teacher, has written The Jury Box for EQMM with integrity, insight, and style. Covering a dozen books each month for three decades is a remarkable achievement in itself, but that's the least of his contributions to the field. The concision with which impressions and conclusions are conveyed in his reviews is a marvel, and he writes, always, with a clear purpose: to serve the reading public. Without ever stooping to the sort of clever barb that has no purpose other than to boost a reviewer's ego at the expense of an author, he is unfailingly honest in his assessments, as if he has always in mind that readers will be spending time and money based on his advice. The combination of knowledge, keen analysis, and—not least—love of the mystery that Jon Breen brings not only to his EQMM reviews but to his books of reviews and criticism (four of them, to date; two of them Edgar Allan Poe Award winners in the biographical/critical category) earned him the Ellen Nehr Award from the American Crime Writers League in 2000. 

EQMM's longest-serving reviewer, Jon has chosen the magazine's 70th anniversary year to bring his service in The Jury Box, as a regular juror, to an end. This issue carries his last regular column, but he will return twice each year hereafter with his verdicts on reprinted classics and short story collections. Readers can also expect to see his fiction in the magazine in years to come. He is already the author of more than a hundred published short stories, and his eight novels include one, Listen for the Click (British title Vicar's Roses), that was nominated for the John Creasey Award for best first novel of 1984 and another, Touch of the Past, that received a nomination for the best novel dagger of the British Crime Writers Association in 1989.

Now that he's only an alternate to The Jury Box, we expect that some of Jon's own books will come up for review in EQMM's pages. He tells us he plans not only to write more fiction but to edit more anthologies. His favorite collection to date, American Murders, is one he co-edited with his wife of forty years, Rita Breen.

A deeply felt thanks to Jon, from the staff at EQMM, for his unsurpassed work. May he and Rita find many splendid ways to enjoy the freedom his release from Jury duty should bring.

Next month, meet The Jury Box's new foreman, Steve Steinbock!



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EQMM'S EARLIER REVIEWERS
by Steve Steinbock

  HOWARD HAYCRAFT
By the time Howard Haycraft's "Speaking of Crime" column began appearing in EQMM, with the magazine's February 1946 issue, his name was already synonymous with detective fiction scholarship. After editing several collections of detective stories for boys, Haycraft composed his 1941 masterwork, Murder for Pleasure, an in-depth history and analysis of the mystery story, which Otto Penzler once called "the most important single work of mystery-fiction scholarship ever produced." The book included a list of 108 titles that Haycraft believed comprised the definitive mystery library. That list grew into a long collaboration with EQMM founding editor Frederic Dannay and resulted in a final list referred to as the "Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones," which today remains the standard for mystery collectors. In 1946, Haycraft edited The Art of the Mystery Story. His "Speaking of Crime" column ran in EQMM every other month for ten issues between February 1946 and October 1948.


 
  ANTHONY BOUCHER
Before taking over Haycraft's "Speaking of Crime" column for the February 1949 issue, Anthony Boucher (the pen name of William Anthony Parker White) served as mystery reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle and had written seven mystery novels and over one hundred episodes of The Adventures of Ellery Queen radio program. Boucher's "Speaking of Crime" column appeared in eight issues in 1949 and 1950. After a hiatus, he returned to the pages of EQMM in November, 1957, with a one-page review column called "Best Mysteries of the Month." His stated goal was "to select each month a few books with more to offer than the one-a-day routine." In his first column he reviewed five novels, giving each a star rating, a tradition that Jon Breen would later carry on. The column ran until February 1968, just a few months before his death. In 1970, mystery fans gathered in Santa Monica, California for the first World Mystery Convention, named "Bouchercon" in honor of Anthony Boucher.
  JOHN DICKSON CARR
Already a legend in the mystery field as the "master of the locked room," and author of nearly seventy novels (under his own name and as Carter Dickson), John Dickson Carr took over the "Best Mysteries of the Month" column with the January 1969 issue. Carr introduced himself in that first column as an "old devotee of blood and thunder." In May 1970, Carr's column was expanded from one to three pages and was renamed "The Jury Box." During his first few years, Carr typically reviewed four titles in each issue (usually three new titles, and one classic reprint), but in his blustery, jovial style, Carr had little problem filling three pages with entertaining exposition. As years went by, Carr varied the number of reviews, often looking at a dozen titles—in other words, a jury box of books. Carr continued to be foreman of the Jury Box through the October 1976 issue, shortly before his death.

  ALLEN J. HUBIN
During a five-year hiatus that gave him a chance to focus on his own writing, Jon L. Breen's seat in the Jury Box (which followed on Carr's) was filled by mystery reviewer, collector, historian, and fan Allen J. Hubin. This was the second time Hubin had filled a position previously held by Anthony Boucher: In 1968 he replaced Boucher as mystery reviewer for the New York Times. Hubin was also the founder and first editor of The Armchair Detective, the preeminent mystery fan magazine, and editor of several annual Best Detective Stories anthologies. Hubin is perhaps best known for his mammoth reference book, The Bibliography of Crime Fiction 1749-1975, a periodically updated catalog of every mystery written in English, referred to among collectors and historians simply as "The Hubin." Al Hubin began his tenure in "The Jury Box" in the December 1983 issue and continued through most of 1988.

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2010 Readers Award

   

Dave Zeltserman

Doug Allyn

This year's Readers Award results are notable for the fictional time spectrum they span: both forward in time with first-place winner Dave Zeltserman's "Archie's Been Framed," whose technology requires a bit of suspension of disbelief to imagine put in practice in the here and now, and backward in time in Doug Allyn's second and third place stories "The Scent of Lilacs" and "Days of Rage," which, respectively, look at the American Civil War and revisit the turbulent 1960s.

Last year, Dave Zeltserman came in third in the Readers Award voting for the first story in the series to which "Archie's Been Framed" belongs, "Julius Katz." Rarely have we seen a premise as original as that behind this series—a miniature computer who, in the spirit of the Nero Wolfe novels of Rex Stout, plays Archie to the stories' private detective; and the manner in which the idea is executed is equally fresh. Of course, Dave Zeltserman already had a leg up in writing of the endearing computer Archie: For twenty years he worked as a software engineer. Much of the rest of his fiction, however, is in the noir genre, including 2008's Small Crimes, which was chosen by NPR as one of the top five novels of its year. This past autumn the Needham, Massachusetts author won a Shamus Award for Best Short Story for "Julius Katz." His novel The Caretaker of Lorne Field is currently nominated for a Black Quill Award, and the 2011 Zeltserman novel Outsourced has been optioned for film.

Doug Allyn is not new to the historical mystery. His 1994 Edgar-winning story "The Dancing Bear" (AHMM) belongs to that genre. But "The Scent of Lilacs" is more personal, based on his own family's lore, and it provides a most unusual perspective on the Civil War. As always, the eight-time Readers Award winner earned his spectacular finish in this competition with engaging characters, memorable setting, and sweeping action. His third-place winner, "Days of Rage," brought back series character Dan Shea and demonstrated the Michigan author's ability to weave controversial social and political issues into his fiction. In 2010 Doug Allyn was the winner of the Best Long Story Derringer Award of the Short Mystery Fiction Society for "Famous Last Words" (EQMM November 2009).

Congratulations to these gifted writers and to all of the finalists listed below!

Fourth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Mr. Monk and the Seventeen Steps" by Lee Goldberg

Fifth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."To Kill an Ump" by Brendan DuBois

Sixth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Winter's End" by Clark Howard

Seventh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ."Last Dance in Shanghai" by Clark Howard

Eighth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" by Evan Lewis

Ninth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . "The Man With One Eye" by Stephen Ross

Tenth . . . . . . . . . . .  .  .  . . "The Changelings: A Very Grim Fairytale" by Carol Biederman

 

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A GLOBAL FOCUS

 

Seventy years ago, when Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee were deciding how to orient their new magazine, there could not have been any question that its outlook would be global. Both men had cosmopolitan tastes and a knowledge of world literature. It has become part of EQMM lore that Dannay, who soon took over the editing of the magazine, aimed to prove, in its pages, that every great writer in history had written at least one story that could be considered a mystery. In its first years, EQMM contained mostly reprints by the great names of fiction of many different countries (from within the genre and without).

As EQMM began more actively to solicit new work, it continued to look not only to the varied locales within America's borders but beyond. For the short story contests run yearly between 1946 and 1957, and again in 1962, Dannay says in the introduction to his first volume of winners: "We sent publicity announcements all over the world." And submissions were received for the contests from countries as far-flung as Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.

Despite the fact that translations were not actively commissioned by Dannay or EQMM's second editor, Eleanor Sullivan, 88 translations appeared in EQMM from 1941 to the middle of 2003, when the Passport to Crime Department was instituted—its purpose to find and translate, each month, a story from another language. The most notable translation of all of those to appear in EQMM in its early decades was the renowned Jorge Luis Borges's "Garden of Forking Paths" (August 1948), the first published work in English of a writer who went on to become the first winner of the International Publishers' Prize (which he shared that year with Samuel Beckett) and one of the most important writers in the movement called "magical realism." Borges's translator was Anthony Boucher, one of the greatest critics, writers, and translators the mystery field has ever known. According to longtime EQMM translator Donald A. Yates, Boucher "sent his Borges translations to Fred [Dannay] without being asked. Tony became interested in Spanish American crime fiction in the mid forties and in 1947 published his evaluation of that subject in an article in Publishers Weekly titled "It's Murder, Amigos." Boucher still reigns as EQMM's most prolific translator (with Donald Yates not far behind him).

Important as they are, translations comprise only a tiny portion of the stories EQMM publishes from abroad. Close to thirty percent of EQMM's content over the past couple of decades has come from the United Kingdom, and the magazine has always had contributors in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other English-speaking countries. One of EQMM's British writers spoke to us of growing up in Baghdad in the forties and being able to buy EQMM, in English, on the newsstands there. With the kind of global distribution that was possible at the time of EQMM's inception, it is not surprising that so many writers abroad—many of them probably readers of EQMM before becoming writers—began to send their stories to Fred Dannay. EQMM's distribution in those days was truly worldwide, a fact that can be partly, but only partly, attributed to the large shipments made to armed forces during the war.

While English editions of the magazine were making their way to every corner of the earth, there were also many licensed foreign-language editions—and even some apparently unlicensed ones—coming into print. As translator Donald A. Yates recalls: "I went to Mexico in 1958 to survey Mexican detective fiction for an article I was writing and enthusiastically commented to Fred [Dannay] on an edition of EQMM I found in Spanish in Mexico City. Turns out it was news to him. Shortly afterward, it ceased publication. Some enterprising fellow in Mexico City must have thought that imitation was flattery."

Part of the EQMM lore handed down to this editor, which unfortunately cannot be verified due to the loss of files and records, is that EQMM was, for many years, the third most translated of all American magazines, behind only Readers Digest and Popular Mechanics. It is certainly possible to say with authority that EQMM had one of the longest-running of all foreign-language editions in the twenty-year Japanese version of the magazine that ran throughout the eighties and nineties. More recent foreign editions (to 2010) have been put out by Serbian and Chinese publishers.

The new era of electronic publishing that we've entered over the past few years is beginning to open doors to global publication that may (and we fervently hope will!) eventually eclipse even the great reach EQMM had when its foreign editions were at their peak. As we work to build that brave new world of distribution, we intend to continue to extend our boundaries in global content, including authors from as many new countries as possible in Passport to Crime and keeping current with the British and Commonwealth crime scenes.

If you'd like to put faces to some of your favorite translated authors and their translators, please take a stroll through this month's photo gallery!

 

Janet Hutchings


 

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A GLOBAL FOCUS PHOTO GALLERY
 

 



Celebrated Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (left) with one of his EQMM translators, Donald A. Yates. Borges, a devotee of mystery fiction, became one of the most important writers in Spanish America, and the first recipient of the International Publishers Prize. Translator Donald Yates is a professor, a writer, and a scholar of mystery fiction.
 


Anthony Boucher (aka William Anthony Parker White), translator of Jorge Luis Borges's first story in English, which appeared in EQMM. Boucher was also renowned as a fiction writer, editor, and reviewer for the New York Times and other publications.


Luis Adrián Betancourt
, one of Cuba's most important crime writers. First translated into English for EQMM.



Laurie Thompson taught Swedish at the University of Wales for many years. He was editor of Swedish Book Review from 1983 until 2002, and has translated over fifty books from Swedish—including fifteen by Henning Mankell.



Sweden
's Henning Mankell, author of the Inspector Wallander mysteries, which have been adapted for BBC TV and PBS, and have made bestseller lists around the world. Photo © Ulla Montan.


Lisa Marklund, Swedish journalist, columnist, and publisher, and one of Sweden's (and Europe's) bestselling novelists. Co-author with James Patterson of the New York Times bestseller The Postcard Killers. Photo © Joachim Lundgren



Richard Macker
, aka Reidar Thomassen, Norwegian writer of literary acclaim whose crime stories have been adapted for Norwegian television.



American Mary W. Tannert taught German and German Literature at the University of Tennessee/Knoxville for several years before moving to Germany to work for Siemens as a translation project manager. Now, ten years later, she is a full-time freelance translator. She also has a research interest in the history of German crime fiction and has written many articles on the subject. She has had twenty short story translations published in EQMM.


Author Ingrid Noll, often called Germany's "Queen of Crime." Her books have been translated into 23 languages and have been adapted for German television. Photo by Dontworry (Wikimedia Commons), CC-by-SA

Austrian Beatrix Kramlovsky, painter, crime writer, and past nominee for the Friedrich Glauser prize for short crime fiction.


John Pugmire, translator from French, a "locked-room enthusiast" and author of many articles on the subject.


Paul Halter, contemporary French master of the locked room mystery and winner of the French Adventure Novel Prize.


Peter Schulman, translator from French, is a professor of French and International Studies at Old Dominion University. He is also the author of several books on French culture and the translator of a new eidtion of Jules Verne's last novel The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz.


Maud Tabachnik, one of France's most popular crime writers, whose work has been selected for France's Book of the Month Club. Photo by Yves Tennevin (Wikimedia Commons), CC-by-SA



Cara Goodman
, translator from Spanish and Portuguese. Marketing specialist and writer for The Nature Conservancy's South America division.



Marc R. Soto
, Spanish crime writer and finalist for Spain's Ignotus Award.



Josh Pachter
, translator from Dutch, and crime writer who debuted in EQMM's Department of First Stories.



Dutch writer Tessa de Loo, hailed by Kirkus Reviews as
"one of Europe's most accomplished novelists." Photo © Litza Kapitzaki


Clifford E. Landers
, translator from Portuguese, has translated into English almost two dozen Brazilian novels.
 


Patrícia Mélo
, Brazilian author listed by Time magazine, in 1999, as one of fifty Latin American leaders of the new millennium.


Boris Akunin, one of Russia's (and Europe's) bestselling authors, with more than eight million books in print. The pseudonymous author is sometimes said to have invented a new Russian literary genre. He has been translated into 26 languages. Photo © Anatoly Belov



Beth Cary
, well-known translator of many novels from Japanese, also translates yearly winners of the Mystery Writers of Japan's short story prize for EQMM.

   

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THE CHANGING FACE OF EQMM

 

During this 70th anniversary year we've talked about various aspects of EQMM's entry onto the mystery stage and its subsequent run. A place in all of this should be given to the magazine's physical appearance, in particular its covers.

For many years now, EQMM has been printed on newsprint, but it wasn't always so. Founding editor Frederic Dannay boasted that his new magazine would come out on book-quality paper. He was inspired, no doubt, by the release in the U.S., only two years earlier, of the first paperback books. The impact that first Pocket Books line had was profound, and it's easy to see why it should have inspired Dannay to use paper and art of a caliber that would complement the quality stories he intended to publish.

It is worth noting that Dannay himself had once been an art director, and he also had the incredible good fortune to have available to him the talents of one of the best book designers and illustrators of the day, George Salter. A refugee from Nazi Germany, Salter had been doing covers for Simon & Schuster and Alfred A. Knopf since 1937, for the books of writers like Faulkner and Steinbeck. In 1939 he became art director for Lawrence Spivak at The Mercury Press, the first publisher of EQMM. Still on board when EQMM was launched, Salter used airbrush technique to create mood and atmosphere with simple, streamlined illustrations. This and his innovative use of type earned him a permanent place in the history of his profession; in fact, many consider him the most important book designer of the twentieth century.

Salter was the predominant illustrator of EQMM covers from 1941 until he resigned as art director in 1957—although illustration wasn't always employed. From 1949 until the mid fifties, photographs of scantily clad women sometimes fronted newsstand copies, while plain type covers went to subscribers (presumably out of regard for domestic sensibilities).

In 1954, Salter commissioned a cover from Milton Glaser, a young artist and designer who would become the co-founder of New York Magazine and Pushpin Studios. Glaser's first published work was his cover for EQMM. He went on to design the I
NY logo and continues to be one of this country's most famous graphic designers, with exhibits in galleries such as the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Another illustrious artist brought to EQMM by art director Salter is Edward Emshwiller, who signed himself "Emsh" and created covers for science fiction and comic books before becoming famous as an experimental filmmaker and expressionist painter.

Those glory days of EQMM art gave way, in the late fifties, to covers that were mostly type mixed with readymade clip art, full illustration of a cover becoming the exception, not the rule. By the end of the fifties, all-type covers (without clip art) had come to dominate, sometimes with background patterns such as falling leaves or the famous Ellery Queen Q (a Q with a double cross representing the two men behind the Queen name). Art continued to be absent from EQMM covers all through the sixties and into the early seventies, when it began to creep in again, type often ceding half the space to a small illustration. By 1978, that illustration space, usually the right half of the cover, had come to be framed by a giant Ellery Queen Q. This neat picture-frame effect was tied into depiction of a single face per issue, often that of a famous mystery writer or a famous character from mystery fiction, such as November 1978's rendering of Philip Marlowe.

By the end of the seventies, the Q was more often the frame for a photograph than for a painting, and therefore the covers more often depicted a real person—usually an author—than a fictional one, for which an actor would be required. But these covers, with their stock photos, made a nice segue to the studio photography that was to take over from it. Beginning in 1986, EQMM hired its own photographers and studios to shoot well-known mystery writers, and sometimes actors, in scenarios devised by the art director and editor. Costumes were sometime elaborate, as when Ellis Peters, elderly and suffering from a back injury, nevertheless donned full medieval garb and held a smoking goblet full of dry ice up for the shot after shot requested by a perfectionist photographer. Others, like Doug Allyn, submitted to the vagaries of animal companions in the shoot, in his case a large crow EQMM rented in lieu of a raven to sit, in threatening posture, on his shoulder. Perhaps most memorable was the photo shoot of Andrew Vachss, who agreed to appear only if his pit pull, Honey, could share the frame. Since Honey had to be transported from the Vachss home in Queens, EQMM hired a car service to pick up what had been described to the driver only as "a dog." A brief moment of conflict ensued when the terrified driver spotted Honey, but she was finally allowed to get in the car—and she proved, throughout the long ride and shoot, to be as sweet as her name.

By 1992, EQMM had been sold to a new owner, Dell Magazines, who disliked both the expense and the results of these elaborate photo shoots. Photos were gradually eased out in favor of full-page art that was sometimes full-bleed, but more often capped by a sold logo panel. Art styles varied over the next decade from generically cozy to consciously "retro," until, in mid 2003, EQMM decided to try more accurately to recreate the feel of the early days of pulp fiction. A series of hardboiled covers, some by contemporary artists but many reprints of pulp-novel covers of the forties and fifties, continued until the middle of the following year. They were interrupted by the release of the movie Secret Window, which features a fictional writer for EQMM and was celebrated by EQMM, on several covers, with movie stills and actor photographs.

The following year, the centenary of Ellery Queen dominated EQMM's covers with photographs of the two men behind the name and their book covers, radio publicity shots, and movie posters.

When EQMM returned to its pulp look in 2006, a decision was made to reprint not only classic book covers but some of the early covers of EQMM itself. Salter featured most prominently in the series, but in the course of clearing rights to other covers, EQMM discovered where one of its original artists from the 1950s was living. And not only was he still painting, he was willing to do new work for the magazine in his original style. After an absence of fifty years, Barry Waldman returned to EQMM!

With this issue, we debut that new concept. It involves, as you see, a shift to black and white photography, which we will employ to broaden our range of subject matter. This first photo harkens back to film noir, but all types of black and white images are candidates for the series, as long as they involve an intriguing element of mystery. In fact, we welcome photographic submissions from anyone accomplished in the art. Please consider submitting, and enjoy our gallery of covers.

Janet Hutchings

Scroll down to view our gallery of covers.
To submit photographs to be considered for our cover, please e-mail them to elleryqueenmm@dellmagazines.com or send them to our editorial offices at 267 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10007.


 


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THE CHANGING FACE OF EQMM
COVER GALLERY
  

   


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SEVEN ANNIVERSARIES
by Steve Steinbock


Fall 1941

EQMM began in an attempt to fill a literary void. It was a noble experiment launched with great hope. As founding editor Frederic Dannay explained in his introduction to that first issue (Fall 1941), the world lacked "a quality publication devoted exclusively to the printing of the best in detective-crime short-story literature." At the time, a number of pulp magazines featured crime short stories, and mysteries often appeared in other periodicals: weeklies, slick magazines, and newspapers. With that first issue, Dannay and publisher Lawrence Spivak sought to establish a periodical anthology—not quite a book, not quite a magazine. It was printed on book-quality paper and during its first year of publication contained no advertisements. But Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine had the convenience, size, and price of a magazine. The first three issues came out quarterly, then, beginning with the May 1942 issue, every other month. In 1946, EQMM became a monthly.

The cover of issue number one showed a painting by illustrator George Salter, an immigrant from Germany who would design most of the covers for the next dozen years, more than a hundred in all. Inside issue one were seven short stories, all reprints, representing the full spectrum of crime literature: two hard-boiled tales (by Dashiell Hammett and Cornell Woolrich), a traditional British story (Margery Allingham's "The Question Mark"), three American whodunits (by T.S. Stribling, Anthony Abbott, and Ellery Queen), and a humorous crime story written entirely in hillbilly dialect ("Wild Onions" by Frederick Hazlitt Brennan). Editorial comments were kept to a minimum, with each story introduced in one or two short sentences.

The issue opened with a two-page editorial: editor ellery queen explains: why—who—how—when. In that essay, Dannay promised "to give you stories by big-name writers, by lesser-known writers, and by unknown writers. But no matter what their source, they will be superior stories." EQMM has kept that promise for seventy years.

October 1951

Labeled the "Tenth Anniversary Issue," issue number ninety-five contained ten stories, evenly divided between reprints and stories making their first appearance in print. The cover, designed by Dirone Photography, shows a woman happily reading a letter, while the shadow in the background tells a different story. Is it her shadow, or someone else's?

Dannay introduced a crime story by George Bernard Shaw with an essay entitled "Caviar to the General Public" in which he proclaimed that, "it hardly seems possible that a full decade has passed since we feverishly, and with fear and trembling, put together the contents of Volume 1, Number 1; nor does it seem possible that we have purchased more than a thousand stories since that golden day."

The authors featured in that issue included EQMM favorites Viola Brothers Shore, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Roy Vickers, as well as Stephen Leacock and Newton Newkirk with "short-shorts." One of the highlights, carrying the long title "The 51st Sealed Room; or, The MWA Murder," is an impossible-crime story set at a meeting of the Mystery Writers of America and includes among its characters several real-life mystery writers of the day. It was by Robert Arthur, creator of the juvenile book series Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators and The Mysterious Traveler radio series.

1951 marked not only the ten-year anniversary of EQMM, but a decade since the publication of Howard Haycraft's Murder for Pleasure, a monumental study of the detective story that included his "Detective Story Bookshelf," listing what he thought belonged in the definitive detective fiction collection. To celebrate the dual decennial, Dannay (Queen) gave Haycraft a forum in which to update his list by adding a dozen or so more titles, and then appended to it his own choices, resulting in the nine-page "Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones" list. The list is preceded by comments from Haycraft and Dannay.

On page 122 readers found a terse invitation: "Watch EQ on TV." Although the number of homes with televisions in 1951 was still small, lucky families could tune in to the Dumont Television Network to see The Adventures of Ellery Queen, which by then starred Lee Bowman as Ellery Queen (Richard Hart having played the part until his untimely death earlier that year).

October 1961

This issue's cover listed seven stories inside a large "Q," in a tradition that had begun a few months earlier and would continue for another year. The simpler cover design reflected no decline in the quality of what was contained between the covers. Featured were stories by Robert Bloch, O. Henry, and Phyllis Bentley, among others. A story by Theodore Mathieson starred Galileo. Vincent Starrett's sonnet, "The Adventure of the Cat and the Fiddle," tipped its hat to Conan Doyle's "Silver Blaze."

Black Mask magazine, considered the greatest of the detective pulps, had ceased independent publication in 1951 and became a department of EQMM in 1953. Ellery Queen included hard-edged new stories as well as reprints in this department. This issue's selection was "The Singing Hat" by Cornell Woolrich, which first appeared in a 1939 issue of Detective Fiction Weekly.

In lieu of the long introductions that had become his custom, Dannay switched to brief "Editor's File Card" introductions in the mid-1950s and they continued for this issue and beyond. These summaries listed author, title, locale, and subgenre among other things, as well as whatever short comment the editor felt necessary. The issue also contained Anthony Boucher's review column, "Best Mysteries of the Month," in which Boucher gave a short look at six novels and two true-crime books. For the convenience of readers, issues of EQMM at this time included checklists of "Mystery Hardcovers of the Month" and "Mystery Paperbacks of the Month."

October 1971

EQMM's thirtieth anniversary issue proclaimed itself to be an "All New All-American Issue." In it were eleven stories, all appearing for the first time in print. Despite being "all new," the issue is filled with stories that would become true classics, including a novelette by Lawrence Blochman featuring Drs. Coffee and Mookerji, an African adventure by Joan Richter, and an amusing tale of two Brooklyn spinsters by Avram Davidson. There is a beautiful story by Evan Hunter (a.k.a. Ed McBain) entitled "Someone at the Door," as well as Lawrence Treat's police procedural, "R as in Rookie."

There are two especially remarkable stories in this issue. The first is Edward D. Hoch's "The Leopold Locked Room," the second-most-reprinted "Captain Leopold" story (after "The Oblong Room"). Jon Breen's "Diamond Dick" is the other one that stands out. A dying-message story set on the baseball diamond, "Diamond Dick" was the first in a series of stories featuring Major League umpire Ed Gorgon. At the time, Breen had already contributed nearly a dozen pastiches to the pages of EQMM. He would later fill John Dickson Carr's place in The Jury Box, a position he would hold for a total of thirty years.

Eleanor Sullivan was listed, this issue, as Managing Editor, having taken over for Clayton Rawson, who had served from 1963 until the August 1970 issue. Sullivan would later become EQMM's editor-in-chief, taking the post after Dannay's death.

October 1981

EQMM was now published thirteen times a year, as it would be through 1995. Thus the cover shows the full date of October 7, 1981. In the cover photograph, a splatter of blood is dripping down a page pressed against a typewriter platen; on the page is an unfinished dying message about the location of cash and jewels. The other mention of cash on the cover is the price of the magazine, which had almost doubled in the past decade, from 75¢ to $1.35. But it was under the cover that jewels were hidden: twelve new stories and one reprint, as well as six "Detectiverse" poems.

This time there were two stories in the "Department of First Stories," marking the 585th and 586th "first stories" published in EQMM. There was also a "Department of Second Stories" in this issue, as well as stories by Michael Gilbert, William Bankier, Jack Ritchie, Clark Howard, James Powell, and Donald Olsen. As of this issue, EQMM had published an unbroken string of stories by Edward D. Hoch for 103 consecutive issues.

A special section called "Ellery Queen's Mystery Newsletter" had begun appearing in December 1975 and ran through March 1985. Augmenting the regular Jury Box column by Jon L. Breen, the "Mystery Newsletter" featured interviews, movie reviews, and other mystery-related news, such as Otto Penzler's "Crime Dossier." In this issue, Chris Steinbrunner discussed Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark and John Carpenter's Escape from New York in his "Bloody Visions" column. In the "EQMM Interview," William Bankier discussed his fears and how they shaped his writing. The "Crime Beat" column bears the byline "R.E. Porter" (who was none other than Edward D. Hoch). In it he discusses a number of nonfiction works about mystery writing and writers.

October 1991

Celebrating fifty years, EQMM served up a 288-page double issue while on the cover, managing editor Russell Atwood served tea and T.N.T. to the seated Andrew Klavan. From Atwood's smile, it's clear that he enjoys his job. As editorial assistant, and later as managing editor, Atwood worked with editor Eleanor Sullivan, and then helped with the transition when Janet Hutchings took over the post in mid 1991.

The double-sized 288-page issue contained fifteen stories, including six "distinguished reprints" by P.D. James, Joyce Porter, Stanley Ellin, Jack Finney, and spymasters Graham Greene and John Le Carre, and new stories by Doug Allyn, James Powell, and Andrew Klavan. Also featured was a 4-page poem by Roald Dahl retelling the Goldilocks story as a "tale of crime" that could only emerge from a mind like Dahl's.

The issue is dedicated to Clark Howard, celebrating his continued and popular contributions to EQMM. His short novel "Dark Conception" appears in the issue, along with excerpts from his 1981 interview with EQMM.

Every issue in 1991 bore a "50th Anniversary" tag on the cover. To help celebrate the year, EQMM ran a "50th Anniversary Contest." From January through October, a total of fifty EQMM trivia questions were presented to readers. Prizes included EQMM mugs, posters, and copies of Eleanor Sullivan's Fifty Years of the Best of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The answers and a list of winners would appear six months later in the March 1992 issue.

September/October 2001

Three years earlier EQMM had altered its shape, growing one inch taller. The increase in size made up for the reduction in page-count and allowed EQMM to provide its readers with the same amount of fiction in fewer pages. Authors included Clark Howard, David Handler, Ruth Rendell, Joyce Carol Oates, and Michael Z. Lewin. Also included was the 1950 dying-message story "A Lump of Sugar" by Ellery Queen, and Jeffery Deaver's "Beautiful," a hauntingly twisted tale about a woman coping with a stalker.

The issue featured one of the most unusual exchanges between two contributors ever to appear in EQMM or any other magazine. A few years earlier, at a joint conference on literature by The Sorbonne and Ball State University, Professor Francois Gallix quoted Umberto Eco's observation that no detective story had ever been written in which the reader was the killer. French writer Max Dorra and British writer Peter Lovesey were both in the audience, and both, in fact, had written such stories. The Sixtieth Anniversary issue of EQMM reprinted both of those stories, Lovesey's "Youdunnit" and Dorra's "Thou Shalt Kill." Immediately following those stories, Lovesey and Dorra each contributed a new story—"Murdering Max" and "Two Little Indians"—in which the victims were Dorra and Lovesey, respectively.

The issue also contains "A Deal in Horses" by Edward D. Hoch, his 26th story featuring the Gypsy king Michael Vlado. For those keeping score, it was the 353rd consecutive issue to contain a Hoch story. Sadly, he died three years before the latest decennial issue, September/October 2011, which you hold in your hand, was compiled. 



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