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Queen is King when it comes to air-tight mysteries that combine in his inimitable and cunning way those elements of ingenuity, surprise, and original setting that make possible deductive solutions that are always fair to the reader and strictly in accordance with the science of streamlined murder. This, the fourteenth Queen to be introduced to America's largest book-buying public, presents a blonde and exotic actress, Winni Moon, and her scented chimpanzee; a murder which became a managing editor's dream; Pink, an athlete from Flatbush, Brooklyn; Solly Spaeth, an unethical financier from New York. And Queen is literally King in The Devil to Pay, when he masquerades as Hilary "Scoop" King.

"Throughout its whole course "The Devil to Pay" is lively, straightforward and quick with interest; it is another and welcome Ellery Queen success." --  The New York Sun
The Devil to Pay - dust cover Stokes edition, January-February 1938The Devil to Pay - hard cover Stokes edition, January-February 1938The Devil to Pay - dust cover Grosset & Dunlap September 1939The Devil to Pay - hard cover Grosset & Dunlap September 1939
The Devil to Pay - dust cover Triangle Books edition No. 176, 1941-1942 (4 printings, 1st printing April 1941)The Devil to Pay - hard cover Triangle Books edition No. 176, 1941-1942 (4 printings, 1st printing April 1941))The Devil to Pay - dust cover edition, Tower Books (The World Publishing Co.), Cleveland, Ohio; February 1946. The Devil to Pay - hard cover Tower Books (The World Publishing Co.), Cleveland, Ohio; February 1946.
Above left to right: Both dust cover and hard cover for Stokes, Grosset & Dunlap editions
Below left tor right: Dust and hard covers for Triangle books and Tower books (World Publishing co.).
(Click on the covers to see the differences) *
The Brooklyn Eagle, Feb 20. 1938 "Ellery in Hollywood"

"The new mystery by Ellery Queen. What a thrill those few words give to mystery fans when they see them upon a book jacket. And there is Ellery at it again. This time he has moved out to Hollywood, not as a detective but as a writer of mystery plots for the movies and is employed by an invisible Mr. Butcher who has given him a large, beautiful but empty office and nothing to do in it. While he is waiting to see the man who is more inaccessible than royalty, a murder mystery breaks in Los Angeles; and like a hound after a fox, Ellery is soon sniffing after possible criminals.
With their usual stupidity, the police have arrested the wrong man, although with very good reason for doing so; so Ellery with his unfailing hunches and ability to pick culprits dives into the fray an as a pseudo-newspaper reporter, does a good job of intelligent sleuthing. Of course, in the true Queen manner and to the complete surprise of every one (we hope, for we ourselves did not guess the culprit) gets his man and rescues the innocent.
Although there is lots of local color, a glamorous but nauseating blonde Venus who leads around a pet chimpanzee on a pink ribbon, a dumb and opinionated inspector, a drunken newspaper man, a pretty and sporting heroine, still this is by no means one of the best of the Queen yarns. It lacks the icy gruesomeness of the earlier tales and seems to be solved with too great an attempt to find an unexpected murderer. Yet it is a snappy tale and miles above the general run of detective fiction. Queen's fans may be slightly disappointed by the normalcy of his latest crime thriller, but they will be glad to read it."

Washington DC's The Evening Star, Feb 23 1938, "New Books at Random" by Margaret Germond

"... The story is typically Hollywood in design. Not any of its characters, except Valerie, is a Californian. Solomon Spaeth was “spawned” in New York, became a millionaire without scruples as to by what means and made his business association with Jardin in Hollywood.
Jardin is a Virginian, an aristocrat and a sportsman. Pink, major domo of the Jardin establishment, is a native of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Ruhig is an Austrian, Winni Moon began life in South Dakota and Walter Spaeth came into the world in a Chicago hospital. In keeping with the general atmosphere of California’s fantastic metropolis, Ellery Queen indulges in some choice comments on the studio outfits and other institutions in the melting pot of the Pacific Coast. It is a good story, nicely stacked with mystery and sprinkled with romance. And Mr. Queen is nonetheless fascinating because of his change of manner and appearance."


The Devil to Pay - cover Bestseller Library, 1938The Devil to Pay - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book edition N°270, Oct 1944 (1st edition) and Feb 1945. See full image above.The Devil to Pay - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Book edition N°270, Nov 1944 (2nd printing).The Devil to Pay - cover pocket book edition, Pocket Books N°2270, 1958
The Devil to Pay - cover pocket books, Pan Books, 1960 (variation with NO 2'6 in left corner below)The Devil to Pay - cover pocket books, Pan Books, 1960 (variation with 2'6 in left corner below)The Devil to Pay - cover pocket book edition, Signet T4654, June 1971 (1st printing)The Door Between/The Devil to Pay - cover paperback edition, Signet Double Mystery, 451-J9024, January 1980The Door Between/The Devil to Pay - cover paperback edition, Signet Double Mystery, 451-AE2488, September 6. 1983

This first Hollywood novel, the first to have vaguely political overtones, never really builds up a really interesting detective plot. Its best section is the opening chapter, which sets up the romance subplot. How odd that the police did not catch the rather elementary clues that EQ did. EQ's mystery plot ideas about men's camel hair coats would find more logical expression in his short story, "Mind Over Matter" (1939).

Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime.
The title refers to the idiom for trouble to be faced as a result of one's actions or “service expected, and no one is ready to perform it".

The phrase is said to refer to the devil, a seam which was difficult to reach and which needed a lot of tar to caulk, or pay. The latter word is a well-attested usage on board ship, first recorded in the seventeenth century, but devil as a name for a ship’s seam is less well-known, and there’s suspicious disagreement among sources as to which seam is meant. The full expression given in many books is “there’s the devil to pay and only half a bucket of pitch”, or “there’s the devil to pay and no pitch hot”. But there’s no evidence that the expression had a nautical origin, though it was probably taken up on board ship once it had become something of a cliché, based on the existing shipboard meaning of pay.

It’s more probable that the phrase was a reference to a Faustian bargain, a pact with Satan, and to the inevitable payment to be made to him in the end. Its earliest appearances at about the beginning of the eighteenth century certainly have no hint of a naval origin or context. Here’s an example written by Jonathan Swift in 1738: “I must be with my Wife on Tuesday, or there will be the Devil and all to pay”. (Michael Quinion)
The Devil to Pay - dust cover Victor Gollancz, 1st edition, January 1938The Devil to Pay - dust cover Victor Gollancz, 2nd impression, first cheap edition, April 1939The Devil to Pay - dust cover Victor Gollancz, 1950-1951The Devil to Pay - cover Victor Gollancz, 1973The Devil to Pay - cover paperback edition, Mayflower-Dell, 1966
The Devil to Pay - cover Devil to Pay, LargePrint Thorndike Press, 2003The Devil to Pay - cover e-Book/paperback edition, The Langtail Press, Feb 2011The Devil to Pay - cover audiobook Blackstone Audio, Inc., read by Robert Fass, December 1. 2013The Devil to Pay - cover eBook, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc, Feb 16. 2017
Daily Telegraph, Sydney April 2. 1938 "Mystery of the Week: Ellery Queen grows a beard" by Dr. Watson Junr.

"NEWS lead for the latest Ellery Queen mystery is the hair-raising fact that the lanky detective grows a beard. True, he wears it only so that he will be able to shave it off later, thus disguising himself from people he met earlier. But the grotesque reality of an Ellery Queen beard moved me profoundly; the black bristle is my most enduring memory of "The Devil To Pay." For I have never got round to believing that Ellery Queen really exists. I have never been able to picture what he looked like. To me he has always been a beanpole in flannels, slick and pedantic, extraordinarily lucky and highly implausible. His beard somehow made him seem human. I feel now that, with patience and understanding, I can get to know him.

Something Like A Stab!
The mystery, otherwise, is a characteristic Ellery Queen -ingenious, entertaining, surprising, and unconvincing. I was enraged by Ellery Queen's airy and sweeping deductions (Gollancz p. 191) from the discovery of binoculars in a house near the spot where the rascally big business man is found stabbed to death with a mixture of sword, molasses, arrow, and cyanide. In effect, his bland logic means that, if a detective finds an apple tree growing near the scene of a murder, he knows" immediately that a bloke was up the tree watching the murder being committed. And I must reiterate, with an oath, that in no circumstances will I admit the ethics of eaves dropping in detection — whether at a keyhole, as Nelson Lee did it, or at a Dictaphone, as Ellery Queen does it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed "The Devil To Pay" (although the relevance of the title is a complete and utter mystery to me) . Apart from the strange miracle of the Ellery Queen beard, I salute with raised cognac balloon his discovery of a murderer who has appeared as a type in scores of other mysteries but has never been selected or suspected as a murderer."

Pre-publication in "Cosmopolitan" December 1937.Le Mystère de la Rapière - cover Canadian periodical Dec 15. 1944, Vol 4, Montreal
Above left:  Pre-publication in Cosmopolitan December 1937. 
Above right: French magazine Mon Magazine Policier (Revue Moderne) Vol.4 published in Montreal, Canada, December 15. 1944. It featured Le Mystère de la Rapière

Moord in Hollywood - cover
Moord in Hollywood - coverLe Mystère de la Rapière - cover French edition Editions de la Nouvelle Revue Critique, Collection l'Empreinte N° 132, january 1938Le Mystère de la Rapière - cover French edition éditions J'ai Lu, Paris, Nr.3184, 1992Le Mystère de la Rapière - cover French edition éditions J'ai LuDes Teufels Rechnung - cover German edition Ullstein Krimi Nr.1768
La casa delle metamorfosi - cover Italian edition, I Capolavori dei Gialli N°40, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, May 2. 1956Hollywood in subbuglio - cover Italian edition Arnoldo Mondadori, 1965Hollywood in subbuglio - cover Italian edition I Classici del Giallo N° 664, July7.1992Hollywood in subbuglio - cover Italian edition Il Giallo Mondadori Classici, July. 6 2017El misterio de la espada - cover Spanish edition, Nr. 33 Libreria Hachette, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1944El misterio de la espada - cover Spanish edition, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala

The Devil to Pay Translations: 
Danish: Hollywood-mordet 
Dutch/Flemish: Moord in Hollywood 
Finnish: Piru Merrassa 
French: Le mystère de la rapière 
German: Des Teufels Rechnung 
 Hebrew:  תאוות הבצע אינספקטור גליק
Indonesian: Intaian Maut
Italian: Hollywood in subbuglio 
Japanese: 悪魔の報復 
Portuguese: O diabo que Resolva 
Russian: Грозящая беда
aka Дьявол заплатит
Spanish: La cuenta del diablo (aka El misterio de la espada) 
Mord i Hollywood 

El misterio de la espada - cover Spanish edition, Hachette, Buenos Aires, 1945La cuenta del diablo - softcover Spanish edition, Editorial Planeta, Barcelona 1953La cuenta del diablo - hardcover Spanish edition, Editorial Planeta, Barcelona 1953La cuenta del diablo - cover Spanish edition, 1957O diabo que Resolva - Cover Portugese edition, 1947, Sao Paolo
O diabo que Resolva - Cover Portuguese edition, Vampiro, Livros do Brasil, Lisboa 1984Hollywood-mordet - cover Danish edition, Martin's Kriminal-Club Kobenhavn, 1951Mord i Hollywood - cover Swedish edition Deckarhyllan, May 19. 2021, also includes the short story "Long Shot" (1939): HögoddsarenPiru Merrassa - cover Finnish edition, Pellervo, Helsinki, 1950תאוות הבצע אינספקטור גליק - Cover Israelian edition, 1968
Дьявол заплатит - cover Russian compilation, contains "Wife or Death" (Жена или смерть) & "The Devil to Pay" (Дьявол заплатит) by Ellery Queen, Anthony Berkeley's shortstory "The Avenging Chance" (Случайная смерть), Dashiell Hammett's "A Man called Spade" (Человек по имени Спейд), Margery Allingham's "The Borderline Case" (Дело о граничной линии) and Lord Dunsany's "The Two Bottles of Relish" (Две бутылки приправы), publisher Jangar (Джангар), 1991.Кошка среди голубей - cover Russian compilation, contains two Agatha Christie novels "Cat amongst the pidgeons" (Кошка среди голубей) & "Evil Under the Sun" (Зло под солнцем) and one novel by Ellery Queen "The Devil to Pay" (Дьявол заплатит), publisher Jangar (Джангар), 1992.Дьявол заплатит - cover Russian compilation, contains three Ellery Queen stories, "The Devil to Pay" (Дьявол заплатит), "The House of Brass" (Бронзовый дом), "The Last Woman in His Life" (Последняя женщина в его жизни), Publisher Canon (Kahoh), 1994.Эллери Куин в 3-х тт. (Ellery Queen in 3 volumes) - cover Russian edition, part 2 of three volumes with 3 Ellery Queen stories each, this volume contains "The Devil to Pay" (Грозящая беда), "The Four of Hearts" (Четверка червей) & "The New Adventures of Ellery Queen" (Новые приключения Эллери Куина), published by Terra Bookclub (Терра - Книжный клуб), 2001Грозящая беда - cover Russian compilation (Nr.5), includes "The Greek Coffin Mystery" (Тайна греческого склепа) & "The Devil to Pay" (Грозящая беда), publisher Centrograph (Центрполиграф), 2005.
Intaian Maut - cover Indonesian edition Editions Punerbit Saka Widya, Djakarta, 1964悪魔の報復 The Devil To Pay - cover Japanese pocket edition, Hayakawa N°1191, Tokyo 1960The Devil to Pay - cover Japanese paperback edition, Sogensha,Tokyo,  Nov 1. 1975The Devil to Pay - cover Japanese edition, Hayakawa Publishing, 1998The Devil To Pay - cover Chinese edition, New Star Press, March 2011

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Other articles on this book

(1) Reading Ellery Queen - The Devil to Pay Jon Mathewson (Dec 2014)
(2) My Reader's Block Bev Hankins (May 6. 2012)
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