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The Book Case by Dale C. Andrews and Kurt Sercu 

"The Book Case", a brand new Ellery Queen novella appearing in the May 2007 edition of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, was written by Dale AndrewsWest 87th Irregular and Kurt Sercu!

Both long-time Ellery Queen fans we first met on-line through this website. While we exchanged emails for years, we met in person for the first time when together we attended the EQMM Ellery Queen Centenary Symposium in April of 2005 We have long lamented the current absence of both old and new Ellery Queen works as evidenced by the editorial we jointly wrote following the symposium.  But rather than just complaining, we decided to do something about this problem.

The outline for "The Book Case," was devised by us on a train as we traveled back from New York City to Washington, D.C. in April 2005. Thereafter the actual draft of the story was developed over the course of many electronic trips back and forth across the Atlantic (or "the Pond" as we like to refer to it).  Just as the original Queen stories were a collaboration by Dannay and Lee (often separated by a continent), so too this new Ellery Queen story is a collaboration by us, separated this time by the Pond.  Janet Hutchings, editor of EQMM graciously and enthusiastically agreed to edit and publish this work, the longest "First Story Department" entry ever published by EQMM, and the estates of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee have approved the story's publication.

Friends through Ellery Queen! (All rights reserved)So, did you ever wonder what exactly happened to Djuna?  How about Nikki Porter?  Have you wondered how Ellery might view the relevance of old-fashioned deduction in this century of forensic science?  Are you interested in a few other surprises and meeting some other old friends along the way? If so, you will not want to miss the May issue of EQMM.  Pull up a chair.  We will see you there!

But then what happened? Well several friends revisited...

Francis M.NevinsWest 87th Irregular had this to say in his articles 'First you Read, Then You Write"

Mike Nevins at the Centenary 2005 (All Rights Reserved)"The tale of fair-play detection has become a dying art, but each of two recent issues of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has featured at least one specimen worthy of the Golden Age. Jon L. Breen's "The Missing Elevator Puzzle" (February 2007) is quite simply the finest short whodunit with an academic setting that I can recall reading, with a puzzle that might have fazed Ellery himself: Why was a visitor to the campus, just before being murdered, searching for the elevator in a building that had none?

"The Book Case" (May 2007) by Dale Andrews
West 87th Irregular and Kurt Sercu not only has two authors like the Queen books themselves but returns to center stage their most famous detective, physically frail but mentally spry at age 100, as he tackles a murder with a dying message composed of copies of his own novels. Readers who aren't well up on those novels are likely to get lost in this tale, but if you're at home in the canon you'll have a high old time trying to beat the centenarian sleuth to the solution."



When The Misadventures of Ellery Queen a 400-page anthology, edited by Yusan Iiki and published by Ronsosha Ltd. Of Tokyo came out in 2012 Mike again included a comment:
"...The most recent story in the volume, and probably the finest Queen pastiche ever written, is "The Book Case" (EQMM, May 2007) by Dale AndrewsWest 87th Irregularand Kurt Sercu" ...


Jon L. BreenWest 87th Irregular, the mystery critic for EQMM for decades,and known to have made a few Queen pastiches himself, posted the following on the EQMM Readers' Forum:

"I've now read this and will second Dermond's comment, ranking it with Francis M. Nevins'sWest 87th Irregular "An Open Letter to Survivors," which has a stature among EQ pastiches comparable to Vincent Starrett's "The Unique Hamlet" among Holmes pastiches. "The Book Case" does an extraordinary job of capturing the Queenian writing and (especially) plotting style, and I liked the way the final surprise clears up one last bit of confusion. It's interesting that this story assumes an Ellery aging in real time, while Ed Hoch's Queen pastiches and my own single attempt have an ageless Ellery existing in the present day more or less unchanged. But the Queen collaborators did the same thing themselves: in the 1950s, Inspector Queen retires (in Inspector Queen's Own Case) and a fiftyish Ellery (born 1905) looks back on a 1929 case in The Finishing Stroke. Then, in the books of '60s, they continue in present day just as they were before."

Again upon the publication of The Misadventures of Ellery Queen (2012) in Japan. Ho-Ling Wong had this to say:

"The Book Case" [2007] (Dale C. AndrewsWest 87th Irregular and Kurt Sercu) is the most recent story collected in The Misadventures of Ellery Queen and the most meta of the pastiches. An elderly Queen has to solve the death of Djuna's son and his colleague. The latter was found murdered in his room, with a pile of Ellery Queen novels on the floor keeping him company. Is this a dying message that means Queen himself did it? Of course not and there is an absolutely good reason why there's a pile of Queen novels besides the victim. Besides the meta-reason of course that the writers are clearly Queen-fans who wanted to mentioned all the Queen novels in their story. I am not too big a fan of the super-elderly Queen described here (the elderly Queen described in Nishimura Kyoutarou's Great Detectives series feels a bit less physically helpless), but this is a great story overall. It gets kinda modern near the end of the story though and the solution kinda asks for specialist knowledge, or expects you have read the Detective Conan volumes that were released a bit before the release of this story that surprisingly enough feature a similar plot point, but this is great meta-fun.


The Book Case came 2nd in the EQMM 2007 Readers Award (by one vote!) in May 2008. We both got our certificates from EQMM. Dale was over the moon about his weekend in NY whilst attending the Readers' Award Ceremony at the Williams Club and later that evening the dinner at the Edgars and rightly so!

    Overview of the Edgars 2008
Above: Overview of the Edgars 2008

A highlight for anyone who attended I'm sure...

And, The Book Case was also nominated for the Barry Award for best short story, which was decided at the Boucheron World Mystery Convention in Baltimore in the autumn of 2008. Edward Hoch won this category.


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