List of possible suspects

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How Ellery really looks is a
question that remains unanswered. The cousins themselves seem partly responsible for the confusion as they made several changes to their creation during his
"existence". Far from what one would expect very little is told about Ellery himself, far less than what is told about the suspects e.g. With the possible exception of the forewords by JJMcC whose facts never were sustained by the stories themselves. In them Ellery is described as a tall athletic man with the suggestion of force, looked very intelligent around the forehead had long thing fingers and cool stiff lips. Ellery towered 6 inches above his father's head
1. Which means Ellery measures 5' 10". He looked thirty but was actually younger. Ellery has nasty smoking habits: he smokes a pipe and is often surrounded with cigarette smoke. He even has been known to smoke cigars "cautiously" 1. Although in one of the books he emphasizes that research on cancer in laboratories is being stepped up.

As to his affinity to food it may surprise you to hear that in The Roman Hat Ellery is described as "fanatically interested in the delicate subject of foods and their preparation"1 . He ends up drinking café au lait.
For breakfast both father and son stick to the eggs and coffee... So when we look at the opus as a whole Ellery's fanatic interest in food surely has to be confirmed...

A look at our hero's medical history. Ellery had appendicitis, was hospitalized in Adirondacks and was several weeks out. After the ski accident (late 1963, in the Mahoganies, Wrightsville) Partial cover of the semi-professional pulp fanzine "Xenophile" #14 which featured a checklist and articles on Ellery Queen and his great contributions to the mystery pulp magazines of the 1940's and 1950's. There is also a short letter from Ray Bradbury. This fanzine was published in 1975 by Nils Hardin and has a wonderful cover by Frank Hamilton. It also has excellent advertisements from the leading pulp dealers of the time. Ellery was treated in the private pavilion of the Swedish-Norwegian Hospital in Murray Hill. The "genial" Dr.Johanneson treated Ellery's legs which had been put in casts. A technique Dr.Johanneson had invented. Ellery can't stand the sight of blood.
He remained a bachelor who has his own view on marriage. Although he has been known to go to Florence were he bought a ring. JJMcC made it clear Ellery was married and had a son. He met his wife during
The Case of the Mimic Murders. As a writer Ellery is said to have written the manuscript of the Murder of the Marionettes or The Affair of the Black Widow under his own name. JJMcC several times refers to Ellery's habit of publishing stories under his own name. Most stories are written in hasty circumstances and frequently tossed aside due to his involvement in "real" Ellery Queen cases. Ellery received a telegram from Hollywood and sends them a story.
An Ellery Queen detective agency was founded by Beau Rummell. Despite his moustache he impersonated Ellery on two occasions.

Above left: Partial cover of the semi-professional pulp fanzine Xenophile #14 which featured a checklist and articles on Ellery Queen and his great contributions to the mystery pulp magazines of the 1940's and 1950's. There is also a short letter from Ray Bradbury. This fanzine was published in 1975 by Nils Hardin and has a wonderful cover by Frank Hamilton. It also has excellent advertisements from the leading pulp dealers of the time.

Only once in the books does the character Ellery Queen mention the name of his fictional detective from the books he wrote. In Double, Double he takes Rima in Wrightsville to "Ben Danzig's High Village Rental Library and Sundries" and gives her a crimson copy of one of his books.

"Ben’s stock seems to run more to fantasy fiction these days—but it’s virile enough to introduce you to the subject.” “But isn’t this fantasy?” “My dear child!” said Ellery in an injured tone. “Read the blurb. ‘Brute realism’—here, see it?”

After reading the book, Ellery asks her what she thought of it: “I laughed. Is that what’s known as a detective story?” “One kind of detective story.” “Detectives aren’t that way in life, are they? Kissing or slapping every girl they meet, beating up people, shooting off guns all the time?” “Most detectives I’ve known have forty-eight waistlines, chronically sore feet, don’t handle a gun from one year to another, and can’t wait for the weekend to water their lawns.” “And then that girl Ginger, the one Dave Dirk called ‘Gin’ and ‘Gingivitis’—” “His secretary.” “She made me tired. Getting into one silly mess after another. And why did she keep calling Dirk ‘Chief’? He wasn’t a policeman.” “He was her chief.” “Slang,” said Rima thoughtfully. “I wondered about that. Do all detectives’ secretaries call them Chief?” “All who have secretaries, I suppose.” “Do you have one?” “Not at the moment. But then, Rima, I’m not in a book.” “You ought to be!”

Later Ellery himself seems to illustrate the hard boiled character of his novel to Rima:  “At this point, baby, Dave Dirk usually grabs his doll, gets a half nelson on her, plants a few cynical smacks on her perfect mouth, and sends her off with a slap on the rump to the villain’s lair, so that ten pages later he can stroll in and cuff her from the jaws of somebody else’s lust. Ready?” “Ellery, don’t be silly.” “You don’t seem to get the point, babe. You never use my first name.” Ellery hissed, “Got that straight, Gingivitis?” This time she laughed. “Got you, Chief.” “With more humility.” “Chief.” ‘Yes. And don’t forget who is.” “Who is what?” “Head man.” “Oh, you are, Chief.” “I doubt it.

Ellery may have started off as a pince-nezed snob he didn't stay
that way. This change came about through the influence of the other media (magazines, movies, radio and TV).His early days were punctuated by an arrogance that gave way to a sense of humor. The writers made him more human and thus fallible. He even admits what the reader has known from the start - that the human factor in his cases is as important as the logic and deduction - and begins to lighten up. The pince-nez disappears, and there's more humor in the books, peaking with the two novels set during Ellery's (frustrating) stint as a Hollywood writer:
The Devil to Pay (1938) and The Four of Hearts (1938). While a dabbler, he is able to move in the professional and private detective arenas because of his father's position. He is welcomed on the scene of crimes and has access to clues and witnesses.  He also has the freedom of a private detective in that he can choose his cases.  His chief occupation became that of mystery writer: he solves crimes in the side and  uses them as bases for his novels.  He is a romantic but not a romancer; earthly but not playboy. He loves books but is interested in people too.  During this metamorphosis only a few things remained. He's still in his early 30s, tall, slender, with brown hair and gray eyes, mildly intellectual and addicted to cigarettes and logic.

Radio had understandably less problems with the "image" they portrayed. Strangely enough Ellery and the inspector often looked a lot like the original descriptions in the books. Hugh Marlowe e.g. was called a perfect casting by Dannay himself! Careful consideration was given to the portrayal of the 'true' father son relation on radio. Comics had more mood swings and Ellery was portrayed in different ways (with or without glasses). If we would take any of the comics and put them in a line-up with other figures it would be far from easy to pick the right Ellery!

Ellery Queen himself in one of the 'Better Little Books'Ellery in Ellery Queen Four Colour Series by Dell
Ellery in the Superior Comics

Which seems logical for a non superhero who can not rely on easy recognizable attributes... The published novelizations (and indeed the movies) changed the perception of our sleuth. Ellery now wears a wristwatch, smokes a pipe, wears a hat and drives a fast Cadillac! He just finished a book and some allusions are made on The New Adventures of Ellery Queen. His publisher is Jerry Ryan which has to take some criticism. Some lookalike EQ books are mentioned The Persian Tapestry Mystery (the National series continued) and The Mystery of the Feathered Hat. He has silver-gray eyes, a clean-shaven American face, brown hair, broad shoulders and nice teeth. Only some allusions are made to the pince-nez.

(Continued here...)

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