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Letting someone else take your name and let him publish a story must be  daunting for a writer. Especially one with the
success rate of Ellery Queen. Equally daunting for the ghostwriter who has to set aside a possible claim to fame.
.. It was not something that happened overnight and it wasn't always clear-cut. Since 1950 Dannay and Lee had been recruiting and training ghostwriters they already had used on some juvenile adaptations of Queen movies and radio shows. In the late 60s Manfred suffered a series of heart attacks which forced him to lose a great deal of weight. Lee started developing among other ailments writer's block so they turned to a well-tried method.

Scott Meredith literary agency wanted to expand Queen's readership beyond the slowly fading genre of formal detective fiction and into the booming field of original crime novels without detection.  Contingent to the cousins' approval they agreed to the publication of a cycle of non-series paperback originals, ghostwritten by other Meredith clients (many connected to Manhunt magazine, another project of Scott Meredith) for a flat fee of around $2,000 per book and published under the Queen name, with all royalties split between Fred and Manny after the agency took its commission. Manny, who had a large family to support and still was suffering from writer's block, favored the idea. Fred was violently opposed but felt that his cousin's financial and creative problems left him little choice to go along since Manny had save the Queen radio series when the death of Fred's first wife left him unable to perform that function. Lee provided the basic idea and the manuscripts were written by various ghost and submitted to Manny who edited them more or less as Fred edited the stories he bought for EQMM. But Fred even refused to read any of the books that were published under this scheme, and terminated the arrangement soon after Manny's death.

Harsh critic about the ghosted paperbacks (and their authorship) was avoided by keeping their exact contribution a secret. The main reason being the possible negative effect on Lee's health. For years this part of the deal was held up, but when it did surface it has led, again, to controversy about the true authorship.

Avram Davidson (b. Apr 23,1923 - d.May 8.1993) is the author of 17 novels and over 200 short stories. Davidson, born in Yonkers, N.Y, wrote Fantasy Avram Davidson (1923 - 1993)and Science Fiction novels in addition to mysteries. Davidson's first widely recognized story appeared in 1954, although he had been writing for several years before that. For a few years (1962-1965), he edited The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. A Davidson story appeared in EQMM in April of 1957, which may be what attracted Ellery Queen to Mr. Davidson. Reportedly when a friend asked Avram to sign one of the Ellery Queen books, he said something along the lines of, "I've never signed one of these before. What the heck" (Bulletin of Bibliography 1996-03).

As for The House of Brass, Richard Dannay clarified authorship as follows
:"There was a completed manuscript of his (Avram), based on my father’s extensive outline, at Columbia but it was rejected by Fred & Manny, who completed the outline themselves and published their own finished work."

Davidson won quite a few awards, including the Edgar and the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. He died in Bremerton, Washington.


Richard Deming (b.Apr 25, 1915 - d.Sep 5.1983) Captain in U.S. Army, social worker, employee of American Red Cross, 1976-83; wrote several novels, including Mod Squad, Dragnet, and other Richard Deming (1915-1983)serializations. Deming was best known for these novels and for his work in the mystery field. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Mystery Writers of America from 1976 until his death in 1983. In a interview Deming talked about his contract with the cousins: "I wrote several books under contract. It stipulated never to reveal which books I wrote. I can only tell you I did write ten* books as Ellery Queen. Mind you, in none of them the hero by the same name actually appears. It involved ten original stories and were the result of an agreement with Manfred B. Lee. Fred Dannay wasn't involved and I think he wouldn't have agreed with the books themselves. He let Manfred handle these contracts in order to focus on his one true passion: EQMM"

In a 1972 letter to Nevins he stated "I'm not overly proud of the Ellery Queen books, Manny Lee absolutely refused to share any subsidiary rights on these, so they were written for a flat fee. Since it would have killed me to have one of them sell movie rights, I deliberately made them just barely acceptable, which is really harder than writing your best. On top of that, although the books were completely original to me, Lee did some rewriting... Lee's style did not greatly impress me."

Pseudonyms Halsey Clark, Richard Hale Curtis, Richard Deeming, Max Franklin, Ellery Queen, Lee Davis Willoughby, Emily Moor, Nick Morino.



Fletcher Flora (1914-1968) wrote various "sensational" stories during the 40's and 50's. Flora started writing right at the end of the pulp era, for magazines like Dime Detective. Then he moved on to do some 60 stories for the digests (Pursuit, EQMM, Suspect, etc). He co-authored Hildegarde Withers' Makes the Scene with Stuart Palmer, and ghosted a couple of books for Ellery Queen. He also did about 15 paperback originals under his own name (all involving suspense & lust). His mystery output includes over sixty short stories and sixteen novels. The Hot Shot and Strange Sisters are among his credits.
Major genre: Crime and/or Mystery.

* The Golden Goose - Blow Hot, Blow Cold - The Devil's Cook



Henry Kane, (b. 1918 - d. 1988) Initially a lawyer, author of To Die or Not to Die, The Midnight Man, and other works is probably the least known of the Ellery Queen authors. Perhaps it was his Deadly Finger, a medical suspense novel, which drew the attention of the cousins Queen.* Kane also found time to write a number of episodes for TV's Martin Kane, Private Eye. If you like a slice of humor with your hardboiled eggs, Kane’s your man. Pseudonym: Anthony McCall.

* Kill as Directed



Milton Lesser, (b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Aug 7, 1928 - d. Feb 22,2008), is better known as Science Fiction author "Stephen Marlowe", especially for The Lighthouse at the End of the World, but his mystery work (e.g., Model For Murder) attracted Ellery Queen *. He too began writing for pulps (such as the legendary Amazing Stories) and has gone on to have a long writing career. He was awarded the French Prix Gutenberg du Livre in 1988 for The Memoirs of Christopher Columbus, and in 1997 he was awarded the "Life Achievement Award" called "The Eye" by the Private Eye Writers of America. He also served on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. He lived with his second wife Ann in Williamsburg, Virginia

Pseudonyms: Adam Chase, Andrew Frazer, Stephen Marlowe, Jason Ridgway, C.H. Thames

* Dead Man's Tale


Talmage Powell  (b. 1920 - d. Mar 9, 2000)  Powell began his writing career in 1942. He created over 200 stories for the pulp fiction magazines, including Black Mask and Dime Mystery, writing in almost every genre and for all of the top magazines. After the demise of the pulps, Powell Talmage Powell ca 1950 - click for a covercontinued to write another 300 plus short stories for fiction magazines such as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Shayne, Manhunt and Suspense. During the 1950s and 1960s a number of successful novels were published. His Ed Rivers series is recognized as some of the best Private Investigator stories from that era. Powell also had written four novels under the Ellery Queen by line *as well. "The deals were set by the Scott Meredith agency and then offered, on the assumption I would accept. It was a difficult situation. We got on okay for a long while; then one day Manny went off like an ignited package of Chinese firecrackers. My reaction was to complete the work in progress on the fourth book (Who Spies Wo Kills, 1966) and quit, even though I empathized with Manny's state of health and career situation which must have been very galling to him. The book editors gave the Lee knuckles a rap, and efforts were made to have me continue, including an offer of a thousand dollars increase in the up-front money on each book. Jack Scovil at the Meredith agency phoned, apparently assumed that that would do the trick, and when it didn't, he went uptight and vented a couple of pettishly mean remarks, whereupon I hung him up. Scott told everybody else to shut up accepted my decision in a business-like way, an I continued as a client..." (Powell, 1993)

Powell also contributed his creative talents to screenwriting and television work. Still active in the field, Talmage Powell has had a long and successful career by delivering suspenseful, intelligent, action based stories that any reader would enjoy. He died at a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina on March 9. 2000, he was 79.

Pen Names: Robert Hart Davis, Robert Henry, Milton T. Lamb, Milton T. Land, Jack McCready, Anne Talmage, and Dave Sands.

Murder with a Past - Beware The Young Stranger -
Where is Bianca?Who Spies Who Kills?



Walt Sheldon or Walter J.Sheldon (b. Jan 9, 1917 - d. Jun 9, 1996) was writing for the pulps as early as 1940. Having published over 30 stories for the Pulps and being a contemporary mystery magazine author, Sheldon was a natural choice to assume the moniker of Ellery Queen, which he did only one time. It looks like he went in for those interminable secret-agent novels in the '60s & '70s. The Blue Kimono Kill (1965), Devil's Box (1968), Gold Bait (1973), The House of Happy Mayhem (1967), The Red Flower Kill (1971), The Rites of Murder (1984) and The Yellow Music Kill (1974).  As Shelly Walters he wrote The Dunes (1974), and as Shel Walker he published The Man I Killed (1952) and Tokyo Escapade (1955).

* Guess who's coming to Kill You?



Jack Vance (b. Aug 28,1916 - d. May 26, 2013) John Holbrook Vance sold his first story, "The World Thinker," in 1945. His first novel, Vandals of the Void was published in 1953. Better known as a Science Fiction and Fantasy writer, John Holbrook Vance (1916 - 2013)Jack Vance has won several awards, including the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Why did Vance write the books? "Because Ellery Queen gave me a flat fee of 3000 dollars for each book. Which was then a lot of money! I did have to sign a contract never to reveal I actually wrote the books. Theoretically I never took his name." Jack went on: "They did nevertheless take my good prose and made it appear he had written it himself to make their own little soup".

ance was forbidden by contract to sign copies of books "Jack Vance" written under the Ellery Queen pseudonym. He did however sign them "Ellery Queen" and initialed "JV" and eventually as "Jack Vance".  He even refused to have the EQ-stories included in the planned VIE book set as the texts were so degraded or as he put it "tarted up".  Furthermore since the original manuscripts were lost...there seemed no way to restore them.

Vance was forbidden by contract to sign copies of books "Jack Vance" written under the Ellery Queen pseudonym. He did however sign them "Ellery Queen" and initialed "JV" and eventually as "Jack Vance".

Vance specialist Richard Chandler had this to say on the subject "My under standing is that copyright is the main obstacle. That is certainly reasonable, given that U.S. copyright law protects such works for 75 years after the death of the author. It’s not clear when ‘Ellery Queen’ died (Lee died in 1971 and Dannay in 1982), but certainly 75 years have not elapsed. Another reason seems spurious to me. It has been claimed that they are so poor as to not attain some minimal level of acceptance by the VIE. While perhaps not achieving the quality of 'The Man in the Cage', the Joe Bain mysteries, or 'The Deadly Isles', they are nonetheless entertaining, decent mysteries with more than the occasional touch of Vance." ("The Case of the Missing Vance", Richard Chandler in Cosmopolis N° 37, April 2003)

But then the original manuscripts were partially recovered on the back of other manuscripts. Eventually an agreement was reached and the three books were published as a special EQ-annex. The three Queen novels: The Four Johns, A Room to die In and The Madman Theory are available in their original titles: Strange She hasn't Written and Death of a Solitary Chess Player (1962) and the Man who Walks Behind (1964?).

Pseudonyms: Peter Held, John Holbrook, Ellery Queen, John van See, Jack Vance and Alan Wade. John Holbrook Vance was reserved for the detectives. Jack Van See for "First Star I see tonight". The strategy of having more than one name was intended to diversify and sell more but it never really worked. In the end he wasn't able to deliver and the idea impracticable.

* The Four Johns - A Room to die In - The Madman Theory.



Paul W. Fairman (b.1916 - d. 1977) Paul Warren Fairman wrote among others I, The Machine and The Golden Ape the latter with Milton Lesser. He was an editor and writer in a variety of genres under his own name and under pseudonyms. In 1952, he was the founding editor of If, but only edited four issues. In 1955, he became the editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic. He held that dual position until 1958. After leaving Ziff-Davis for a short while he was managing editor at EQMM. His science fiction short stories "Deadly City" and "The Cosmic Frame" were made into motion pictures. He wrote the "Man from S.T.U.D." series of espionage spoofs under the pseudonym of F W Paul.
Pseudonyms: Adam Chase, Ivar Jorgensen, Robert Eggert Lee, Paul Lohrman, F.W. Paul, Gerald Vance, Lester del Rey, Clee Garson, E.K. Jarvis, Mallory Storm.

* A Study in Terror


William Roos, (b. March 25, 1911 - d. March 1,1987)
Wrote together with his wife Audrey Roos (1912-1982) as Kelley Roos their stories show events equally from the point of view of male and female characters. They wrote about a husband and wife team of amateur detectives who lived in Greenwich Village Jeff Troy and Haila Rodgers.

William Roos was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and brought up by his German-born grandparents. He attended Allegheny College but transferred to Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh to study drama. He began writing light, comic plays. Audrey Kelley was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, but moved to Pennsylvania in her teens. She met William Roos at Carnegie Tech. They were married in November 1936 and moved to New York City. The idea to write mysteries came from Audrey after the birth of her daughter Carol. Their first book, Made Up To Kill, was published in 1940 by Dodd, Mead to favorable reviews and went on to a paperback edition.
William continued to write plays. His second play, January Thaw, became a high school staple. He and Audrey collaborated on a mystery play, Speaking of Murder, which ran for a month in New York but did better in London.
The Rooses moved to Connecticut in 1948 and to Martha's Vineyard in the 1960s.

Also known as: William Rand, Clarissa Ross, Dana Ross, Marilyn Ross. Major genre: Crime and/or Mystery

* The Four of Hearts Mystery


Theodore Sturgeon (b. Staten Island, N.Y., Feb. 26, 1918, d. Eugene, Oregon, May 8, 1985) His name at birth was Edward Hamilton Waldo. His parents divorced in 1927 and his mother Christine later remarried, to William Sturgeon, in 1929. Around this time Edward legally changed his name to Theodore Sturgeon (1918 - 1985)Theodore Hamilton Sturgeon, because he liked the nickname "Ted". He worked on TV scripts, gave lectures, taught a class, wrote book reviews and did introductions to other people's books. Of the 23 books he's written in the course of his career, only three are still in print in the United States. He used the conventions of science fiction to explore serious themes. Much of his fiction is marked by ironic, surprise endings. Sturgeon's best-known work is a novel (actually three interconnected stories) called More than Human, which won the 1954 International Fantasy Award, is the story of seven human misfits who achieve sufficiency and community through extrasensory perception. Sturgeon died on May 8, 1985, of pneumonia, in Eugene, Oregon.
Pseudonyms: Frederick R. Ewing, Ellery Queen, E. Waldo Hunter, Billy Watson.
Major genre: Science Fiction and/or Fantasy.

* The Player on the Other Side - The House of Brass



Gil Brewer (b. Nov 20, 1922- d. 9 Jan 1983) His full name was Gilbert John Brewer born in Canandaigua, New York. He was the son of Gilbert T. Brewer, a New Jersey-born pulp writer, and his wife, Ruth. Gilbert T. wrote primarily for air war pulps. The birth of a younger sister to Gilbert in 1927 was, perhaps, the inspiration, and two more siblings followed (another sister and a brother). They had a fairly impoverished upbringing, their father addicted to drink and was later committed to a VA hospital after a mental breakdown.
Being a Queen ghost apparently didn’t come easy to him. “I had a letter from Gil,” said his friend Talmage Powell, “asking how I had gotten through four EQ books. Gil said he’d just completed an umpteenth revised outline of 80 pages.”
Soldier, warehouse worker, gas station worker, cannery worker, book seller, resided and died in Florida
Other pseudonyms: Eric Fitzgerald, Bailey Morgan (Al Mundy series 1951-70).

* The Campus Murders


Edward D.Hoch (b. 22 Feb 1930 - d. 17 Jan 2008), Longtime mystery writer and editor Edward Dentinger Hoch is practically an institution in the field.  He has published over eight hundred mystery stories In December, 1962 the author made his first appearance in EQMM with "Death in the Harbor", #229. He made several entries since then but in May 1973 "The Theft of the Circus Poster", was published issue #354, since then a continuous series of 335 original stories were published in the uninterrupted sequence so far up to May, 1998. His TV writing credits include episodes of MacMillan and Wife, Night Gallery, The Alfred Hitchcock Show, and Tales of the Unexpected. Mr. Hoch has served as president of the Mystery Writers of America. and made his home in Rochester, New York. He has also written mysteries under the pseudonyms Irwin Booth, Anthony Circus, Stephen Dentinger, Pat McMahon, R.E. Porter, Ellery Queen, R.L. Stevens and Mr. X. He was given the Grand Master award in 2001.

When asked about his own models he answered the following in a 1996 interview: "...Certainly I was influenced a great deal by Ellery Queen. The first adult book I ever read was Queen's The Chinese Orange Mystery."

When he expressed interest to ghostwrite an EQ novel he was approached by an agent
"My agreement was not with Dannay/Lee but with Scott Meredith, their literary agent at the time. I was not to reveal that I had written it, but after a few years that information started appearing to print, in fan publications and in Hubin's Crime Fiction, so I felt I was no longer under any obligation to remain silent. Fred never objected to the authors' identities being made known." *

                                          * our full interview with Edward D.Hoch  

* The Blue Movie Murders


James Holding (James Clark Carlisle, Jr.)
(b. Ben Avon, Pennsylvania  Apr 27, 1907 - d. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mar 29 1997) wrote for Alfred Hitchcock's, EQMM and Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazines, under the name Ellery Queen and Clark Carlisle (his real name) Wrote several other juveniles. In  the 60s he took over as Ellery Queen, Jr. supposedly writing The Mystery of the Merry Magician (1961),  The Mystery of the Vanished Victim (1962) and The Purple Bird Mystery (1966). But as author of these 3 juveniles aroused the ire of Lee by farming out the writing of at least one James Holding (1907-1997) - Photo courtesy Laurie Holdingbook to a "sub-ghost". Which has made establishing authorship even worse. The son of Joseph Lawrence Greene (1914-1990) stated that his father, who also wrote the Dig Allen series (1959-1962) for Golden Press, wrote one of the Golden Press books (1961-1962) We did find a copyright entry for The Mystery of the Merry Magician by Joseph Greene and one for The Mystery of the Vanishing Victim by Paul Newman.  The copyright entry for The Purple Bird Mystery  mentions "David Hodges & others" (aside from Lee and Dannay). However David Hodges was responsible for the drawings in this book.  Most likely this last book in the series is the only writing Holding contributed to the Junior series aside from the manuscript for The Silver Llama Mystery, which, although Dannay revised it, was never published.

For EQMM he wrote a series of pastiches which were estimable mysteries in their own right.  In these series King Danforth and Martin Leroy creators of the detective "Leroy King" solve crimes on their own during a round-the-world-tour. The titles of these stories evocated the early Queen-work.  The cases on the high seas are masterpieces of deductions and logic, following the smallest clues to their logical deductions. Presumably the stories met with the approval of Dannay as the works appeared first in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

  "The Norwegian Apple Mystery", #204, November, 1960
  "The African Fish Mystery",  April 1961
  "The Italian Tile Mystery", September, 1961
  "The Hong Kong Jewel Mystery", #240, November, 1963.
  "The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery", #241, December, 1963.
  "The Tahitian Powder Box Mystery", #251, October, 1964.
  "The Japanese Card Mystery", #263, October, 1965.
  "The New Zealand Bird Mystery", January, 1967
  "The Philippine Key Mystery", #291, February, 1968.
  "The Borneo Snapshot Mystery", #338, January, 1972.

In 2018 Crippen & Landru provided a collection which included all ten stories in the series along with a brief biography of Holding and the most comprehensive bibliography of Holding’s short story works. In 2018 Crippen & Landru provided a collection The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery and other stories which included all ten stories in the series along with a brief biography of Holding and the most comprehensive bibliography of Holding’s short story works. Buy from Crippen and Landru

Holding would continue to write short stories, ultimately publishing over 100 stories in the mystery field. In addition to Leroy King, he wrote about series characters Manuel Andrada, also known as The Photographer, a hired killer and Hal Johnson, the Library Detective.

First book:  The Lazy Little Zulu. New York, Morrow, 1962, and Kingswood, World's Work, 1963. - Mr. Moonlight and Omar - 1963 (Morrow) - Cato the Kiwi Bird - 1963 (Putnam) - The Mystery of the False Fingertips - 1964 (Harper) - Sherlock on the Trail - 1964 (Morrow) - Three Wishes of Hu - 1965 (Putnam) - Poko and the Golden Demon - 1968 (Abelard) - The Mystery of Dolphin Inlet - 1968 (MacMillan) - Robber of Featherbed Lane - 1970 (Putnam)- A Bottle of Pop - 1970 (Putnam)

The Zanzibar Shirt and others Stories. Since time began, authors have been told to write what they know. James Holding (1907-1997) took that advice to heart. After his retirement from advertising, Holding began writing full-time. One of his early ghostwriting gigs was continuing the Ellery Queen Jr novels, which had first appeared in the 1940s. Fred Dannay and Manfred Lee, hired Holding to jumpstart the series after a lengthy hiatus.


 * The Purple Bird Mystery



Charles (West) Runyon (b. Sheridan, MO Jun 9, 1928 - d. Cedar Park, TX Jun 8, 2015) Author of several detective and sci-fi-stories. Wrote for magazines such as Manhunt magazine. Power Kill (1972) was nominated for an Edgar in the category of Best Original Paperback There is also the so-story I, Weapon (1974) where in a post-apocalyptic era  "herd men" were herded by humans who had taboos against sex with them, etc., etc. He gave the following answer in a 2007 interview in that very same year to the question "Which of your novels would you most like to see reprinted and why?"  - "There are at least three that might go down well with today's readers. 'The Last Score' was rushed to completion as a work-for-hire, for Manfred Lee and Fred Dannay, and published under their byline of Ellery Queen. I still have a paternal affection for the book, and would like to see it reprinted under its 'rightful' parentage." 

Charles lived in Lampasas, TX, and taught English Composition. (Feb 2013).

* The Last Score - The Killer Touch - Kiss and Kill.



Don(ald Fiske) Tracy  (b. New Britain, Connecticut Aug 20,1905 - d. Clearwater Florida, March 10, 1976).  He worked as a reporter for local newspapers in New Brittain from 1926-1928, then as editor of Radio News in New York from 1928-1934. In 1934, his first novel, All Sold!, and his second novel, Flash, were published. After World War II, he also taught summer courses at Syracuse University from 1955-1960, and become fairly well known for his historical novels, without abandoning the crime novel. Toward the end of his life, he met the president of the New Life Foundation, an anti-alcohol league. Under the pseudonym "Roger Fuller", he wrote novelizations of the films The Sign Of The Pagan (1954) and the television series The Defenders (1964, 1965), The Fugitive and Peyton Place. He died in Florida after a battle with cancer in 1976.

Other pseudonyms: Barnaby Ross, Roger Fuller

* Quintin Chivas - The Scrolls of Lysis - The Duke of Chaos -
Strange Kinship - The Cree from the Minataree - The Passionate Queen




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