Ellery Queen

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/wiki/Ellery Queencreator
Frederick Dannay and James Yaffe, two of the authors who used the "Ellery Queen" pen name, in 1943.

"Ellery Queen" was a pen name used by a number of Golden age mystery writers (primarily Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee), and the name of the eponymous character of many of their stories.

Ellery Queen provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Asshole Victim: Particularly in the television adaptation, the victims often were involved in underhanded dealings, had some sinister secret or were revealed to treat others by anything other than the Golden Rule.
  • Autopsy Snack Time: Doc Proutie has been known to do this.
  • The Boxing Episode: "Mind Over Matter" and "A Matter of Seconds".
  • Canon Immigrant: Ellery's secreatary Nikki Porter was originally created for the radio show, but went on to appear in two of the novels and several short stories.
  • Character Name Alias: In The Origin of Evil, there is a character who calls himself Alfred Wallace. Recognising the connotations of the name (Wallace was a naturalist and contemporary of Darwin who independently proposed a theory of natural selection) is what starts Ellery down the path to the solution of the mystery.
  • Cigar Chomper: Sgt. Veelie
  • Connect the Deaths: Averted in Cat of Many Tails; while the deaths are plotted on the map, the pattern is irrelevant.
  • Corruption of a Minor: The Tragedy of Y
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: In The Scarlet Letters, a dying man uses his own blood to write XY on a wall in an extremely cryptic Dying Clue.
  • Dead Man's Chest: What appears to have happened to the victim in "The Three Rs" in Calendar of Crime.
  • Direct Line to the Author
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: At one point in The Tragedy of Y, the York family doctor lets amateur detective Drury Lane read the family medical history, specifically all the parts that talk about the positive Wasserman tests. The book never uses the word "syphilis". Not even when Lane gets access to those medical files by proving to the doctor that he already knew the York children had been born with the disease.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Murder, She Wrote
  • Driven to Suicide: Howard van Horn in Ten Days' Wonder.
  • Dying Message: Many, many variations.
  • Fair Play Whodunnit
  • Faked Kidnapping
  • Finger-Licking Poison: The Three Widows had a victim being slowly poisoned even though everything she ate and drank was carefully screened beforehand. It turned out the would-be killer was her doctor and the poison was on the thermometer with which he took her temperature each day.
  • Friend on the Force: Ellery's father, Inspector Richard Queen.
  • Horrible Hollywood: The 70s TV episode "The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario" had the Queens, father and son, witness this for themselves when they go on the set of an adaptation of one of Ellery's books. This being an Ellery Queen mystery, this trope's horrible aspects culminate in murder.
  • Iconic Item: Ellery's got pince-nez glasses in the early books. In the TV series he's always wearing or carrying a Bear Bryant fedora.
  • Informed Flaw: Drury Lane's deafness.
  • Inspector Lestrade: Simon Brimmer in the TV series.
  • In Which a Trope Is Described: The Roman Hat Mystery
  • Jury Duty: The radio show had an episode where Ellery and his secretary Nikki both ended up on the same jury, and Ellery ended up solving the case and revealing the true killer who was also in the courtroom.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Glass Village
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Ellery does this with the murderer at the end of Ten Days' Wonder.
  • Let Off by the Detective: The Finishing Stroke
  • Locked Room Mystery: Several including The King is Dead.
    • The Chinese Orange Mystery is a locked room mystery with exceedingly weird clues, including the fact that the murder victim is found with his clothes on backwards.
  • Mystery Writer Detective
  • Never Suicide: In The Greek Coffin Mystery, the second solution involves a "suicide" not meant to convince the reader.
  • No Fourth Wall: In the radio and TV series; after having his Eureka Moment, Ellery would turn to the audience, outline all the evidence, and ask them if they'd figured out the culprit, after which there would be a cut to a commercial.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: In an episode of the TV series, a movie is being filmed based on Ellery and the man playing Ellery is killed by a gun that was supposed to be filled with blanks.
  • Phantom Thief: Comus in "The Dauphin's Doll" in Calendar of Crime.
  • Ponzi: Used in one of the short stories in the collection QBI - Queen's Bureau of Investigation.
  • Serial Killer: Cat of Many Tails
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target
  • Significant Anagram:
    • The Fourth Side of the Triangle/Too Many Suspects: The victim named her clothing lines after her boyfriends.
    • Ten Days' Wonder: Salmonia (Mona Lisa) and H. H. Waye (Yahweh)
    • The Blue Movie Murders: The director used an anagram of his real name.
  • Spinning Paper: Used in the TV series.
  • The Summation: A staple of both the novels and the TV series.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: There Was An Old Woman
  • Theme Serial Killer:
    • In Ten Day's Wonder, the theme was the Ten Commandments.
    • Double, Double used the children's rhyme Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggarman, Thief.
  • Tontine: Last Man To Die.
    • And "The Inner Circle" in Calendar of Crime.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: In Ten Days' Wonder, Howard Van Horn suffers blackouts. He will wake up days or weeks later with no idea where he is or what he has done in the meantime.