The Adventures of the Puzzle Club
by Ellery Queen and Josh Pachter
This is a "mic drop" moment for me, a book credited in big letters on the cover as having been written "by Ellery Queen and Josh Pachter."
As soon as Janet Hutchings and the Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee Family Trusts agreed to allow me to do five Puzzle Club pastiches for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (to match the five originals written by Fred and Manny in the 1960s and '70s), I started thinking about an eventual book that would include all ten stories. Richard Dannay was enthusiastic, and Jeff Marks of Crippen & Landru agreed to publish The Adventures of the Puzzle Club soon after my fifth pastiche made its appearance in EQMM.
I proposed having ten masters of what I call the EQ-niverse write introductions for the book, one per story, and everyone I asked -- EQ biographer Francis M. Nevins, crime-fiction historian Martin Edwards, EQ dramatist Joseph Goodrich, (Give Me That) Old-Time Detection editor Arthur Vidro, webmaster of the internet's #1 EQ site Kurt Sercu, parodist/critic Jon L. Breen, pasticheur and my co-editor for The Misadventures of Ellery Queen and The Further Misadventures of Ellery Queen Dale Andrews, plus Jeff, Richard, and Janet -- all agreed to contribute.
As things turned out, the ten stories plus introductions wound up only running about thirty thousand words, and that would have made a volume too thin to accommodate spine text. So, after considering several ways to make the book thicker, we finally agreed to include my four stories about E.Q. Griffen and his family, which -- like the original Puzzle Club stories and my pastiches -- had never before been collected in a single place.
For the cover, we went at my suggestion with Gail Azdid, who did such great work for my two collections of stories by my old friend Bill Brittain, The Man Who Read Mysteries and The Man Who Solved Mysteries. Once again, Gail did wonderful work, and I couldn't be more pleased with the art she produced. (Trivia note: I suggested the double tail on the Q. This is something that used to appear on the cover of EQMM, and Fred Dannay explained that it was meant to hint at the fact that "Ellery Queen" was actually two people.)
You can order the book directly from Crippen & Landru here.
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