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Random Thoughts

It’s a mystery, part 2


January 14, 2022

As we noted last week, Daniel Nathan and Emanuel Lepofsky created the fictional character named Ellery Queen, an amateur detective and mystery writer, in 1929.

In 1941, Nathan had the idea of creating a regular periodical containing mystery short stories and (without much assistance from his partner Lepofsky) created “Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine” (EQMM).

The journal, in its early years, published varying numbers of issues annually. It began with four, then six, and in 1946 began appearing monthly. Today, it is back to six editions per year (and it no longer has the apostrophe-s attached to Queen’s name).

In 1956 the company that produced the Queen magazine created another similar journal named for British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. That periodical, too, exists today with six annual issues.

It was the Ellery Queen journal, however, that attracted more attention from serious fiction writers. From the beginning, editor Nathan insisted that only quality work would be published, essentially elevating “pulp fiction” to a higher level.

Among the authors publishing in EQMM were Nobel Prize winners William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Rudyard Kipling.

Faulkner famously submitted a story (“An Error in Chemistry”) to the journal which was conducting a contest with extra money awarded to the winners; Faulkner’s story won only second place and he was not happy! Still, he published other stories in the journal in later years.

In the more recent past, popular authors like Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, and Alice Walker have published stories in EQMM. Obviously, the journal has helped to make stories about solving crimes an important sub-genre of fiction.

Despite all of the famous writers whose works have graced the pages of EQMM, special mention must be made of an outstanding creative individual whose name may not be familiar to many readers.

Edward D. Hoch (who lived from 1930 to 2008) published over 900 detective stories in his lifetime. In the 34 years from 1973 until 2007 he published at least one short story (and sometimes more) in every single issue of the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine!


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