I love a good mystery, as do many of us and after finding the Ellery television series alive and well on Hulu I decided to re-read a few of the earlyI love a good mystery, as do many of us and after finding the Ellery television series alive and well on Hulu I decided to re-read a few of the early books. While not the first book in the Ellery Queen series The Greek Coffin Mystery does purport to be his earliest case.
Written by two authors, Frederic Dannay & Manfred Bennington Lee, who had taken the pen-name of Ellery Queen one should understand is unlike Nero Wolfe or Philip Marlowe there's not a whole lot more to the books beyond the mysteries.
Ellery, an amateur detective and writer of mysteries, is your prototypical Holmesian weirdo and, along with his father - a police inspector in New York City, is also the star of the series as the books go about re-telling his supposed exploits.
Like many other series from the past the Queen books are fraught with, by today's standards are obvious issues. Issues ranging from wooden characters, racism and sexism to needlessly over-the-top language, terms and description. Yet, also, like other past contributors to the "Golden Age" detective genre, Conan Doyle and Christie, we tend to (or at least try to) overlook those flaws in light of the well crafted mysteries they provide us.
In this case the clue path begins in the early 1930s with the death of a wealthy art collector, and gallery owner, in his mid-town Manhattan mansion from an apparently heart attack. After the burial his new will, a will known to have been changed the just days before the man's death, is discovered to be missing.
The District Attorney's office is called in and on their heels, a young Ellery Queen follows at his father's side. There with them are the usual Queen supporting cast of Djuna and Sgt. Velie.
As the mystery of the missing will persists Ellery steps in with a few clever ideas in order to eliminating every possibility which leads the investigation to the recently buried coffin but upon exhumation we find our dead man has company in his casket?!
Of course being an early Ellery Queen book it still has the Challenge to the Reader. A unique aspect to the Queen novels and which has done almost as much to drawn many of the series fans as the mysteries themselves. Those unfamiliar with that phrase are probably not so unfamiliar with the concept. After-all, for some readers of the crime genre, part of the fun in a whodunit is trying to beat the protagonist detective to the answers.
However in the Queen series does things slightly more formally, intellectually challenging to all the readers to match wits with Ellery himself. The readers are not only meant merely to sit back and marvel at how it all turns out but to puzzle out the answers themselves as they obtain ALL the same clues in the same way as the fictional detective until finally greeted by a page, shortly before the revival, saying something like:
"Dear Reader, you are now in possession of all the clues and should be able to solve the mystery. Do you know who did it, 'cause I do..."
The book's Brechtian step out from the average format of mysterious, strong clue path and funky, if one dimensional, protagonist in both written and television form has long made me an Ellery Queen fan.
Having grown up with a parent who loved mysteries I had luck to have been exposed to many forms at a young age including a Monday Mysteries block from a local cable station with classic television series. There I found many defunct series like Banacek, Mrs Colombo, The Snoop Sisters and of course Ellery Queen.
When I first caught Jim Hutton, whose son Timothy Hutton would one day grace the small screen as Nero Wolfe, portraying Ellery in the 1975 television series, which to it's credit even implored the 4th wall breaking Challenge to the Reader, my young mind was blown.
It wouldn't be until my own interest in media started to grow that I would realize just how lucky I was to have found this odd little series produced by the Edgar Award winning writing team of Richard Levinson and William Link (Columbo, Mannix, Scene of the Crime & Murder, She Wrote) with contributions from writers like Robert Van Scoyk, Peter S. Fischer, Booker Bradshaw and Marc B. Ray.
After re-watching some of it recently I must admit some of it's aspects would be hard for a modern audience to get into I would recommend the first 15 or so books for anyone who's traveled with the likes of Poirot and Sir John Appleby and would like to puzzle through more excellent whodunits....more
You don't have to be a Superman fan to enjoy this book, gosh knows I'm not.
The creative teams who contributed to this book was the only reason I pickYou don't have to be a Superman fan to enjoy this book, gosh knows I'm not.
The creative teams who contributed to this book was the only reason I picked it up. What I found were a bunch of short stories about Superman and his Universe.
While none of these Superman tales would win an Eisner I can say they were a good bit of entertainment... something the DC Universe of stories has been missing since 2011, when they introduced their more 'heard-edge' universe.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes a dash of whimsy in their comics from time-to-time....more
The Episode of Assignment: Earth was meant to be a pilot for a spin-off series but it didn't get picked up... until now!
Almost any fan of the seriesThe Episode of Assignment: Earth was meant to be a pilot for a spin-off series but it didn't get picked up... until now!
Almost any fan of the series from way back would remember this episode as being kind of odd even for the 1960's. It featured Garry 7 (played by Robert Lansing) a human who had been raised on an alien world and sent to the Earth as an agent of positive change.
Along with his Earth-born human assistant, Roberta (played by Teri Garr), his "cat" Isis, the Beta 5 computer and his multi-function Servo (Ummm, sonic-screwdriver?!). Well now those lost adventures are finally being chronicled by comic book legend and Trek fanatic John Byrne.
While it wasn't terrible it wasn't all that great either, so even with a bonus for nostalgia: 1.5 ★
I wouldn't recommend it, but it's a good try and not the worst of the Trek-World adventures out there so... really, just don't spend money on it....more
I can't say I've read all the Star Wars novels or that of those that I've read all were good. I can say, however, that this was the worst of the SW boI can't say I've read all the Star Wars novels or that of those that I've read all were good. I can say, however, that this was the worst of the SW books I have read.
The story was uninteresting, the writing pedestrian, the new characters were not only wooden and uninspired but could barely served the needs of story. (view spoiler)[Which was fine, I guess, because thankfully they were all killed off anyway. Though that seemed odd for the only book meant to be cannon?!? (hide spoiler)]
In my opinion The Crystal Star was better, which is to say this book was more than awful, it was PAINFUL! If I could give no stars as a rating, or better yet negative stars, I would have because this books is that bad and useless.
That's the worst part, in fact, because when you read one of these Expanded Universe novels what you really want is to take something away from the experience. Something that gives you insight into characters or the texture of SW Universe... Maybe even try to recapture a little of what made you enjoy SW to begin with. None of that is present in this story.
I recommend this book to anyone whose streak of S&M is tinged with mind-numbingly bad writing. Seriously, avoid this foray into the SWU at all costs!
I picked this up at the Library after a re-watch of Deep Space Nine made me wistful for that corner of the Star Trek Universe. I was pleasantly delighI picked this up at the Library after a re-watch of Deep Space Nine made me wistful for that corner of the Star Trek Universe. I was pleasantly delighted by it and I'd recommend it to any fan of DS9 as a fun read!...more
Surprisingly this was a really goodread, though I think some of it might have lost a little in translation.
I didn't know anything about this book untiSurprisingly this was a really goodread, though I think some of it might have lost a little in translation.
I didn't know anything about this book until I meet a pretty girl at a bar, true story, and we started talking comics (I but you're envious). We started talking favorite recent comics and this was her's.
It's got a lot of social commentary, really vibrant art and a larger story/mystery waiting to be solved.
I'd recommend it to any SF comic fan looking for something a little different. While it's no Valérian and Laureline but it is a good start... ...more
I read this book in about 5 min and thought, "well Ellis wrote a nice screen play for a SF Ch movie or something."
But it's a poor excuse for a comicI read this book in about 5 min and thought, "well Ellis wrote a nice screen play for a SF Ch movie or something."
But it's a poor excuse for a comic book that cost like 3 bucks an issue. Which is sadder still since I had been kind of a Warren Ellis fan until this book made me realize how much of a HIGH CONCEPT / low content guy he really is.
Basically one of the worst things I've ever read... I wish I could give it zero stars =P...more