Mystery May 1933

The May, 1933 (Volume 7, #5)  issue of Mystery  saw Ellery Queen’s second published short story, “The Affair of the Gallant Bachelor,” later renamed “The Adventure of the Teakwood Case.” Mystery had been called Illustrated Detective Magazine from 1929 -1932, and it lasted under its new name until September, 1935.  Earlier in the year, Mystery had published a two-part serialization based on the screenplay for a new movie, King Kong.

Anyway.  After the first two short story experiments, one with Ellery teaching a class, another with no death, the Teakwood Case reads more like a miniature novel.  Not a novella, but a basic premise of a murder with Ellery Queen entering the scene and solving the case which has dumbfounded the professional police, where he meets a full set of interesting characters running around and encounters a few missteps before the mystery is solved.  Basic, regular Ellery Queen stuff, but the story is missing about two hundred pages of plot and character development.  This is the Readers Digest version, the City of Kandor edition, , the “we-need-to-expand-this-storyline” prototype, the salesman’s pitch, the bare outline of a novel.

On the other hand, perhaps the plot could only have been pulled like taffy, getting thinner and weaker and more transparent as it went, depriving the characters any oxygen as it went.

A closed (but not locked) room mystery with barely any room for the characters to breathe, the story is short, detailed, confusing: the third time certainly was not the charm in this case.  The cousins future, fourth story, third to be published, would see a nine month gestation period, and their next baby story would be delivered in their own magazine.  Not, however, the magazine you nay be thinking of.

In the meantime, they had four novels to write and publish by years end.

2 thoughts on “The Adventure of the Teakwood Case (1933)

  1. Pingback: Drury Lane #4: Drury Lane’s Last Case by Ellery Queen (Pocket, 1949) | Vintage (and not so vintage) Paperbacks

  2. As I recall, this one also pulls off the trick of saving the murderer’s name until the last 2 words of the story, like “French Powder Mystery” — or maybe it’s the last sentence.

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