God and the Great Detective

Ellery Queen’s Struggle with the Divine, 1945–1965


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About the Book

The problem of human evil is never far beneath the surface of mystery fiction. This was particularly true in the wake of the horrific events of World War II. One figure who set out to investigate this crisis was Ellery Queen. This book provides a much-needed intervention in the study of detective fiction by giving sustained attention to Ellery Queen as well as suggesting possible directions for broader discussions of the genre. After the war, Queen mounted an inquiry into the state of masculinity and of the world in the wake of unimaginable horrors represented by the death camps and the atomic bomb. During his investigation, Ellery rummaged through the ruins of culture, invoking and evoking figures such as Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, and (naturally) Edgar Allan Poe. Ultimately, this quest brought him up against an unexpected foe: God himself. This book examines the ways Queen pushes against the boundaries of what was (and, in some circles, still is) considered possible or desirable in the genre.

About the Author(s)

Nathanael T. Booth is an associate professor in the School of Foreign Languages at Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Bibliographic Details

Nathanael T. Booth
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 196
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8872-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5125-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 4
One—The Passion of Ellery Queen 25
Two—Love and Death and the American Detective 61
Three—Ellery Queen and Masculine Violence 102
Four—The Evil God Within 130
Epilogue 165
Chapter Notes 169
Bibliography 179
Index 185