From the Booking Desk:

Today is the first of two cover reveals this week from the always prolific Josh Pachter. Josh has long had a love of crime fiction’s past, and today’s reveal with connections to the legendary Ellery Queen is very exciting. Crippen & Landru, with their connection to the history of crime fiction, will be publishing the book. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the cover.

Here’s a little more about the book:

Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee — the cousins who wrote together as “Ellery Queen” — published five short stories about a group they called “the Puzzle Club” back in the ’60s and ’70s. They were published in several different magazines and have never before been reprinted all together. Meanwhile, between 2019 and this year Josh Pachter wrote five Puzzle Club pastiches for EQMM — and they have also never before been collected.

The Adventures of the Puzzle Club brings together all ten Puzzle Club stories — the original five by Ellery Queen and my five pastiches — in a single volume, with each story introduced by a noted authority on Ellery Queen: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine editor Janet Hutchings, Fred Dannay’s son Richard Dannay, novelist and historian of the Golden Age mystery Martin Edwards, Ellery Queen biographer Francis M. Nevins, webmaster of the Internet’s most comprehensive Ellery Queen website Kurt Sercu, and others.

Gail Azdid designed the cover.

Here are some interesting tidbits Josh shared about the cover design:

• The man in the shadows to the right of the fireplace is Dr. Arkavy, the Russian biochemist. Why is he in the shadows? Simple: in the original five Puzzle Club stories by Ellery Queen, he was referred to as a member of the club but never actually appeared in the stories, since he was always off on a lecture tour. I made him a character in my pastiches, though, since mine are set decades after the originals and he would surely by now have retired. So we included him in the picture, but put him in shadow.

• There’s a reason the Q in QUEEN has two tails. When Fred Dannay and Manny Lee signed autographs, they signed their real names (although those actually weren’t the names they were born with, but that’s another story!) and then “Ellery Queen” in quotes and with the double-tail … to indicate that there were two of them working together as EQ. The double downstroke also appeared on the cover of the August, September, and October 1959 issues of EQMM, on every issue from June ’61 through September ’62 (except for July ’61 and March ’62), and again from April ’78 to March ’81 (except March ’79 and ’80 and February ’81).

And here are some words of praise for the collection from names you are sure to recognize:

“What could be more fun than matching wits with amateur sleuth Ellery Queen? How about watching Josh Pachter match wits with the writer Ellery Queen? Pachter’s new Puzzle Club tales and E.Q. Griffen mysteries echo and (could it be?) even one-up the originals with style and cleverness. Part pastiche, part homage, and wholly satisfying.” (Art Taylor, multiple award winning author)

“If Ellery Queen was the American master of the puzzle mystery, then Josh Pachter is his successor. This wonderful collection of EQ’s original Puzzle Club stories and Pachter’s pastiches provides everything the mystery lover could want—entertainment, challenge, and brilliant resolutions. Read and be happily confounded!” (David Dean, EQMM Readers Award winner and Edgar finalist) 

“Some mystery readers like good stories and others simply want good puzzles. The Adventures of the Puzzle Club features both. Here you will find the five original “Puzzle Club” stories by Ellery Queen and five pastiches by frequent EQMM contributor Josh Pachter, plus all four of Josh’s E.Q. Griffen mysteries—altogether a delightful collection of unique characters and mind-challenging adventures for all ages. I loved this book!” (John Floyd, prolific author of short crime fiction)

“No fan of Ellery Queen should skip this ingenious and entertaining collection of EQ’s original Puzzle Club puzzles and Josh Pachter’s delightful pastiches.” (Gigi Pandian, Agatha and Anthony Award-winning author of Under Lock & Skeleton Key)

“Josh Pachter honors the legacy of Ellery Queen in five clever new stories featuring Queen’s Puzzle Club, presented here with the original five, never-before-collected stories. An additional four stories featuring Ellery Queen Griffen and his siblings—including Pachter’s first published story—are equally remarkable. If you’re a fan of Ellery Queen—and who isn’t?—you must add The Adventures of the Puzzle Club to your collection.” (Michael Bracken, award-winning author and editor)

“Every story is a tight, short gem of fair play—think “Encyclopedia Brown” for grownups. Nearly as much fun as the stories themselves, each is prefaced by a unique introduction by various Queen-related scholars…. I admit to some bias, but I’ve rarely had so much brain-teasing fun.” (Steve Steinbock, book reviewer for EQMM)

Finally, now that your interest is well and piqued, journey over to Crippen & Landru where you can pre-order this exciting new book:

The Adventures of the Puzzle Club and Other Stories at Crippen & Landru