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    Ellery Queen

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    (Manfred Lee, Frederic Dennay)
    1905 – 1971, 1905 – 1982

    Years ago, in the Peter Falk profile, we complained that no famous fictional detectives, from Holmes to Columbo, were Jewish. Well, Ellery Queen was a famous fictional detective, and Ellery Queen was Jewish. We just can't say they were the same Ellery Queen... although technically, they were the same Ellery Queen? Don't get confused!

    (Before anyone complains, yes, there is at least one, obviously Jewish fictional detective: Meyer Landsman in Michael Chabon's wonderful "The Yiddish Policemen's Union". But he appears in a one-off novel, and we wouldn't exactly call him famous. Moving on.)

    Ellery Queen was a very popular American detective series, published between 1929 and 1971. There were more than 30 novels, numerous short stories, and a bunch of movies. The fictional Ellery Queen was definitely not a Jew, with an Irish father and a goyishe mother. He was also the supposed author of these books, a Watson to his own Holmes, if we may. So, Ellery Queen books were written by Ellery Queen. Confusing already?

    Of course, there was no Ellery Queen in real life, and the books were written by "Ellery Queen": two Jewish cousins, Frederic Dennay and Manfred Lee... or, to use their real names, Daniel Nathan and Emanuel Lepofsky. So while Ellery Queen, the real life author, was a Jewish duo, there is no way we could count Ellery Queen as a famous Jewish fictional detective.

    Still confused?

    Verdict: Jew.

    August 7, 2023

    See Also

    Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg

    Michael Chabon

    Harlan Coben

    Peter Falk

    Sherlock Holmes
    © Jew or Not Jew, 2006-2024.