McCall "Troubleshooter" Stories

by Ellery Queen

Several short stories served as a prelude for the Troubleshooter series. These stories ("Object Lesson," "No Parking," "No Place to Live," and "Miracles Do Happen") had recently been reprinted in the hardback volume of Q.E.D. and appear to serve as a springboard for more "socially relevant" stories. Why Gil Brewer, author of the Al Mundy series of novels, was chosen to author the first book of the series, and why a different author appears on each volume, may never be known. It appears that the series was to be longer, but Manfred Lee's death in 1972 (shortly before the completion of The Blue Movie Murders) put an end to the series.

Mike McCall was a "Steve McGarrett" sort of figure, except that he had no police force to call on. McCall answered directly to the Governor's office and was the man that Governor Holland sent into a volatile situation; McCall's job was to clean it up.

The Campus Murders
Author: Gil Brewer
First (Paperback) Appearance: 1969; Lancer Books 74-527


The co-ed missing from Tisquanto State was the daughter of Governor Sam Holland's rival for re-election -- and best friend. But she was more than that. She was Laura Thornton, a human being -- somehow the pawn and victim of angry student upheavals not even the governor understood...
Who was behind the terror that had found a focus in Laura's disappearance? Who was inticing Tisquanto's protests and riots -- a madcap prankster, an earnest reformer ... or a conspiracy sworn to the college's destruction?
It was a case for Mike McCall, the governor's special assistant, a two-fisted troubleshooter who finds his crimes in the crises of modern America ... Mike McCall, who would find on Tisquanto's campus not only the raging hatreds of rebelling youth -- but murder....

The Black Hearts Murder
Author: Richard Deming
First (Paperback) Appearance: 1970; Magnum Books 74-640


He was the indicted, bail-jumping leader of Banbury's militant Black Hearts -- who had gone underground...but whose rage, still heard on tape, was edging the city towards interracial terror.
Harlan James called for violence -- for black protests, demonstrations, drastic political action against the city's white leaders.
But did he also call for -- or commit -- murder?
It was a top-priority job for Mike McCall, a new breed of crime-fighter, whose cases plunge him into the crises of modern America.... A prominent white official is shot to death and Mike must find the Killer -- or face open racial warfare!

The Blue Movie Murders
Author: Edward D. Hoch
First (Paperback) Appearance: 1972; Lancer Books 75-277


All Hollywood producer Ben Sloane had wanted was to find Sol Dahlman, the mysterious film genius who had made The Wild Nymph--and now Sloane was dead. "Go up to Rockview," the governor told Mike McCall, "and get me the killer!"
But it wasn't quite that easy. The Mann Photo Service, long rumored to be a center of the blue movie industry, was torn by a strike, and nobody was talking to strangers -- not Xavier Mann, not Mayor Jordan, not beautiful April Evans, who refused even to tell who she was or why she, too, was investigating the murder.
Then, just to make the job a little harder, Cynthia Rhodes and her fem lib Raiders hit town -- and a man named Carry Tanner decided McCall had lived too long...

Ellery Queen

All book liner notes are taken from the original paperback notes.