Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

Largely the brainchild of Fred Dannay, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine not only gave Ellery an outlet for their short stories which was self-owned but also it gave other authors the opportunity to showcase their works. They considered the so-called pulps unsuitable for their purpose because often the stories were poorly written or "trashy." And so, EQMM started as an experiment:

"As writers, readers, and collectors of detective-crime stories, we have for many years shouted the need for -- and deplored the lack of -- a quality publication devoted exclusively to the printing of the best detective-crime short-story literature... And so, Ellery Queen is editing and Lawrence E. Spivak is publishing this volume, which is planned as the first of a periodic anthology of detective-crime short stories, in which the sole editorial criterion will be quality."*

The periodical began as a quarterly in Fall, 1941. By May of the following year, the reaction had proved so overwhelmingly accepting that the publication was accelerated to bimonthly. Four years later, the magazine was coming out every month, leading to competition from The Saint's magazine and from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The first Ellery Queen story to be featured in EQMM was a reprint. After that, there appeared several scripts from the EQ radio show. But Ellery would also premiere new stories in the magazine as well (as a scan of the "short story" page reveals). EQMM offered rewards for good stories, and especially for good "First Stories" -- a regular staple of the magazine which Fred Dannay edited until his death.

Early covers featured art by George Salter. As the magazine progressed, photographs were used, including pictures of pinup girl Bettie Page (1/53, and this one from 9/53):

For a time, subscription copies of the magazine had plain-looking covers, while newsstand copies were more exciting. Move your mouse over the picture below to see the difference (1/57):

The magazine, its publisher, and of course its editor have won several awards. EQMM remains the top mystery periodical in the field. Not bad for an "experiment". Many authors have filled its pages over the years, including Agatha Christie, Cornell Woolrich, Edward D. Hoch, and of course, Ellery Queen. In fact, EQMM has been translated into more languages than any similar magazine -- and almost more than any other American magazine of any kind.

Lawrence E. Spivak published the magazine until 1954. For just over a year (1954-55), Joseph W. Ferman took over the helm with Mercury Publications. Davis Publications (B.G. Davis) continued until c. 1959. After this time, the publishing credits continued to change. Currently, Dell Publications publishes Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The magazine has seen only three "chief" editors (although there have been other "Managing Editors"): Ellery Queen; Eleanor Sullivan; and Janet Hutchings.

Contents of the Magazines

Issues 01 - 13 (1941-1943)
Issues 14 - 25 (1944-1945)
Issues 26 - 37 (1946)
Issues 38 - 49 (1947)
Issues 50 - 61 (1948)
Issues 62 - 73 (1949)
Issues 74 - 85 (1950)
Issues 86 - 97 (1951)

Ellery Queen

*The quotation is from the editorial introduction to EQMM #1.

© 2007 Frank Daniels