ellerYqueen, or why not a yod will be left away

to  Danny and Manny

   Ellery Queen. They were two cousins, born Daniel Nathan and Manford Lepofsky in 1905. At their majority, they chose the names Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee.
  In 1929, they began to write crime stories using the alias Ellery Queen. These are the adventures of amateur detective Ellery Queen, who is too a detective stories writer.. The name of this detective appears in an only novel, Dave Dirk.

  Ellery Queen became a prestigious signature, but some problems arose between the two cousins. Dannay conceived detailed plots, then it was up to Lee to give them flesh. The more it went, the more Dannay wished to give his plots a metaphysical dimension, and Lee did not agree at all with that. He was so reluctant with the plot of Ten Days' Wonder that it took three years to publish the novel in 1948.

  I suspect Dannay to have afterwards concealed his intentions, so that Ellery Queen could publish a novel every year. Yet the problems remained, and The Finishing Stroke was announced as the last Ellery Queen in 1958.

  Lee found the signature Ellery Queen was still bankable, so he engaged ghostwriters to publish several crime stories that had nothing to do with the detective Ellery.
  Dannay then felt himself free to publish a new adventure of Ellery, with the help of Theodore Sturgeon instead of Lee.
  The Player on the Other Side (1963) is no less than a chess game between God and Evil on the chessboard of York Square, a property where live four cousins York in four houses at the corners of the Square, each house being surrounded by a tower. All the characters echo to chess pieces, and so do Ellery and his father (quuens).
  Three cousins are killed, after the reception of cards printed with one letter, J, H, W. This seems to accuse the handyman, John Henry Walt, but Ellery finds he's just a pawn, following blindly the written orders of someone signing Y.
  Another letter signed Y arrives, ordering Walt to send the last cousin a card printed with a H, then to kill him.

  The key comes in last chapter, Checkmate. Walt suffers from multiple personality disorder. He is too Yahweh, or JHWH, the vengeful God of the Old Testament, and another personality is Nathaniel York, the York legitimate heir, despoiled by the cousins.
  If Lee had difficulties with other Dannay's plots, he sure wouldn't have completed this one, peculiarly if he'd noticed the killing of cousins by 'Nathaniel'. Lee knew perfectly his cousin was born Daniel Nathan.

  I'll try to show the themes of The Player on the Other Side were already present in previous works. These themes are.
- religious pattern, notably concerning the tetragrammaton JHWH;
- a couple of characters associated in an enterprise, one claiming he's the boss while the other one has a prominent role; in private, Lee claimed Dannay's plots were ridiculous, and that only his writing skill made the success of Ellery Queen; 
- personal involvement, what is called 'biotext'; it concerns here essentially Dannay's birthdate, on Oct 20th, 1905, 10/20/05.

  I'll begin with this last point, and something that looks quite meaningful:
- the 5th Queen is The Egyptian Cross Mystery (1932); it has 30 chapters, 20+10, and this Egyptian cross is a letter T, the 20th letter as it will be explicit in another novel.
- the 10th Queen is Halfway House (1936); it has 5 chapters, and all chapters have tautogram titles, The Tragedy, The Trail, The Trial, The Trap, The Truth. 5 chapters, 10 times 20th letter.
- the 20th Queen is Double, Double (1950); it has 20 chapters; 20 is the double of 10, double of 5.
- the 26th Queen is The Finishing Stroke (1958); it has 20 chapters, and the enigma is based on the Hebrew alphabet, more exactly on the semitic letters which have equivalents in our alphabet, i.e. 20 letters. In the book, the detective writer Ellery says he's written 30 novels. This might be understood as the 26 Queens, plus 4 novels the cousins wrote in 1932-33 using the alias Barnaby Ross.

  Is there an allusion to Dannay's birthdate in The Player on the Other Side? Maybe, as J.H. Walt is born on April 20th, 1924, which Ellery points as being Easter sunday.
  April 20th is the opposite of October 20th on the circle of the year, and it was too the 35th birthday of Adolf Hitler. At this time he was in jail, writing Mein Kampf. The next Queen, And On The Eight Day... (1964), shows Ellery investigating during the Holy Week of 1944 in a community issued from The Deas Sea Scrolls, that a misunderstanding has led to worship Mein Kampf instead of the Bible.

  The Player on the Other Side is the 27th Queen, but the 26th adventure of Ellery, as The Glass Village (1956) is a one-shot. Some Queen novels mention Hebrew words and gematria, seeing a meaning in the sum of values of letters composing Hebrew words.
  The best known case is the tetragrammaton
J H W H = 10+5+6+5 = 26.
  Grammatically, letter W is a copulative, meaning 'and', so the tetragrammaton might be read as
10 = 5 and 5, or
10, 5 and 5 = 20,
possibly meaningful for someone born on 10/20/05.

  The square murders JHWH make easily think of the losange murders JHVH in Borges' Death and the Compass, and it happens that Dannay was probably the first man to read the English translation of this short story.
  Dannay created in 1941 Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (EQMM, still running on), and he was deeply involved in it (Lee absolutely not). In 1947 Anthony Boucher translated some of  Borges' short stories and proposed them to Dannay. Death and the Compass was obviously the most suitable for EQMM, but Dannay refused to publish it, and chose The Garden with Forking Paths, a much more complex story, published in August 1948.
  Dannay and Lee were still working on Ten Days' Wonder at that time, and maybe Dannay wanted to be the first to use the tetragrammaton in a crime story.

  Double, Double (1950), the 20th Queen, has a very tricky plot, based on the nursery rhyme Rich man, poor man..., with two variants for the ending, first Merchant Chief, then Merchant, Chief, to fit the numerous deaths occurring in the novel.
  If the Hebrew letters JHWH have ranks 10-5-6-5 in the Hebrew alphabet, to these ranks match in our alphabet JEFE, the Spanish 'chief''. In the book Ellery finds an associate who, by joke, calls him 'chief'.
  There are seven deaths in the story, matching with the rhyme:

Rich man, Poor man,    MacCaby    Hart
Beggarman, Thief,       Anderson   Jackard
Doctor, Lawyer,            Dodd          Holderfield
Merchant, Chief.          Waldo        W  (?)

  A last attempt is made against Ellery, the 'chief', but it misses its aim, and the murderer, named Ken Winship, is arrested. Ellery guesses he will be sentenced to death for his crimes:
Because the truth is Ken was the chief of everything. The chief criminal, the chief planner, the chief of operations, the chief victim.
  It may be noticed Winship is four times a chief, as number 4 is prominent in the book, beginning a 4/4, as well as 4th letter, D (Double, double). An allusion to the tetragrammaton? I thought too the first name of Dannay's mother was Dora. And he was 44 when the book was published.

  Anyhow the initials of the 7 dead are MAD HJHW (+ W for the 'chief').
  That can give JHWH and ADM, these 3 Hebrew letters, aleph, daleth, mem, spelling in Hebrew the word adam, the name of the first man, or the noun 'man'.
  Is it far-fetched? Maybe not, as next Queen, The Origin of Evil (1951), shows a man named Adam taking his revenge on someone who is nicknamed 'God' by his employees.
  Priam and Hill stole the treasure Adam found, and left him dead. They founded an enterprise in which Priam is supposed to be the boss, but it's Hill that takes all the important decisions. After 25 years, Adam finds them, and becomes Priam's secretary. He flatters Priam, making him feel he deserves to be the only boss of the enterprise, and suggesting him a plan to kill Hill.
  The plan succeeds, but Adam introduced some mistakes in it, so Priam is arrested for the murder of Hill. He commits suicide in prison.
  The most important clue concerns letter T.

  Dannay seemed to have some consistency, as next Queen, The King is Dead (1952), shows Cain and Abel Bendigo leading The Bodigen Arms Company. The elder brother Cain is known as the boss, the King, but it's Abel that takes all the important decisions. The Company has notably sold arms to Hitler's Germany.
  Hitler may habe been alluded to in Double, Double, with the strange character of Harry Toyfell, nearly an anagram of Adolf Hitler. Hardi Tofell would have been an exact anagram, but toyfel means 'devil' in Yiddish, and Harry is written in Hebrew with letters HRJ (הרי), ranks 5-20-10 in the Hebrew alphabet (as shows this engraved stone).

  Obviously BODIGEN is the anagram of BENDIGO, but I suspect it hides another anagram, BNEI GOD, bnei meaning 'sons of' in Hebrew.
  In Jewish mysticism, all the divine sparks present in Adam were then shared between Cain and Abel, but in bad proportions, so Cain killed Abel. Dannay inversed Genesis pattern, and that's here Abel that kills his brother.

  Another aspect of the theme of the two associates is a kind of partnership between the murderer and Ellery, whose art in deduction is needed in the criminal plan. When Ellery is not already there, the murderer manages to make him come.
  This pattern appears in all Ellery's investigations from 1948 to 1958, with some variants. The principal one is when Ellery is fooled by an innocent who wants to protect the real murderer. This happens in Cat of Many Tails (1949), and then in And On The Eight Day... (1964).
  Each time the chief planner thinks himself more clever than Ellery, and each time he's wrong, but Ellery is not clever enough to prevent the deaths (and it takes him 27 years to understand how he was fooled in The Finishing Stroke, too late to punish the murderer).

  So, from 1948 to 1964, Dannay seems to have plotted a good collection of metaphysical stuff, more or less disguised, yet I wonder if there was not in previous works somme seeds of this will.
  A quite stunny one is a Barnaby Ross novel of 1932, later edited as Ellery Queen, The Tragedy of Y. The Hatters, who are known as the Mad Hatters, are one of the oldest families of Washington Square. The oldest one, York Hatter, died recently, and his grandson, John Hatter, 13 years old, finds the manuscript of a crime story York situated in his own house, The Tragedy of Y.
  As all the Hatters, John, JH, is a bit mad, so he undertakes to make the plot a reality, following blindly the instructions of Y. Doesn't it remind the simple-minded JHW of 1963, in York Square, following blindly the instructions of Y?

  It is needed here to explore the Hebrew text of man creation Genesis, in which prominent letters are DMA, daleth, mem, aleph.
  JHWH, or YHWH (the Lord, God), made ADM (Adam, the man) in His image, after His likeness (Gn 1:26). In Hebrew 'likeness' is DMWT, demuth, root DMH, dama(h), 'resemble', looking like adam.
  JHWH formed ADM from the dust of ADMH (adama, the ground), then He took a part of ADM to form Eve. Adam knew Eve his wife, and then were born Cain and Abel.
   Caïn killed his brother Abel, and JHWH heard 'the voice of Abel’s DM (dam, blood) crying from ADMH (adama, the ground)' (Gn 4:10).

  In Latin Vulgata, Jerome translated YHWH by Dominus, a word originally related to domus, 'house'; a dominus was first the master of a house, DoMus in which root consonants are DM.
  So was York Hatter, YH, in the Hatter House. His son was Conrad, who married Martha. Is it far-fetched to find ADAM in conrAD-MArtha?
  Is it far-fetched to find JH and WH in the sons of Conrad and Martha Hatter, John and William?
  John and William are 13 and 4, an unusual difference, but 4 and 13 are the ranks of letter D and M, in our alphabet as well as in the Hebrew alphabet.
  John is said to persecute his young brother.

  A main objection might be: why YH then JH? The same discrepancy appears in The Player on the Other Side (where Y stands both for York and YHWH), and Ellery himself declares in Ten Days' Wonder:
that name is hidden in the tetragrammaton I mentioned, the four consonants which were variously written — actually in five ways, from IHVH to YHWH (...)

  In the 1963 novel, the player on the other side is the Devil (or God), and there is a 1938 Queen with 'devil' in the title, The Devil to Pay.
  The drama occurs in the Sans Souci domain, a set of four rich dwellings in the Hollywood hills, with a ten-foot fence all round it, and a guard to keep the only access.. Only two of the four houses are inhabited, by two associates leading the Ohippi HydroElectric Development, Solomon Spaeth and Rhys Jardin (and their families).
  The Ohippi plants are drowned by a flood, and many people loose the money they invested in the society, except Spaeth who sold his actions for fifty million dollars before the disaster was known.
  Spaeth is murdered, and Jardin ruined has to quit Sans Souci.
  Jardin is French for 'garden', Rhys is Welsh for 'ardent'. The enclosed Sans Souci domain might stand for the Garden of Eden, in which there is too a quaternary symbolism (source of four rivers, and there is a pool at the center of the domain). After the original sin Adam and Eve are exiled at east of Eden, maybe that inspired the exile of Jardin from Sans Souci.

  The hydroelectric project suggests the word DAM, as MAD was a keyword in the Hatter case.

  The murderer of Spaeth is Pink, the handyman of the Jardins, and he killed Spaeth with a bow, in order to accuse Rhys Jardin, a well-known archer. But Spaeth's son found his father dead with an arrow in his heart, and other clues accusing Jardin. He modified the crime scene to let people think Spaeth was killed by a dagger.
  Dannay took here the counterpart of Van Dine's The Bishop Murder Case, in which a murder is committed with a dagger, but the murderer introduces an arrow in the wound.

  Pink is only known by these four letters. It might be because he was formerly an actor, as some actors were known by a single name.
  This name PINK might point to a well-known archer, Eros, anagram of ROSE. Here Eros would play the Thanatos role.
  As it was a clue in Van Dine's novel, the archer is another name of the bishop, the chess piece. Each character in The Player on the Other Side has something to do with a chess piece, and one is Tom Archer, a suspect.

  The first mention of Pink is about his role once as an Indian Chief:
an old still-picture of Pink, bow in hand, as Chief Yellow Pony, from that forgotten epic of the plains,  Red Indian.
  Indian Chief is the last line in the common version of the rhyme in Double, Double. It goes then into Merchant, Chief, where Chief is finally identified as the murderer.
  I suggested CHIEF = JEFE = JHWH, and INDIAN might find a sense besides JHWH.
  Judaism forbids to pronounce the most holy name JHWH, which is replaced in the reading of the Bible by adonai, 'Lord', another four-letters word in Hebrew, spelled ADNY, or ADNJ, or ADNI, the letters forming INDIAN, and Dannay, and Danny, the diminutive of Daniel, Dannay's birth forename.
  Of course Dannay did not invent the expression Indian Chief, but there is a chief often mentioned in all Wrightsville novels, including Ten Days' Wonder and Double, Double, Chief Dakin, Wrightsville's Chief of Police. In Hebrew, letter K, kaph, is alone a preposition meaning 'alike', 'as', so
CHIEF DAKIN might be read YHWH K-ADNY, the Tetragrammaton is alike 'My Lord", and
  Wrightsville was founded by Jezreel Wright, a strange name as the valley of Jezreel is believed to be the place where will occur the penultimate battle between good and evil (wright and wrong?).

  In another novel, The Scarlet Letters (1953), letter Y is prominent. A friend of Ellery, Dirk Lawrence, suspects his wife Martha to have an affair with an actor, Van Harrison, known as V.H.
  Dirk and Martha, D and M?
  Dirk has found a code ruling datings between V.H. and Martha, an alphabetical list of 26 locations in New York. So V.H. needs only to give Martha a letter to fix the appointmant. Ellery is patient enough to check about 20 appointments, and to account of them to Dirk. Then Dirk shots Martha and her supposed lover. Ellery comes too late, but V.H. has the time to write with his blood letters XY. Did he regret to miss the next datings at Xochilt's and Yankee Stadium?
  At last Ellery understands V.H. could not finish his death message. He intended to write XX, because he was doublecrossed by Dirk who engaged him to fake an affair with Martha, in order to ask for divorce, but his plan was to kill them both, knowing that a jury would acquit a deceived husband.

  Martha was born Martha Gordon, and it's useful to know someone named Judah Gordon wrote a story of divorce impeached by an incomplete letter yod, The Point on Top of the Yod.
  It is about a woman named Bath Shua, a quite improbable name for a Jewish girl, as the biblical Bath Shua was Judah’s wife, a Canaanitess (Gn 38:12). YHWH was angry with that, and he killed the two first sons of Judah, who refused to make their wife pregnant, Thamar (it's an anagram of Martha). As Judah was predicted to be the ancestor of the Messiah, Thamar had to have sex with his father-in-law to give him a proper lineage...
  Judah Gordon's Bath Shua succeeded in obtaining divorce from a nasty husband, but a rabbi, whose name is an anagram of a famous fondamentalist rabbi, invalidates the divorce document because the upper part of a letter yod is badly written. Yod is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and that's why this letter is quoted by Jesus (Mt 5:18):
Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.

  In The Player on the Other Side, Percival's house in York Square looks a bit like a Hebrew yod, and Percival is suspected to be the mysterious Y.

   The four houses of York Square have in common a central park. So do the four houses of the Sans Souci domain which have in common a central pool.

  I'm closing here, hoping to have suggested Dannay's works are not usual crime stories...

  THE QUEEN SITE is Kurt Sercu's one, here...
...and there, an article by Pietro De Palma.

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