“The Adventures of the Puzzle Club” by Queen and Pachter. Reviewed by Jeff Baker (February 1st, 2023.)

Adventures of the Puzzle Club by Ellery Queen and Josh Pachter

Reviewed by Jeff Baker

“The Adventures of the Puzzle Club,” the latest in publisher Crippen and Landru’s fine series of mystery short-story collections features two (or rather, three!) mystery masters and brings together the complete series of Puzzle Club mysteries begun by Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee, in case you don’t know!) and continued in recent years by contemporary master Josh Pachter who sold his first mystery to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (edited by Dannay by the way!) when he was sixteen years old!

The Puzzle Club is a group of mystery lovers who get together and propose a mystery scenario which one of their members (usually the fictional version of Ellery Queen himself!) must solve. The puzzles are fairly-clued and the interactions between the club members are half the fun!

The initial five stories were written by Queen and published in the 1960s and 70s and include references to other mystery writers, quotes from the Sherlock Holmes stories and even a line from “Mission Impossible!” There is no discernible change in style or tone in Pachter’s continuation of the series, but the final story “Their Last Bow” has the club facing a real-life mystery with a “dying clue” of the type Ellery Queen specialized in.

Wrapping up the book are four mysteries about the Griffen family by Pachter (written mostly when he was a teenager!) concluding with the recent “50” which is a follow up of sorts to Pachter’s first story.

(And while Ellery Queen is the detective most often invoked, Pachter’s “Sam Buried Caesar” is a Nero Wolfe pastiche with grade school kids acting like kids in a perfect and grim puzzle plot.)

Altogether, a fine collection. Highly recommended!

This entry was posted in Books, Crippen and Landru, Fiction, Mystery, Reading, Reviews, Short-Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s