The Madman Theory by Ellery Queen

The Madman Theory by Ellery Queen

Published in 1966, The Madman Theory is a mystery novel by Ellery Queen. Like many of Queen’s books, this novel begins with a murder. A prominent man is murdered in broad daylight in a crowded park, but the killer managed to escape without a trace. In classic mystery fashion, another body appears, and then another. Is it the work of a madmen, or is there a motive behind these killings?

Ellery Queen is a mystery fiction pseudonym that was created by Manfred Bennington Lee and Frederic Dannay in 1929. Over the years, several writers wrote under the Ellery Queen name, including science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon.

This particular Ellery Queen novel was penned by John Holbrook Vance, a Hugo award-winning writer that also wrote under the name Jack Vance. Vance was paid $3,000 to pen this book, but had to sign a contract stating that he wouldn’t reveal himself as the writer.

The Madman Theory by Ellery Queen

This cover is from the first edition of the book, which was published by Pocket Books in August, 1966. The book is a little too large for most pockets, but it’s still significantly smaller than your average paperback. Pocket Books published many Ellery Queen mysteries, including Murder With a Past and The Door Between.

There’s no credit for the cropped photograph that appears on the cover. While the stretched image might seem like an odd choice, it’s fitting for the novel; the first victim is killed by a gunshot.

Pocket Books used a similar style for several of their Ellery Queen covers in the ’60s, including the one shown below.

The Fourth Side of the Triangle by Ellery Queen