ELLERY QUEEN – What’s in the Dark? Popular Library, paperback original; 1st printing, 1968. Dale Books, paperback, 1978. Zebra, paperback, 1985. Published in the UK as When Fell the Night (Gollancz, hardcover, 1970).

   Here’s a detective novel based on the Northeast blackout of 1965, one that lasted for 13 hours and affected over 30 million people. I’d tell you about it personally, but Judy and I didn’t move to Connecticut until 1969. But it made headlines at the time, and not only does one-eyed NYPD homicide captain Tim Corrigan solve a murder mystery in the midst of the city’s shutdown, the solution depends entirely on the circumstances.

   Except for one mistake, the killer could have gotten away with the death of an accountant, 21 floors up, being called a suicide. Give that he or she did, however, Corrigan has a whole floor of suspects to deal with, included a bright-eyed colleen named Sybil Graves, to whom he takes an immediate fancy.

   The author behind the Ellery Queen pen name this time is Richard Deming, who wrote four of the six Tim Corrigan novels, and while What’s in the Dark? is not up to the usual Ellery Queenian standard, he proves to be an adequate creator of a detective puzzle mystery. The cousins Ellery Queen probably never used the word mammae in one of their own novels, however, nor never wrote a scene in which one character is walked in on while fumbling with the brassiere of another.