It was in 1976 that I wrote The Ehrengraf Defense, introducing a dapper gentleman with a highly idiosyncratic approach to the practice of criminal law. My agent sent the story to Frederic Dannay, one of two cousins who constituted the writing team of Ellery Queen. Fred edited Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine as well, and loved the story; he saw Martin H. Ehrengraf as a lineal descendant of Randolph Mason, the creation of Melville Davisson Post. (Since I’d never heard of Post’s stories, let alone read them, I doubt he was my inspiration. Indeed, the character was entirely my idea—although I did lift a plot element from Fletcher Flora.)
Fred wanted more Ehrengraf stories, and over time I wrote a total of ten of them. Most of them made their first appearance in EQMM, and proved popular with readers—and especially with members of the legal profession. Make of that what you will.