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[T]hese open endings...force us to become an active part of the storytelling, at the very least puzzling out the "Why? " and "But suppose…" possibilities, or trying to tie up the loose ends left purposefully dangling, or supplying the emotional responses underplayed by the author, or at the further extreme, having some hefty moral quandaries laid at our doorsteps, as Ellin's "The Moment of Decision" so expertly does.
And the title story and the concluding The Question, which an electrocutioner can no longer avoid, may well take their place alongside of Ellin's long remembered The Specialty of the House. Ellin uses such unremarkable places and people that his end effects are even more startling." earned the Best First Story Award in the Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine contest of 1948.
He must have read other stories to me as well, but of them I have no recollection because they lacked the true magic." He eagerly read books in the family library by the likes of Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant and Edgar Allan Poe, who were literary influences on his writing.
He graduated from New Utrecht High School, where he had been a precocious student.
He managed only one a year, sent each in turn to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and never had one rejected." Ellin co-wrote the screenplay for the 1951 film The Big Night along with Joseph Losey, Hugo Butler and Ring Lardner, although Ellin and Losey were the only ones credited for it up until the year 2000. He appeared, along with Frederic Dannay, Brian Garfield, and Denis Healey, on the television show Crime Writers in the episode "Murder for Pleasure" (Season 1, Episode 6, 10 December 1978).
He also wrote book reviews for such venues as The New York Times Book Review, chiefly of suspense novels, as well as essays such as "Mystery Novel or Crime Novel" (Writer, vol. 22–24) and "The Destiny of the House" (Armchair Detective, vol. Ellin died of a heart attack (complications from a stroke) at Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, on July 31, 1986.