Ellery Queen (1975) s01e06 Episode Script

43613 - The Adventure of the 12th Floor Express

In a few minutes, this newspaper publisher will become an obituary notice.
Who killed him? Was it his sister? "The Examiner" belongs to me now.
The editor-in-chief? You measure a newspaperman by the enemies he's made.
The attorney? There was no love lost between Harriet and her brother.
The well-connected reporter? The publisher is dead.
Long live the publisher.
The muckraking columnist? He's trying to bluff me into printing a retraction.
Or was it someone else? Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess who done it.
- Morning, Mr.
- Ah, good morning, Fred.
Say, what did I hear yesterday about a wedding, your daughter? Oh, yes, sir, Mary Ellen.
But it won't be for awhile yet, sir.
The boy has a stretch in the service ahead of him yet.
Well, you just let me know when.
I'll be there.
If I'm invited.
Oh, absolutely, sir.
- Have a good day, Fred.
- You, too, sir.
Private elevator, sir.
Try the next one.
[Buzzing] "Daily Examiner," 12th floor.
He's on his way up.
Thanks, Fred.
Of course I'm sure he got on, Sally.
I pushed the button myself.
Well, maybe he got off somewhere.
- Good morning, Fred.
- Hiya, Mr.
- Old man arrive yet? - Just went up, sir.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome, sir.
I told you, Raymond, I have to get up early, and I need my beauty rest.
Come on, Dorothy.
Look, I'll sport you to a dinner, and then we'll take in a show.
There's a swell Gable picture playing.
Oh, Raymond, you're so persistent.
[Evevator doors opening] Raymond? Holy cow! It's Mr.
I think he's dead! Get it? A little harder.
Always closed before.
Hold it, Maestro.
Don't you think it'd be better if the shirt was in the bag? Right, okay, I got it.
Watch your fingers or mine.
Ohh! Okay? Thank you, Velie.
I don't know what I would have done without your help.
That's okay, Maestro.
Now, you're sure you got everything? Positive.
All that stuff for just three days in a cabin? Well, 30 pages, Wh-What's wrong? I'm missing something.
No, h-hold it, Maestro, no.
Everything's in there, it's got to be.
I have to get the key to the cabin.
If we get it open, we'll never get it closed again.
Well, what about the key? You wouldn't put the key in a suitcase.
Well Well, then, I must have put it somewhere.
[Phone rining] You know I've never lost a key, I hardly ever lose a key? Hello? Son? I thought you might have left.
No, Dad, I'm still here.
Well, I gathered that.
Is Velie there with you now? Ellery? Hello, Dad.
Have we got a bad connection or something? Dad, do you have the key? What key? Now, Ellery, listen to me very carefully.
Stop whatever you're doing.
Sit down in a chair.
Look straight ahead.
Are you doing that? Huh? Oh, yeah, of course I am.
I'm sitting right here in the chair.
I need you and Velie down here at "The Daily Examiner.
" I thought you didn't like "The Examiner.
" Henry Manners, the publisher, has just been shot to death.
Now, if you've got a few minutes before you take off What? you might come down and poke around a little.
Oh, no, no way, Dad.
No way.
I'm going off for a few days for a little peace and quiet.
Now, what about the key? You can pick it up when you drop Velie off.
All right, Dad, see you in a few minutes.
Inspector, we have good, readable prints on all the buttons with the exception of the button to the 12th floor.
I've looked at the prints Oh, there you are.
Here's Velie, Dad.
Now, may I have the key? I want to get to Wrightsville before lunch.
Just a minute.
Velie, I want to fill you in on what happened.
Now, as near as we can figure out, Manners got on the elevator on the ground floor.
The starter pressed the 12th-floor button, but when the elevator got to the 12th floor, it was empty.
Then the elevator went down to the 6th floor, and inside was Manners, dead.
Then the elevator went up to the 5th floor Dad.
Oh, I want a preliminary report from the medical examiner.
Grab a ladder, Velie.
Get in that elevator.
I want to find out if the killer came down through the ceiling.
Yes, sir.
Dad, did you say the elevator was empty on the 12th floor? - Yeah, that's right.
- That's interesting.
What does that mean? What does what mean? "Interesting", what does that mean? Oh, nothing, just interesting.
Anyway, the elevator continued down here to the 5th floor, where it remained.
Did anybody see the elevator stop on the way up? The receptionists on all the floors were at their desks.
They get here at 7:30.
None of them saw Manners get off the elevator or anyone else get on.
Inspector, I'm all for catching Henry's killer, but I've got a paper to get out.
Johns, my son, Ellery.
- How do you do? - How do you do? This is Mr.
Thornton Johns, managing editor of "The Daily Examiner.
" It's a full-time job, and I can't spend all day here.
Well, calm down.
Calm down, Mr.
All we want is your version of what happened.
I have no version.
As I told you, I was in the dispatch room when I heard the news.
When I came here, I saw that he was dead.
That's when I called the police.
Excuse me, Mr.
Do you always arrive early? Yes, around 7:30, sometimes earlier.
There's a lot of work to get out a paper.
Did Manners have any enemies? Inspector, you measure a newspaperman by the enemies he's made.
Henry Manners was one hell of a newspaperman.
You can't come in here.
This is off limits.
- Working press, Buster.
- You're gonna have to go downstairs.
Says who? Look, get that elevator.
Hi, Inspector.
I want a lot of pictures.
Lie down on the floor and shoot straight up to the ceiling, you know, the last thing Manners saw before he died.
- Hey, you, Flannigan - Any leads, Inspector? What are you doing up here? Hey, Junior, they got you on this case, too? Well, I don't know yet.
Flannigan, you belong downstairs with the rest of the press.
The "Gazette" doesn't have any special privileges.
Well, from what I heard, you're gonna need all the help you can get.
How about it, Thornton? Did you kill him? Do I have to stand here and listen to this overrated fool? No, you can leave.
- Thank you.
- Overrated, huh? Then how come Flannigan's column's in 200 papers from coast to coast? Now, listen, Flannigan No, no, no, no! I said to lie down on your back and shoot up at the ceiling! Hey, you! Inspector, what do you want me to do with this guy? Get him out of here! That goes for you, too.
I'm just trying to serve the people, Inspector.
There will be a press conference later.
You can serve the people then.
Yeah, if you need any help, give me a call! How about it, son? Want your key now? Huh? What key? You find anything? No sign anyone came in from the top.
You know this is one of those self-service elevators? Yeah, for Manners' private use only.
Hey, what are you doing, Maestro? Just checking it out.
Why? Don't you like elevators? Not this one.
Hey, where you going with that ladder? - Police.
- Oh, okay.
- I'm gonna look around, Maestro.
- Okay, Velie.
You with him? Yes, I am.
Are you the elevator starter? Fred Durnhoffer.
Been here 20 years, next month.
It's a shame about the old guy, a real salt-of-the-earth man.
I understand Henry Manners got here every morning at the same time.
You could set your watch by him, through those doors at 7:59.
"Good morning, good morning.
" We'd chat a little.
He'd say, "Have a good day.
" I'd say, "The same to you, sir.
" I push the button for number 12, and off he'd go.
- You push the button? - I always do.
Durnhoffer, is it possible that the elevator could have been stopped partway up? Well, here's the control box.
I guess it is possible somebody could have stopped the elevator, but why, what for? Well, I'm just exploring the possibilities, Mr.
What possibilities? Even if somebody does stop the elevator halfway up for a few seconds, how does he get into the cab and kill Mr.
Manners? If you ask me, this whole thing is screwy.
Well, thank you.
Excuse me, Mr.
Where was Mr.
Manners standing? Back here? Right.
I wonder if you could push the button for me just the way you did for Mr.
See you, I hope.
I just can't believe that my brother's dead, Inspector.
Miss Manners, I'm sorry you had to learn about it this way.
We called you at home.
There was no answer.
I was on my way up here to see him and got caught in traffic.
- Excuse me, Dad.
- Oh, Ellery this is Miss Harriet Manners, the victim's sister.
My son, Ellery.
How do you do? I was just saying to your father that I find it so hard to believe that Henry's gone.
Well, Henry Manners was "The Examiner.
" Yes, indeed.
But life goes on, doesn't it, Inspector? - [Phone ringing] - Excuse me.
Yes? Oh, yes, Thornton.
No, no, I don't think so.
Look, Thornton, I want you to kill everything on page 1.
I want a right-column story on my brother's death.
Put the head in 60 point.
Then I want a two-column, photo center, black border.
What? Just listen to me, Thornton.
I want you to call Governor Dewey, call the mayor, maybe even call the White House.
I want some good quotes.
And listen, Thornton, this is gonna be an extra.
Get it out in the streets by noon.
I'm the last surviving member of my family, Inspector.
"The Examiner" belongs to me now, and I intend to run it.
[Door knocking] Come in.
Good morning.
Good morning, Thornton.
I see you're in early.
Well, there's a lot of work to be done.
And a lot of people to do it.
Want some coffee? I didn't come here for coffee.
All right, Thornton, let's have it.
Harriet, I've known you for a number of years, and I think I know what goes on in that pretty head of yours.
If you've come here to patronize me No, not at all.
And don't you patronize me.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Who the hell did you think you were talking to on the telephone yesterday? A copy boy? Well, I'm sorry if I offended you, but I thought we ought to get our relative positions straight right from the start.
I'll tell you our relative positions.
You publish, and I edit.
And I won't have any interference.
Thornton, I I know what you mean to "The Examiner," and I know what she means to you.
I don't want to shut you out.
But I'm part of this business now, and you're gonna have to learn to live with that.
He didn't come in through the ceiling.
He didn't come up through the floor.
So, how did he do it? Maybe he came up the stairs.
All right, the killer came up the stairs, but where did he kill Manners, and how did he get the body back on the elevator? Maybe Manners shot himself.
Maybe Manners shot himself.
So, what did he do with the gun? Suppose the starter shot him when he was going up.
What about the witnesses who saw Manners board the elevator alive? Anything on ballistics? Yeah, he was he was shot by a.
32 at close range, probably 4, 5 feet away.
That means the killer could have been inside the elevator or just outside.
Anything in those personal files, son? Hmm? No, no, nothing yet.
But I'd like to see the fingerprint results and also the plans for the rest of that building.
Well, here's the print report.
Velie? On my way, sir.
Well, Manners' fresh fingerprints were on the 5th- and 6th-floor buttons.
And the 12th-floor button was smudged, probably by the starter when he sent the elevator up.
Or the killer's.
Now, one thing's for sure, Manners was interested in seeing that that elevator got to the 5th and 6th floors.
I'd just like to know if he pushed the button before or after he was shot.
- Good morning, Inspector.
- Oh, no.
What are you doing here, Flannigan? I thought you might be interested in Flannigan's lead story in the "Gazette.
" It should be on the street in 10 minutes.
Well, I'm not interested in anything you write.
And if I were, I'm perfectly capable of reading it myself.
Now, get out of here! Okay, Inspector.
Never say that Flannigan didn't offer.
It's just a story that's gonna break this case wide open.
- But if you're not interested - Flannigan! Yes, Inspector? Read the story.
Happy to.
Junior? Mm.
"Publisher Shot While Secretary Spoons".
"The police are still having their ups and downs over the bizarre elevator murder of news mogul Henry Manners.
While New York's finest remain totally baffled, this reporter has uncovered information that tosses most of their feathery theories into a cocked fedora.
Judy Adams, was not at her desk, as she claimed, but was involved in a lovers' rendezvous at the very moment that Henry Manners was 'ele-victimized.
' Memo to Inspector Richard Queen "It's not the boys in blue, but the working press that are out there doing the job.
" That's enough, Flannigan.
Come on.
Don't you want to hear the rest of it? - Where we going? - Down to the "Examiner" office.
I want to talk to Miss Julia What's-her-name.
That's Judy Adams, 4th floor! Now, Judy, as attorney for "The Examiner," it's my responsibility to protect its interests, particularly in something as serious as murder.
Do you understand? Yes, sir.
Now, I want you to tell me why you lied to the police.
That's exactly what I want to know.
Excuse me, Mr.
This is Inspector Queen and his son, Ellery.
The Inspector's looking for Judy.
Queen, Inspector, I was just about to ask Miss Adams about this story in the "Gazette.
" Young lady, it's a serious business, lying to the police.
Why did you say you were at your desk? Why didn't you tell us you were with your boyfriend? I know I did wrong, sir, and I feel terrible about it.
I shouldn't have lied, but I was afraid I'd get in trouble.
And now I've just made things worse.
All I wanted was for Walter and me to be happy.
Walter? Who's Walter? He's my boyfriend.
He works here.
He's just a copy boy now, but someday he's gonna be a great reporter like Mr.
Walter admires him so much.
That's why he talked to him last evening.
I never dreamed he'd print it.
I mean about Walter and me.
Go on, Judy.
Well, anyway, Walter and I were going to get married.
We've been going together for about three years now, just waiting for Walter to make enough money.
After all, $22.
50 a week doesn't go very far these days.
But yesterday Walter threw caution to the winds.
He took me by the hand, and he walked me down to the fire escape and proposed.
It was so romantic.
Judy, how long were you away from your desk? It couldn't have been more than 10 minutes.
What do you think? I think she's sacred to death.
- Hiding something? - I don't know.
Dad, can't we question her another time? We can always bring her back.
Let her go, huh? All right, young lady, you can leave, but the next time a policeman asks you a question, you tell him the truth.
Yes, sir.
Well, at least we know how the killer got to Manners, he was waiting for him on the 4th floor.
No, I don't think so.
Why not? Unless Walter or Judy was in on the killing, the murderer would have no way of knowing at what particular time Judy was gonna be away from her desk.
And how could he be certain which floor the elevator was passing? I see what you mean.
Which leaves us exactly where we started.
[Buzzing] Oh, excuse me.
Oh, yes, I'll take that.
Sam, what did you hear? $2 million? That man's got to be crazy.
That's not a settlement.
Of course we'll fight it.
And you can tell Nelson Greene if he thinks he's gonna win this suit, he's got another thing coming.
If McCully says he is a Communist, then he is a Communist.
Of course he can prove it.
Look, Sam, I have some people here.
I'll get back to you later.
Excuse me.
I couldn't help but overhear.
Did you mention Nelson Greene, the financier? That's a legal matter.
That's has nothing to do with Henry's death.
Since murder's involved, anything that concerns this paper concerns me, especially a $2-million suit.
Well, I'm just not at liberty to discuss it.
Well who is? As long as I'm editor of this paper and making assignments, you'll write what you're told to write.
Well, I do not intend to be buried among the obituaries for the rest of my life.
You will until you're capable of writing something better.
Don't count on it.
Things may start to change around here a lot sooner than you expect.
Just what does that mean? It means that Harriet Manners is in charge here now.
I don't care how much stock your grandmother has in this paper or how close she is to Harriet Manners.
You have just two choices.
You either write the obituaries as they're supposed to be written, or clean out your desk.
Johns? We'll continue this later.
- Lf you're busy, I can come back - No, no, no, no, that's all right.
Just another of those no-talent college graduates who thinks everything he writes should be chiseled in stone.
What's on your mind? I understand your paper's involved in a lawsuit.
Lawsuit? Which one? You know, this is a big-city newspaper, Mr.
Yeah, well, I'm I'm referring to Nelson Greene.
Oh, Mitch McCully's newest punching bag.
That's the trouble with McCully.
He's harmless-Iooking enough, nice guy, like your friendly next-door neighbor, except when it comes to Commies, pinkos, and fellow travelers.
Meaning Nelson Greene.
Well, if Greene's a Commie, then so are half the brokers on Wall Street.
- Well, you let him run the story.
- No, no, no.
Henry Manners let him run the story.
I warned Henry not to let McCully run wild, even if he could prove it, which he probably can't.
But you're the editor.
I don't Like every other employee at "The Examiner," I serve at the pleasure of the publisher.
Just let us say that Henry was more pleased with McCully than he was with me.
You don't like McCully very much, do you? Oh I don't know.
McCully is an all-American, red-blooded idiot.
Now, don't take my word for it.
Find out for yourself.
Oh, I can spot a Commie at 50 paces.
Sure, they're all as pure as the driven snow, but take my word for it, Nelson Greene is a Commie, and you can bet on it.
I mean, you can tell by looking at him.
The shifty eyes, the clothes The clothes? Of course, the clothes.
Haven't you noticed? They all dress a certain way.
Well, it probably never occurred to you.
[Crashing] Oh, darn! Oh.
Can I give you a hand? I'm so clumsy.
I'm always dropping things.
Well, believe me, I know how that feels.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Key words: Peace, brotherhood, freedom.
You show me a man who's trying to sell world peace, and I'll show you a card-carrying Commie every time.
That simple, eh? - Just about.
- Including Nelson Greene? Especially Nelson Greene.
And you can prove it? I have a dossier.
Names, dates, places, people he's associated with, little things that don't mean much by themselves, but they all, all add up.
Did they all add up for Henry Manners? What do you mean by that? What I mean was, was he gonna support you? Well, he always had.
I've been bread and butter for this newspaper.
Look, I had no quarrel with Henry, not on a professional level.
That Greene lawsuit, that's typical Commie harassment.
They'll never let it get to court.
Believe me.
All we're trying to determine is who had a motive for murdering Mr.
There are other people who had more to gain by Manners' death than me.
- What does that mean? - Well, for one thing, Al Klinger.
The lawyer Al Klinger? He had an appointment with Henry first thing yesterday morning.
Oh, I see.
He didn't tell you, huh? I suppose not.
First time in months that Al's been here by 8:00, and Henry winds up dead.
Well, I'm not surprised that he didn't mention it.
That is surprising.
- It sure is, all things considered.
- What things considered? Well, McCully and Klinger.
Now, according to the personnel files I was reading, they were roommates at Brown University, best of friends.
You know, Klinger was hired on McCully's recommendation? - He was, huh? - Yeah.
Looks like something's happened to change Mr.
McCully's attitude.
[Door chimes ringing] Ah, Miss Manners, come in.
Hello, Arthur.
Well, where's Zelda? She's not here.
It's opening night at Roosevelt Raceway.
But l-I thought You said she wanted to talk.
No, I wanted to talk, in private.
I was afraid you wouldn't come if it was just me.
I don't understand.
Well, maybe this will explain.
What's this, some sort of diary? A log, a journal of the events of the past few months, everything that's happened at "The Examiner.
" The whos, the whats, and the whys.
Why are you giving this to me? Well, let's just call it insurance.
Now that you are in charge of the paper, you really ought to know who you can trust and who you can't.
In here, you will find the truth about Johns, and all the rest of them.
Who was on the phone, Dad? Velie, still no sign of Albert Klinger.
You suppose he made a run for it? We got a man watching his house.
It's midnight, and nobody's seen him since noon yesterday.
I don't know what to think.
Well, Klinger killed Manners without leaving a clue.
It's not likely he made a run for it.
And why should he? Klinger, Klinger, Klinger.
Killers do strange things, Ellery, even in real life.
I'm gonna make myself a sandwich.
You want one? Hmm? Oh, yeah, thanks, Dad.
Hey, did you know Klinger was studying to be a dentist? Let's see, we got roast beef, pastrami, Swiss cheese.
And McCully was gonna be an electrical engineer.
Strange how people end up, isn't it? What's so strange about that? You wanted to be a magician, didn't you? No, a juggler, but I was 8 years old.
You want mayonnaise or mustard? Ellery? Huh? - Which one of these do you want? - Which one of what do I want? Make your own sandwich.
That's it! - What is? - 12th-floor riddle.
Ellery? What do you mean? I really can't say till I check it out, Dad, but if my guess is right, Henry Manners did not disappear.
Disappear? What do you mean, disappear? Aren't you going to eat? Where are you going? To the "Daily Examiner," Dad.
I'll know soon enough.
You go ahead and eat.
I'll be back in an hour.
Not on your life.
Ellery, wait for me.
Ellery? I don't know.
Maybe I better take a look at that badge again.
You've already seen it three times.
All right, Dad, would you sit behind the receptionist's desk, all right? Okay, now just stay right there, and I'll be right back.
Where's he going? How would I know? He's with you.
Well, I'm sorry I asked.
Well, where is he? Right there.
Right where? Right here, Dad.
You see, the papers on the edge of that desk kept the secretary from seeing Manners.
Manners never got off that elevator.
When the doors opened, he was on the floor, dead.
Very good detective work, son.
Where does that leave us? I don't know.
I wish I was wrong.
If Manners had gotten off the elevator on a different floor, at least we'd know how the killer got to him.
But if he was on the elevator, that means that he was killed between the 1st and the 12th floor on an elevator that didn't stop.
Do you mean I was dragged down here in the middle of the night to find this case is still impossible to solve? No, no, no, it used to be impossible.
Now it's only improbable.
conceal this information from me.
Miss Manners, you are not the best judge of that.
I've been open and honest with you ever since you've been on the paper.
Sounds like somebody's having an argument.
Yeah, it's coming from Manners' office.
Well, let's take a look.
Well, uh My brother had finally caught on to you, Mitchell, and none too soon.
Well, what's going on? What are you doing here, Inspector? My son was reconstructing a riddle.
We overheard the argument.
Oh, well, it was hardly an argument, Inspector.
Why don't you try telling the truth for once, Mitchell? What is that supposed to mean? You know perfectly well what that means.
Inspector, I discovered from a confidential source that my brother intended to fire both Mr.
McCully and Albert Klinger.
How about it, Mr.
McCully? Henry often made idle threats.
But earlier today, you specifically told us that Manners was gonna back you up.
Well, he would have.
He would have had to.
He was trying to bluff me into printing a retraction, smooth things over.
Inspector, it was no bluff.
Believe me.
All right, maybe the old man finally meant it this once.
Not that I would have minded, you know.
I don't like interference.
I don't like it from anybody.
I get my facts straight.
I print the truth.
I make a few enemies.
But I'm a newspaperman.
I don't know any other way of operating.
Maybe you didn't really have the facts.
I mean about your Nelson Greene story.
The court's gonna decide that.
Where were you when Mr.
Manners was killed? Well, you know where I was, Inspector.
I was in the lobby.
Now, are there any more questions? No? Well, if you don't mind, since my column for tomorrow is put to bed, I would like to do the same thing for myself.
Wait just a se I just got to get one thing clear in my head.
You and Mr.
Klinger weren't fired.
- You just assumed you would be.
- Right.
Anything else? No, you can leave.
Just keep yourself available for further questioning.
Aw, you mean I can't skip town, huh? Well, now I know we've got to talk to Albert Klinger.
Yes, we've been trying to reach him all morning.
Any idea where he might be? No, I'm afraid I can't help you.
Does he often leave the office without letting you know where he's going? Albert has outside clients.
I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for his absence.
For his sake, there better be.
I think in McCully and Klinger we got two good suspects.
That Harriet Manners story about the traffic jam doesn't smell too good, either.
This watch has stopped.
You know what time it is? No, I left mine home.
Excuse me.
Do you know what time it is? It's about 1:00.
Flannigan! Inspector.
Flannigan, what are you doing here? Oh, just trying to make a living.
Does Harriet Manners know you're down here skulking around? Oh, be a sport, Inspector.
I'm just after a story.
Junior here is bound to crack this murder sooner or later, and Flannigan's gonna be there when he does.
I ought to turn you over to "Examiner" security, let them deal with you.
Look, I've got some info that you may be interested in.
Now, here's the deal, I'll tell you what I know, and you give me an exclusive on the final story.
Anything you know about this case you'd better tell to the police.
The police don't pay Flannigan's salary.
- The "Gazette" does.
- Okay, Flannigan.
- Okay, you've got a deal.
- Oh, oh, oh, Ellery.
Now, get this, 11 days ago, the "Gazette" is approached by one aging and anxious editor.
Topic: Continued employment.
- Thornton Johns.
- The one and only.
Are you trying to tell us that Johns was about to be fired, too? Not fired, Inspector, put out to graze.
See, Manners didn't care much for Johns, but he didn't have to pink-slip him because Charlie Calendar was hot on his trail.
Flannigan, will you speak English? What he's saying, Dad, is that Thornton Johns was going to retire.
Right-a-rooney, Junior.
You see, the old guy had reached "The Examiner's" official retirement age, only now, instead of climbing aboard the old rocking chair, he'll still be stoking the furnace.
Thornton Johns would have been forced to retire if Henry Manners had not been killed.
- But now that Harriet's taken over - I know what he was saying.
We'll check it.
- Don't forget my exclusive.
- I won't.
- I'll be seeing you.
- Okay.
Now we've got four good suspects Harriet Manners Why, just because she took over the paper? Harriet Manners, McCully, Klinger, and I'll speak to Thornton Johns in the morning.
Meanwhile, let's get a good night's sleep.
Ellery? Ellery Dad, what's the usual retirement age? Huh? 65.
the elevator stopped on.
That's right, Dad.
It could have been a last dying clue.
Of course! That's what Manners was trying to tell us.
Well, now, hold on, Dad.
It's just a thought.
- We still got a long way to go.
- What do you mean? Well, we can't prove a thing 'till we figure out how it was committed.
That's the mystery, and we still don't have an answer.
- Mr.
- Yes? Oh, Mr.
I'd like to talk to you before you get to your office.
Would you like some breakfast? I ate on the train.
I was in Philadelphia overnight.
A meeting of my college alumni association.
As a matter of fact, I'm late.
You'll have to excuse me.
No, this is very important.
The morning that Henry Manners was killed, you had an appointment with him, didn't you? Who told you that? Then you were in the building before 8:00.
That's right.
Then I suppose you also know why Henry and I were meeting? The McCully lawsuit.
But what you may not know is that I was gonna tell Mr.
Henry Manners what he could do with his weekly retainer.
I've been working 18 hours a day to save Mitch McCully's hide, and suddenly Henry was gonna cut him adrift, just like that.
Oh, you were angry, weren't you? Not that angry, just angry enough to rip up my contract if I could have found it in Henry's files.
You know, Mr.
Queen, if you're really looking for a suspect, you ought to go talk to Harriet Manners.
I understand she was caught in traffic when Henry was killed.
And you're saying she wasn't? There was no love lost between Harriet and her brother, not lately.
She was about to start a proxy fight to get control of "The Examiner" one way or another.
I keep forgetting, Mr.
Queen, you are a detective of sorts, aren't you? Uh, well Very well, I admit it.
I was unhappy with the way my brother was running the paper.
Over the years, it's been getting more and more reactionary, and I don't think it can properly report the news if it's editorial policy is slanted like that.
But that's not really all there is to it, is it, Miss Manners? No.
No, my brother, Henry, took a leave of absence during the war to do a job for the War Department.
For over a year, I ran the paper, and I ran it well.
But then Henry returned.
It was as if I hadn't existed.
He cut me out completely.
I found myself back at "Harper's Bazaar," covering the Paris collections, for heaven's sakes.
I don't want to work in the fashion end of journalism.
I want to deal with world issues, with things that matter.
I can understand that.
But why didn't you tell us about Mrs.
Zelda Van Dyke? - So! - Yeah.
You know about that, too, do you? Look, Mrs.
Van Dyke owns 22% of the paper's stock.
Now, in order to get control, I had to go through a proxy fight.
I wanted her support.
Did you get it? Well, she's an unpredictable woman.
I I felt that, with time, I would have gotten it.
So, you weren't sure about her support, and you took matters in your own hands? I don't know quite what you're trying to say, Mr.
Queen, but it doesn't really make any difference, does it? My brother is dead, and with or without Mrs.
Van Dyke, the paper's mine now.
It' the second inning here at Fenway Park in Boston, with the Red So x ahead of the Yankees 2-0, as a result of Rudy York' home run, with Bobby Doerr aboard.
[Door chimes ringing] Bill Bevens on the mound for the Yankees, looking in for the sign from Aaron Robinson, as Johnny Pesky, left-hand hitter, digs in.
Bevens all set to work.
Here' the pitch Oh, do come in.
Thank you.
Van Dyke, my name is Ellery Queen.
I called you earlier.
Oh, yes, you're here to fix the sink.
No, I'm here to inquire about Harriet Manners.
Oh, well, if Harriet sent you, you must be very good, indeed.
No, no, you see, I'm not a plumber.
I'm a writer.
I'm so sorry.
Well, do you mind if I water my plants? Oh, no, Ma'am, no, not of course not.
Then you'd better follow me.
I always give them vanilla extract on Wednesdays.
They're so crazy about it.
I'd like I'm sure they are.
I'd like to ask you a few questions about Harriet Manners, if I may.
That's funny.
Someone else called about her just a little while ago.
That was me.
Are you by any chance related to Dennis King? That's Queen.
You don't have to answer any of his questions, Grandmother.
Queen, comma, Ellery.
Mystery writer of some renown, born April 2nd, New York City, 1912.
Father, Queen, comma, Richard.
Inspector, New York City Police Department.
Well, you mustn't bother Mr.
He's here to see me.
He's here to find out who killed Henry Manners.
As if the world cared.
Arthur writes for "The Examiner.
" Obituaries.
He's been practicing on mine.
Would you like to see it? That is what you're here about, isn't it? - Henry's death? - Well, I just Look, Grandmother, could you please turn down your baseball game? No.
Bevens just hasn't had his best stuff to date.
It' certainly not the way the Red So x have [Radio volume lowers] Look, Queen, the publisher is dead.
Long live the publisher.
Couldn't we just let it go at that? You didn't like Henry Manners very much, did you? Not very much.
I've been with the paper for seven years, six of them buried in obituaries.
Do you have any idea what it's like writing about dead people every day? Well, sort of, yeah.
Arthur frequently came home terribly depressed, probably because my name didn't cross his desk.
Oh, now, Grandmother The morning Henry Manners was killed, you were in the building, weren't you? Look, Queen I didn't like the old buzzard.
He was not an old buzzard.
But I certainly didn't kill him, either.
Anyway, I have an alibi.
Well, how nice for you, dear.
What sort of alibi do you have? President Truman, I was writing his obituary.
Oh, no, I had no idea.
Oh, his poor wife.
We always update the biographies on celebrities, just in case.
I was at my desk from 7:30 until I heard the news, and I can prove it.
Now, if you'll excuse me.
Van Dyke, if you don't mind, could I get back to Harriet Manners? Well, of course you may, and thank you so much for coming.
No, no, no, no, I mean, it's my understanding that Harriet Manners was conducting a proxy fight to gain control of "The Examiner.
" And she told me that she was here on Tuesday morning to ask you about your votes.
Oh, yes, of course, I I remember talking to her.
On Tuesday morning? Oh, yes, absolutely.
It could have been.
"It could have been"? It could have been the afternoon? It could have been Tuesday.
You don't remember what day it was? Young man, I am one of those persons who remembers only very important things.
Now, give my best to Harriet.
[Radio volume raises] Dave Ferriss comes to bat, with Hal Wagner on first.
I'm telling you I made that paper what it is today.
Then Henry Manners was completely unjustified in forcing you to retire.
Manners didn't retire at 65.
Why should I? But you knew Harriet Manners would keep you on if she were publisher.
She would have needed me.
We've always gotten along.
Harriet's a strong woman, but she needs good people around her.
Oh, if Manners hadn't died, I'd have been forced to retire.
That's true.
But I assure you, Inspector, I had nothing to do with his death.
Now, you say you were in the dispatch office the morning of the murder.
Anybody see you? I told you I get in early.
There's a lot of work to do.
I'm in and out of there constantly.
I can't pay attention if anyone is watching me.
As editor, you could be anywhere and everywhere in that building.
Now, Mr.
Johns, I want to know precisely where you were at 8:00.
Excuse me.
I'm looking for my father, Inspector Queen.
He came down here to question Mr.
Oh, no, no, I believe Mr.
Johns was called to police headquarters.
- He's not back yet.
- Police head Oh, I must have misunderstood.
Thank you.
- Afternoon, Mr.
- Good afternoon.
Oh, sorry.
It's going up.
Isn't it wonderful about Judy? I guess you must have heard.
Hmm? They got married! Judy and Walter, last night in Stamford.
I guess they think two can live as cheap as one.
To tell you the truth, I'm not so sure.
Hmm? So sure about what? - Judy and Walter.
- Oh.
Queen? Well, that's it.
Now, why didn't I think of this before? Probably because it's so simple.
The impossible crime is not only possi I know who killed Henry Manners.
It was somebody knew his rigid work schedule, somebody who knew how to get to him, and still have an alibi.
Now, that's all the information you need.
Oh, don't forget, three buttons were pushed! Inspector, I demand to know what's going on! - Now, what kind of game is this? - Quiet, quiet, please! You'll just have to be patient.
I'm just conducting a few routine checks on certain aspects of the case.
It'll all be over in a few minutes.
Good evening, everyone.
Would you all please get on the elevator? - All of us? - Yes, Ma'am.
If you'll just cooperate, I think I can show you how Henry Manners was killed.
And who killed him, too, huh? That, too.
Miss Manners, would you please press the button for the 12th floor? - Hey, what's going on? - The elevator's going down.
Aah! Henry Manners was shot just like that.
But how? Well, come on.
I'll show you.
The elevator's electrical box is right here on the wall.
Now, all the killer needed to do was to reverse the wires so the elevator would come down instead of going up.
And when the doors opened, the killer shot Manners, changed the wires back the way they should be, and pushed the 12th-floor button.
Now, this part of the basement is just used for storage anyway, so he knew nobody else would be here.
Would you all please get back on the elevator? But your brother didn't die immediately.
Now, from the bloodstains, we know that he was standing back here when he was shot.
But he used the last few moments of his life to crawl over to that control panel to leave us a clue to the killer's identity.
That's right.
Now, it's significant that Manners waited until the elevator had passed the 6th floor before he pushed the 6 and 5 Otherwise, the elevator would have stopped on those floors going up instead of coming down.
He did that so we wouldn't think the numbers were 5 and 6, Well, that's right, Dad, but it's only part of the story.
Actually, 56 is not the clue, and for that matter, neither is 65.
Well, it's got to be one or the other.
No, no, actually, Henry Manners was dead when the elevator reached the 12th floor.
Now, the receptionist couldn't see the body lying over there because all these files and papers were in the way.
She, the receptionist, thought the elevator was empty.
I don't quite understand.
Well, Manners knew the elevator was on the way to 12.
That button had already been pushed.
He was probably wishing there was some way that he could push it again.
Why? Because the message that Manners meant to give us was "12, 6, 5.
" a phone extension or something.
Well, actually, it's an office number.
It's your office number, Mr.
That's ridiculous.
Is it? Who better to know how to reverse an elevator than somebody who studied electrical engineering? You're crazy, Queen.
No, you shot Henry Manners through the open door in the elevator.
Then you rushed up the stairs until you reached Fred, the elevator starter, to casually inquire if Mr.
Manners had arrived yet.
Now, I timed that.
It only takes about 15 seconds.
You know, that should have been a perfect alibi.
Well, why should I kill him? I wasn't afraid of losing my job.
Oh, that's true, but you were afraid of having your reputation ruined, which is exactly what Manners was going to do.
You see, he was going to fire you, then print a retraction and expose you as a fraud.
That's why you killed him.
Hey, get him! Velie, grab him! Grab a shot of the collar, Dave! Attaboy! Nice going, Junior.
There's nothing like a story with a happy ending.
And when Flannigan gets a scoop, that's a happy ending.
Take him down and book him.
No, no! Move in for the close-up! We have a scoop! Kill the first page and replate for an exclusive.
Headline: "McCully charged in 'Examiner' slaying.
" Leadoff: "At about 7:00 p.
, nationally known columnist Mitchell McCully was charged with the murder of publisher Henry Manners.
Inspector Richard Queen made the arrest based on the evidence" Hold that elevator! "by his son," um - Ellery.
- "Ellery.
" Check the spelling later.