Ellery Queen (1975) s01e09 Episode Script

43601 - The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party

In a few minutes, Spencer Lockridge will disappear.
One of these people is responsible.
Was it the Dormouse? Spencer's gone! Alice in Wonderland? It's all my fault.
The public relations man? He's got to be killed.
The March Hare? Pardon my paw.
The mother-in-law? Ridiculous, Mr.
Queen.
Or was it someone else? Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess who done it.
Now, you listen, and listen carefully.
I refuse to let anything spoil my nephew's weekend, but I'm only going to put up with so much.
So you decide what you really want what's really important or I'll decide for you.
Now, is that perfectly clear? He's got to be killed.
There's no other way.
And I'm telling you, it just won't work.
Now, look here, Ellery.
- No, you look, Mr.
Biggers.
- Howard.
Howard.
In the first place, I don't want to kill him.
There's no reason to kill him.
He's in the way.
You said so yourself.
Next stop Douglaston, sir.
I never said that.
You said that.
Now, if we have to kill anybody, let's kill the stripteaser from Texas.
Yes? [Stuttering] Coming into Douglaston, sir.
Excuse me.
Young man! Hey, I'm over here! I could be home now soaking in a hot tub.
Welcome to show biz, EII.
- Ellery.
- Yeah.
- Where to, gentlemen? - Greenhaven.
Oh, yes.
The old Hauser place, up on the hill.
Didn't know the new owners lived there yet.
HOWARD: You know now.
Look, Mr.
Biggers Howard if Mr.
Lockridge is so interested in turning my book into a Broadway stage play, why is he changing it? Well, you have to change it.
It's part of the creative process.
Relax, Ellery.
You're gonna have a nice weekend, just as soon as the party's over.
Party? What party? For Johnny Mr.
Lockridge's nephew, you know.
Putting on a little show first thing in the morning.
Didn't I tell you? No.
No.
[Thunder rumbles] Howard Biggers and Mr.
Ellery Queen.
Mr.
Lockridge was worried about you.
The rain, you understand.
Oh, thank you, uh Doyle, sir.
Doyle, where's the bar? They are in the library, sir.
They couldn't start rehearsing till the boy was up in the bed.
And Mr.
Gardner couldn't find his ears.
Ears? He's a rabbit.
Uh, what are you talking about? PAUL: Take some more tea? EMMY: I've had nothing yet, so I can't have more.
You mean, you can't take less.
It's very easy to take more than nothing.
Sounds like the Mad Tea Party from "Alice in Wonderland.
" You hit the bull's-eye, EII.
Nobody asked your opinion.
Aha! Who's making personal remarks now? Why did they live at the bottom of a well? Ellery! Ellery, where the devil have you been? We were worried about you.
We missed the 8:05, sir.
My fault.
I got the right track, but we were on the Pennsy side, not the Long Island.
I did the same thing myself last week, only I was trying to get to New Haven.
Ray Bolger is trying out some sort of musical version of "Charley's Aunt.
" This is Broadway's favorite ingenue Miss Emmy Reinhardt.
It's all my fault you're here, you know.
When Spencer told me "The Adventure of the Alabaster Apple" was going to be put on the stage, well, I just knew I had to play Roberta.
Well, I Time enough to plead your case later, Emmy, darling.
And this is my wife, Laura.
Charming, little rat, isn't she? You make a terrific Dormouse, Mrs.
Lockridge.
[Laughs] Thank you.
I don't make a bad doormat, either, Mr.
Queen.
Oh, now, now, now, Laura.
You'll give Mr.
Queen the wrong impression.
- Welcome.
- Thank you.
And our elegant March Hare Mr.
Paul Gardner.
Pardon my paw.
Paul Gardner the architect? Oh, how very nice that you know who I am, Mr.
Queen.
My critics wish I had taken up another profession.
Please.
I want to introduce you to Diana.
Diana.
This is my wife.
Mr.
Queen.
It's a pleasure, Mr.
Queen.
I love your books.
Why, thank you very much.
- Drinks all around.
- I'll fix them right away, sir.
Yes, do that, Howard.
The usual for everyone.
And for you, Mr.
Queen? Uh, nothing, thanks.
I had a couple in the club car.
This is Laura's mother Mrs.
Letitia Allingham.
How do you do? I do exceedingly well, much to my son-in-law's relief, Mr.
Queen.
I'm invited to his house from time to time invariably when Spencer needs money for a new play.
It keeps the losses within the family.
Mother, Mr.
Queen's a guest.
I do hope that your play is better constructed than this house, Mr.
Queen.
You see here a monument to Mr.
Gardner's ability to turn mighty oaks into toothpicks.
Ah, yes, but this one I merely renovated.
Yes, and for what it cost me, I could have built San Simeon.
Shall we go into the living room and have some drinks? There's a fire going.
How charming, Laura.
I'm sorry for my rather bizarre appearance, Ellery, but it's my nephew Johnny's birthday tomorrow, and we thought we would give him a little show.
Yes, so Howard was telling me.
Oh, by the way, we got a socko first act curtain for the play, Mr.
Lockridge.
Mr.
Lockridge, if you liked my book Well, I wouldn't have put up Well, that's my point.
I'm not so sure I want "The Alabaster Apple" alabasterized.
Alaba Oh.
Oh.
I get it.
[Laughing] That's the play.
Now, listen, Ellery, we're not gonna do anything to hurt your story.
I promise you that.
And Emmy Reinhardt just loves the part.
Well, that's another thing.
My heroine, Roberta, is a sophisticated, raven-haired beauty.
Sorry, Ellery.
I promised Emmy the part.
So if you don't want her, you're gonna have to tell her yourself.
Gentlemen, the ladies are waiting.
And the rabbit.
- Howard.
- Yes, sir.
Ellery We'll join you in a moment.
Bonne chance, mon amie.
I hope Spencer hasn't been telling you terrible tales about me.
I do want you to like me.
Oh, I'm sure I will.
Do you think we could spend an hour or two discussing the script when the others have gone off to bed? Well, I'm rather tired.
Oh, my goodness.
You don't have a wife, do you? - No.
- Oh, no.
No, of course you don't.
I'm psychic, you know, and I can tell.
[Thunder rumbles] Stop where you are.
Oh, Mr.
Queen.
My apologies, sir.
I thought it was an intruder.
Obviously.
Oh, Mr.
Lockridge feels this gun is necessary.
I was just going to the library to get a book.
Excuse me.
- Lf that will be all, sir - Huh? Oh, sure.
See you in the morning.
[Creaking] - Doyle? - Spencer, is that you? It's Ellery Queen.
Queen.
I thought I heard someone down here.
I couldn't sleep, so I thought I'd get something to read.
Oh.
They say once you start it, you can't put it down.
What's going on? EMMY: What are you doing? It's past 2:00.
Queen is taking "Amber" to bed with him.
He can't sleep.
Well, my goodness, Ellery, I thought you were exhausted.
Well, I Overtired, probably.
You poor thing.
Well, good night.
- Good night.
- Good night.
- Good night.
- Good night.
[Knocking on door] JOHNNY: Mr.
Queen? Mr.
Queen? Mr.
Queen? Oh.
What is it? Mr.
Queen, you better get downstairs right away.
What's the matter? It's Uncle Spencer.
He took a powder.
What? Gone-a-roonie, Mr.
Queen.
He's disappeared.
Oh, blast! The phone still isn't working.
The line must still be down.
Obviously.
Laura.
Come on.
You need it.
What do you think? You think he got snatched? I don't think anything.
I just got out of bed.
How come nobody ever gets snatched in your books? - You've read them? - One or two.
They're not so hot.
Oh, Ellery, I'm sorry to have wakened you.
That's all right, Mrs.
Lockridge.
What's the trouble? Well, Spencer's gone.
That's all just gone.
His clothes, Laura.
Tell him about his clothes.
Yes.
The clothes that he was wearing before rehearsal well, they're still there.
And his bed hasn't been slept in, and nothing fits.
What my daughter is trying to tell you, Mr.
Queen, is that wherever dear Spencer is, he's parading around in that dreadful costume.
Still dressed as the Mad Hatter? - Precisely.
- Yes.
Oh, darling, I'm terribly sorry that we're not gonna have a party.
Boy, if he walked away, he's drowned by now.
It's a sea of mud out there.
What about the cars? Both of them are still there Spencer's and mine.
Maybe he took a cab.
He couldn't.
The line was out.
It went out last night before you arrived.
In fact, we just checked it again.
It's still out.
Screwy, huh, Mr.
Queen? Johnny, go in and eat your breakfast.
- Oh, go ahead.
- Oh, but Come on.
You can take your presents with you.
- There we are.
- That's a boy.
Tell Doyle to fix you some eggs and bacon.
I hate eggs and bacon.
All right.
Go along now.
Do as I say.
Now, let me get this straight.
Spencer Lockridge is still wearing his Mad Hatter outfit, and, as you said, it's unlikely that he's walking around in the rain, and he didn't drive.
- Where's Miss Reinhardt? - Oh, she's still in bed.
L-I looked.
Maybe someone should wake the dear thing up.
Oh, I'll do it.
What do you think we ought to do, Queen? The usual thing in cases like this, we'll search the house.
We'll all fan out.
We'll meet back here.
But what precisely are we looking for? Good question, Mrs.
Lockridge.
I wish I knew.
Perhaps you should drive to town and notify the police, Mr.
Biggers.
Well, what'll I tell them? That the old boy I mean Mr.
Lockridge went downtown to play a joke on the local yokels? And if he did, I'm sure he wouldn't want me to call the coppers.
All right.
We have to search then.
I'll take the basement.
Don't tell me.
Spencer's hiding behind the clock.
Ellery, if you ask me, it's all a joke.
Spencer loves jokes.
Howard's killed seven people since Mother's Day.
Huh? You were listening.
Somebody moved the clock.
Moved the clock? Are you sure? I'm sure about one thing.
Early this morning, about 2:00, I came down to the library to get a book.
Now, in the dark, I mistakenly opened the door to the den.
Now, remember, it was pitch-dark.
When I looked in, I realized almost immediately that I wasn't in the library, because if I had been, I would have seen the lighted fish tank.
The fact is I saw nothing.
I don't get your drift, Queen.
Well, I should have seen the clock.
There's a tall mirror across the room, and facing it is a clock with radium numbers that glow in the dark.
But I couldn't see that clock.
But why would anyone move it? Maybe they didn't.
Come, come, Mr.
Queen.
The point, please.
Well, suppose there was an intruder in the room, and he heard me coming.
So he unscrewed the overhead light fixture so that the light wouldn't go on.
Then he froze in the darkness, blocking the mirror so that I couldn't see the reflection.
I see what you mean.
It wasn't you I heard downstairs last night.
- It was someone else.
- Could be.
Maybe it was Spencer.
If you ask me, I think we should call the police.
But we can't.
The phone is still out.
I'm gonna try it again.
One of us could drive to town.
I'm afraid there's another very rational explanation that we haven't explored.
- Kidnapping.
- How bizarre.
I get your point.
That would explain why Spencer's still wearing that silly costume.
Mr.
Queen, the phone seems to be working.
Kidnapping? Listen, all bets are off.
I'm gonna call the police.
- No, please.
- Oh, Laura.
I'm sorry I shouted.
It's just that Well, if Ellery's right, perhaps the kidnappers will contact us.
Well, they might have already tried but couldn't get through.
Isn't that the usual thing you're told in these cases "Don't call the police"? There's the distinct possibility that it might endanger Spencer's life.
Oh, then, by all means, let's call the police immediately, Mr.
Queen.
Oh, Mother.
No, Laura's right.
We should hold off.
Well, what do you suggest, Queen? Well, it seems to me there are three alternatives.
Spencer has wandered off, in which case the police aren't necessary.
Or he's been kidnapped, and they're not wanted at least not right away.
Let's wait and see if they try to contact us.
Mr.
Queen, you mentioned three alternatives.
Yes, there's always the possibility that Spencer Lockridge is already dead.
The man is wearing what?! Dad, keep your voice down.
Why are you whispering? Is someone listening in? - Ellery, look.
- Dad, I haven't got time.
Spencer Lockridge is missing.
I know.
I know.
You told me running about the country like an escapee from a Halloween party.
Dad, I don't think he's running around anywhere, but on the odd chance that he is You want me to put out a three-state alarm for a man wearing a gray top hat, a green frock coat, and Ellery, is he armed and dangerous, too? Just do it, will you? And, listen, Dad, it's all unofficial.
I'll fill you in later.
What? Okay, okay.
It's one I owe you.
Right.
Good-bye.
- Was that them? - That who? The guys who put the snatch on Uncle Spencer.
No.
- I'll tell you who did it.
- Oh? - Aunt Laura.
- How do you figure that, Johnny? Well, simple.
She hires two mugs to drag him out of here.
They send the ransom note.
She pays it, so that's how the mugs get their mazuma.
Then they bump off Uncle Spencer.
Why? So she inherits all his dough and maybe gets Mr.
Bow Tie in on the bargain.
Mr You mean Mr.
Gardner and Mrs.
Lockridge were Now you're cooking with gas.
Anyway, there's your case.
Let me know if you need any more help.
LAURA: Paul, I just don't understand.
What on earth is he up to? It makes perfect sense to me.
Spencer's off somewhere, sulking.
You saw the way he reacted when you told him about us.
I didn't have to tell him.
He already knew.
Laura, darling, he doesn't love you anymore.
And Diana and I came to the fork in the road years ago.
So why keep up the charade? - No, Paul, not now.
- Why not now? - Please.
- Why not now? - Well, at least wait.
- Until what? Oh, excuse me.
I didn't mean to intrude.
Oh, you didn't.
I have to go in.
I have to see about dinner.
Excuse me.
Forgive Laura, Queen.
She makes a very inept sophisticate.
Our relationship is not exactly a secret.
I'm sure someone's already told you that.
Yes, yes, yes.
And I can imagine who.
Diana is Well, she has such a feline way of keeping my affairs in order.
Excuse me.
I love the way you frown.
You're thinking, right? Or maybe it was that awful lunch.
You are worried about Spencer, aren't you? Uh-huh.
Me too.
- It's not like him.
- How's that? Well, he didn't just walk off.
I can tell you that.
Spencer's not a brave man.
He has a terrible fear of kidnapping or robbery or whatever.
That's why he always surrounds himself with people, like this weekend for instance.
He is positive someday he'll be shot by intruders after his money.
- Hasn't he heard of banks? - Oh, he doesn't trust banks.
Why not? Well, he lost everything in '34, you know.
Oh, it's a positive mania with him.
Excuse me.
Well, I'm sorry I'm such terrible company.
Ellery! Ohh! I'm afraid I can't stand it much longer, Mother.
This is the most dreadful day I've ever spent.
But it's so charming, Laura.
None of Spencer's shouting, his bullying.
If Spencer was kidnapped, his abductors would have contacted us by now.
What do you think, Ellery? I think we should wait till tomorrow.
Tomorrow? Suppose they found him dead somewhere, and here we are, all sitting on our keisters.
Oh, excuse me, ladies.
It's theatrical.
It's hardly necessary.
Well, Mr.
Biggers' point is well taken for a change.
If the object were murder, why not just kill him and be done with it? Well, leaving just a handful of suspects wouldn't be very smart, would it? Look, Ellery, maybe the rest of us have ideas about what has happened here.
Oh, come on, Howard.
You haven't had an original idea since Spencer locked a collar on you.
Now, wait a sec.
I wouldn't be surprised if you were responsible.
We all know you hate him, and we all know the way he treats you.
Well, he hasn't treated you much better.
How about that phony seven-year contract and that picture part you had to turn down last month? Emmy, is that true? It was a dreadful part with no lines.
Some deaf and dumb farm girl who gets forcibly compromised.
Well, they gave it to Jane Wyman.
I didn't want to play it, anyway.
[Clock dings] Well, Ellery, I just can't wait any longer.
I think the police should be notified and now.
I think she's right.
Laura? Laura! - What is it? - My gosh! She's been poisoned! - What? - Laura.
[Clock dings] Ellery! There you are.
Ellery, what happened last night? Somebody put some knockout drops in the coffee.
- Probably phenobarbital.
- But who? Would you wake them up, make some fresh coffee, and try to get them on their feet? Ellery, what is it? What Where are you going? Outside to look around.
I can see you're going out to look around.
Well, wear your rubbers.
Hey, what happened? Somebody slip some dope into the java? Uh, looks like.
Speaking of dopes, what are you doing out here? Do you think the guy who did it is hiding in the woods? Shouldn't you be eating breakfast or something? You know, I think you're in big trouble, Ellery.
I mean, who are you gonna pin this on? We don't have a butler.
What about Doyle? Him? He's not really a butler.
- He's a bodyguard.
- Oh? He used to work for the Pinkertons.
Gee, anybody can tell that.
For a detective, you're not very smart.
Hey, what are you doing? You're the detective.
You tell me.
Oh, no, you don't.
I quite agree.
I've had enough of this.
- Paul, I want to get out of here.
- I want to get to the bottom of this.
Oh, I think we all do.
This is impossible.
So it seems.
Queen, where have you been? I have a terrible headache, and I don't understand any of this.
Well, one thing's easy enough to understand, Mrs.
Lockridge.
With the exception of Johnny, we were all drugged last night.
Mickey Finn? Phenobarbital.
I found this empty bottle in the upstairs bedroom.
Johnny was asleep in his room.
Surely you don't suspect him.
It's tempting, but, no, I don't.
But you do believe that someone in the house was responsible? Maybe.
Doyle? Not Doyle.
Then one of us? Well, how? We were all drugged.
Ellery, I'm frightened.
Oh, I don't think any of us is in any danger.
If we were, the person responsible could have acted last night when we were all helpless.
And the fact that he or she didn't proves to me that we're safe enough.
Well, then what would you suggest, Mr.
Queen, more waiting? At least until noon.
And if Spencer Lockridge or his abductors have not contacted us by then, I'll notify the local authorities myself.
Well, that's good enough for me.
- Breakfast is ready, Mrs.
Lockridge.
- Oh, thank you, Doyle.
Yes, everybody, let's try to eat something.
Yes, yes.
I must say, I - Excuse me, Mrs.
Lockridge.
- Yes, Ellery? I wanted to ask you where do you keep your valuables? Oh? Do you mean, was anything stolen? Ye Well, you know.
Hardly, Ellery.
We just barely moved in, and most of our valuables are in storage.
But didn't Emmy say I believe she said that your husband is afraid of banks.
Oh, yes, he is, and he isn't the least bit happy about keeping everything in the bank vault, but, well, I'm afraid he has to, temporarily at least until his infernal safe arrives.
Safe? It sounds like a terrible eyesore.
Solid steel and dingy gray custom-made, and it's costing a fortune.
Approximately 36 inches wide, say, 15 inches deep, and maybe 40 inches high? Yes, but how did you know? Where was he going to keep it? Oh, I haven't the foggiest idea.
I just can't picture it sitting in any room in this house.
I see.
Thank you.
Thank you, Mrs.
Lockridge.
Mm.
Nobody saw him? A man running around in a top hat and a frock coat, and nobody saw him? What time did this report come in, Grace? About 20 minutes ago.
A fine way to spend a Sunday.
Mad Hatter.
Sorry to drag you in like this, Grace.
Oh, that's all right, Inspector.
Get me Sergeant Velie.
He's on duty today.
I'm not sure where he is.
- He logged out about 8:30.
- Logged out where? He didn't say.
Something wrong, Inspector? Get me Lieutenant Carr, Yes, sir.
And what do you think happened to him, Doyle? I really couldn't say, sir.
Well, he's your responsibility, isn't he? I don't follow you.
Don't you? EMMY: There you are.
Ellery, what on earth have you been doing this morning? You've been up and down the stairs and in and out of the house.
Well, I guess I hate just waiting around.
Well, you won't have to wait much longer.
Spencer wasn't kidnapped, was he? Mnh-mnh.
Is he dead? [Doorbell rings] That couldn't be Spencer.
I'm sure he'd have his own key.
- Diana, what is it? - Some sort of package.
- It's addressed to Laura.
- To me? Maybe it's from the kidnappers.
These are Spencer's.
You mean the ones he was wearing last night? No.
These were in the closet this morning.
I I distinctly remember.
Laura, what's this about Spencer's shoes? I don't know, Paul.
These were left on the porch.
[Knocking on door] - What was that? - Someone's at the rear door.
The rear door.
MRS.
ALLINGHAM: Laura? What is it? What's happening? I don't know, Mother.
I was sleeping.
I thought I heard the door chime.
Yes.
Someone someone left a package.
This was sitting on the stoop.
Something strange is going on here, Ellery.
- Really? - Oh, it has my name on it.
Oh.
What does it mean? Wait a sec.
I gave those to Johnny for Christmas.
They were upstairs in his room.
Johnny where is that boy? Well, if you think Johnny left those boats out here, Laura, you're mistaken.
He's been in his room all morning.
Ellery, what is it? Is it some kind of message? I'm not sure.
What puzzles me is both the boats and shoes come from inside the house, but they were found outside.
It seems that one of us One of us is playing some sort of bizarre joke, and I, for one, find it distinctly unfunny.
Maybe we should search the house.
There might be something else missing.
That's a good idea.
Ellery, can I go with you? Mrs.
Lockridge? Oh, yes.
Yes, of course.
I'II, uh I'll search the closets again.
Uh, I'll check the basement.
- Anyone care to join me? - I'll take the guest bedroom.
- Oh, you go.
- Yeah.
Maybe we better ask Doyle to guard.
Ellery, look.
It's for you, Mrs.
Allingham.
The ransom note? I wouldn't be surprised, my dear.
After all, it's been my money that Spencer's been tossing away on those dreadful plays of his.
What is it? It's, uh It's nothing.
The envelope is empty.
Empty? Empty.
- May I see that, please? - Sure.
Why, that's my stationery.
I bought it in town, just to tide me over until they delivered my new personalized stationery with this address.
And the wax, too.
I just use it to give my letters a touch of color.
Mrs.
Lockridge, where do you keep the wax and the stationery? Oh, in the writing desk in the living room.
I'll show you.
Oh.
It was here this morning.
I I swear.
All right.
I've had about enough of this.
One of us one of us here has a very grotesque sense of humor.
Ellery, it's past noon, and I do think that we should call the police.
Oh, that won't be necessary, Mrs.
Lockridge.
Since we're still within the city limits of New York, I called my father earlier this morning unofficially, of course.
He's just arrived.
[Doorbell rings] Mrs.
Lockridge? Yes, she's inside.
Please come in.
I'm Laura Lockridge.
Lieutenant Carr, Ma'am.
This is Inspector Richard Queen, Manhattan South.
Thank you for coming, Inspector.
- Dad.
- Ellery.
What's going on? Sunday morning, I'm dragged out of bed.
It's all right, Dad.
I'll explain.
Hold it.
Hold it.
- Oh, dear! It's something else! - Now what? - Mr.
Paul Gardner.
- Me? Yes.
Cabbages? Cabbages? What's going on around here? Why don't we all go into the library, and I'll try to explain.
EMMY: Ellery? We found Johnny's sailboats out back.
And a few minutes later, the empty envelop slipped under the front door.
And the last and hopefully final communication was the basket of cabbages on the front stoop, which were left apparently just after you arrived.
- And that's it? - That's it, yeah.
It seems like we're dealing with some sort of lunatic.
- Oh, I'm used to that.
- Huh? Oh, no, sir, I didn't mean your son.
No, if you ask me, I think Mr.
Lockridge is behind it all.
You know these theater people.
Crackpots the lot of them.
I beg your pardon.
Lieutenant, my husband has disappeared.
He could be dead or held for ransom or heaven knows what.
Well, maybe the old boy's running about the countryside.
Ellery, what are you up to? Dad, you'll see.
And where's Sergeant Velie? He logged out Headquarters at 8:45 this morning.
Hasn't been heard from since.
Dad, come on.
Come on.
You trust me, don't you? No.
Aah! Oh! - Who's Diana Gardner? - I am.
- Paul, what's going on? - Easy, Diana.
Open it up, Inspector.
Perhaps it's an old grand piano somebody's trying to get rid of.
Chessmen.
What's that supposed to mean? I don't play chess.
But you do, Mr.
Gardner.
And you probably eat cabbage, Mr.
Biggers, so what does that prove? Oh, Howard, Paul, stop it! Stop it! All right, everybody.
Simmer down now.
Simmer down.
[All yelling simultaneously] - Ellery.
- No.
What are you doing? I'm just setting up some chairs for a little performance.
- Then you know what happened? - Yeah.
Is is Spencer Spencer's dead.
Oh, no.
Oh.
He he wasn't a bad man.
He really wasn't.
He gave me a chance when no one else would.
You're gonna have to pretend I didn't tell you anything at all.
All right? I'll try.
Now, I want you to ask the others to come in.
Okay.
Well, there it is.
You've just found out something that I've known since late yesterday that Spencer Lockridge is dead and that one of the people in the library killed him.
But how and why and when? And, I guess, more to the point, who? Now, the key to the solution involves a clock that wasn't there.
Or if it was, why didn't I see it's reflection in the mirror? You got the answer? Let's find out.
The problem is we're dealing with a number of mysteries.
But I think we're all agreed that the main issue is what happened to Spencer Lockridge.
And in that regard, Mrs.
Lockridge I'm sorry to have to tell you Spencer is dead.
I'm afraid so.
- Oh, no.
- Spencer's dead? Please.
Please.
Please.
You all right, Mrs.
Lockridge? Yes, it's all right, Ellery.
Go on.
The problem right from the start was the clock the clock that wasn't there but should have been, the clock with a face that disappeared like the Cheshire Cat.
At first, I thought the clock had been temporarily removed, or else I would have seen this reflection in the mirror.
A pretty good theory, but it's not the only one.
Now now, wait a second, Ellery.
How about the intruder? You said he blocked out the reflection in the dark.
Another theory but a lot shakier.
You see, he would have had to be about 7 feet tall, which leads us to the only possible other alternative.
The clock was still in place, but the mirror wasn't.
An 8-foot-high mirror built into the wall was moved? Ridiculous, Mr.
Queen.
Not really.
Because we also have to deal with the problem of the packages.
They kept popping up all morning like dandelions.
Now, it occurred to me that somebody was trying to draw our attention to the secret of the crime.
First, a pair of black patent-leather shoes, addressed, I believe, to Mrs.
Lockridge.
And for Emmy Reinhardt, a set of sailboats replicas of the fabled Yankee clippers.
Not boats, really more like ships.
Mr.
Queen, please get on with this.
If Spencer is dead, why waste time with this absurd charade? Next came an empty envelope.
Now, what clue could that possibly contain? But there it was for all to see bright and blue.
- The wax! - The sealing wax.
All right.
What do we have so far? Shoes and ships and sealing wax.
As a fan of Mr.
Lewis Carroll, Miss Reinhardt, perhaps you'd care to continue, bearing in mind that the last clue the package that came crashing through the window contained a set of chessmen, specifically the black and white kings.
Of course! "'The time has come,' the Walrus said, 'to speak of many things of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings.
"' It's from "Alice in Wonderland.
" Not quite.
Actually, it's from Carroll's other book "Through the Looking-Glass.
" And to complete the title "Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
" Exactly.
Exactly.
Oh! He can't be here! He can't be here! I buried him! I tell you, I buried him! Paul! I buried him under the south gate! How could you? Here's the body.
Damn it! He's under the south gate! Thanks for telling us where, Mr.
Gardner.
Velie - How'd I do, Maestro? - Perfect.
Just perfect.
Then you knew all along Spencer was dead.
No, not all along.
It wasn't until Saturday afternoon that it hit me.
- You and I were talking, remember? - Mm-hmm.
I looked at the sundial.
The sundial reminded me of the clock.
The clock reminded me of the mirror.
As soon as I realized the mirror had not been there, I knew it was movable.
It took me about a half-hour to find out how it opened.
Of course, I couldn't tell anyone.
Not even me.
Someday, Son, remind me to recite you the laws regarding withholding of evidence.
Dad, I didn't have any evidence, even though I realized very quickly who the killer was.
How did you know? The place where the body was hidden it was built behind that mirror to make room for a custom-made safe.
Now, Paul, as the architect, would know.
Spencer Lockridge obviously knew.
But who else? Mrs.
Allingham wouldn't know where the safe was gonna be kept.
And Doyle wouldn't know because he was holding a gun on me when the killer was in the den.
It had to be Paul Gardner the man who renovated the house, the man who actually built the secret room.
I've got a question, Ellery.
What about the drugging of the coffee? Oh, that's simple, Dad.
Here's what happened.
Just after Paul killed Spencer he's admitted they fought about Paul's attentions to Laura he was in the den, hiding the body, when he heard me coming.
The mirror was out of place.
He unscrewed the bulb and froze in the darkness.
I didn't realize he was there.
When I came out of the library with the book, he had hidden the body and was halfway up the stairs.
He covered his presence by pretending to be coming down the stairs, having heard a noise.
The mirror was only a temporary hiding place for the body.
Remember, it was pouring rain, and Doyle was still up and around.
He couldn't take the body outside without getting soaking wet and possibly giving himself away.
The next night, he drugged the coffee and put everyone to sleep except himself, of course.
As soon as I came to, I went to the den and looked behind the mirror.
And, of course, by now the body was missing.
I looked around outside to see if I could find the burial spot, but I struck out.
After that, it was just a game of nerves to get Paul Gardner to reveal himself, to make him tell us where he had buried Spencer Lockridge's corpse.
Then you were responsible for the packages the sailboats and the cabbages.
And Velie delivered them.
By the way, how did you ever get Velie to dress up in that Mad Hatter outfit? All tickets, please.
Didn't you know, Dad? He played Captain Hook in his high-school play.
Tickets.
Anyway, it was a fascinating murder, not as ingenious as the barefoot blonde I had killed off in the basement of the Roxy.
Now, that was a murder.
Uh, don't you want to punch my ticket?