Ellery Queen (1975) s01e12 Episode Script

43605 - The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument

In a few minutes, this famous mystery writer will be dead.
Who killed him? Was it his mistress? He was dead already.
The sore loser? Come on, You hated Manning.
Admit it.
The distinguished publisher? Oh, that insignificant toad.
The ambitious ex-wife? I was home in bed.
The underpaid research assistant? Murder? What murder? The loyal secretary? We drank to Edgar's death.
Or was it someone else? Match wits with Ellery Queen and see if you can guess who done it.
And now, fellow connoisseurs of the gentle art of murder, once again it's time to present the coveted Blunt Instrument Award to the author who has written the best mystery novel of the year.
May I have the envelope, please? Thank you.
And the winner is, for "The Shanghai Solution," Edgar Manning! [Applause] Well since I shall probably never win the Nobel Prize for Literature, I suppose I should be grateful for this.
In return for the honor, may I congratulate all of you on your sagacity and intrinsic good taste in your choice of book and author.
[Audience laughs] Thank you.
[Steam hissing] [Phone ringing] Hello? Ellery, Edgar Manning.
I'm having a small celebration at my house, and you're missing all the fun.
I've got a miserable cold Oh, congratulations, Edgar.
I just heard the news.
But it doesn't make up for my keen disappointment over the fact that my only real competitor for the award wasn't there for my triumph.
I would have loved to have seen your look of pained surprise when my name was announced.
Actually, Edgar, you would have been disappointed.
I'd have been smiling.
You see, I voted for you, too.
Really? I was under the distinct impression that you didn't care for my work.
I think "The Shanghai Solution" is far and away the best thing you've ever written.
[Sneezing] Excuse me.
You sound awful.
Just as well you're not here.
The last thing I need is a pack of germs.
What the devil do you want? What, Edgar? Oh, no.
I wasn't talking to you, Ellery.
It' some rash person who insists on balancing the books.
Ooh! Hello? Edgar? What's the matter with the phone? It just went dead.
That's funny.
Try this.
Guaranteed to kill every germ in your body.
What is it? Arsenic! What do you care what it is? It's good for what ails you.
I better call Edgar back.
Drink this first.
Dad, I've had your home remedies before, and I'd really rather have the cold.
It's just tea.
It needs more gin.
[Phone ringing] Manning residence.
Hello, Mary? This is Ellery, I was just talking to Edgar.
We got disconnected.
Oh, Ellery, it's dreadful.
Get the police.
Please get the police.
Mary? Come over, Ellery.
Come over right away.
What? What happened? Mary, don't touch anything.
I'll be right over.
Oh, no, you don't.
You're not going anywhere but straight to bed.
Dad, Edgar Manning was just murdered while I was talking to him on the phone.
Well, wear something warm.
There's a chill in the air.
He was hit with that hammer.
It's got blood on it.
The Blunt Instrument.
I know it's a blunt instrument! No, the Blunt Instrument, Dad.
It's a mystery-writer's award.
All yours, Inspector.
What do you think, Rosie? It looks like he was hit high on the back of the head.
Oh, dandy.
I'll try and have a complete report sometime tomorrow.
[Sneezing] Bless you.
You ought to try a poultice for that cold, Ellery.
A what? A plaster for your chest.
It's made with menthol, mustard, wintergreen, and chicken fat.
Then what? Stay home.
Why? Who's gonna want you around smelling like that? Oh.
Inspector, Manning's secretary says she wants to talk to you now.
Send her in.
Hello, Mary.
How are you feeling now? Better.
It's such a shock to all of us.
Please, sit down.
Thank you.
I'm still shaking.
What happened tonight, Miss Parks? Well, I don't know, Inspector, except that Edgar was killed.
No, before that, after the awards dinner.
Oh, Edgar had invited some people over to celebrate.
He had planned it in advance.
His ego wouldn't let him believe he wouldn't win.
It was a small gathering.
Edgar didn't have many friends.
There was George Tisdale, Edgar's publisher, and me, Edgar's secretary, and Mateo, his houseboy.
He didn't live in, by the way.
Edgar was fond of his privacy.
Cliff Waddell, Edgar's research assistant He was here when we arrived.
He didn't go to the awards dinner.
Magda Szomony, the actress and more than a very good friend of Edgar's.
Nick Mc Vey, He writes all those tough-guy detective stories.
And Edgar Manning.
Now, that is a very classy-Iooking hunk of hardware.
Do I detect a note of envy? A little.
If they had counted sales, I would have won that award quite easily.
For "How Deadly is My Gun?" Really, Nicholas.
- Well, I thought it was a lovely book.
- Thank you.
It was sordid piece of pulp.
Perhaps, but it's outselling your "Shanghai Solution" 4 to 1.
Isn't that right, Mr.
Tisdale? I'm sorry.
I didn't hear the question.
We were discussing the relative merits of my classic mystery novel and his thinly disguised pornography.
Edgar! If there's anything worse than a sore loser, it's a sore winner.
Magda, my love, God has been generous to you.
Don't spoil it by trying to be clever.
I would like to propose a toast, if I may, to the author of that wonderful book, that fine book, that prize-winning book "The Shanghai Solution.
" I'll drink to that.
This award should have a healthy increase in bookstore sales.
Now, why do publishers always put a price tag on a piece of art? Since when have you been bothered by price tags? Oh! Leaving our charmed circle, Mary? Mary, come here.
You're out of line, buddy.
Must you talk the way you write? Now, if my esteemed research assistant will repeat his toast to me.
That's funny.
I don't remember toasting to you.
But I will, if you insist.
I insist.
All right.
To Edgar Manning, may he soon drop dead.
Oh! Oh, my poor darling! You heard the toast.
- Oh, Edgar, please.
- Drink, all of you! I know it's a sentiment you all share.
Okay, pal, if you insist.
You bet.
And so, heaven help us, we drank to Edgar's death.
You may go now, Mateo.
Very well, Mr.
Good night.
Amuse yourselves, children.
I'm going to make a phone call.
When I return, we'll play a delightful, new parlor game.
I'll tell you about my new book, in which some of you appear.
It should be fun matching the fictional identities with the real.
You're joking.
Aren't you, darling? No, precious, I'm not joking.
That was the last time I ever saw Edgar alive.
I'm sorry.
It's okay, Mary.
You can go now.
Okay, Dad? Yeah.
Velie, what happened to the others? They're still waiting in the living room, except that houseboy and Waddell.
Pick them up.
Bring them in for questioning.
Yes, sir.
This is where Edgar was sitting when he talked to me on the phone, alive, victorious, and if I know Edgar Manning, feeling very superior.
He was sipping what was probably a very old, very expensive cognac.
So? This is where he was killed.
That's right.
Then how did his glass get over here? Ask me anything you want to know, Inspector.
I always had a warm spot in my heart for policemen.
Why, thank you, Miss So-zo-mony.
Oh, no, no.
It's "Szomony," with a soft "S.
" [Sneezing] Oh, you should wear a necklace made out of garlic cloves.
It's a good, old Hungarian remedy.
Tell me, Miss Szomony, when Manning said that he was going to tell you about the characters in his book, how did you feel about that? Well, I don't really know what you mean? He wants to know if you felt jumpy? No, no.
I laughed.
I thought it was a huge joke.
Didn't I laugh, George? Well, yes, you did laugh.
Now, after Manning went into his study, where did you go? Well, I went to the powder room to freshen up a bit.
Alone? Oh, really, Inspector.
Mc Vey, where were you? I was on the terrace, Inspector, taking a breather.
Can you get in the study from there? I really couldn't say, sir.
I've never been in the building before.
Anyone see you on the terrace? I did, Inspector.
I brought him some coffee.
We were together the whole time.
I'm afraid I was the only one left in this room, not that I need an alibi.
I had no reason to kill Manning, for heaven's sake.
Oh, I know one.
It seems that Edgar was gonna ditch you for Camellia.
- That's a lie.
- Camellia? Camellia Justice, Dad.
It's book-publishing company the House of Libra.
And Georgie's ex.
Who used my divorce settlement to go into competition with me.
I take it she wasn't here tonight.
Edgar wasn't that insensitive.
We'll see if the lady agrees that Mr.
Tisdale had no reason to kill Mr.
Very well, If you want to take her word against mine, fine.
Not at all.
Just seeking confirmation.
Now, let's get on with it.
The body was discovered by Miss Szomony.
But Edgar was taking so long, I wondered what happened to him.
So I went in to see.
I wish I hadn't.
Well, everyone's whereabouts seems to be accounted for, except the houseboy.
And Waddell.
Oh, Ellery, Cliff had left the room already before Edgar went into his study.
Did you see him leave? I head the door slam.
Well, didn't anybody actually see him go? How's it going, Mateo? Mr.
Mc Vey.
Is there something wrong, sir? That all depends on your point of view.
Yes, I heard the news.
Naturally, I was distressed.
I can see that.
Where did you go last night when you supposedly left Manning's apartment? - Home, to my apartment.
- Anybody see you? No one.
Come on, you hated Manning.
Admit it! No.
Then you sneaked back.
You gave a chop with The Blunt Instrument, right? [Door opening] What do you think you're doing, Mc Vey? I'm doing your job, Inspector.
Somebody has to.
That's one way of diverting suspicion from yourself.
- Mr.
- Hi, Mateo.
I swear I did not contribute to Mr.
Manning's death.
Where did you go last night after you left Manning's apartment? To my apartment to sleep.
I was tired.
- Anyone see you come in? - Perhaps the landlady.
She's most observant and never seems to sleep.
When you left Manning's, was the door locked? I pulled the door shut.
I heard the click of the spring lock.
But you have a key, though.
Yes, but Mr.
Manning kept another hidden near the door in case he forgot his own.
Another key.
Does Waddell know about that? Possibly, he sometimes let himself in to work when Mr.
Manning was not at home.
That's how the murderer got back in.
Back in? After the party.
Find Waddell, we find that key.
[Sneezing] - Bless you.
- Bless you.
- Thank you.
- Here, try this.
- What is it this time? - Lemonade with a touch of cinnamon.
- Dad, you know I hate lemonade.
- You don't have to like it.
You want to get rid of your cold, don't you? What I want is to read the medical examiner's report on Edgar Manning.
Well, it's not in yet, but I talked to Rosie.
He said there were two marks on the body, one on the head, one on the left knee.
- The left knee? - Yeah, a bruise.
Don't ask.
That's all I know.
No dice, Inspector.
Waddell's house was staked out all night.
He never came home.
Well, find out where he went and go after him.
Now, get his picture, spread it all over the afternoon papers.
Now, get him.
Something else, Inspector.
Maybe it means something.
- Maybe not.
- What? Well, that Camellia Justice dame, Tisdale's ex-wife.
What about her? The doorman at her place said she came home from the awards dinner alone and said she was gonna turn in.
So? That's highly irregular, he said, on account of she never comes home that early.
Dad, what does that mean to you? Maybe she was trying to establish an alibi.
Any reason why she'd want to bump off Edgar Manning? I don't know of any, but that doesn't mean she didn't have one.
Forget about it.
She wasn't even at the party.
With that missing key, she might have missed the party, but still made the murder.
Now what are you doing? Making a date.
Ellery! Good morning, Camellia.
May I? Yes, I thought you were late.
I was gonna wait inside.
It wouldn't fit, it's one of mine.
Well, then what was it doing under the? Ellery, what are you up to? Well, I had to find out if you knew about the extra key under the mat.
You did.
Oh, yes, I've been here before with Edgar.
He was always forgetting his keys.
Come in out of the draft, Ellery.
You, too, Miss Justice, please.
Aren't I due some kind of explanation? There's a chance the killer used the doormat key to get in.
We had to find out if you knew about it.
And you did.
But I didn't take it.
Obviously you didn't take it.
Otherwise, you wouldn't have looked under the doormat to begin with.
Ellery, when you asked me to come here, you said you wanted to talk to me about my ex-husband.
I didn't know I was going to be tricked.
Oh, I'm sorry, Camellia.
I Look, as long as I am here, and since you obviously have no idea of the killer's identity, maybe I can help.
Did you know that Edgar was going to leave George and sign a long-term contract with my publishing house, the House of Libra? We know that.
Well, did you know why? No, tell us why.
One of the principal characters in Edgar's new book is a man named Gordon Teaberry, a publisher who cheats his authors out of their royalties.
Gordon Teaberry, George Tisdale.
Yes, I think my ex-husband had plenty of reason to want Edgar Manning dead.
You ought to run a check on his account books.
I can't understand your taking the word of a vindictive woman.
I didn't.
That's why I brought along my own auditor.
Melville has helped me put away some of the biggest crooks in town.
I find that very reassuring, don't you, George? How typical of you, Camellia, to take your enjoyment at my expense.
Whatever do you mean? Finished already, Mr.
Melville? Nothing to it.
A piece of cake.
A complete waste of time.
There's nothing wrong with my books.
On the contrary.
There's a shortage in Mr.
Manning's account.
A shortage? Yes, and clumsily concealed to the well-trained eye.
You see, Inspector? How about it, Mr.
Tisdale? Osterwald must be responsible for this.
Who's Osterwald? As of now, my former head bookkeeper.
He's the only one who could have fiddled with Manning's account.
How much is missing? $5,236.
How do we know it was Osterwald? Do you think that I'd jeopardize my reputation for a measly $5,000? But this is only one 1947 account.
Think of all the thousands that went before.
Dad, I think we ought to check out Osterwald.
If he was stealing and Manning knew about it, it gave him a motive.
Osterwald, that insignificant toad.
He wasn't even at the party last night.
But there's still that extra key floating around, and it ties in nicely with what Edgar said about the killer wanting to balance the books.
Where does Mr.
Osterwald live? Here they come, Inspector.
Freeze! Stephen Osterwald, you're under arrest.
Hey, what is this? What did he do? Is he your husband? Are you nuts? He just offered me a ride to Cuba.
Shut up, Edie.
Don't tell them anything till we talk to a lawyer.
What do you mean, "we"? Why don't you make it easy on yourself? How? By being fully cooperative.
Do you want to make a statement? All right.
I want to confess.
You killed Edgar Manning? No! I only dipped into his royalties.
I didn't even know he was dead until I read the morning papers.
Is that when you decided to call in sick Yes.
and leave the country? I knew somebody would get around to checking the books.
All right, I juggled a few figures, but I didn't kill anybody.
Where were you at 11:15? Yeah.
Oh, in there, in my hotel room, in bed.
Can you prove it? Please, I'm a gentleman.
Yeah, he can prove it.
Room service sent up some ice cubes and a pint of bourbon.
That's right.
Will the boy remember? Oh, he'll remember.
The big spender tipped him a nickel.
[Sneezing] This soup comes from the corner delicatessen, complete with a guarantee to cure the common cold.
Ellery soup.
My dear inspector.
Miss Szo-mony.
Oh, it's "Szomony," with a soft "S," like in a "kiss.
" What a pleasant surprise.
How'd you get past my secretary? Well, I told the poor dear that her mascara was running, so naturally she ran to the powder room to fix it.
Oh, naughty, naughty, naughty.
You're not wearing garlic around your neck.
Oh, I thought that was just to ward off vampires.
You know, you might be right.
I sometimes do get mixed up.
Somehow I feel you're not here because you're concerned with my son's health.
Oh, you are quite right, Inspector.
There is something I feel my duty to tell you.
You see, Edgar was going to fire his secretary, Mary Parks.
How do you know that? Well, he told me, darling.
Edgar told me everything.
Unfortunately, I told him everything, too.
Oh, I just talked to George Tisdale, and he told me that you opened Edgar's safety-deposit box and read his notes for his new book.
That's right.
Oh, well, this is rather embarrassing, but was there anything about me in those notes? You mean something you might have told him in confidence? Foolishly.
Nothing important, just a little indiscretion.
Well, do I have to get into embarrassing details? Were any of those indiscretions connected with Manning's murder? I can't believe my ear.
What a thing to say! Did you hear your father, Mr.
Queen? Dad! I'm sorry, but the killer might have been concerned with those notes, too.
Well, I don't have to listen to these accusations.
Good day, gentlemen.
Miss Szomony, I read the notes.
You're not in them.
Not at all? - No.
- Oh.
That's marvelous.
Inspector, excuse me, I didn't know you were busy.
Yeah, Velie? That Waddell character, there's still no sign of him.
- Are you looking for Cliffy? - I'll say we are.
We've covered planes, trains, buses, flophouses.
Well, why don't you try the public library? Public Why didn't I think of that? - Let's go, Dad.
- No.
Wait a minute.
You're not going anywhere except home to doctor that cold.
I want to talk to Waddell.
I'll find him, bring him to the house.
You can talk to him there.
- You promise? - Promise.
[Sneezing] Oh, poor dear.
- Mr.
Waddell? - Shh! - Is your name Clifford Waddell? - Shh! Yes.
- You're under arrest.
- Shh! Come on, let's get out of here.
Shh! Wait wait, what's the charge? Suspicion of murder.
Murder? What murder? Let's go.
Let's go.
How could you not know about the murder? I didn't see the papers.
I've been working at the library since it opened early this morning.
Then you went out for coffee and a sandwich? No, I picked that up on the way to the library.
You knew that Manning had an extra key under his mat.
You took that key so you could let yourself back in later.
What for? I had my own key.
Excuse me, I missed that.
I said I had my own key.
How can I be sure that that's not the missing key? Well, Mary was there when Manning gave it to me, ask her.
Where did you go last night when you left the Manning place? To an all-night movie on 42nd Street.
What did you see? Not much of anything.
I was asleep most of the time.
But I did see part of "The She-Wolf of London" and the end of "The Spider Woman Strikes Back.
" Is that the one with Gale Sondergaard, where she Ellery! Listen, the truth of it is, that when I left Manning's last night, I was really drunk.
I was walking along the sidewalk, and I knew I was gonna fall right on my face.
And there's the all-night movie, so I went in.
I woke up this morning, because someone was spilling popcorn down the back of my neck.
The library was about to open.
It's just a couple of blocks away, so I walked over there.
Why did you propose a toast last night, the first toast "to the author of 'The Shanghai Solution"'? I suppose I was just carried away by the occasion.
But Edgar told Magda that he couldn't have written that book without you.
Without my research.
No, I'm not talking about your research.
The toast last night to the author of "The Shanghai Solution" - not Edgar Manning.
Cliff, how much of that book did you write? All of it? Weren't you proposing a toast to yourself last night, the first time? I guess I was.
See, when I first started to work for him, I was doing general research.
But because I know so much about China, I started plotting out the whole book for him, and eventually You wrote it.
And Edgar never gave you any credit for it.
No, no credit, no share of the royalties, I didn't get a thing.
Must have been poetic justice for you to kill him with the award.
Kill him with what? The Blunt Instrument.
The gold-plated sledgehammer.
I'm sorry, Inspector.
I might have wanted him dead, but you're gonna have to find somebody else.
You see, I'm afraid it's impossible for me to have killed Edgar Manning.
Cliff Waddell was telling the truth.
He couldn't possibly have killed that man.
Why not? Well, because he can barely raise his arms above his waist.
What are you talking about? Shrapnel.
He caught a bad one at Okinawa.
I did the patchwork myself.
A good job, all things considered.
But he can't lift a heavy object.
Can't possibly swing a weight of any sort.
Well, he looked perfectly normal to me.
And I find that very gratifying, the way his appearance wasn't changed.
I was mostly afraid of a limp.
Limp? Yes.
Were his legs injured, too? Oh, not the right leg, but the left leg was riddled with shrapnel.
However, with a built-up shoe, physical therapy, and lots of good, old leatherneck spirit, that boy came through just fine.
Captain Hill, according to his service record, Waddell won the Navy Cross.
For distinguished heroism under fire.
And he was an instructor in unarmed defense, judo, jujitsu.
Ironic, isn't it? And now he can't even defend himself, let alone kill another man.
Captain, thank you very much for your cooperation.
[Sneezing] Why, son, what you need is a shot of penicillin.
Wonder drug.
Clear up all that infection.
No, no, please.
It's just a head cold.
You roll up your sleeve, son.
- No, honestly, I - Ellery, listen to the doctor.
Dad, I don't You know, someday modern science will eliminate the common cold, if they can just find the key.
The key.
Well, of course.
There's only one person that could have taken Manning's other key.
Ouch! What makes you think I took that key? Process of elimination.
Mateo the houseboy would have had a key, as would the researcher, Waddell.
And it stands to reason that he would have given a key to Mary Parks, his secretary, and to his mistress, Magda Szomony.
What about Nick Mc Vey? Nick Mc Vey was never in that building before.
He wouldn't know that Edgar Manning kept a key under the mat, but you were a frequent visitor.
You probably saw him use it often.
That's true, I stole it during the party while Edgar was making his phone call to you only seconds before he was murdered.
Why? Why did you need it? Well, I thought the notes for his new book were in the study.
I wanted to come back later and see them for myself.
Afraid of what he'd written about you? Oh, no, no.
That's the furthest thing from my mind.
Edgar did drop a few hints about going with Camellia, but I thought he was doing that just to aggravate me, at first, that is.
At first.
At first.
Well, when did you start to take it seriously? When he refused to show me the material for his new book.
You do understand why I wanted to have a look at those notes, don't you? You wanted to see if the book was any good.
I would have hated to lose a best seller to my ex-wife, I'll tell you.
Well, as it turned out, I never did use the key.
And I guess, aside from Edgar, the only person who knew what was in that book was Camellia.
There's one other person who had to know what was in it.
Good day to you, sir.
- Oh, there you are! - Greetings! How's your cold? Well, I think they're trying to kill me with cures.
It was very nice of you to invite me to lunch.
My pleasure.
How do you like it? With or without sauerkraut? Without.
Easy on the mustard.
- And what about you, buddy? - The works.
And what do you want to drink? Orange, cream How about a couple of beers? Oh, not for me.
I'm allergic to anything alcoholic.
Root beers.
Root beers! I can handle that in moderation.
- Two bottles, please.
- Coming up.
- I better get that bench.
- Swell.
- This seat is taken! - I know, I just took it.
Surprise! - Oh, are you following me? - I got to look after my interest.
Thank you.
Hiya, pal.
Oh, hiya, Nick, what a nice surprise.
Here you are.
- Thanks.
- Nick, can I get you anything? Yeah, root beer's swell.
Oh, would you like my hot dog? No, I hate sauerkraut.
Thank you.
Mary, do you always bring along another guy when you're invited to lunch? He doesn't trust me.
We're engaged.
Engaged? Well, congratulations, Nick.
I wasn't trying to steal your girl.
Oh, I knew that when you brought her here.
How did Edgar feel about your being engaged to another writer? His ego went into shock.
Is that why he was going to fire you? - With a push from Magda.
- Magda? Why? The green-eyed monster, pal.
See, Edgar and Mary went steady for a while.
That was long before I appeared upon the scene.
Well, now, that sounds like jealousy right there, Nick.
Not enough to play taps on Edgar's head.
There's this character in Edgar's notes named Mick O'Day, a hardheaded writer who once tried to slug it out with a couple of cops who arrested him for drunken driving.
One of the cops was shot.
But that was accidental.
He used his own gun.
That wasn't in the notes.
Was it, Mary? No.
All right.
Mary told me that Edgar was gonna use me as a character in one of his books.
So what? So she might have thought you were sore about it and lost your temper with Manning.
Nick was on the terrace when Manning was murdered.
Where were you? I guess I better tell you the truth.
Mary Nick, please.
But you don't have to tell him anything.
He's not the police.
Do you want to wait until one of us is arrested? I was in the kitchen making coffee, alone.
There goes my alibi.
And Mary's.
A runaway best seller on the top of every list.
One best seller does not a publishing house make.
Perhaps, but I'm happy to say that the House of Libra is not only solvent, it's profitable.
Profitable enough to offer a huge advance to Nick Mc Vey? Oh.
Nick's been talking.
Camellia, I think you and I should dispense with the amenities and face a few hard facts.
I happen to have a contract with Nick.
Which expires shortly.
Oh, George, for Pete's sake, don't pout.
This is business.
You always take it so personally.
Just listen to me now, Camellia.
Edgar Manning is dead.
I'm under suspicion.
I have a feeling you are, too.
Along with half the literary community in New York City.
Camellia, if it's a fight you want, you can have it.
Heaven knows we had enough practice while we were married, but this is no time to draw the battle lines, at least not publicly.
I think you and I should join forces.
- What do you mean? - A merger.
Oh, for a minute, I thought you were propositioning me.
Don't you dare laugh at me! You're hurting me! I'm sorry.
Camellia, I love you.
I always have, and I suppose I always will, despite your relationship with Edgar.
- That was professional.
- No, I knew what was going on.
But I knew Edgar far better than you, darling.
He had no intention of leaving my company for yours.
It was just a game he played.
He used you for his own amusement.
He just teased you along as only Edgar could, because he knew how desperate you were to make Libra a success.
Oh, no, wait a minute.
You knew that, didn't you? - No.
- Of course you did.
You knew that Edgar was making a fool of you.
- George, leave me alone.
- Camellia, look at me.
Now, listen, Edgar's dead.
I don't care what happened between you.
What matters now is the two of us and nobody else.
You looking for something? I didn't know there was anybody here.
Of course, you couldn't know that the lights were on.
Some detective you are.
I guess my mind was on other things.
What other things? I was running through the events that led up to the murder, you know, adding up the facts.
- Get an answer? - No, not yet.
You wouldn't be holding out on me, would you, pal? Now, why would I do that, Nick? Maybe it's an answer I wouldn't like.
You ever read any of my stuff? Yeah, a little.
Then you know how the hero gets information from the guy that won't talk, don't you? Yeah, he punches it out of him.
Nick, did you just threaten me? Would I do that, hmm? Yeah, you'd do that.
And it wouldn't do you any good, 'cause I don't know who killed Manning.
By the way, how did you get in here? Mary gave me her key.
Why? She asked me to get a couple of books for her.
What books? These books.
Oh, Nick, you would have found those books when you searched the room.
Search the room for what? For evidence the police didn't find.
Don't forget to turn the lights out when you go pal.
Who drank all the orange juice, as if I didn't know? Vitamin C, Dad.
It's good for a cold.
Why do I always end up squeezing the oranges? Have you read the medical examiner's report? Yeah.
It was a waste of time.
I already knew that Manning died from a blow on the top of the head.
The left side of the top of the head.
Now, assuming the killer was standing behind, he was left-handed.
Maybe he was ambidextrous.
There's another thing.
The bruise on Edgar's knee.
Now, according to Dr.
Rosen, it probably occurred at the time of death.
So? He got a bruise on his knee.
How? And what? Well, if he was sitting at the desk when he was hit on the head He slumped forward, and what's that got to do with his knee? [Doorbell ringing] I'll get it.
Morning, Maestro.
Where's your dad? Squeezing oranges.
Did you check with the houseboy's landlady? Yeah, she said she saw him come in.
He went straight home.
If he'd hung around two minutes longer, he'd have missed his bus.
What's up, Velie? This came special delivery.
I thought you'd want to see it right away.
What is it, Dad? Our old friend Anonymous has sent us a letter.
That's funny, the doorman said she was in.
Inspector, do you smell gas? Velie.
[Coughing] Velie, the gas range, quick! Here! - She's still alive, Dad.
- Get her on her feet.
Velie, black coffee, hurry! Operator, this is a police emergency call.
You're sure she'll be all right, Doctor? Yes, just keep her awake for the next few hours.
- She'll be all right.
- Thank you.
The coward didn't even sign his name.
Is that why you tried to kill yourself, because of that? I think it's about time you told us the truth, Miss Szomony.
Truth, it's been so long that I don't even know where to begin.
Well, I was just beginning to make myself a name as a movie actress in Budapest, and then the Nazis came in, and I escaped to Brazil, and a very nice man helped me to get to Hollywood.
Without papers? Without anything, darling.
Only my jewels and furs I had on my back.
Then I met Edgar.
He swept me off my feet with his brilliance.
And in a rash moment, I told him everything.
It was a terrible mistake.
Did he hold it over you? Did he hold it over me? At first, I wanted him to marry me and make me an honest first-class citizen.
But he was afraid that if I was a citizen, he wouldn't have any hold over me.
Oh, other men proposed to me.
Why, even Cliffy.
Cliffy asked me to marry him right in front of Edgar.
Poor boy.
Edgar made a horrible joke of it.
What could I do? Edgar threatened to go to the authorities if I so much as looked at another man.
When Manning decided to make a guessing game out of his book, you were afraid you'd be exposed.
I was terrified.
That's why I went to his study.
To kill him? To reason with him and ask him not to be so heartless.
- Then you decided to kill him.
- No, he was dead already.
When I kept knocking on the door, he didn't answer.
So I went in, and I found him dead.
Poor Edgar.
Inspector, what are you going to do with this letter? There's not much I can do, except turn it over to the federal authorities, I'm sorry.
To Immigration? Surely you could do something else.
Ellery? Ellery! Well, you've seen all the clues.
Have you got it? I think I do.
Now, the important thing to remember, besides what happened to the door, are the brandy snifter on the carpet and the bruise on Manning's knee.
Have you got it now? I hope so.
Just before Edgar Manning was killed, he was talking with me on this telephone.
Then someone came in the room and interrupted the conversation.
He referred to the intruder as a rash person, someone who wanted to balance the books.
We've been over that.
Ellery, I'm convinced now George had nothing to do with this.
Can't we drop this business about balancing the books? Well, actually, Camellia, it's a matter of interpretation.
Could have been referring to the House of Libra's insignia, balanced scales.
Now, the intruder killed Edgar Manning, and all of you had the opportunity.
Not me.
I was home in bed.
And each of you had a motive, except Mary.
He was going to dismiss her as his secretary.
People get canned all the time, but that doesn't mean they're gonna go out and kill their bosses.
But doesn't Mary have some kind of allergy that causes her to break out in a rash? Now, if she was forced to drink champagne Camellia, "rash" has another meaning, "reckless, foolish, impetuous.
" Who does that sound like, Nick? Now, wait a minute, Ellery.
You're mixing me up with the characters in some of my books.
But you are impetuous, darling.
Just last week, I heard you fighting with a book critic from the "Gazette.
" All right, so I mix it up a little.
But why would I try to kill Edgar? Maybe you didn't like the way he treated Mary.
Or maybe you resented the fact of his winning an award that you felt should have been yours, and you decided to "balance the books.
" Maybe you'd like to have your nose rearranged.
How about you, Miss Szomony? Me? You were terrified that Manning was going to expose a secret that you, in your own words, were "rash" enough to reveal to him.
But I don't care anymore.
I want everybody to know.
I am in this country illegally, and I can be deported at any time.
Well, now I said it.
Edgar wasn't the only one aware of your alien status, Miss Szomony.
You told us that Cliff Waddell proposed marriage to you.
Yes, but I turned him down.
Why on earth would a $75-a-week research assistant think that he stood a chance with a glamorous actress like Magda? Answer: He knew you needed an American husband to stay in the country.
Waddell, you wrote that anonymous note.
Cliffy! Why? Why not? I wanted to even the score, and it seemed like a good way to do it.
You shouldn't have been so quick to turn me down, Magda.
Maybe I wasn't good enough for you.
No, Cliffy.
But you'll be thinking about it, Magda, all the way back to Europe.
Proving once again that Waddell has a terrible temper and is inclined to be rash, as in the gesture of throwing champagne in his boss's face.
It's impossible for me to have hit Manning with the Blunt Instrument.
- Captain Hill verified that.
- He did, and I believe it.
And, for the record, you did not kill him by hitting him in the head.
That's not the way Edgar was killed.
By the way, this was not the murder weapon.
I don't get it.
How was he killed, Ellery? I'll be Edgar Manning.
Velie, would you be the killer? If you say so, Maestro.
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
"What the devil are you doing here? No, I'm not talking to you, Ellery.
It's some rash person who insists on balancing the books.
" What do you want me to do now? Pick up that thing like you're gonna hit me with it.
Well, if he was hit from across the desk, the killer was right-handed.
No, Dad.
Take a swing at me.
What? Really.
Take a swing at me.
"Ellery, Sergeant Velie's trying to kill me.
" What? Don't you see? Edgar would have shouted the killer's name to me.
And as you just saw, the killer could not reach far enough across the desk to strike the fatal blow.
He had to be behind Edgar.
Oh, Edgar saw him after he came in the room, saw he was upset, but he still turned his back to him.
Proving what? Proving that he wasn't afraid of him, that he didn't have reason to be afraid.
Someone he thought wouldn't hurt him.
A woman maybe or maybe a trusted friend.
Or someone he thought couldn't hurt him.
Now, Edgar had a brandy snifter in his hand.
This is where it fell.
He was tilted back comfortably in his chair like this.
That's why we thought that the blow came from above.
We were looking for a left-handed killer.
We should have been looking for a left-footed killer somebody who was an expert in judo, jujitsu a fighting technique that employs not only the hands and the arms, but also the feet.
When I saw Sergeant Velie kick down Magda's door this afternoon, I realized that only the force of a kick would have propelled Edgar's chair to bang into the desk and for him to bruise his knee.
The killer had to stand on his good leg.
The one that wasn't hit with shrapnel.
And then, he kicked with it, with a built-up shoe.
You can't prove it.
The medical examiner's report said that he was struck on the top of the head with the Blunt Instrument Award.
That was a nice touch.
Picking up the award and smearing it with blood.
It threw the police off the track and got you off the hook.
The police lab would like to inspect your shoe for blood stains, Mr.
Manning stole my novel.
He deserved to die.
No, Cliff.
Maybe he did cheat you, or maybe you didn't get all the credit you should have, but nobody deserves to be murdered.
Velie, take him down and book him.
Yes, sir.
Let's go.
- Congratulations, Ellery.
- Yeah.
A real nice guess, pal.
Magda, I've been thinking about your problem.
Oh, so have I.
Magda, your experience just cries out to be told between the covers of a best seller.
"Magda Szomony's personal story in her very own words," as told to some writer.
How nice.
I can read it on the ship all the way back to Hungary.
Oh, no, no, no, not with our contacts in the State Department.
You'd be surprised how many of those fellas down there have unpublished novels.
So, shall we discuss the contract in my office? Our office, George.
Our office.
Of course, my love.
" To Ellery Queen, for an outstanding job in unmasking a killer and for celebrating the same event at a restaurant with his aged father a restaurant noted for the delectability of its lobsters and waitresses.
Thank you, Dad.
You know, I feel a lot better.
I think I beat my cold.
- I haven't sneezed once today.
- Good, glad to hear it.
[Sneezing] Well, gesundheit.
Forget that restaurant.
I'm taking you home.
Now, now.
That's nothing.
We're gonna nip this thing in the bud.
I got the most fantastic cure-all, hot lemonade and sassafras, mixed in with the extract of a pound of calves' liver.
I can't stand liver.
And after a rubdown with menthol and oil of peppermint, you take a bath in scalding chicken soup.
Hold the noodles.