Is Emma Jane Austen’s Only Mystery?

Mystery, you say?

So a few years ago I read an article about how this one expert believed Jane Austen wrote a mystery, (I unfortunately can’t find it but there are other articles out there if you are interested) and she believed that mystery was Emma.

What??

At first I was what? Emma?

If anything it has to be Northanger Abbey-the mystery of the Tilneys, did the General kill his wife, what was in the forbidden rooms?

The reasoning was that a large majority of the novel is spent trying to uncover who Jane Fairfax’s secret admirer is. I never really thought of it as a mystery as Emma didn’t seem to me that interested in Jane, at least not until Frank stokes her interest with the thought that the man, Mr. Dixon, who married might really be in love with Jane and sending the expensive gifts. In fact, it seemed more like gossip than solving a mystery.

Let’s spill the tea.

It also seemed to me that she wasn’t really interested in getting to know the truth, but seemed more like she wanted to know a dirty secret about someone she doesn’t like-you know to lord it over here. You know, when you don’t like someone and then you find out a reason to really not like them. 

So I was like nah, I don’t think it is a mystery. 

But then I read A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh and that changed my perspective. The story is about Mrs. Goddard and her relationship with her sister who made a hasty marriage. The whole novel is told in letters as Mrs. Goddard sends news of Highbury to her sister. Soon the three of them are embroiled in several mysteries: Why is Mr. Elton so angry at Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith? Why does Harriet refuse Mr. Robert Martin when it was clear she was crazy about him? Who gives Jane Fairfax the piano? Why do Harriet and Emma suddenly stop being friends? Who does Mr. Knightley wish to marry?

Hmmm…

Okay, so I had to admit, it seems that Emma is a mystery. 

It,

So I was wrong, but while i will concede that Emma is a mystery, is it the only one?

Hmm…

Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well? I mean we all know it is a gothic novel, but is it a mystery too?

Time to get on the case!

So the definition of mystery is:

Mystery (pronounced mis-tuh-ree, ) is a genre of literature whose stories focus on a puzzling crime, situation, or circumstance that needs to be solved.

In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland is a reverend’s daughter who loves to read gothic novels and has an overactive imagination, is asked to join family friends on a trip to Bath. There she gets involved with a gothic novellike plot and journeys to Northanger Abbey. 

The first mystery are the Tilneys. Catherine meets Mr. Tilney and falls for him, let’s be honest who wouldn’t? After that she tries to glean more information about them, but can find very little from the people she knows. Are the Tilneys the amazing people she believes them to be?

Or could they not be good acquaintances? They are the first friends Catherine makes that aren’t known to her friends and family so she doesn’t know if anything they tell her is true or not. This makes me think of Agatha Christie as a big theme used in a lot of her mystery novels is that we meet people and assume all they tell us the truth when they tell us about them, but we honestly don’t really know if anything they say is real or a lie. 

Hmm…

Mr. Tilney jokes about the Abbey being haunted or holding secrets, but Catherine (and my mind) go there as well. Is there a dark cloud hanging over the home? Is there a dark secret?

Hmm…?

Then there is the mysterious chest in her room and the manuscript she finds. What secrets do they hold?

And of course the big one: the mystery of Mrs. Tilney’s death. She dies so quickly, did she die naturally or was she murdered?

Hmm…

And of course what is in Mrs. Tilney’s old rooms? Why are the shut up and forbidden? What secrets do they hold?

I think for me I always felt like this was a mystery because Catherine is actively investigating and searching out the truth, searching for a mystery-while Emma doesn’t seem as invested or investigative as she has other plans on her mind-matchmaking and party planning.

What do you think? Is Emma Jane Austen’s only mystery? Is Northanger Abbey a mystery as well?

Mystery, you say?

For more Emma, go to Interference: Friday Night Lights Meets Emma

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Are You Prepared to Encounter All of Its Horrors?…Let’s Just Say That All Houses Have Their Secrets, and Northanger is No Exception.: Northanger Abbey (2007)

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Take a Chance on Me: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Let That Catherine Morland Flag Fly Free

For more mysteries, go to The Conclusion to the Griggs Mystery…Or Is It?

The Conclusion to the Griggs Mystery…Or Is It?

Mystery, you say?

So this year’s theme is “mysteries” in honor of Agatha Christie’s novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles turning 100 years old. To really have this theme be present I decided to review a mystery every month…somehow and ideally connecting it to Jane Austen.

Time to get on the case!

In January, I wasn’t sure what to do when I received a goblin in my mailbox.

It turned out to be a a mysterious package from The Mysterious Package Company

Hmm…

So the first package seemed to be saying that there is something wrong with 27 East Heath Road. The architect, Henry Griggs, had been going crazy trying to finish building his house after his wife died-using all his money. He even felt as if something was there making him continue, something altering his plans, something controlling him. The house was almost complete, but Griggs had descended into some kind of madness. He ends up putting his daughter in an orphanage and Griggs disappears, presumed dead.

Hmm…

Then in the second package, the house is sold to Dr. Elliot, a physician who likes to experiment on himself with his tinctures.

He has a strange patient, Beth Siggers (could it be ElizaBeth Griggs?) who acts off  in his home. He also starts seeing something in his mirror. He died from overdose…or murder?

Hmm…from The Wolfman

Then the house was bought by magician’s assistant, Héléne Ashworth and her magician husband The Great Goodyear, Claude Goodyear. Helene loves the house, espechially the conservatory as she can grow all her plants. But then strange things happen-other plants are being planted, she starts having trouble remembering, she feels a presence in the house, and she thinks she sees something. She starts searching her home and dies of fright…or was she murdered?

Hmmm…

In the third package I received a demon mask that I instantly boxed up to never see again. Elizabeth Griggs has come into her inheritance and has bought 27 East Heath Road revealing that she created multiple identities: Beth Spriggs, Lilibet, the “psychic” Mrs. Alizbeta Divak. She loved the house, but she didn’t stay there long. A madman in a mask came out of a secret passage in the house and tried to kill her, both dying and it was revealed the crazed man was her father,

He was never dead but just hiding in the house.

I was also able to decode all the secret messages in everything.

I thought the story was over, but then I received another package.

This one has:

  • An article on “The Black Moon Tragedy” from This Mortal Recoils
  • A pamphlet for Griggs Manor
  • A letter from the people who sent the package

 

The article “The Black Moon Tragedy” from This Mortal Recoils tells of a Goth sounding band, Spiritus Lost, renting the house for its creepy reputation to do a spooky show. They left everything as it was, creepy, scary, gothic, etc. for aesthetic.

Creepy…

But what was supposed to be an amazing night went extremely wrong. There is something in the house, something dark. Flower scents where there are no flowers, pools of blood, the doors locked, people dying trying to get into the mirror (that’s where the secret passage is), people going crazy, ghostly figures seen in the mirror, one woman died of fright, and more.

I would stay far away from that house or just knock it down to be honest. It really needs to be destroyed. Salt and burn that thing.

Salt and burn it

The pamphlet says that they have redone the Mansion and converted it into 20 ultra deluxe suites. It sounds really nice with a library, garden, conservatory, underground parking, a marble fireplace-the pictures are beautiful, but there is no way I’d ever live in a demon house.

Not okay.

The final note is from The Mysterious Package Company with a link to type and see who sent it, and it turned out to be a group of my friends, exactly who I suspected it would be.

I have to say this whole experience was a ton a fun. It is expensive, but worth the amount of effort that goes into it. I mean you can definitely see the worth in it.

I recommend trying it out if you are interested in receiving fun mail, espechially with shelter in place coming into effect again.

For more from The Mysterious Package Company, go to Creepy Demon Mask & Haunted Hampstead Heath House of Horrors!

For more mysteries, go to Murder She Hoped: Raising Hope (2013)

For more haunted houses, go to Trapped in a Mansion in the Middle of Nowhere with a Psycho: The Cat and the Canary (1939)

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula, Part I: The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

So I love Nancy Drew.

Time to get on the case!

I grew up reading The Nancy Drew Case Files and loved it-my favorites being the crossover mysteries with the Hardy Boys. Now I know Nancy and Ned are meant to be together, but I have to admit-I really want Frank and Nancy to end up together. They are just so cute together!

So this episode is from the TV series, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries. This show came out in the 1970s, the first season alternating every week between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The second season saw four crossover episodes, and only three Nancy Drew as the actresses playing her left the series. Season three was reworked to be just the Hardy Boys. I first discovered this show when I bought an old VHS with an episode on it, “A Haunting We Will Go“, at a library book sale.

It was a good series while it lasted, I just wish there had been more. If you are interested in watching, all these episodes are currently on youtube, here’s the link if you want to watch this one. I actually preferred the Nancy Drew episodes to the Hardy Boys, I mean I love Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy but the Hardy Boys always solved CIA, Interpol, spy mysteries and I liked that you never knew what you were going to get with Nancy Drew-embezzlement, theft, murder, etc.

But my favorite of all the episodes were the crossovers episodes, this being the first of them, in fact the very first time any Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew crossover happened. So enough intro, let’s get on to the review:

Mystery, you say?

At the beginning of every episode we see the Universal logo. I’ve always wondered why they haven’t remade it, I would watch it. But then again they would probably mess it up like they did with Nancy Drew (2007) film.

forgetaboutit

So to start we have the awesome intro and amazing intro music.

I love the setup, and I espechially love the book covers in the background and that music. Ooh! It sends shivers up an down my spine and gets me in the mood for a mystery.

Creepy…

We start off with Fenton Hardy (father of the Hardy Boys) driving up to Dracula’s castle in a taxi, the driver complaining about the American Rock singer using Dracula’s castle.

The taxi driver/caretaker warns Mr. Hardy not to go inside-its very old and possibly cursed. The caretaker won’t stay as he s too afraid, and tells Mr. Hardy he will wait for him at the bottom oft hill. Good-bye.

See ya!

Mr. Hardy goes into the castle and a bat flies at him, Dracula?

He looks round but doesn’t spot anything, hmm.

Hmmm…from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

But we see that someone is behind him. Mr. Hardy drops his flashlight and lights a torch finding a skeleton in the passage of the castle he is searching, but before he can look further the person following him knocks him out cold.

That’s not good.

We move to Paris 5 days later. Joe (Shaun Cassidy) and Frank (Parker Stevenson) have arrived to the morgue as they lost contact with their dad and was notified of a body that fit his description. They go to to see if it is their father but it isn’t him, thankfully. They are happy he isn’t dead, but that begs the question what happened to him, and where is he?

Can I stop and talk about how adorable these guys are. I love both of them and their portrayal is spot on. They are not only entertaining but completely believable as brothers-at times I forget they aren’t really siblings. They are the Dean and Sam (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) of the ’70s.  Okay, now we can go back to the episode.

They go the hotel their father had rented a room in and spot a band playing outside, The Circus.

They go to their father’s room, but someone is inside searching it, it is Inspector Stavlin (Lorne Green) of the Romanian police. He was working with their father and trying to solve the case of art thefts occurring throughout Europe. Mr. Hardy called Stavlin to join him in Paris as he had a lead, but after that Stavlin hasn’t heard from him since.

That’s not good.

Stavlin encourages them to give up and go home, Obviously, he doesn’t know the Hardy boys very well as they are totally going to continue to go after their father. Stalin leaves as he has to return to Transylvania.

Joe is more superstitious and that perks him up right away, Transylvania as in Dracula?

The boys search the room and find their dad’s notebook in his usual hiding spot.

There is a list of dates on the art thefts, and something else was booked at the same time. There is a meeting note, which the boys intend to keep:

Munich

Meet at the Ritz

June 11 5:00 pm

Book Rm 301

Name Fredricks

There is also another note on about a Dracula Festival on June 12th. That sounds awesome.

They pay the band they spotted earlier, to join them. Of course the band is down for it as they will be making money. Joe is going to sing and first he is upset that Frank threw him out into it like that- but of course he can sing, he’s a Cassidy after all. And it turns out they are headed to the same Dracula festival-fantastic. They boys head to Munich and arrive on June 10th, just in time for the meeting. Frank sweet talks the concierge and gets the room. The boys leave their stuff and stop to get something to eat.

Meanwhile, Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin) has arrived and is shock to hear there are a group instead of a man in Rm 302. She is traveling with Bess which is odd, as Nancy never brought her friends with her on “serious” cases, usually they were with her when things turned into a case.

Hmm…

Nancy is upset to hear that there are young men in the room instead of a 40-year old man. They send the suitcases back to the desk. Bess questions how does Nancy know that she hasn’t sent the contact away, but as they aren’t an older man so she doesn’t care.

From Mean Girls

I’m with Bess, that doesn’t seem like a good idea Nancy. What if your contact sent someone else in his place? What I would have done was stayed in the room and ordered room service until I could talk to the guys.

Frank spots the bellman and grabs their luggage sending them back up in the room. Meanwhile Joe is still trying to get the attention of a waiter, but no dice. Frank questions if it is his father, but finds out it is ladies. He sends the girls’ stuff down.

Joe tries to order but his waiter is stolen by Nancy. This exchange is hilarious and as Frank comes back in a bad mood because of the luggage, and it develops when there is no food on the table. Him being upset with Joe was so realistic, like real siblings. No joke, this is me and my sister.

From The Awful Truth

Meanwhile, Nancy has spotted her bags being taken down and sends her bags upstairs. She’s had enough and leaves Bess downstairs to eat while she heads up to the room. Frank and Joe also decide to go upstairs as they are tired of this too. Sharing the elevator, Frank is very into Nancy and tries to talk her up-but she’s in a hurry and Nancy brushes him off. Joe is upset with her as she stole their waiter. Frank is hurt to lose a chance with a beautiful girl, but Joe consoles him as he’ll see her again-she has the same room as them.

Nancy: What do you want? What are you doing in my room?

Joe: We want our waiter back

Frank: Joe!

Hilarious!!!! If I was Nancy I think I’d be a freaked out that this boy has diner rage to follow me my room. Like, this guy is crazy.

You are crazy From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Frank tells her this is their room. Then he threatens to take the bags out himself if Nancy doesn’t leave and when he tries to touch her luggage-Nancy does a Judo flip on him. I love how Frank and Joe are impressed with Nancy’s skills, as for Frank he likes her even more.

Of course they hash it out and discover that Nancy is the one supposed to meet their father.The boys share that he is missing and they are searching for him.  Nancy tells them she got on the case through her father. She and her friend were in Paris taking a summer class (that’s why Bess is with her) when one of her father’s client’s painting was stolen. It turned out to be one in a series and Nancy started to investigate it and came across Fenton Hardy. She spoke to Fenton 10 days ago, and he told her that he discovered that the rock group Allison Troy was always in the city that the art was stolen from. They believe it to be either Allison Troy or a member of his entourage. Nancy is set on taking over the case herself, but Frank and Joe aren’t letting go. As they have an in with the Dracula rock concert, they think Nancy should stay behind.

Nancy won’t be left behind as she is heading to Transylvania as well. She storms off to collect Bess.

Nancy Drew: Come on we have an appointment to keep.

Bess Marvin: With who?

Nancy Drew: Dracula

So the boys arrive at the castle a day early and it is a dark, spooky, rainy, and chilly night, of course it is as it is the Dracula’s castleThe band is too freaked that they head down to the town to relax.

Inspector Stavlin is at the hotel with the town council and is not happy about this concert and them using Dracula is such a way. No one else heads his warnings of troubles coming as everyone else is happy with the money coming in. Hotel’s almost sold out, restaurants packed, shops are doing good, etc.

The boys spot the Inspector and meet the mayor and the rest of the council. Stavlin continues to share his disgust at the idea of the Dracula festival. The mayor is making fun of him and asks who he fears…Dracula, coming for revenge? Stavlin states he isn’t afraid, but that the others should have more respect…Dracula desires it or else.

Frank shares that they found their father’s notebook and that their father had written about the festival. Stavlin thanks them for sharing and tells them if they find anything else to come to him.

When the boys sign in Joe spots that a B. Fredricks registered at the same hotel. So if his father came and was such good friends with Stavlin, why didn’t he meet him there? Is their father still there? Kidnapped? Dead?

Hmmm…

June 12th arrives and so starts the rock concert. Allison Troy is dressed up in a Dracula style outfit and has a party with many people dressed up as monsters. This looks so cool, I wish that it was real so I could go.

From Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School

The boys arrive and Troy and his people have the contracts and costumes. They warn the band to watch out for the crumbling castle and to treat the house with respect as it is a national treasure. One area they are not allowed to enter, it is forbidden. Of course the boys perk up on this and plan to investigate it later.

Stavlin is obsessed with Dracula, calling the castle a cemetery and acts like he believes Dracula is real and will rise again. The mayor hates Stavlin and is happy he’ll be gone soon he’s at the retirement age (they are forcing him to retire). The Mayor and the rest of the council are taking a tour of the castle as they haven’t been in there before.

Joe goes on to perform while Frank plans to search the castle. On of the running gags on this show is that every time Joe sings, Frank always misses it.

Frank starts searching the spooky castle, and someone is following him as we can see their boots.

That’s not good.

Meanwhile, Bess and Nancy have arrived in costume. Bess doesn’t want to search  the castle but stay and listen to Joe, but Nancy insists they need to search the cavern.

As the Mayor and friends are looking through out the castle, they find a large seal that says Dracula. This is supposedly his grave and the rest of the group and the caretaker/guide of the castle are all deeply frightened.

The mayor is the only one who has no fear and feels the Dracula story is just a lot of hooey. However, after they leave the “grave” we see it move aside and that someone resides in the chamber…or some monster. The black boots we have seen earlier come out. Is it Dracula having risen from the grave?

From The Horror of Dracula

One of the members of the group falls behind, its Berger the hotel owner, and is taken.

From the Cat and the Canary

The mayor and his people finish their tour and Frank is also searching passing by the seal. Nancy and Bess as well poke around the caverns. Bess is no help at all in this story as she just complains about being there in the cavern. As the girls pass by Dracula’s grave, the wall opens again and whoever it is (Dracula? ) starts following them.

From Return of the Vampire

Frank spots Berger in a cell and runs in to see if he is okay when he is locked in as well. Frank checks Berger and sees the vampire bit marks on his throat:

Nancy and Bess see them and Bess screams.

So typically Fridays are the days that I review TV episodes but as I couldn’t see waiting a whole week, I will post part II tomorrow.

So the second half of this episode I think is actually better. This one was a lot more set up with the detectives meeting up, getting them to Transylvania-more exposition. Tomorrow’s episode will have a lot more action to it.

The first time I saw this episode I was soooo into it I just had to find out what happened next. Where was their father? Would Nancy and Frank and Joe get along? Is it really Dracula or is it someone who thinks they are Dracula/pretending to be Dracula? As this was done by Universal I could see it going either way. We’ll find out tomorrow.

Until then….

For more Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

For more Nancy Drew, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more Dracula, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Detectives, go to It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

For more mysteries, go to One Day You’ll See Something You Shouldn’t: Rear Window (1954)

It’s a Weird Case from the Start. A Case With a Hole in the Center: Knives Out (2019)

Hey everybody, for this year we are doing something special: Sleuthing Sundays. Each Sunday I’ll post a film with a super sleuth! Our third film is:

It’s a weird case from the start. A case with a hole in the center. A doughnut.

So this was the first post I wrote for Horrorfest IX. I wrote it waaay back in January 2020, ah a more simpler time, when I was trying to get ahead. I usually try to do at list one post a month so I have nine ready when October rolls around to give me a little extra time in the month.

So back in January 2020, my friend called me up about wanting to hang out and I agreed. Last time we went to her place so I wanted to reciprocate with mine, but I had been working on Valentine’s Cards and had paper everywhere and a mess.

I’m a mess

To hide this I suggested going to the movies, (remember when we could do that?), and she agreed saying she had wanted to see Knives Out.

I heartily agreed as I love mysteries and the trailer made me think of those old Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple films from the ’70s.

Mystery, you say?

We went and saw it and I really enjoyed it, although there was one thing I did not like. The whole film from the text, color choices, decor, costumes, hairstyles (talking about you detectives with those sideburns) etc-evoked a late 1970s vibe to it, but it was set in modern times. It was extremely jarring to be watching and having all your senses set you in 1970 and then someone whips out an iPhone or talks about instagram. I think it would have been a bit better if they had just set it in the 1970s, but that’s just me.

I also didn’t like the vomit parts, but other than that I really enjoyed this film and have already seen it three times this year.

I also like how his had no romantic pair or love angle. It was refreshing to have the main characters just be about something else, than to have them get together in the end.

So the film starts off with a big birthday party for the family patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). He invited his whole family and his nurse, but the next day is found dead-throat slashed.

Lt. Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield) and Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) are called on the scene and believe it to be suicide, (the Trooper is one of my favorite characters as he fanboys over all the Thrombey books), but then world renowned private investigator, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) appears saying that he was delivered a note and cash, so he is here to investigate.

Time to get on the case!

Each person is taken aside and questioned, all having a motive-but which one did it?

Hmmm…

Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis) is the eldest daughter and built a real estate company from the ground up (not really as she got the money from her dad). She was told that she would no longer receive any money and neither would her spendthrift son, Ransom (Chris Evans). She says she doesn’t care about herself or her son being cutoff, but is she lying? Could she kill him to protect her young?

Hmm…?

Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson), Linda’s husband is cheating on her and Harlan caught him. If Linda divorces him, he’ll have nothing (he signed a prenup). Could he have killed him to keep it a secret?

Hmm…

Hugh Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) was told by his grandfather that night that he was to be written out of th will. The two argued and he didn’t return until the will was read. Did he secretly return and kill him to protect his inheritance?

Hmm…from Saboteur

Joni Thrombey (Toni Collette) is the widow of Harlan’s middle son. She is famous on instagram and is a lifestyle guru. She has the followers, but still relies on Harlan to meet the cost of bills and day to day living. She’s been cheating him by getting twice as much money having the accountants give her her daughter’s college fees, while Harlan also pays straight to the school. He told Joni he was cutting her and Meg off. Did Joni kill him to keep the money?

Hmm…

Megan “Meg” Thrombey (Katherine Langford) found out about hr college fund being cut off. She also left and when she returned was seen to go straight to her bedroom. Could she had killed him so she could continue her schooling?

Hmmm…

Walter “Walt” Thrombey (Michael Shannon) is the youngest brother and in charge of his father’s publishing company. He is fired from the company as Harlan wants his son to be free to be his own person. Did he kill him to keep control and have the money? (This out of all the people I actually feel bad for. Where is he going to get a job now? How is he going to start over at his age?)

But P.I. Benoit Blanc believes that something is missing. He continues to search and forces nurse, Marta Cabrera, to join him on his investigations…but Marta ended up killing him when she switched his accidentally gave him the wrong medication. Harlan kills himself to protect her. So she is helping Blanc solve the murder she committed…oh no.

That’s not good.

I also love the white sweater that Ransom wears. It makes me think of the one Rod Taylor wears in The Birds.

 

The best part of the film, besides Trooper Wagner, was Craig’s character-Private Detective Benoit Blanc.

I could happily watch film after film of his character. I hope they make a sequel with him.

I liked the plot-but I did figure out the ending. Things just didn’t sit right with me of what they showed. I was whispering to me friend, when Blanc said the doughnut line and I was like, yes! That’s what I was thinking!!

Benoit Blanc: I spoke in the car about the hole at the center of this doughnut. And yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly. A doughnut hole in the doughnut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center – it is not a doughnut hole at all but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not whole at all!

But it was great, and every time you watch it there is more that you pick up on. Like the symbolism of Go and the way Marta plays it becoming important later. There is more, so if you haven’t watched it yet-you should.

For more detectives, go to This Village is Full of Strange People: Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Endless Night (2013)

For more Chris Evans, go to We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

For more Jamie Lee Curtis, go to There’s Something in the Fog!: The Fog (1980)

For more Michael Shannon, go to Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

For more Christopher Plummer, go to Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario: Ellery Queen (1976)

 

So it is time for our annual Vincent Price film or TV episode.

I love Vincent Price and I can’t resist anything he is in. I was trying to decide on a film or TV episode, but this Ellery Queen episode intrigued me as I needed to fill a Friday TV show spot, because this episode looked fun, and I couldn’t resist adding another Sleuth to my “mysterious” year.

Mystery, you say?

So I have never read an Ellery Queen mystery or watched this TV show-but I do know who Ellery Queen is. In the Leverage episode “10 Little Grifters” Nate dresses up as him and the first time I saw that episode I had to look up who Ellery Queen is. Ellery Queen is actually similar to Diagnosis Murder, but backwards. Inspector Richard Queen is a renowned detective and his son a famous crime writer, who helps his father solve the really tough cases. (Like how Steve Sloan is a detective and his doctor father, Dr. Mark Sloan, solves all his tough cases).

So I found this episode on youtube and it was a lot of fun watching it as it had the original commercials that it aired with. So enough about that, let’s get started.

It has an old CREST commercial, I can’t believe these girls are fighting over which toothpaste to use. I wouldn’t care what my friends would want. I don’t think I even know what brand they use.

The episode starts off with them filming a scene from an Ellery Queen murder mystery- like how most end, when the director yells cut. The director is played by Vincent Price, I’d know his voice anywhere. I’d listen to him read a phonebook.

The Vincent Price, director Michael Raynor, isn’t happy and I don’t blame him. The guy playing Ellery Queen stinks, like he’s the literal worst. Meanwhile Ellery Queen and his dad are watching and are not impressed. They changed his story and dialogue. I feel you Ellery, Hollywood has ruined many things I love as well.

Vincent Price yells at everyone and is just at the end of his rope, and I hope he isn’t the one who is murdered. I’ll be disappointed if he’s in it for only a second.

Please, oh please! from Death Comes to Pemberley

OMGosh the guy playing Ellery Queen in the movie, Gilbert Mallory (Troy Donahue), is a serious jerk and diva. He’s going to die. I just know it! Too bad Michael Raynor can’t fire him as he owns part of the film and has a lot of power. It’d be great if he died.

Mallory meets the real Queen and is incredibly rude to him. What a jerk!

Mallory is cruel to the publicist and rewrote his script to steal lines from others-he’s totally going to be murdered.

So both the Queens are extremely disappointed in the experience. Inspector Queen expected glitz and glamour-but the studio is a really low budget one and doesn’t have the perks like the big studios. Ellery is upset that he didn’t get an updated script, all the changes are a surprise and an unwelcome one.

The publicist tries to console him and tells him he never gets the script changes either. How a guy can promote something without fully knowing what he is promoting is beyond me.

A lady interrupts them when she comes driving up to see Mallory-I’m assuming she’s the diva’s wife. She is and she is on set to keep her eyes on her husband, her husband who is involved with one of the actresses, Pamela, on set. Man, Mallory is digging his grave-someone is going to kill him, but who?

So the prop man unlocks the locker and grabs the prop gun, but leaves it open. Hmm…interesting,

Oh, I bet that this will be like that Psych episode Lights, Camera…Homicido where the man was murdered when the prop was switched out with a real knife. Mallory will probably be shot by the prop gun and really be shot as the gun will no longer be filled with blank but real bullets.

Pamela (the actress Mallory is sleeping with) shoots Mallory and closes her eyes when she does it. I don’t think she did that the first time. Almost as if…hmmm.

Hmm…is it her?

So she shoots him and all are happy with how Mallory died, as it finally looks real…but when he doesn’t get up, it turns out that he was…murdered. Shot by real bullets.

Ellery and Inspector are investigating which makes the local cops angry as they can’t stand these guys “butting in”. The Queens try to tell him about Mrs. Mallory-her threat of a final good-bye and that she didn’t leave when she said she did as her purse is still on set. There’s no way she would have left without it.

Hmm…

The head of the investigation, Captain Blake comes and it turns out that he and Inspector Queen are good friends who go way back. He makes the Lt. who was complaining earlier have them be a part. Haha!

They find Mrs. Mallory and she proclaims her innocence. She cries and says she loved her husband and would never kill him, and even if she wanted to she wouldn’t have had access to the prop box. She insists she only came back to talk to him as she no longer was upset. Hmmm…Her husband’s company had half the money in it-she probably could get access to the props. And did she really came back to talk to him? Or kill him?

Hmm…

Inspector Queen leaves to find the home of Dorothy Lamour and Ellery finds a note on his script telling him to talk to Al in special effects. He heads over there and it turns out Al has disappeared.

Ellery shows one of the other SFX guys his note and they find Al, who happens to be a fan and wants Ellery’s help. He insists that he put in six blanks this morning and never touched the gun again to reload it. He thinks someone got to the gun and put the real bullets in. He came in to work that morning and was loading the gun and received a phone call. With the phone being on the other end of the lot he ran over there, and it turned out that there was no one on the line. That’s the only time someone could have planted them.

His reason for hiding and not sharing this with the police? His sister was script girl on one of Mallory’s other pictures and he was afraid it would give him a motive, as Mallory dropped her and as she is “just a kid” it broke her heart. Ellery urges him to talk to the cops and they will treat him right.

In the next scene Al is in handcuffs. Yes, it turns out he had threatened Mallory, a fact he forgot to share with Ellery.

Lt. Smary Jerk Attitude gleefully tells Ellery what they discovered. He really hates Ellery.

The next commercials are pretty boring although one is for the Chicago Fire Festival. What is that?

Anyways, back to the show. The Queens are invited to a scrumptious brunch by Director Raynor. Inspector is mad as he wants to do some touristy things, but hey scrumptious brunch with Vincent Price, I mean Raynor, will have almost all your suspects and the gossip.

The big question in the air is whether or not the picture will go forward. And no one is quite sure. The Publicist for the film wants to get the stuntman Mike to be moved up to the lead, but Raynor isn’t interested in an “unknown”. This seems weird to be as you think the publicist would know better than to suggest that-their relationship seems weird.

The actor playing Inspector Queen in the movie goes to Raynor and tries to get him to reverse some of the changes Mallory made, but Raynor isn’t interested in dealing with it at the moment.

Hmmm…

Pamela isn’t too sad about the possibility of canceling the film as she will be able to get the part she really wanted in another film, a part that came her way after she signed the contracts for this film. Meanwhile, Mrs. Mallory is angry and starts pointing the finger at Raynor- telling Inspector Queen that her husband planned to fire him, but was killed first

Pamela also encourages them to look over Raynor’s gun collection as he’s a hunter and has a ton of guns that range from all types and decades. Ellery is super interested, but his father is done and ready to leave.

With that attitude I’m not surprised Ellery is the famous crimesolver in the family.

The actor playing the Inspector runs after the two and tells them something he just remembered. Originally Mallory had been wearing a real bulletproof vest but it was changed by Al, the prop man. If he had still had it on at the time then he would be alive today.

They go through the prop memos and find that Raynor was the one who asked for a bulletproof vest and that he wanted a simulated one instead. Raynor explains that Mallory hated the vest as he thought it made him look fat. Raynor tried to change his mind, but no dice, and he instead gave in. To some that may seem like a lame excuse, but the way this diva was, I believe it. The change was discussed off set with only Pamela being the one to hear if it.

Hmm…

Ellery is trying to figure it out who the killer is and starts reading over the scripts (the original and changed one)

The guy who plays Inspector Queen is always popping up and pointing fingers. I’m starting to wonder if it is going to be him as he always just “happens” to be there. He reveals that the end shooting scene changed from the original because the director requested it. It would save $200 to have Mallory be on the phone and shot by Pamela than to crash through a window by a stuntman.

But Ellery has discovered something very interesting, in the original writing, if real bullets were placed in the gun it would be harder to kill him on target, but in the new script-with the proximity, no way they could miss killing Mallory.

They ask Raynor about it who changed it and he answers he thought the clear shooting looked better and was cheaper, a win win. They are interrupted when Sonny Miller arrives on set to replace Mallory and everyone seems overjoyed to have him.

They begin shootong the car chase scene and switch Miller out for the stuntman Mike. I can’t help but feel something bad will happen.

Everything is going great until the car won’t stop and Mike goes crashing down the hillside.

We are back from commercials (a really weird Raisin Bran one) and it turns out the brakeline was cut-Mike is dead. So was the killer after Mallory, Sonny Miller, Mike the stuntman, or trying to stop the picture?

Hmm…

So the last one seems the most likely and the Queens start looking at Pamela since she is the only one who wanted to get out of the picture. She insists she has no reason for sabotage as RKO is waiting to do the picture until she is finished here. The Inspector insists that it isn’t a real alibi as she could have done the cutting of the brake line before she got word from RKO. Pamela insists there is no way as she doesn’t know anything about cars.

Ellery points out to his aggravated father that both murders were filmed, so they actually have an advantage as the review them for clues.

Ellery watches them and sees something? What? We can’t find out until he has rounded up the suspects.

Lt. Smarmy Jerk (I can’t remember his name and don’t really care to look it up) thinks Pamela did it as her face is cold blooded in the film of her shooting. Raynor defends her as being an actress and the Lt. says she’s not that good. LOL, I was thinking the same thing. Since he thinks she did it we all know that which means she didn’t.

Scene 231 is the clue. Ellery lists off the suspects:

  • Pamela, the actress who wanted out of the picture
  • The man playing Inspector Queen who’s lines were stolen by Mallory, maybe with Mallory (and Miller) gone the movie could be about him.
  • Mrs. Mallory, her husband was cheating on her and she never liked this picture-wants to pull the plug
  • Director Michael Raynor, he hated Mallory and wanted a different actor but Mallory had too much money involved-why he would try and stall the picture is uncertain, maybe it is a smokescreen to get them to look elsewhere
  • The Publicist, Mallory was cruel to him and he promoted Mike the stuntman (which is a odd relationship) also trying to kill Mike as a smokescreen?
  • Al the SFX guy-he hated Mallory but doesn’t have a reason for Mike.

Ellery gathers everyone up and here we go…

Elleey acts out the original scene from his script, Ellery going to the window and through it. A stunt is involved in the original scene so there would have been a stunt double-the stuntman would have been shot at. Mike was always supposed to be shot, the killer was always after the stuntman.

I KNOW WHO IT IS! You guys remember back at brunch the stuntman kept trying to get the publicist to get him get the part. Their interaction was weird as a good stuntman can have some power, but nothing like what Mike seemed to hold over the publicist. He must have something on him to make him do that. Earlier when Ellery complained about not being made aware of the changes to his story, the publicist complained that he isn’t told anything either. That means that he didn’t know about the scene being changed from the window and set up a murder using the original story.

Another mystery solved!

The last film the publicist worked on the actress had a nervous breakdown and was doing drugs to get through. Her drug dealer was jailed but the publicist needed to keep her going. She died from an overdose and Mike knew he supplied her with the pills and threatened him with the police if he didn’t do what he wanted.

Ellery and his dad exit set to do some conventional Hollywood plans.

That was interesting and enjoyable. Although it did make me think of Diagnosis Murder  (although I think that father and son pair had a better relationship.) I might check out some of the other episodes in the future.

For more Vincent Price, go to To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985)

For more detectives, go to What are you? I’m Batman: Batman (1989)

For more mysteries, go to Why Miss Fisher the Movie Flopped for Me: Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

For more that feature crime writers, go to The Perfect Murder: Dial “M” for Murder (1954)

For more TV episodes reviews, go to Who Kidnapped the Girls’ Soccer Stars?: North Mammon, Criminal Minds (2006)