Ellery Queen (1975–1976)
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The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument 

Edgar Manning, a mystery writer, wins the annual Blunt Instrument Award for his year's work and goes to pick it up at a party. Ellery, who was Edgar's rival for the award, is sidelined ... See full summary »



(characters created by) (as Ellery Queen), (story) | 5 more credits »

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Episode cast overview:
George Tisdale
Magda Szomony
Nick McVey
Cliff Waddell
Edgar Manning
Ellen Weston ...
Mary Parks
Camellia Justice
Robert Casper ...


Edgar Manning, a mystery writer, wins the annual Blunt Instrument Award for his year's work and goes to pick it up at a party. Ellery, who was Edgar's rival for the award, is sidelined because of a nasty cold. So Edgar gleefully phones Ellery and gives a blow-by-blow description of the award ceremony (including describing the trophy) as he leans back in his easy chair. But the phone call is interrupted by a sickening thud. Ellery calls out to Edgar but gets no response. Cut back to Edgar, who's now face down on his desk. His skull was shattered by ... The Blunt Instrument, the trophy itself. Written by Peter Harris

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Family | Mystery





Release Date:

18 December 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ellery Queen walks around the crime scene looking for clues. He is not wearing his hat. He exits the living room and once he enters the other room, he is wearing his hat. See more »


Ellery Queen: Well, you've seen all the clues-have you got it? I think I do. Now, the important things 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.
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References The Magic Bow (1946) See more »

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User Reviews

Ellery has a bad cold
2 November 2009 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

Episode 11, "The Adventure of the Blunt Instrument," refers to the award given to the year's outstanding mystery novel, shaped like a mallet. For his latest book, "The Shanghai Solution," Edgar Manning(Keene Curtis, of CHEERS) is the award's latest recipient, inviting a few guests for a celebration in his apartment afterwards. His research assistant, Cliff Waddell (Dean Stockwell), proposes a toast to the author of "The Shanghai Solution," and Manning himself insists they drink to his death, since he has many enemies. During a phone conversation with Ellery Queen, unable to attend due to a severe head cold, Edgar Manning is murdered by, as he puts it, "some rash person who wants to balance the books." Among the other guests present were Mary Parks (Ellen Weston), Manning's secretary, whom he was supposedly going to fire, Nick McVey (Richard Jaeckel), a tough-guy rival author who boasts that his books are outselling Manning's, Magda Szomony (Eva Gabor), an actress who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe and is now living illegally in the US (a fact which Manning held over her by refusing to marry her), and George Tisdale (John Dehner), Manning's publisher, who feared that Edgar would switch over to a company run by Tisdale's former wife, Camellia Justice (Joanna Barnes). A subsequent audit of Tisdale's company reveals a 5000 dollar deficit, resulting in the arrest of embezzling accountant Stephen Osterwald (an unbilled Robert Cornthwaite). Inspector Queen's discussion with Captain Hill (an unbilled Ross Elliott, previously seen as the Judge in the original ELLERY QUEEN pilot) reveals that Cliff Waddell couldn't have killed Manning, who was struck with a blow to the head by the 'blunt instrument' award itself, due to injuries suffered in Okinawa, earning Waddell the Navy Cross for distinguished service in the line of duty. Waddell was attended to by the Captain himself, with shrapnel in his right leg and both arms, making it impossible for him to raise them above his waist to kill anyone. Waddell adds that, after leaving Manning's party, he attended an all-night movie house showing "She-Wolf of London" and "The Spider Woman Strikes Back," both actual 1946 releases from Universal Pictures,though not together (Ellery even excitedly mentions the star of the latter feature, Gale Sondergaard). Clyde Kusatsu appears as Mateo, Manning's houseboy, who apparently left the gathering and returned home before the murder occurred. Ellery is amusingly wheezing and sneezing throughout, and vetoes his father's proffered remedies such as tea (which needs more gin).

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