Ellery Queen (1975–1976)
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The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs 

Ellery's publicist becomes embroiled in a murder investigation when she finds the body of one of her clients, a World War II spy who recently wrote a tell-all memoir.



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Episode cast overview:
Marcel Fourchet
Alexsei Dobrenskov
Rosh Kalee
Sonja Dobrenskov (as Nina Van Pallandt)
Sgt. Velie
Peter Bromilow ...
Colin Esterbrook
Toian Matchinga ...
Glenda Dunlap (as Caryn Matchinga)
Dress Shop Manager
Mounted Officer


At a book signing Ellery is introduced to Colonel Alec Nivin who is signing his recent publication "Memoirs of a Spy" on the book's first day of sale. The book is a character assassination of various British, French, and Russian operatives who are now living in the United States after WWII. Later that evening when one of the exposed operatives kills Nivin, Ellery and Inspector Queen must sort through Nivin's files to find the killer. As the list of suspects keeps growing, it isn't till Ellery realizes that the killer could only have bought Nivin's book on the day of the murder at the Gotham Book Store since Ellery was there and he bought the last copy of the book. Written by H Pylypiw

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Crime | Drama | Family | Mystery





Release Date:

23 October 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jenny compares herself to Torchy Blane, a character in a series of movie mysteries in the late 1930s. See more »


Major Pearson tells the Soviets that they are interested in a man named "Rudolph Abel," who did not adopt that alias until he was arrested in 1957. See more »


Ellery Queen: Jenny, I've been waiting at Alexander's for about an hour. Now, didn't we have a lunch date?
Jenny O'Brien: Oh, yes! But that was yesterday. And *I* waited an hour.
Ellery Queen: Well, yesterday...
[realizes she's right]
Ellery Queen: ... was Tuesday.
Jenny O'Brien: And today is Wednesday, and tomorrow's Thursday, and anyway, I've already eaten.
See more »


References The Egg and I (1947) See more »

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User Reviews

Oh, How Our Memory Can Fool us
14 January 2011 | by See all my reviews

Oh dear. I loved "Ellery Queen" and Jim Hutton when I was a teen-ager. But now I'm re-watching them 35 years later on the new DVD set. And boy some of these shows are just plain awful.

I cannot disagree more with the single review for this episode. It's beyond me how anyone can find this one good. This has to be the absolute worst episode in the "Ellery Queen" series starring Jim Hutton. The story is a boring cliché repeatedly overused in 1970s TV crime shows (the tell all book written by a nasty blackmailing author who ends up murdered). In this case it's the secret of ex-Nazis or Nazi sympathizers who end up in the book. The script is dreadful. Those Nancy Drew-like shenanigans from Jenny and Ellery! Ugh. Gretchen Corbett turns in a performance that reminded me of a high school drama student so terribly wanting to impress and utterly failing. I was embarrassed for Robert Loggia and his phony Russian accent. Bookmarks left behind marking the pages naming the victim's of the author's smears. Please! And the solution hinges on a brief line of dialog that was delivered by a minor character. Bad!

Sadly, this episode -- truly the worst of the 23 episodes -- is exemplary of the rest of the series. Less than half of these are well written, engaging, and well acted episodes. Most are just messes with stupid plots, lots of tired antiquated gag comedy, and strident acting.

The more I watch these episodes on DVD the more I notice how bored David Wayne was with his thankless role as Inspector Queen; how mediocre of an actor Jim Hutton was (although he was damn good looking at the time); and overall how much of the writing was just horrid. The only episodes worth watching are those written by Peter S. Fischer. And why oh why weren't more of the real Ellery Queen stories adapted for TV? There was only one legitimate Queen story out of 23. Not surprisingly it was written by Fischer ("The Adventure of the Mad Tea Party").

One of the few things worth watching for, however, amid most of these train wrecks are nicely done period homages from talented actors who are trying to duplicate the style and feel of the 1940s. Some of the best performances are Ross Martin with his arch manner of speaking and that crazy Van Dyke beard in "...The Pharaoh's Curse;" Geraldine Brooks with her mastery of rapid fire line delivery, odd physicality and colorful characterization in "...The Chinese Dog;" and Betty White as a bitchy P.R. Agent who seems to be channeling Rosalind Russell in "...Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance." The majority of the actors haven't a clue about style or atmosphere or anything. They're just parading around in period costumes (sometimes period, but often these so-called 40s clothes are actually garish 70 clothes!), slouching 1970s style, and slurring their pedestrian dialog like they were on any old sit-com of the time.

Pay close attention and watch how the real pros outshine the nobodies in these shows. How much better this show could have been had the directors really tried to capture the acting style of the late 1940s and demanded 100% commitment from everyone. Instead of serving up what could have been a delicious chocolate mousse we get bland Jell-O.

The series gets a 7. This episode gets a 1.

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