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Ellery Queen: The Adventure of Colonel Nivin's Memoirs

A former spy, Colonel Alec Nivin, is in New York for a book signing of his memoirs in which he accuses numerous people of war crimes and treasonous acts. Ellery's galpal, Jenny O'Brien, Nivin's publicist, finds the author stabbed to death in his club office with an antique Kashmir dagger and becomes the primary suspect.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 1x7
Production Number: 43617
Airdate: Thursday October 23rd, 1975

Guest Stars
Rene AuberjonoisRene Auberjonois
As Marcel Fourchet
Lloyd BochnerLloyd Bochner
As Colonel Alec V. Niven
Gretchen CorbettGretchen Corbett
As Jenny O'Brien
Robert LoggiaRobert Loggia
As Alexei Dubrenskov
Pernell RobertsPernell Roberts
As Rosh Kaleel / Barney Groves / Major George Pearson
Nina Van PallandtNina Van Pallandt
As Sonya Dubrenskov
Peter BromilowPeter Bromilow
As Colin Esterbrook
Caryn MatchingaCaryn Matchinga
As Glenda Dunlap
Jonathan HoleJonathan Hole
As Dress Shop Manager
Claude Earl JonesClaude Earl Jones
As Mounted Officer
Main Cast
Jim HuttonJim Hutton
As Ellery Queen
David WayneDavid Wayne
As Inspector Richard Queen
Tom ReeseTom Reese
As Sergeant Thomas Velie


A man with a cane gets out of a taxi outside the Gotham Book Store, where former spy and current author, Colonel Alec Nivin, is signing copies of his new book Memoirs of a Spy. His publicist, Jenny O'Brien, is supervising the signing, and Nivin tries to hit on her without success. Once she steps away, the man with the cane places a book before Nivin with a message inside saying that they have to talk. They step aside and Jenny notices them arguing. The man with the cane leaves and Ellery arrives and wonders why Jenny, his girlfriend, didn't show up for lunch. She reminds him that their lunch date was a day ago and says she has to go to a literary cocktail party in honor of her client. Jenny explains that it's her publicity that has made Nivin popular, and introduces Ellery to Nivin. Nivin signs his last book and suggests that he and Jenny go out to celebrate at the Safari Club at his private room. Thinking quickly, she gets Ellery to agree to a dinner date, but Nivin insists on business first. Switching gears, Jenny tells Nivin that she's invited Ellery to the cocktail party that night, and tells him to be on time for once...

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Episode Notes
Gretchen Corbett, who plays Ellery's sometime galpal in this episode, is best known as Beth Davenport, the sometime galpal to Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.

Pernell Roberts had previously starred as Adam Cartwright on Bonanza and would go onto star as the title character on Trapper John, M.D.

Lloyd Bochner would go onto play nasty tycoon Cecil Colby on Dynasty.

Rene Auberjunois played Clayton Endicott from 1980-86 on Benson.

Episode Quotes
Niven: I had no idea I was so well-known in America.
Jenny: Good publicity helps, Colonel

Ellery: Jenny. Jenny. Jenny, I've been waiting at Alexander's for about an hour. Now dDidn't we have a lunch date?
Jenny O'Brien: Oh, yes. But that was yesterday, and I waited an hour.
Ellery: But yesterday... was Tuesday.
Jenny O'Brien: And today is Wednesday, And tomorrow is Thursday. And anyway, I've already eaten.

Inspector Queen: Ellery, you better hurry or you're gonna be late--again.

Inspector Queen: Yeah, yeah, he's the one who wrote that Memoirs of a Spy. Well, of course I know about it. What do you think I do, just read detective stories?

Jenny: Ellery, if you had been on time here I wouldn't be in this mess.

Jenny: Is Ellery up?
Inspector Queen: I think he's in the kitchen. I smell toast burning.

Ellery: My dad does not think you killed Colonel Alec Nivin.
Jenny: He's about the only one.

Jenny O'Brien: Oh, Ellery, I am so embarrassed. Calling that poor man a liar and then that girl. Well, I have learned my lesson. From now on it's completely up to you.
Ellery: But I thought you were the one...
Jenny I'm not cut out for detective business. I'm gonna stick to my press clippings and stop playing Torchy Blaine.

Inspector Queen: (about the vandalized apartment) Holy Hannah, look at this!

Inspector Queen: I'm not even going to ask you why you put those files in the refrigerator.
Ellery: Well, I was cleaning up after dinner, I had the turkey in one hand, the files in another, and then the phone rang.

Dubrenskov: I trust you have no listening devices in this room.
Inspector Queen: I beg your pardon! This is America!

Inspector Queen: I wonder what the penalty is for starting World War III.

Jenny: Gee whiz, nylons on sale for $1.09 a pair!

Ellery: (to the viewers) No, it was not Jenny.

Ellery: 5:00 on the dot. You see, I am improving.

Alexei Dubrenskov: Defecting, I dream about it every night.

Ellery: Uh, Dad, you think you can take care of this for me? Now, I got that while I was working on the case.
Inspector Queen: Ellery, you want me to fix a parking ticket? Pay the two dollars.

Good episode with an especially good performance from Gretchen Corbett as Ellery's galpal of the week. Corbett and star Jim Hutton had great chemistry together so it's a shame that she never made a second appearance on the series. Maybe she just preferred Jim Rockford over Ellery Queen.:)

Other Episode Crew

Executive ProducerRichard Levinson  |  William Link
ProducerPeter S. Fischer  |  Michael Rhodes (2)
MusicElmer Bernstein
Music SupervisorHal Mooney
Costume DesignerCharles Waldo
Set DecoratorJohn M. Dwyer
Director of PhotographyJohn M. Nickolaus, Jr.
Story EditorRobert Van Scoyk
Art DirectorWilliam L. Campbell
Main Title DesignJack Cole (2)  |  N. Lee Lacy
Film EditorJohn Elias  |  Chuck McClelland
SoundMelvin M. Metcalfe, Sr.
Assistant DirectorPhil Bowles
Unit ManagerJack Terry
Based On Characters Created ByEllery Queen
Editorial SupervisorRichard Belding
Developed ByRichard Levinson  |  William Link
Theme MusicElmer Bernstein
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