Ralph Bellamy made the first of four appearances as fictional sleuth Ellery Queen in Columbia’s “Ellery Queen, Master Detective”. For reasons that defy logic, the studio elected to transform the brilliant, analytical Queen into a hopeless bumbler, who seems incapable of tying his own shoes, much less solving a murder. Set at a posh health resort, the story gets under way when wealthy physical culturalist John Braun (played by former director Fred Niblo) is killed after threatening to cut all his heirs out of his will. Investigating the killing is crime novelist Ellery Queen, his police-inspector father (Charles Grapewin), and another mystery writer, Nikki Porter (Margaret Lindsay). In short order, the body disappears, along with the will, a set of X-rays, and an ambulance! Somehow, Ellery Queen manages to put the pieces together and solve the crime, whereupon Nikki Porter offers to become Ellery’s secretary-even though it’s clear she’s got more brains in her left toe than he has in his whole carcass.
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