Could it be a movie?: Stories from Ellery Queen’s (Part 2)

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Welcome to “Could it be a movie?,” a segment in which TMP reads stuff and tells you whether or not the written materials would make good movies. In this installment, we look at two stories from a 1979 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

“Early Warning”

Who wrote it?: John Gloag
Where does it appear?: January 1979 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

(Scanned for TMP from my personal collection)
(Scanned for TMP from my personal collection)

Plot: A femme fatale confesses to a writer that she killed her husband.
Would it make a good movie?: There is a really fantastic twist at the end of this story that would make for a completely unexpected surprise reveal at the end of the film. I can definitely see it as a dark, smoky noir – rooted in a conversation in a shadowy bar, but mixed in with a few flashbacks.

“Something Like Murder”

Who wrote it?: John Lutz
Where does it appear?: January 1979 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Plot: A film critic experiences a case of life imitating art. When he sees his neighbor fall past his window and toward the ground, he begins to suspect that she was pushed off of the roof. His suspicions are on target, and her husband was the culprit. But now the critic must commit a murder of his own so the husband doesn’t kill him to keep him quiet.
Would it make a good movie?: This story delivers a few shocks and has a very good level of suspense. If the twist of who killed Mrs. V was pushed back rather than being almost immediately revealed, it could make for a good paranoia thriller a la Sorry, Wrong Number with the critic living on constant fear that someone will find out he was a witness to the murder. As it exists, the story could make a good Strangers on a Train-esque thriller, with the twist being that the critic pulls one over on the killer by convincingly pretending to commit a murder but not actually committing it.

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