When a wise-cracking detective takes on high society and is hired to keep an eye on an old friends' rebellious daughter, he finds out that such an assignment can lead to murder. Lloyd Nolan began his brief spell as detective Michael Shayne in this enjoyable detective drama which has a lot of elements of comedy and a few of that growing genre called film noir.
At first, debutante want to be Marjorie Reynolds finds Nolan's presence an aggravation, especially when he spoils her fun by bringing her home from a gambling joint after she's used up all of her allowance. Her domineering father (Clarence Kolb) is so grateful that he employs Shayne immediately to keep an eye on her while he's away on business. He's grateful because his office has just been cleared of its furniture. Her dotty aunt (Elizabeth Patterson) is intrigued because she's obsessed with murder, and when a real one does occur (following an unfortunate joke that Nolan tried to perpetrate on the unknowing Reynolds), it is Patterson who will aid him the most, although a lot of her advising chatter is based on nothing more than "True Detective" magazines she's read.
The mystery takes the viewer to the races, to a gambling house, and to the countryside where Nolan left the victim after he slipped him a mickey. It is all a rouse to try to keep Reynolds in line (she was romantically involved with the man), but everything turns haywire when the ketchup on the man's shirt is joined by the blood gushing from his head. Among the others involved are Douglas Dumbrille as the gambling house owner, Joan Valerie as his hot-tempered daughter, and Donald MacBride as an initially seeming smart cop whose idiotic partner could fry anybody's brain cells. It's all entertainingly presented, decently acted, and well produced, resulting in a "B" mystery where the laughs come just as frequently as the thrills.
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