At his own birthday party, rich antique dealer Edwards (Morgan Wallace)
confesses to Mr.Wong (Boris Karloff) that his life is in serious danger as he
holds one of the most valuable gems in his safe, & he also tells Wong that,
should he be killed, a letter (also in his safe) will reveal the identity of
Of course, that very same evening, at that very some party, he is shot,
& in front of all the guests at a charade game, where him being shot is
part of the perfomance, too.
The shot in the stageplay was fired by Peter Harrison (Craig Reynolds), his
secretary & secret lover of his wife Valerie (Dorothy Tree), but did he put
the lethal bullet in the gun full of blanks ? or was it Valerie, who more &
more detested her husband ? or was it the weird team of Russian opera singer
Strogonoff (Ivan Lebedeff), guest of the house, & Edwards' own maid Trina
(Lotus Long) ? Maybe the sinister Butler Sing (Chester Gan) ?
However, both the gem & the letter containing the killer's identity have
disappeared, & while inspector Street (Grant Withers) jumps to conclusions
as usual & arrests Harrison - who did fire the shot after all, or did he -
Wong & fellow master criminologist Janney (Holmes Herbert) try to look for
more traces leading to either the letter or the killer (which is pretty much
the same, actually).
& while (to little surprise) it is finally revealed that the lethal
bullet was not fired from Harrison's gun, thus proving him innocent,
Trina has a fall-out with Strogonoff, who is actually her lover & the two
planned to steal the gem (but didn't succeed), & Trina threatens to send
the letter - which she had wisely stolen from the safe only minutes after
Edwards was murdered - to Wong. However, she doesn't live long enough to do so,
as she only minutes afterwards is killed by a poiisoned cigarette (who said
smoking wasn't bad for you).
Street again wastes no time to make an arrest & this time it's
Strogonoff - which seems a fairly reasonable choice, considering the evidence
But then Wong is called by Sing who tells him he has found the letter, but
is struck down before gioving any more information.
Now Wong decides to go for a bluff & claims Sing has already sent the
letter to him, so the next day, everybody involved (& still living) shows
up at his house: Harrison, Valerie, Janney, Edwards' lawyer Carslake (Hooper
Atchley), who has been among the suspects briefly, too, & Strogonoff, who
has been cleared of suspicion by the assault on Sing.
& the killer was of course ... Janney, the fellow criminologist who
proved to be no match for Wong, having left traces all along the way &
having killed Edwards' because he drove his first wife, Janney's sister, to
& the gem, you may ask. It was only a diversion, & almost casually,
Janeny hands it over to Wong.
Run-of-the-mill B-whodunit which has rather too obvious a culprit to really
keep you guessing - the second criminologist just doesn't fit the picture
unless he is the killer. & as usual, Karloff's perfomance is good - one
just wishes he didn't have to play a Chinaman, as because of his tall stature,
his soft-spoken voice & very careful British pronounciation he totally
fails to convince.