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A Scream in the Dark

A Scream in the Dark(1943)

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Reporter Mike Brooker must finish one more assignment before he can quit the newspaper and open his own private detective agency with his pal, photographer Eddie Tough. Mike is at New York City's 99th Street morgue waiting for the sister of rich Mike Carter to identify his corpse, but when she does not show up, Mike quits without finishing his story. Mike and Eddie then move into the office found by Mike's girl friend, Joan Allen, who is the police chief's secretary. Two weeks later, Joan sends Mike his first client, Leo Starke. Leo states that his wife of five years, Muriel, is Mike Carter's sister, and that she disappeared shortly after learning about her inheritance. Leo wants a divorce because he believes that Muriel has run off with a fortune hunter, Gerald Messenger. Mike tracks down Muriel and Gerald with the help of Gerald's former girl friend Stella. Mike and Eddie then take a compromising photo of Muriel and Gerald together, which induces Muriel to agree to give Leo a divorce. After Leo files for divorce, a man named Norton approaches Mike and says that the woman in the newspaper story about the Starkes's divorce is actually his wife Muriel, who ran away. Before Mike can locate Muriel again, Norton is killed. When Stella informs Mike that he can find Gerald and Muriel through an ex-convict named Benny, who once hired Gerald, she, too, is murdered. Mike finds Gerald, who maintains that he had nothing to do with Stella's death, but before he can name her killer, he is shot to death. Meanwhile, a man named Sam Lackey contacts Mike and Eddie and insists that he is Muriel's real husband. Lackey's face looks familiar to Joan and she searches through police records and discovers that he is Benny. After Joan then learns that Muriel Starke is actually Muriel Norton, a headless corpse in the morgue is then identified as Mrs. Muriel Carter Starke, Mark Carter's sister. While Mike is eluding the police, who believe that he is involved with the murders, he finally locates Muriel, Starke and Lackey. He learns that Starke killed his wife, then, after finding out about Carter's death, hired Muriel to impersonate his wife in order to get the inheritance. After signing the inheritance over to Starke, Murial agreed to the divorce, but they had to arrange for Lackey to kill Norton, Stella and Gerald when they learned too much. Mike and Eddie tussle with the culprits and are about to be overwhelmed when Joan arrives with the police. During the ensuing struggle, Starke, Muriel and Lackey are killed. Later, Joan gives Mike a congratulatory kiss but is interrupted when the chief of police attempts to hire him to find his wife.