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Livia Emberday and her photographer daughter Trudy resort to crime in order to save their stately English manor from financial ruin. Assisted by Livia's dim-witted son Luke, the two women have installed a bogus order of nuns on the grounds and are using the convent as a front for receiving stolen goods and shipping them to the warehouse of Hubert Hamlyn, an old friend whose wife is posing as the Sister General at the phony convent. When a man from Scotland Yard disappears while investigating the convent, Superintendent Cooper-Smith is assigned to the case. Arriving at Emberday Hall, he finds an interment underway in the family vault. Although he is unaware that the "corpse" is actually Emil Clossen, a safecracking specialist who has been smuggled into England for the next Emberday caper, Cooper-Smith is suspicious and enlists the aid of Sophie, the receptionist at the local hotel. Once the gang has stolen £1 million in gold bullion from a city bank, they ship the ingots to the convent for melting down before being smuggled abroad by Hamlyn. While Cooper-Smith is following a trail to the convent, Sophie is captured trying to investigate alone. Cooper-Smith arrives as the nuns are pouring the molten gold into pottery vases, and confusion quickly turns to panic: Hamlyn is strangled, Clossen is drowned in a coffin, Luke is shot by his mother, Trudy is killed by a crucible filled with the molten gold, and Cooper-Smith is accidentally knocked unconscious by Sophie.