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In Victorian London, two elderly brothers, Masterman and Joseph Finsbury, are bound together by a tontine, a financial arrangement whereby the last surviving member inherits a large fortune. With Masterman's decline in both health and wealth, he decides to dispose of his brother so that the money will pass to his grandson, Michael, an unpromising medical student. Masterman makes several attempts on Joseph's life, but the latter is too absorbed in his hobby of collecting useless information to notice. Meanwhile, Joseph's two greedy nephews, Morris and John, are also plotting to gain the inheritance. Mistakenly believing that Masterman is dead, that Michael is concealing the fact, and that Uncle Joseph was killed in a train wreck, they crate up what they think is Joseph's corpse and ship it home, hoping to hush up the death. The crate, however, contains the body of the Bournemouth strangler and is mistakenly delivered to Masterman's house. While the confused Michael frantically tries to dispose of it, the two nephews persuade the disreputable Dr. Pratt to sign a post-dated death certificate for Joseph. Confusion mounts as the police begin searching for the body of the strangler. After a wild chase, the situation is resolved when both Masterman and Joseph arrive, alive and well. The villainous cousins are exposed, and the tontine apparently is destined to benefit Michael and Julia, Joseph's ward, who have fallen in love.