Cast & Crew
Although her uncle Frank's sudden death has been ruled the result of heart disease, Constance Martin attempts to re-open the case in a court in Bermuda, where Frank lived. Constance explains that she suspects foul play and describes a strange pact made by her uncle and five of his friends: Frank, Mark Dunham, Dr. Randolph Tilford, Lyman Brooks, Lee Cooper and John Best meet every year to renew their friendship, which began during their military service in World War I. At one meeting, Frank suggests that they each contribute ten thousand dollars to a fund to be administered by a banker friend, Herbert Bond, and at the end of ten years, whoever is still alive will divide the money. Back in the courtroom, Constance explains that the fund is to be collected in five days, and that her uncle, who was in perfect health, had been smoking a cigarette contained in a birthday package sent by his friends. The judge refuses to re-open the case, so Constance travels to New York City, where the friends are to meet. Constance attends a dinner with Tilford, Brooks, Cooper and Best, all of whom deny sending Frank the cigarettes. Suspecting that one of them is the killer, Constance decides to hire private detective Steven Carromond. Steve refuses to accept the case, however, because he is due at a rehearsal dinner and is to be married the next day to Angela, a snobby socialite. Constance persists, and believing that she has been followed by a shadowy figure, Steve accompanies her to the home of Bond, the banker. The butler has them arrested for trespassing, and even though Bond soon arranges for their release, Steve misses the rehearsal dinner. Although Steve is determined never to see Constance again, he responds to her telephone call for help the next morning. At Best's aparment, they discover Best's corpse, with a cigarette lying close by, as well as a memo pad with doodled drawings of dollar signs. They manage to elude the apartment manager, but police detective Sergeant Donovan, who has an antagonistic relationship with Steve, puts out a general call to pick them up. Steve and Constance then go to Dr. Tilford's office, where they find more doodled dollar signs and witness a quarrel between the doctor and his greedy wife Valerie. After they leave, Tilford collapses, and Donovan grows increasingly suspicious, especially after the nurse reveals that Constance had given Tilford a cigarette. Constance and Steve then travel to the state penitentiary, where Mark Dunham is about to be executed for an unrelated murder, committed a year earlier. After Dunham informs them that Cooper just gave him a box of cigarettes, the couple leave and Dunham dies. Donovan has Dunham's cigarette examined and learns that it contains cardianide, the same substance responsible for Best's death. Meanwhile, when Steve hears that he and Constance are suspected in Dunham's death, he temporarily deserts Constance and attempts to explain to Angela why he has missed their wedding. Telling her that he must clear his name before they can marry, Steve leaves. He then examines the cigarettes that Constance was carrying and, satisfied that she is innocent, goes with her to Cooper's waterfront store. There they discover more drawn dollar signs and overhear Cooper and Brooks arguing, then find Cooper's corpse. Suspecting Brooks, they rush to his house, and even though Valerie had previously hinted at his guilt, Brooks protests his innocence. Just as Brooks himself collapses, he receives a call from Tilford, who is recovered and hiding in a hospital. Constance and Steve go to the hospital, closely followed by Donovan. In Tilford's room, they discover that Valerie is responsible for doodled drawings found at the crime scenes. Thus implicated, Valerie admits her guilt in all of the murders, saying that she wanted to collect the money as Tilford's widow. Donovan and his men arrest her just as she pulls a gun, and after the excitement is over, Steve realizes that he loves Constance and bestows a kiss upon her.
Theodore Von Eltz
W. Scott Darling
Harry M. Leonard
The working titles of this film were Then There Were Five, Murder Around the Clock, Murder in the Bahamas and Murder in Bermuda. The picture was William Girard's first production for Twentieth Century-Fox and was a remake of a 1941 Twentieth Century-Fox film entitled Murder Among Friends (see below).