Cast & Crew
Eugene J. Forde
Jimmy Trotter meets with psychiatrist Robert Ordway to solicit the doctor's advice about his forthcoming marriage to Ellen Monroe. Ordway, who was instrumental in winning Jimmy's acquittal on charges of poisoning his real estate agent employer, becomes concerned when he learns that Jimmy is again working as a secretary to a real estate agent and advises him to postpone his marriage and look for a job with a large company. Curious about Jimmy's new employer, Walter Burns, Ordway visits the Burns residence and is informed by the housekeeper, Miss Patricia Cornwall, that Burns has just been poisoned. Soon after, police inspector Rief arrives at the house and after questioning Burns's wife Diana, his brother Addison and nephew, Paul Ashley, the inspector arrests Jimmy for Burns's murder. As the police handcuff Jimmy in his basement office, Ordway goes upstairs to question the cook, Mrs. Keppler. Suspicious of Mrs. Keppler's stilted diction, Ordway asks her who she really is. Before she can answer, a gun shot rings out, and Ordway and the police run to the driveway just in time to witness Jimmy speed away in Ordway's car. In the confusion, Mrs. Keppler hurries to her room, pulls off her wig, changes her clothes and slips out the window. Upon finding Mrs. Keppler missing and her room deserted, Ordway informs Diana that her cook was an impostor. Soon after, Miss Patricia visits Ordway's office to relate her reoccurring nightmare to the doctor. Believing that Miss Patricia's dream is a fabrication, Ordway hypnotizes her. In a hypnotic trance, Miss Patricia reveals that the cook's real name is Evelyn Fenton Cartwright and that she is the daughter of Burns's business partner, George Fenton, who disappeared thirty-one years earlier. Miss Patricia continues that Fenton and Burns were partners in the Golden Nights Café, where she worked as the star dancer. On the night that Fenton disappeared, Miss Patricia overheard him arguing with Burns about a real estate investment. After Fenton refused to invest, he vanished, along with $50,000. After Miss Patricia comes out of her trance and leaves his office, Ordway goes to his car and finds Ellen waiting for him there. Ellen, who has married Jimmy against the doctor's advice, says that Jimmy wants to meet with him. Sensing that they are being followed by Rief, Ordway instructs Ellen to have Jimmy meet him that night at the now-defunct Golden Nights Café. In the darkened dance hall, Ordway lights a kerosene lantern and finds the body of Addison Burns hanging from a rafter. Soon after, a man steps from the shadows and slugs Ordway, who drops the lamp, thus setting fire to the café. Upon regaining consciousness, Ordway sounds the fire alarm and leaves the premises. When Jimmy arrives for his meeting, he is arrested by the police, who have come to investigate the fire. Upon leaving the café, Ordway looks up Evelyn's address in the phonebook and goes to her apartment. There he notices that her husband Mallory's pant cuffs are singed. As Evelyn explains that she took the job as the Burns's cook to find out what happened to her father, Mallory, a "firebug," starts a blaze in a wastebasket and throws it out the window. When the burning papers lands on Rief's police car below, the inspector hurries to the Mallorys' apartment and Ordway slips out the back door. As Rief takes the Cartwrights to headquarters for questioning, Ordway returns to the Burns house. While climbing a ladder leading to the murdered man's window, Ordway discovers a straw on the hedge outside. When Diana notices the figure of a man on the ladder, she calls Paul for help. Upon arriving at the house, Paul accuses Diana of murdering his uncle for the inheritance and offers to remain silent if she will agree to marry him. At that moment, Ordway appears at the door to question Diana. After Diana admits that she found the deadly coffee on her husband's bed and not the bedstand, indicating that the poison was not placed in the beverage before it was delivered to Burns's room, Ordway leaves the house and goes to Ellen's apartment. He is greeted there by Rief, who has been waiting to interrogate him about the fire and Addison's murder. Showing Rief the straw that he found, Ordway explains that he thinks the murderer blew the poison through the window and into Burns's coffee cup. After Ordway suggests that Jimmy and the Cartwrights can lead them to the murderer, Rief releases all three suspects. Ordway meets Diana and Paul at the Golden Nights Café that night, and takes them into the cellar, where he reveals Fenton's skeleton. At that moment, Cartwright appears, gun in hand, and demands the missing $50,000. To establish his claim on the money, Cartwright takes Diana to the police station while Paul remains behind with Ordway. After they leave, Ordway slides the desk away from the wall, revealing a hidden safe. When Paul pulls out a gun, Rief steps from the shadows to arrest him. Ordway then forces Paul to confess that Addison killed Walter after learning about the money hidden in the safe. Both Addison and Paul went to retrieve the money at the same time, and in the ensuing struggle, Paul strangled Addison and then hanged him from a rafter to make his death appear as suicide.
Eugene J. Forde
Thomas E. Jackson
For additional information on the "Crime Doctor" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Crime Doctor.