Cast & Crew
H. B. Warner
When John Mathews, the president of a power company, discovers that one of his company's dams is likely to fail, he quietly sells his and his son Walter's holdings. Having heard rumors about the dam, Ray Jardin, a major stockholder, questions Mathews, but Mathews assures him that it is perfectly safe. The next day, under pressure from heavy floods, the dam bursts, ruining both Jardin and his servant Henry, who had invested their life savings in the company. Upon learning of his father's duplicity, Walter, who is in love with Jardin's daughter Marian, denounces him and leaves home despite the objections of his aunt, Carlotta Emerson, and Anthony Rhodes, the family attorney. Several days later, Mathews goes to police headquarters to ask Inspector Queen to locate the missing Walter. Overhearing Mathew's request, Ellery Queen, the inspector's son and a friend of Walter's, decides to conduct his own search. Soon after, Walter appoaches Ellery with a plan to use his profits from the stock sale to buy back the Jardin home at auction. His resentment toward his father now lessening, Walter contacts Mathews. One hour after their meeting, Mathews is found dead in his study, a knife protruding from his chest. Next to his body is a pencil belonging to Jardin. After Rhodes declares that Mathews was planning to eliminate Walter from his will, the inspector arrests Jardin and regards Walter with suspicion. Ellery disagrees with his father's conclusions, however, arguing that the chest wound was too superficial to have caused death. Ellery's doubts are substantiated when an autopsy concludes that Mathews died from poison and that his body was dragged into the study from the terrace. Convinced that her father is being victimized by the Mathews family, Marian quarrels with Walter. Soon after, Rhodes and Carlotta pay Jardin's bail and he is released from jail. The next night, Togo, Carlotta's pet monkey, is playing on the terrace when he finds an arrow, bites it and dies. Realizing that the arrow must have been poisoned, Ellery races to the Jardin home, where he remembers seeing a collection of arrows. As he enters the living room, a wall panel opens and an arrow whizzes past his head. Pursuing his assailant, Ellery chases the man across the gardens into a swimming pool and discovers that the murderer is Henry, Jardin's servant, who wanted revenge for being ruined. With the crime solved, Jardin is exonerated and Walter and Marian reconcile.
H. B. Warner
The working titles of this film were The Devil to Pay and The Devil Pays. For additional information about the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Ellery Queen, Master Detective in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1186.