Cast & Crew
At the warehouse of the Harris Tire Company in Los Angeles, trucks are loaded with stacks of tires to be delivered to a San Francisco warehouse. Later, on a country road under cover of darkness, the tires are transferred to Joe Wembley, an underworld figure and operator of a nightclub at the beach. With the $50,000 earned from the transaction, Evelyn Harris, who inherited the tire business from her late husband, plans to marry Eddie Moore, a singer at Wembley's café. The two lovebirds then head for New York, but Moore insists on stopping at an unoccupied cottage he notices from the road. In San Francisco, meanwhile, Jess Arno, a private detective from Los Angeles, succeeds in clearing former actress Dolly Adair of a murder charge and becomes a media sensation. After the trial is over, Jess rushes to phone his sweetheart, June Terry, a real estate agent at the shore. June, who is jealous of Dolly, is upset when Jess informs her that he plans to shield Dolly from the reporters by hiding her at his beach cottage. Randy Brooke, a reporter who is Jess's rival for June's affections, convinces June to play a practical joke on Jess. Together, they take a wax model to Jess's cottage and stick a knife in the figure's throat. Later that night, Jess and Dolly arrive at the cottage and are horrified to find blood stains and a body of a woman in the cellar. Hurrying to Wembley's café nearby, they telephone Capt. Baker at police headquarters. When the officers arrive, accompanied by Randy and June, the body is missing and the dummy lies in its place. Believing that it is all a publicity hoax, the police ridicule Jess as a "front page detective." After the police leave, June admits her involvement in placing the dummy in the cottage and offers to help Jess discover the identity of the murdered woman. A dress label found on the body leads them to an exclusive shop in Los Angeles, and there they discover that the dress was sold to Evelyn Harris. After Jess and June argue, the two go their separate ways to solve the mystery. Upon learning that Evelyn left Los Angeles to marry Eddie Moore, their investigation leads to Wembley's café. When June begins to question Moore about Evelyn, he flees the café with the $50,000. His escape is aided by the sound of air raid sirens and a blackout at the beach. By pretending to be an air raid warden, Jess corners Moore at his apartment. After Moore denies killing Evelyn and accuses Wembley of engineering the murder and hijacking the tires, Jess phones Capt. Baker, but before he can relay the information, Moore knocks him unconscious and locks him in a closet. Moore is then confronted by Wembley and his henchman, Mario, who have followed him to the apartment. When the police arrive, they find Moore's body, beaten to death, and accuse Jess of the crime. After recovering from a blow to his head, Jess eludes the police and goes to Wembley's café, where he confronts Wembley and Mario with evidence of murder. In the ensuing fight, Mario and Wembley chase Jess into a banquet room where the hijacked tires are stored. The police then arrive and, seizing the tires as evidence, arrest Wembley and Mario. With the murder solved, Jess and June leave for their wedding and honeymoon.
Frank [m.] Thomas
James S. Brown
The viewed print was missing all the production credits except for the name of the film's stars. The working title of this film was Thirteen Steps to Heaven. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was to be the first entry in a new series that was to replace Columbia's "Ellery Queen" films, which the studio had ceased producing in 1942. William Gargan and Margaret Lindsay, who starred in the film, also appeared in several of the Ellery Queen pictures, and James Hogan directed many of them. This picture did not spawn a series, however.