The detectives seen in Scotland Yard
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TV Crime Menu
THE DRAYTON CASE (1953- release date March 23rd.)
With John Le Mesurier as Supt Henley.
"Have you ever murdered anyone?" asks a playful Edgar as he highlights that age-old problem: "what do you do with the body?" Christmas Eve 1941, during the blitz was a pretty useful time to dispose of a corpse.
In the cellar of a bombed schoolhouse in 1944, a skeleton is uncovered. "The murderer always overlooks something," declares Edgar, stating the obvious. A pathologist spots that this corpse has a fractured larynx, so can't have been a victim of Hitler's bombers. Supt Henley is given more details on this 40 to 45 year old woman, height about 5 feet, wearing a dental plate, hair colour brown going gray. "Is that all?" he asks hopefully.
Henley's first task is identify the woman. At the Missing Persons Registry one candidate matches the description- Elizabeth Drayton., missing for two and a half years. Husband Charles(Victor Platt) is eventually traced, but he "don't care" about his wife no more. But it's surely not a coincidence he stopped paying her maintenance around the time of her likely death. He does look guilty, though Henley throws a note of caution, "my wife's always nagging me about money, but I haven't murdered her!"
The caretaker of the old school remembers a fire in the cellar caused by arsonists on Christmas Eve 1941. Charlie Drayton was the firewatcher who tried to put it out before finally calling the fire brigade. Henley speculates on the probable scenario in a flashback. But facing arrest, Drayton flees. He's spotted at the underground. With the platform crammed with refugees from the bombs, he's chased up an emergency exit and into the arms of Supt Henley.... no- he turns and tumbles down the steps. "better get an ambulance."
Edgar concludes with speculation on why Drayton killed his wife, "not a very intelligent man," he decides. This is a very basic story but some clever camera shots help turn this into a quite classy little film.
Scotland Yard Menu
THE MISSING MAN
(1953 - released July 20th)
The Neil Case written and directed by Ken Hughes.
Rather unusual case, with hints of the paranormal, "never satisfactorily solved," a vicar doing most of the sleuthing!
The Yard is represented by Inspector Johnson, though it's Supt Wainwright and Insp Rogers who wrap the case up.
Spring 1938 - Gerald Neil's parents come to visit their engineer son in London. He's not at his digs.
His landlady says he was called away to Paris "on urgent business." A "dark friend" had called later to collect his belongings.
With £3,000 transferred from his English bank to his French account, he's probably enjoying himself! The Surete are contacted by the Yard and his father Rev John Neil (Tristan Rawson) spends his savings in his search in the French capital. Friendly relations with the French law are established at the outset:
"Bonjour," commences the English policeman. The Frenchman of course speak viz ze French English: "'E vizdraws all 'is monnay.... oui... Monsieur Neil." Case seems closed.
After a futile three week search, the vicar returns to his Highgate flat. "I can't help feeling he's in some sort of trouble," he declares in an understatement. Then Neil's mother has a dream. In negative, she sees a gnarled tree at a farm, destroyed by fire. Her son is dragged to a well and thrown down it.
John follows the vision up.
He meets a friend of his son, Peter, who had been due to "pop across" to Paris with Gerald that fateful day. Neil never turned up.
Conclusion: someone took his place. The vicar learns of Neil's business friend, small time criminal James Wilson, who lived at Oaktree Farm, Oldbury Kent. He had been arrested for arson at this farm but in resisting arrest had committed suicide.
The vicar visits the rubble of this now deserted farm,
uncannily like his wife's dream, and then summons the Yard.
The well is excavated and the inevitable follows. The vicar sadly identifies his son's remains.
Even Edgar Lustgarten says he can't explain this story. "Whether Wilson murdered Neil or not, nobody was ever able to prove it."
(Note- Katharine Page as the landlady is billed here as Kathleen Paige.)
Scotland Yard Menu
THE CANDLELIGHT MURDER (1953)
(The Bramlington Murder)
featuring Gerald Case as Chief Supt Carron, with a little assistance from Sgt John Baker. Also with Supt Rawson of the Sussex police (Jack Lambert).
Script and direction by Ken Hughes.
The narrator says the story "might have been from Edgar Alan Poe." Edgar describes this notorious April 1937 case and threatens a surprise "in a nice quiet little spot in Sussex."
The village of Bramlington has 2,000 inhabitants, a pub "and of course a police station."
No "of course" about it these days!
In a culvert is found a corpse, battered about the head by "the proverbial blunt instrument."
Dead for at least a week. So who was he? "Not a very salubrious sort of chap," but identification is problematic, as most traces of identity have been removed, his face had been bashed in.
The local detective thinks he must be single as his clothes are poorly darned! Clothing from a shop in Horsham six miles away is a clue, but gets nowhere.
Forensic evidence suggests he had been dragged downstream. On his clothes are traces of a fine metal powder, which was
supplied to James Parrish, the local blacksmith.
Possibly the dead man is old Sam Thomas, "he's a bit peculiar altogether," though he's only been missing a couple of days. The local bobby knows Tom was alive
until recently as on his rounds he heard him playing the organ in his isolated shack. The vicar confirms he'd spoken to him recently too. However neither of them had actually seen the old man. A plaster cast reconstruction of the face proves beyond doubt that he was the victim.
Upstream from where the corpse was found are discovered deep footprints, by the bottom of Tom's garden! The prints are those of Joe Hawkins
(Denis Shaw) who admits fishing in the vicinity.
The police explore Tom's isolated home. The floor's been "scrubbed!" There's also a box of candles, only one left.
Inspector Carron reconstructs a possible scenario. Rawson asks:" why should anyone want to bump off a harmless old man?"
The answer must be that he was looking for something.
The rumour of old Tom's fortune is an attractive theory. The used candles support the idea that the murderer has been
looking for the treasure each night. The police await his Final Visit. He's promptly arrested.
Later the 'treasure' is found, sovereigns worth a mere £6, hidden in the very candlestick that knocked out the old man
Scotland Yard Menu
THE BLAZING CARAVAN (1953 - cinema release date Feb. 15th 1954)
The CASE AGAINST GEORGE BUXTON
briefly featuring Alan Robinson as Supt Ellis.
A stylish thriller with a novel approach written and directed by Ken Hughes. The enthusiastic Edgar Lustgarten is on top form.
"The Almost Perfect Murder" states the announcer, it would have been the Perfect One, Edgar continues, except for "a trifling oversight."
This 1938 case began at 3am on a lonely road near Edgware, a blazing caravan. In the ashes is later found a briefcase with the label George Buxton 69 Prescott Road Clapham. A motor cyclist had talked to a man running away from the conflagration, a "big fat chap." A charred appointment book is also discovered, not quite destroyed by the blaze, which includes one name Arthur Cox of "24 Monnery Road Tufnell Park, N19". (This, unlike Buxton's address, is a real road.) Too late, the killer remembers that he had left that inside the caravan.
Arthur Cox (Alexander Gauge- the description does seem to fit) is now staying at the Royal Court Hotel by the sea at Shingleton. He's just won the pools and takes his £30,000 cheque to the local bank (in reality a bank near to Merton Park Studios, as we see two shots of Rothesay Avenue SW20, once with a London bus in the background!).
So when the police call at Arthur's lodgings he's not there. In a flashback, narrated by Edgar as though talking to the killer, we learn how Arthur Cox was cleverly murdered by travelling rep Buxton. After celebrating his pools win at Ye Olde Leather Bottel, the inebriated Cox had been escorted home by Buxton to be murdered to the accompaniment of Edgar's dry commentary. Cox was then placed in the caravan and George Buxton had taken on Cox's persona, plus of course his cheque.
Edgar now reaches his juicy moment- the one thing Buxton has overlooked! It's an inadvertant slip in fact. A Ted Holloway had a signed agreement stating he and Cox were to go 50-50 on any winnings. Holloway complains to the police and when Buxton alias Cox calls at the bank to collect his money he's arrested.
Note - uncredited is Howard Lang as a publican
To Yard Menu
THE DARK STAIRWAY
(1953 - release date April 12th 1954)
The Greek Street Murder
Story and direction by Ken Hughes
Inspector Jack Harmer (Russell Napier), assisted by Sgt Gifford (Vincent Ball).
(Harmer has a jolly but patronising attitude to his "junior" calling him also "my lad,"sonny" etc).
Soon after midnight on Friday 4th January 1952, there occurred the murder of Harry Carpenter, "small time criminal and petty gangster," who as Edgar poetically informs us, was "a man without a future."
We hear him shouting to his killer, calling him Joe. Old Mrs Morris overhears the argument, then on the stairway, sees a blind man crouching
over a man, stabbed to death.
In Harry's flat police discover the picture of Molly (Gene Anderson). Edgar tells us that Carpenter had been a "Squeaker," testifying against Joseph Lloyd (Edwin Richfield), his partner in
a mail bag robbery. Lloyd had recently been released from jail.
Hidden in a toilet cistern in Nic's Social Club, Inspector Harmer finds the murder weapon, and he can prove Lloyd had been to the loo there on the night of the murder! But there are no fingerprints on the knife,
so he needs more proof. And he still has to find Lloyd. One of those hunches leads him to Brixton and a fellow lag of Lloyd's, who puts him in the direction of Molly, who is a night club singer. Harmer and Gifford don't appear to enjoy searching for her in Charlie's Club
and numerous other low spots of London life.
"My feet are killing me!" is the complaint. At last she is found, and skulking with her is Lloyd.
Blind man George Benson who was at the killing couldn't possibly be much use as an eyewitness.
There follows "one of the strangest identity parades ever enacted within the walls of any British police station." Benson succeeds in identifying Lloyd, but it's not done visually of course.
The "sweet smell like scent" that Lloyd uses and his voice lead to "Lloyd's blurted confession."
Note - the use of negative pictures to show a blind man's perception of murder isn't innovative, but it's impressively done by director Ken Hughes
To Scotland Yard Menu
LATE NIGHT FINAL (1953 - cinema release date- Sept 13th 1954)
The Burrage Case
featuring Colin Tapley as Det Insp Turner, with John Wynn as Sgt Conway
The story of The Man Who Died Twice. Edgar points out two unique facets of the case - 1 that police were looking for the dead man before he was murdered, and 2
more than one person was brought to justice for more than one crime.
Joe, an old newspaper vendor witnesses a warehouse raid. At a police identity parade, clearly fearing reprisals, he fails to identify the criminals, and promptly disappears from his pitch. A police constable calls at his digs, which has been ransacked, and discovers a suitcase
of clothing, but it's not Joe's. Who does it belong to?
When a body is found on the marshes Insp Turner plays a hunch. There seems to be no connection with his case as the corpse is aged about 36, whilst
Joe must have been nearly 60. But a laundry van is found with bloodstains of the same group as that of the dead man. A search is made for the van driver, Woolland (Richard Shaw). At his home, under floorboards, is discovered
more clothing, This time it is Joe's. In his pockets is a is a London Transport Left Luggage Office ticket, where a suitcase is found, that a laboratory expert (James Villiers uncredited in his first screen role) states is cocaine.
More investigation, and the leader of these drug dealers, who's also the corpse on the marshes, is a Richard Crawford. It was the old story of
baddies falling out amongst themselves.
So how does this tie in with the disappearance of Joe Burrage? Edgar explains all
To Scotland Yard Menu
FATAL JOURNEY (1954)
The Case of Norma Preston
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Paul Gherzo.
Featuring Gordon Bell as Chief Inspector Durrant, with local police (Lloyd Lamble).
A well constructed story of "no ordinary crime," that commences one dull autumn evening in an isolated house in Tembridge as Mr Preston has "a terrible homecoming." He finds his wife with her skull fractured on the floor.
Edgar recounts two other seemingly unrelated incidents on that day.... The 2.31 train ends its journey at London Bridge. One passenger doesn't alight- but he's not dead, he just stares, "like a dummy 'e is." A policeman takes him away to the police station where he's diagnosed as having amnesia. The other event is at Mr Potter's shop- Steve, a gipsy (a not convincing Peter Halliday), steals some of his merchandise. Police find the stolen goods in his caravan. Steve admits he had been selling beads door to door, and evidence proves he had called at the Preston home.
It appears Mrs Preston had been attacked for a mere £1 note so, Edgar rather dramatically declares- "a human beast was abroad, but had gone unrecognised." Mrs Preston finally dies in hospital uttering the enigmatic words "I'm sorry...."
The pound note is found on the gipsy's person. He claims Mr Preston was at home. In a flashback we see him enter the house via the back door and find the £1 in the kitchen. He's interrupted by "an oldish man, about 50." It could even be Preston.
Trawling through the Yard records, it emerges Mrs Preston had featured as Mrs X, the anonymous victim in a blackmail case. Goff had been found guilty and sentenced to four years and he'd just been released. That's who our amnesia victim is, and Inspector Durrant carts him off to the Yard. An identity parade that includes Goff and Preston awaits the gipsy. He walks along the line.... and picks out..... an innocent bystander. So Goff has to be released and it becomes a waiting game for Inspector Durrant as he tails the ex-prisoner hoping he will give himself away. He's watched as he stays at a Salvation Army hostel, then walks to a bench by the river, "he's waiting for something," declares one observer. Finally Goff makes his move. At the Lost Property Office, 7 Belgrave Road, he collects his suitcase. In it is a blunt instrument, the murder weapon. A wig explains why Steve failed to identify him.
For his coda, Edgar gives us his explanation as to why Goff adopted this charade in his vain attempt to elude the law. He speculates also on Mr Preston's "enigmatic" role.
Note- the "suburban" train is unusually steam locomotive hauled (no. 80010)
Scotland Yard Menu
THE STRANGE CASE OF BLONDIE (1954)
(although not stated, this would have been called The Curtis Case.)
featuring Russell Napier as Dt Inspector Harmer.
"It's hard for an old lag to learn new tricks of the trade," explains Edgar. To illustrate his point, he describes the notorious career from 1926-1938 of Flannelfoot.
And so we come to Blondie (Lee Sinclaire) who conducted numerous robberies "without changing her routine one iota." This was:
1. Select a quiet house
2. In the afternoon, call to conduct a survey
3. Having "cased the joint," return "at a more convenient hour."
However for once a robbery goes wrong when Curtis, a retired antique dealer is brutally attacked. A taxi driver happens to have spotted a woman leaving in a hurry- she was about 25, blonde and wore a beret. It's obviously Blondie again. But although she's suspected of at least 40 robberies, just who is she?
Inspector Harmer's first lead occurs when some of Curtis' jewellery is pawned- by a man! He spots a pattern in Blondie's robberies across the country, "a sort of Crook's Tour!" Meticulous scanning of local newspapers suggests the link is a touring show The Hollywood Way, which has travelled this week to... you've guessed it.... Wimbledon! Cue an exotic dancer on stage: "nothing objectionable in this show." Star is Eddie Leroy, but the taxi driver and pawnbroker are unable to identify any sign of Blondie in the cast. But maybe Eddie is the man who had pawned the jewels.
By now you've probably put two and two together though Insp Harmer isn't quite on the ball as yet.
Some more jewellery is pawned, this time in the Strand. It's Blondie! Quick thinking enables the police to tail her as she boards a 77A bus south along Whitehall, "that goes to Wimbledon, doesn't it?" Blondie returns to the theatre. "Once they're inside that theatre we'll have the pair of them, her and Leroy." Harmer swoops but no sign of Blondie, of course. Finally the penny drops.
Despite a rather obvious solution, there's plenty of showbiz fun in this case. Edgar concludes with the rather predictable "Eddie Leroy had given his last performance."
THE SILENT WITNESS (1953)
The Stafford Case with Kenneth Henry as Supt Daker
Looking rather sombre, Edgar informs us of the 999 service, and in particular one 999 call back in the spring of 1938 which contained the startling confession "I've killed someone. I've killed my wife."
In that familiar film car UML 557 (which surely would not have been around in 1938!), the police zoom off to the house of Frederick Stafford (Ivan Craig) in order to cart him off to the station. Edgar explains that Stafford's wife had been an invalid with a bad heart. After an argument about money Stafford had lost his temper and had accidentally caused her to fall.
"Instinctively" the super feels he hasn't had the whole truth. The dead woman's sister in Balham says Fred "couldn't bear anyone about the place" preferring to take care of his wife himself. Local shopkeepers state he wasn't a big spender, buying only the necessities, not luxuries, but then why did he regularly withdraw £40 a week (a lot in those days!) out of the income of his small bookshop? Apparently he had "no vices", yet did his wife die in an accident, as he claims?
All rather mundane thus far, until we meet young Miss Price, his assistant at his shop. Could she be 'the other woman'? Another oddity also perks up our interest: in prison awaiting trial, Stafford is very insistent his house isn't sold. Time for Supt Daker to play a hunch and order Sgt Blake (Patricia Driscoll) to check up on Miss Price. Her lifestyle certainly seems on the expensive side. Blake overhears her talking about her future marriage to a Mr Roberts. Roberts is none other than Stafford!
Now Daker conducts a search of Stafford's home, surely rather late in the day! There's a corpse in the attic tank. It transpires it is that of a window cleaner, who had accidentally witnessed Stafford killing his wife. In a flashback all is revealed.
Edgar's postscript solemnly tells us that Stafford never did return to that home.
PASSENGER TO TOKYO (1954)
The Forbes Murder, in August 1953.
With Kenneth Henry as Superintendent Ross.
The Case known as the Tokyo Trunk Murder began in Yokohama Harbour, when the 20,000 ton liner Monarch of the Orient arrived in port. Disembarking was Edward Phillips (Peter Bathurst), and one of his trunks is opened by customs. In it is a
mutilated corpse. He claims it's not his trunk.
The "admirable police force" in Britain is contacted in the shape of Supt Ross who flies the 3,500 miles to Japan.
Tests show the disfigured corpse is a 40 year old European woman who had been strangled about 10 weeks ago, about the time the ship left Britain. Edgar sums up for latecomers:
"Identity of the victim? - Unknown.
Motive for murder? - Unknown.
Scene of the crime? - Unknown."
The trunk is returned to England where an examination reveals the initials GHW hidden away. Says Ross pessimistically, "there can't be more than a million people with the initials GHW."
A secondhand shop in Paddington provides a lead. Mrs Pearson describes the man who purchased this trunk. He wore yellow gloves, the same as a person posing as Phillips' manservant who had brought the trunk to the shipping office.
Examination of the corpse shows there had been a cardiac operation a few years ago. This leads the police to Miss Elsie Forbes a teacher of Belsize Park. She had retired, since she had inherited
£20,000, which she had deposited in a South African bank, and she had sailed in August on the Urania, with a Miss Somers sharing her cabin.
Now Ross flies to Cape Town, or as Edgar puts it, "the long arm of the law was stretching out." Miss Somers tells of the voyage on which she'd fallen for a Geoffrey Craig, who had, oddly, turned out to be married to Miss Forbes. "It just didn't seem to make sense," she concludes.
Edgar poetically describes Ross' thoughts as he travels to confront Craig and his wife, in this fascinating tale of detection
NIGHT PLANE TO AMSTERDAM (1954)
The Bosker Case
featuring Gerald Case playing Inspector John Carron.
During a party, Elsie interrupts a safecracker and is strangled. Clues - the killer has a scar on his face, and he lost a button in the struggle. Albert Bosker is identified as the villain with a scar. Undercover police lead the Yard to Hotel Flanders,
but of course Bosker's left! The trail goes cold.
Then after three weeks, a thief is caught with a jacket in his possession that has the fatal missing button. The thief stole it from a market stall. And from whom had the market stall holder bought the jacket?
Someone from Hotel Flanders! Back to there goes Inspector Carron, but now the hotel owner (Selma Vaz Das) has gone missing. But Bosker's girlfriend is located there, and she's worried because her Albert has disappeared.
Another lead - a necklace stolen from the safe surfaces in Holland. Sold to a dealer by a man answering, as they say, Bosker's description. Carron flies overnight to Amsterdam. He says he slept "most of the way over" as though he'd had his eight hours!
The dealer's wife looks suspiciously like the London hotel proprietor, but she doesn't speak any English. After questioning, she of course is soon out of sight -apparently she's left on a London flight. All roads lead to Hotel Flanders. Back there the latest disappearance is Bosker's girlfriend! Apparently she suddenly
checked out. Searching her room, the carpet appears to have recently been cleaned. The whole story of the owner's double life is uncovered. Down in the cellars she's hastily disposing of evidence in the hotel furnace.
"One of the grimmest cases in British criminal history," is Edgar's closing verdict. "An utterly unfeminine monster." Phew!
THE STATELESS MAN (1954)
The Sutton Murder
featuring Frank Leighton as Inspector Parry.
Boasting a little more hair than in later films, Edgar Lustgarten explains how the case began. 11pm one deserted dockland's November night a woman's scream of "Murder!" In those days, it took but seconds for a copper on the beat to be there, to find the corpse of Hazel Sutton, killed with a knife.
Mrs Fenton the landlady says she was engaged to a "foreigner" called Karel Slavik. They were always quarrelling. She had seen him run away, a knife in his hand. So the next job is Find Slavik, the First of the I|llegal Immigrants, who has, not unnaturally, disappeared. After searching numerous haunts of foreigners, an accordeon player takes the Yard to the backstreet Restaurant Prague where Slavik is working as a kitchen porter. Slavik denies killing Hazel. His story is that a woman had phoned saying Hazel was ill. So he rushed over, only to find her dead. In the usual way he had automatically picked up that knife, and when the landlady spotted him, he panicked.
He tells the police of the £100 he and Hazel had saved for when they were married. It had been hidden in that traditional hidey-hole, under a floorboard at Hazel's flat. Needless to say it's not there now.
The police are inclined to accept Slavik's story, especially when Mrs Fenton is seen with a brand new fur coat. But they "were getting nowhere," declares Edgar. Then the usual breakthrough!
A van BLF435, parked without lights (!) is noticed by two policemen. A "Mr Smith" is chased and in Red Mead Lane E1 arrested for robbery. He claims his partner, who has eluded justice, was Bill Fenton who "wanted money quick," as he's trying to flee the country.
Fenton is found at the docks. He admits he'd argued with Hazel that night. He wanted her to marry him. He makes a run for it, but justice is done: "fate judged Fenton" is Edgar's conclusion. And he rounds it off by considering the feelings of his accomplice, his mum, the landlady, as she languishes in prison.
A very straightforward case, not really worthy of Edgar's devious attentions. May Hallett gives a strong performance as the grasping Mrs Fenton.
THE MYSTERIOUS BULLET (1954)
The Charlesworth Murder/ The Bramble Farm Case
featuring Robert Raglan as Chief Inspector Dexter/ John Stuart as Local Inspector
The storyline is so slight that Edgar introduces a novelty, a Robert Churchill, a real life expert in the science of ballistics. This adds some authenticity and fortunately Churchill is up to the demands of his acting role.
The quiet Hampshire countryside is shattered by a gunshot. Poacher Jim is caught redhanded by a gamekeeper, but things look even darker when the corpse of David Charlesworth, the landowner is found nearby, shot through the head. Churchill however examines the guns and declares neither the gamekeeper's nor the poacher's guns were the murder weapons, even though they fire 2.2 bullets which was the type used in the murder.
In an unconvincing red herring, another gun goes under his scutiny- that of Edward Walton, who'd recently had a punch-up with the dead man. As he's got a criminal record for robbery with violence, Inspector Dexter looks hopeful. "He isn't your man," Churchill disapppoints him.
The inspector calls on Emma Thatcher, who'd just become engaged to David. Surely their 12 bore shotgun couldn't be the wanted weapon? Certainly Emma's brother John (John Warwick who in later stories played the inspector!) looks shifty. However he has an alibi: "I spent the night at my mother's house, 30 miles away." Mrs Thatcher Sr (not Margaret!) confirms his alibi: "Mr Policeman... I'm proud of that boy of mine, he was a fine soldier." Another interesting discovery is that Julie Thatcher (Carol Marsh), Emma's daughter from her first marriage, is "an expert shot." She admits she had visited David on the fateful night. In fact she loved him! She claims to have said goodbye to him when another visitor knocked, but she doesn't know who it was.
Our expert Robert Churchill now solves the mystery- the bullet had been fired from a 12 bore shotgun which had been adapted to fire 2.2 bullets. So it's straight back to the Thatchers where supper is interrupted.
Churchill adds his own comments on his participation. Finally the cameras close in on Edgar who warns us sternly: "let anyone who is contemplating murder by shooting - Beware!"
Churchill and Thatcher in this- there must be a joke in there somewhere. There's not much else to write home about.
Murder Anonymous (1955)
Script: James Eastwood. Directed by Ken Hughes.
The Langster Case with Ewen Solon as Inspector Conway, assisted by Brian O'Higgins as Det Sgt.
A novelty to commence, in the shape of Sir Travers Humphreys PC, an eminent retired judge,
no doubt an old buddy of Edgar's. Edgar does a mini interview with him about miscarriages of
The story takes us to a suburban house where Brad Langster has died.
But how has he died? There's a gun in the room, and two bullets lodged in the ornate fireplace, but he had not been shot.
The housekeeper points the finger at a neighbour, Mrs Nora Sheldon (Jill Bennett) who lives with her blind husband Douglas
(Peter Arne). But another suspect is Mrs Langster, the estranged wife of seventeen months. A third suspect is Langster's ex-partner in business at Covent Garden,
Bowman. Langster had had an affair with Bowman's wife, so she could be another suspect. She's living in the Miramar Hotel Wimbledon, where she keeps
a photo of Langster, though she's away as an air hostess in Rome at the moment. She is skilled in judo.
Inspector Conway questions Mrs Sheldon who admits seeing Langster on the night of his death, but "when I left him he was perfectly all right." It's unclear whether the two had been having an affair.
Now Conway flies to the Eternal City to meet Mrs Bowman (even though an
external scene is clearly shot in Britain!). It is now proved that Langster must have been
killed by a judo move. She admits quarelling with Langster that night and even threatening him with her gun, the one that was found in his room, "But I didn't kill him." She refuses to return home from Italy. However, as she has a broken collar bone, it is doubtful she is the murderess.
Conway reviews the evidence. He picks up on a vital clue overlooked earlier: a dog's footprints in Langster's house.
Sheldon disappears, found later in the dingy Kirkall Hotel, half dead, with a confession by his
bed "I killed Langster." When he comes round he tells Inspector Conway that he had been goaded into
seeing Langster that night after receiving numerous anonymous calls claiming his wife was having an affair with the man. "Leave Nora alone," he'd warned Langster,
but he refused and they'd had a fight. Despite being blind, Sheldon had pinned the Casanova down and accidentally killed him.
Time for a summary from Edgar and Sir Travers. How guilty was the woman who had made those anonymous calls, who it transpires was Mrs Langster? Of course, the law can't touch her, but, although Sheldon was convicted of manslaughter, adds Edgar with just a trace of a smile,
Sheldon is now out of prison rejoining his wife, "a happy and united couple." Oh for those happy endings!
Wall Of Death
THE CASE OF THE RIVER MORGUE (1956)
The Hartier Case, with Cyril Chamberlain as Det Insp Harris, and Vernon Greeves as Dt Sgt Fuller.
Actress Rita Webb, in contrast to Edgar, adds a nice light touch in the grim opening scene when the body of circus wall of death rider Joe Hartier is found. His bike had apparently cut out and he had been burned to death when it crashed at the bottom of the attraction.
His friend and mechanic Ben Watts disappears. His wife, Nina, an excellent bareback rider herself, does not seem to be in mourning at all. She's more concerned about her missing cat Colette.Watts is found and reveals trapeze artist Rudy Schmidt (Ferdy Mayne) is very friendly with Nina.
Continental sugar in the petrol had brought about Joe's engine stalling. Both husband and wife were foreign.
Interpol trace Hartier's family and Sgt Fuller is sent to interview Mme Hartier with the aid of a police interpreter.
Fuller finds some French sugar in her house, and on analysis proves to be the same as that found in Joe's petrol.
Watts seems to be innocent. Now it is Schmidt's turn to do a runner, and a motive for his being the murderer is offered. Watch is kept at Dover Docks, where Schmidt is caught and arrested. He claims he is running away not from the law, but from Nina.
The inspector reckons he has solved this case. A police dog sniffs out Colette, poisoned, in a pine box in Hartier's workshop.
"I never meant to kill him"
Andre Maranne, the French cop, is billed as Andre Maillol. Police car is UML557, French car is 507BU69
The Hiller Case,
written and directed by Montgomery Tully.
featuring Hugh Moxey as Det Insp O'Madden and Gordon Needham as Sgt Stafford.
A body that died twice, and a police investigation into a murder that never happened - this is the sort of story to get Edgar excited!
Mortuary keeper Harry Bryant turns up for work to discover a corpse is missing. A 35 year old who had drowned. The police try to learn
his identity. But next day a body reappears in the mortuary! This one is disfigured, but Harry "knows" it's the same body, since he's found his own identifying mark, the number 7 written on its foot.
This corpse is identified as that of a Mark Hiller who, according to his widow, used to take the dog for walkies each night along the towpath at Kingston. The coroner decides it was accidental death, with the nasty injuries occurring after death, maybe as a result of being hit by a boat.
But Inspector O'Madden is not quite satisfied. "No case and no suspects," is Edgar's summary of the case so far.
Hiller was a diabetic, but the pathologist reports no sign of diabetes. And significantly, Hiller was insured for £10,000, " a lot of insurance." Sgt Stafford takes Hiller's dog along the river walk, without learning anything.
Inspector O'Madden learns Mrs Hiller has received a telegram from Nice from someone signing themselves "Anthony." Perhaps code for Mark (Anthony). Whatever, she goes off to the South of France. Has she joined her husband?
Inspector Bonvin (John Serret) searches local French chemists for one who has recently suppplied insulin. Reaching the Hillers' hideout a man's body is found. It is Hiller.
"Il est mort," spots the observant concierge.
Edgar praises the inspector's tenacity which enabled this crime to be solved. A footnote- the dead man in the mortuary was never identified.
DESTINATION DEATH (1956)
The Eberstein Case
Script: Colin S Reed. Director: Montgomery Tully.
Russell Napier stars in his most familiar role, Inspector Duggan. with Arthur Gomez as Sgt Mason.
Idly sipping his glass of port, Edgar takes us to London Airport where financier Mr Eberstein who was travelling to Lisbon on Flight 167,
has a new Destination... Death. He has been poisoned.
Interpol are unable to trace the existience of such a person. The passport he was carrying is a forgery.
Though his airline ticket had been sold by the Bowaters Travel Agency neither the clerk Sims, or chief clerk Richard Carden (Raymond Young) recognise the photo of the man.
So Duggan flies to Portugal
to meet a singer Kara Gerhardt (Colette Wilde) whose photo had been found in the dead man's wallet. Duggan listens to her song po-faced, whilst his Portuguese counterpart Inspector de Servico beams at her.
She is arrested for currency smuggling, but Duggan can't establish her connection with the corpse.
Back in London, Mrs Maguire comes forward and identifies the corpse as that of Patrick, her estranged husband. From Maguire's secretary,
Miss Challoner (Melissa Stribling), who was in love with him of course, Duggan learns that the dead man travelled abroad extensively, and always booked his tickets through his brother-in-law's travel agency. Bowaters, which is where Mr Carden works.
Carden disappears from England in a private plane. His wife (Paula Byrne), who is the beneficiary of the dead man's will, also slips out of the country, but she is tailed and Duggan travels to Dinard and catches up with her out at sea where she's having a row with her husband.
It transpires that this is the familiar scenario of crooks falling out over his share of the proceeds of the counterfeit money
Scotland Yard Menu
PERSON UNKNOWN (1956)
The Cusick Case
featuring Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan, assisted by Edward Cast as "Sergeant."
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
Near the small picture-book hamlet of Hillfield in the South Downs "where it's always afternoon," there's a quarry where we see a lot of funny looking gents in bowler hats
watching as a digger reveals a corpse. But it's a dummy! Edgar smacks his lips as he explains it's a test by our lads in blue to examine the effects of an explosion on the human frame. Two days previously, there'd been just such an explosion,
in which Polish foreman Josef Cusick had been blown to pieces.
His widow (Marianne Stone) identifies the charred remains. Although killed by in the explosion, the reconstruction helps prove he must have been drugged.
An idyllic country walk following the last known tracks of the dead man reveals a spot where signs of a struggle are visible. Clues reveal the attacker is height about five foot six with shoes of a narrow A fitting.
The pattern on the soles are identical to those of the other quarry foreman, Jim Fenton, who didn't get on with Cusick at all.
Duggan then gets a shock. He's summoned to London, MI5 HQ no less, where he's told Cusick worked for a foreign embassy, and was about to be arrested as a spy!
In another development, an American, Herbert Viner (Bill Nagy) disappears from his London Hotel. Just after the war he had escaped from Poland with his compatriot Cusick. His shoes fit the footprints too!
He'd phoned Cusick on the day of the murder.
Then Mrs Cusick disappears! A call is put out for Viner's hired Ford Consul ALW212 "now the most wanted cars in Britain," chips in Edgar.
Spotting the car, a police chase ends up in the Amberley Road, with an abandoned vehicle. Fingerprints in the car indicate Viner hadn't been driving it.
Duggan moves to Amberley Station and finds Mrs Cusick on the platform. "I must ask you to accompany me...." etc etc.
Edgar pieces the whole story together. Viner had driven to Cusick's house to expose him as a spy. Viner had been killed in a struggle, and Cusick then fled the country. Though we might sympathise,
Edgar reminds us that his crime had been premeditated and was thus murder. Though he escaped British justice, Edgar adds a chilling footnote as to Cusick's fate
Scotland Yard Menu
THE LONELY HOUSE (1956)
The Bunter Case
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
Russell Napier as Chief Insp Duggan, Gordon Needham as Sgt Conway.
Russell Napier was now in full stride in his role, and this "sensational" murder proves one of the best of the series, with Edgar starting us off with that "small but insistent thought, the victim might have been me."
Repairs are being made to a Sussex road when Sam Watts sees a corpse in a barrel of tar, "it fair gave me a turn." Identity of victim? - unknown. Cause of death? - difficult to hazard.
That's the problem facing the Yard. Forensics show it's a dead woman, and her teeth provide the clue to her identity. Dentist Mr Spangler says she was a Miss Emily Bunter of Glencoe Hotel Bayswater.
According to Miss Gregory the hotel owner, she's on holiday in Switzerland, indeed a postcard seems to confirm this truth.
So flying off to Zurich, Duggan finds himself, as Edgar poetically expresses it,
"over a place that seemed far removed indeed from that grim black barrel of tar." He arrives at the Schweizerhof Hotel where the card had been posted. After lengthy zither music for local colour, Duggan is informed by manager Herr Muller there's no Miss Bunter now staying there.
He has to fly home quickly, since another body has been found in some more tar, this time in Kent. As the victim had dentures, dental records are of no use. However a gold signet ring stuck on the small finger of this 60 year old man is one clue that leads
Duggan to Major James Robertson, once wounded on the Somme in 1916, last address a Pall Mall Club. He had been due to get married and honeymoon was to be in that same Swiss hotel! Guests there are traced and at one Sgt Conway happens to notice a photo
of a house, with a barrel of tar in front of it. The house proves to be in Guildford being renovated by a William Evans. Duggan explores this house, "very interesting," he muses.
Thus it is that an undercover policewoman joins a marriage bureau. After a whirlwind courtship, the bride-to-be is taken, with a useful £7,000 on her person, to see her dream home. Where? In Guildford!
Lots of little touches make this a film to savour. The sergeant at the dentists having to sit in the dreaded chair.... In a quiet hotel Duggan and his sergeant discussing in whispered voices how to attract attention.....
Duggan at the Swiss hotel: "I'm looking for a lady." Receptionist:"this is a most romantic countryside."..... Incognito at this hotel Duggan is informed by one guest: "well we all do a little smuggling eh?"
Police car is UML557. The villain Bill drives a posh Rover SLH394
Scotland Yard Menu
BULLET FROM THE PAST (1956)
The Grant Case. Directed by Kenneth Hume.
With Ballard Berkeley as Inspector..erm ... Berkeley. Inspector Reynolds of the local police starts the investigation, and his assistant Sgt Scott (Donovan Winter) also helps
Insp Berkeley with his inquiries.
Char Mrs Roper arrives at her employee's home near Guildford Station to ... scream! Mr Grant has been shot in the head, with a revolver at his side. However the fatal bullet had not been fired by this gun. This bullet turns out
to match the bullet fired in the unsolved Audrey Spencer Case way back in 1925. She'd been killed on board ship and her fiance accused of the crime, but acquitted due to lack of evidence. Grant had been purser on that same ship!
The only other clues are - a vague description of a woman visitor to Grant - a love letter in the safe - and a woman's hanky. This has a laundry mark JG581 which leads the police to a Mrs J Grant of 72 Princess Road (later called Princes Drive) Godalming,
who is of course the dead man's estranged wife.
She'd seen him on the day of his death to get her alimony. The letter is from the 'other woman', a Mrs Jenny Ross, also of Godalming, whom the inspector meets with her arm in a sling. Had she stopped a bullet?
She admits she knew Grant but he had stopped their affair. Mr Ross appears to be shielding his wife, or himself.
Berkeley bumps into him on his way home from work at Waterloo. Ross always catches the 6.27 home to Godalming. But Berkeley catches the 6.20 fast to Guildford and walks in five minutes to Grant's cottage. A car whisks him from there to Godalming,
in time to greet Ross emerging off the 6.27.
All authentic train times amazingly, and it's enough to persuade Ross to shoot himself.
It transpired Ross was being blackmailed by Grant over his sweetheart Audrey Spencer's death all those years ago.
Case closed on two crimes - "two murders for the price of one," concludes Edgar playfully.
Some curious little comedy mini-interludes in this story, including one with Bernard Goldman.
Scotland Yard Menu
INSIDE INFORMATION (released 29th September 1957)
The Weldon Case
featuring Ronald Adam as Inspector Hammond, Bernard Fox as Dt Sgt Conway.
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
"Remember remember the Fifth of November," Edgar starts reciting. But though he starts to
tell about Guy Fawkes' dark plot, instead he tells us why the Yard have reason to remember
this date "three and a half centuries later."
A happy November 5th celebration in the little village of Saxton is marred when the guy
in the bonfire turns out to be a real man.
The field where the fire was held belonged to Tony Neilson, "a wealthy international smart-set playboy." He explains William Chard his caretaker had made all the arrangements for the evening. But he seems to have disappeared! Is he the dead man? It is proved that the man had been stabbed before being hoisted on to
Eventually it is another person, Sammy White, who is identified as the dead man, by Mrs Evans his landlady. In fact White is suspected by Dt Insp Forbes (Julian Strange) of being involved in a recent raid on an East End bonded warehouse. His partners Ferguson and Miller had been arrested following a tip off from Jim Weldon of the Daily News. White had eluded police. Weldon promises to give Insp Hammond the background to his scoop,
but he is stabbed to death before he can talk to police.
So Hammond questions the two arrested robbers, but they won't squeal. Bail for Ferguson isn't opposed,
to enable him to be tailed. PC Baxter loses sight of him for a minute and Ferguson is silenced too, a knife in his back.
A dying word points the finger at Neilson.
Neilson's face expresses a provocative horror at the suggestion that he could be implicated.
But as soon as he can, he grabs a case full of his cash and is doing a bunk. However Harris, his disgruntled chauffeur who has done all his dirty work,
shoots him, before Hammond can make his arrest.
Notes: the inspector uses police car KXR761. Another police car seen is UML557. Neilson's posh two tone car is PXT474, though at the end he seems to be intending to drive PYE848
Scotland Yard Menu
THE CASE OF THE SMILING WIDOW
(cinema release 10th November 1957)
The Adams Case
Script: Gil Saunders. Director: Montgomery Tully.
Featuring Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan and Vernon Greeves as Sgt Henry.
Portrait painter Peter Adams is found with his head in the oven in the kitchen of the Hampstead home of art dealer Christopher Nicholls (Carl Jaffe).
For once it's the humbler police who help solve the crime. In a nice scene, Duggan's chauffeur Bates (Glyn Houston) chats with the kitchen staff
while his boss looks for clues. The chauffeur learns that Nicholls had had an argument with Adams. He's also told that the gas had been "off" in the house and that Fudge a pet cat had also died that night. But the cat had definitely died of coal gas poisoning.
"There's more behind this business than's been said!"
The Assistant Commissioner tells Duggan that Adams and Nicholls are suspected of art forgeries, including the famous painting 'The Smiling Widow.'
Some snooping by Duggan at Adams' studio at a posh Essex address, and some ashes from a fire that Nicholls had been burning are diplomatically smuggled out of Adams' home in his hat.
Italian police are able to confirm that these remains of paintings are by the same brush that painted The Smiling Widow forgery.
Nicholls' house is given "a thorough going over" and it is clear the cat died accidentally,
in the same bedroom Adams was gassed. Then Adams' body had been dragged downstairs.
But how could Nicholls have murdered Adams, as he's a an ex-polio victim? A specially adapted wheelchair provides the solution. However the art forgeries are not the motive behind the murder.
"Justice caught up with Mrs Janet Nicholls," explains Edgar Lustgarten. It had been a lover's tiff that had lead Nicholls' wife to a "terrible revenge" on her former lover.
Police car is UML557
Scotland Yard Menu
THE MAIL VAN MURDER (1957)
The Tanner Case
with Dennis Castle as Inspector Hammond, Gordon Needham as Sgt Wilson
Script: James Eastwood. Director: John Knight
"Cupidity and fear," Edgar chills us, are the only allies of gangland boss Jack Tanner (Robert Reardon).
39 year old Robert Fenton (David Kelly) had been one of his gang before being sent down for 3 years for armed robbery. Now he's out just and wants his share of the loot. When Tanner gives him the brush off, it's Tanner who comes to "an appropriate end," when his corpse appears, tipped out of a dustcart, knifed to death.
Tanner had been suspected of a recent mail van robbery in which a postman had been killed. The previous evening he'd left his nightclub with singer Miss Carla Craig (Hy Hazell), but they'd quarrelled and separated.
Nicky Strange, "one of the most cunning, most resourceful, most wanted criminals known to Scotland Yard," had been gang leader before Tanner. As he's wanted for murder he's not thought to have remained in the UK however.
Interpol in Paris report Nicholas Strange has been recently released from a Tangiers jail. Supt Hammond works out that Strange could have returned to Britain on a freighter the MS Velasquez, and the likelihood is increased when it is learnt that Strange had been a wartime buddy of the ship's captain.
Carla Craig is tailed and seen in a Depository where she collects a trunk, stored there for three years. Hammond calls on her just as she's packing a bag with the tag 'Betty Fenton,' her real name. In her bag are the jewels Strange had nicked.
Her brother Robert is the next victim, found dead on the Embankment. This prompts Miss Fenton to split on Strange, who is hastily leaving the country via the same route he had entered. After a fight with the police, he's falls into the river. RIP.
Edgar concludes this unsavoury tale by pondering on the reason why Strange ever risked returning to England.
THE TYBURN CASE (released 22nd December 1957)
The Sandford Case
featuring John Warwick as Supt Reynolds, Gordon Needham as Dt Sgt Hale.
Script: James Eastwood. Director: David Paltenghi.
Edgar transports us to "the netherworld" of the sewers where maintenance workers find a corpse in the old Tyburn River.
The body is that of a middle aged woman aged 40-45, height about 5 ft 7, eyes grey, hair brown dyed reddish brown. Soda in her lungs proves she had drowned
in a bath, "and," as Edgar adds with one of those beautfiul descriptive remarks of his, "the person who has drowned in the bath cannot get dressed and walk!"
An informed guess by an expert calculates that the body had travelled about two miles along the sewer.
Supt Reynolds retraces the grim route, and finds a likely spot which could have been the starting point for the
corpse's journey, in a quiet street. Near the manhole, Reynolds spots a House to Let - 1 Wormwood Gardens Chelsea. (Odd that a Morden estate agents would be selling this place!)
Lonely widow Mrs Sandford had lived there, but, according to her solicitor, Peter Shilling (Howard Marion Crawford) is now living in the Bahamas.
Close examination reveals a new line of inquiry - some of the dead woman's clothes had received some Invisible Mending.
Unfortunately in those days there were hundreds of firms in London undertaking such a job, and there's plenty of legwork for
our Boys in Blue. Sergeant Hale gets the breakthrough. Miss Bradley (Genine Graham) at 73 Victoria Court was the owner, but
when police call there, she's not dead at all.
She says she had had it mended for her flatmate Nora Sims (Patricia Marmont), who'd since left as she'd come into some money.
Miss Sims had worked at a fashion house, and whilst Sgt Hale relaxes with the models, Reynolds learns more about the elusive Miss Sims.
Apparently she had a boyfriend called Peter. "I wonder how many Peters there are in London," muses Reynolds.
With no progress in sight, a visit is made to Mrs Sandford's house. The cleaner (Rita Webb) lets the police in and
claims the invisibly mended dress is hers! She'd got it from a friend of the missis, Miss Sims.
Light is now seen at the end of the tunnel! The bath proves to be the murder scene. A characteristic Edgar line follows-
"A case that had begun in the gloomy depths of a London sewer, now moved to the sunlit pleasure islands of the West Indies."
There Reynolds interviews Mrs Sandford, alias Miss Sims. She admits all- Mrs Sandford had intended to donate her wealth to charity and she and Peter had hatched up this plot.
The final task is to arrest Shilling who had been swindling his wealthy client.
Note- uncredited is Geoffrey Hibbert as the solictor's clerk
Scotland Yard Menu
THE WHITE CLIFFS MYSTERY (released 22nd June 1958)
The Matrion Case
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
featuring Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan, Julian Strange as Sgt Blunt.
The 7.55 Seahaven to Waterloo express thunders through Branton station. A body is thrown out which rolls gracelessly along the platform. Edward Matrion, aircraft research engineer, strangled, and a bit battered too.
Inspector Duggan examines the carriage from which the corpse emerged, finding Matrion's empty briefcase, with secret documents missing. Guard William Grant recalls the man had been travelling alone in the compartment.
A vague description of a youngish man seen nearby is drawn up.
When Duggan calls at Matrion's large home, the maid Kovacs explains her master was only supposed to have been going away for one night. But that is all Duggan can find out, for Mrs Matrion has had a coronary from which she is unlikely to recover, and Miss Welton, Matrion's secretary is away on holiday.
Subsequent investigations show Matrion had recently
withdrawn £800 from his bank, nearly all his account. "It's time we visited Seahaven," suggests the all-wise Duggan.
A cabbie there remembers driving Matrion to a hotel, where it turns out he had checked in under an assumed name of Mr Bayliss.
Hiring a car (NYL612) from Salter's he had returned it with only 10 miles on the clock.
Examination of this car reveals chalk in the tyre grooves plus a set of unidentified fingerprints.
Whom had he met and where? At the foot of some chalk cliffs is found another corpse, that of Elizabeth Welton!
Further activity follows-
1. The missing blueprints surprisingly turn up in the post, in an envelope addressd to Matrion, and sent by him.
2. Blood on Elizabeth Welton's body isn't her own or Matrion's.
3. Mr Graves, a passenger on the train, remembers a man wearing a distinctive college scarf. This is from
West Kensington College and its owner Joseph Armed proves to live in the same address as Miss Welton.
Edgar explains all in a neatly filmed flashback, a story of blackmail.
Note: police car is UML557. Though the train from Seahaven runs to 'Waterloo,' the notice outside Seahaven Station announces trains to Tunbridge Wells, suggesting this scene is shot in the Hastings area
NIGHT CROSSING (released 11th May 1958)
The Case of Alice Brent
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
Starring Russell Napier as Supt Duggan, with minimal assistance from Julian Strange as Sgt Jason.
Some interesting scenes shot at a South Coast town, but this becomes a rather rambling tale with the cast seemingly peeved by the fact that the last half is set in Paris and they couldn't get beyond the studio walls!
At a peaceful Channel port, local fisherman James discovers a body on the beach.
It is that of a black woman, a drug addict. The Yard computer whirrs and suggests it might be Rose Weston.
However this was one of those giant computers, and it's made a gigantic error, since Rose is still alive.
Next we come to one of those "sensational" revelations that Edgar loves to recount:
the corpse's skin had been "stained" brown, ie she's a white woman.
Spt Duggan recreates the crime using lots of dummies which are cast overboard from a boat.
Nearish the spot where the dead girl was found, one floats up on to a beach. Tis proves the corpse had been thrown from some passing
ship. A shipping expert comes up with seven possible vessels, the most likely being the Dunkirk to Dover night ferry.
So it's a flight to Paris for Duggan, if not for Russell Napier, where he meets the "formidable" chief of CID, Jacques Renault
(John Serret aided, oui oui, by Andre Maranne inevitably).
One girl who looks a little like Duggan's photo of the dead girl works at Ricco's night club- and he's strongly suspected of running a drug operation. She's Alice Brent, and her Paris flat yields some surprises. First, a liquid that Duggan
puts on his hand and leaves a permanent stain. Second, a private record to Alice from an admirer ("I'll be waiting Alice"),
that was made in a Rome studio. And most shocking, is a murderous attack on the policeman accompanying Duggan, Detective Nouvel.
Rome Interpol traces the recording, it was made by an American Lt Richard J Byers, who is based at a US airbase
in England. He seems innocent. He had split with Alice and had last seen her with a "guy" at Ricco's.
Back to Ricco's! Duggan finds Mlle Colette who had replaced Alice, but she's just beginning her knife throwing act,
and she's the one at the end of her partner Andor's knives!
"Stop the show!" dramatically cries Duggan.
The lights dim and the knife narrowly misses her. She spills the beans and all that's left is for Edgar to reappear,
in his little room, to explain it all
Print of Death (1958)
The Shelton Case
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
With John Warwick as Supt Reynolds, Tim Turner as Dt Sgt Hale.
A novelty is introduced in the shape of Phil Brown as American detective Sgt Kovacs, but he seems merely a transatlantic appendage.
"The desire for easy money" commences Edgar. He tempts us with "where in any one week is the greatest amount of cash
to be found?" His answer- "in the nation's pay packets."
£50,000 is being delivered to a light engineering factory when a bogus police car stops it and shoots dead at point blank range the guard and driver.
Soon on the scene, too late, are the real police lead by Superintendent Reynolds.
Clue 1 is found in the van - fresh fingerprints of armed robber Joseph Shelton 19576/41 "one of our toughest and most dangerous
customers," released from Dartmoor six weeks ago.
Clue 2 - the bullets match those of Shelton's last crime ten years ago. Yes, this is "an open and shut case."
Mrs Sally Shelton claims she hasn't seen her husband for ten years. But a fur coat suggests she's doing OK.
None of Joe's former friends have seen the crook either. He's vanished.
A week later there's another payroll robbery. Again Shelton's prints are founbd on the empty cash bag.
Col Boyd of Interpol surprises everyone with news that Shelton's prints have been found on a glass in a Tangier bar.
Another shock - a headless handless body is unearthed during excavations for a new building. It had been dead 6 to 8 weeks.
Can it be identified? Signs that the torso had recently had a kidney removed. Shelton had had such an operation.
But "a dead man cannot commit robbery and leave his prints at the scene of the crime!"
It's back to Shelton's home. On Sally Shelton's brother's suitcase is a Tangier sticker! He and Sally had been confident that the dismemberment of Joe's body would see them in the clear.
There's a final chase after their partner in crime, Mrs Shelton's lodger (Edwin Richfield), who races around the railway sidings.
For once no-one is run over despite the complex shunting operations!
Shelton had been done in, simply so his fingerprints could be used to divert attention from the real crooks. Edgar's footnote tells how this case made history- "Fingerprints can lie, but only apparently, for at one stage of the investigation it did seem that robbery and murder had been committed by a dead man."
To Scotland Yard
Crime of Honour (1958- cinema release date May 29th 1960)
The Rodriguez Case
featuring Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan, Julian Strange as Sgt Conway.
Script: James Eastwood. Director: Montgomery Tully.
"One of the most difficult things to conceal, permanently, is a human corpse," Edgar warns, wagging his finger solemnly.
A Thames dredger brings up a man's body from "a sinister shifting resting place." Dr Hunt the pathologist says that the corpse's most telling feature is a scar on his left leg.
The strangled body is identified by the man's sister Agnes Branston, but then his wife Julia disputes this.
However it is clear the two "cordially dislike each other." Julia claims her husband John Branston is working abroad. His business partner Richard Watts (Ivan Craig) confirms this last fact. Branston last got in touch from Yugoslavia. As he's also a bit of a "gay dog", his trips selling the company's wine were also intended for pleasure. He is often away "for months on end."
The corpse was wearing some expensive shoes with the Montez label, made in Granada. Duggan flies to Spain to interview the shoemaker, who recognises his handiwork which he had made them for a prominent local winegrower Sgr Roberto Rodriguez, who turns out to have been missing for three weeks.
Rather obviously Edgar interposes, "the superintendent returned to his hotel with a growing suspicion in his mind." An anonymous note takes him to gipsy dancer Lola. In the back seat of a magnificent limousine she asks for 2,000 pesetas. Yes, she was "the greatest" of Rodriguez's loves and she knows who killed him. But she's stabbed before she can utter the name- of course.
Duggan's return route to England follows that of Rodriguez, when he travelled on a freighter to London with his wine. Back at the Yard he quizzes his sergeant about the two murders, "have you ever tried to think like a Spaniard?"
Together they attend Watts' monthly wine tasting. Sergeant to Duggan: "well sir, this is one time we'll just have to drink on duty!" Duggan floats his theory past Watts before going off to Watts' home. There he meets Mrs Branston. She tries to explain her presence. At dead of night Watts attempts his getaway, but his own wine barrels roll down a hill and poetically run him over, an ironic twist that Edgar is not slow to point out.
Watts had wanted control of the business, and after an argument Branston had died.
Julia had been his accomplice. Back to Rodriguez,
and a final moralising from Edgar who tells us "Spain is an old fashioned country; family honour is strong."
Police car is UML557
THE CROSS ROAD GALLOWS (1958)
The James Case
featuring John Warwick as Supt Reynolds with Dt-Sgt Hale (Tim Turner). Also prominent
is local policeman, Inspector Travers (David Lodge).
"Murder" explains Edgar "is the most democratic of all crimes." It's dawn, and irascible farmer John Dent finds a caravan trespassing on his land. Inside are two dead bodies, outside he spots a shadowy
figure, a tramp, in the undergrowth.
This is a "most brutal murder" of a young married couple. James was a freelance writer who'd recently received a £100 fee. Little cash can be found in their caravan. Also untraced are a camera and the girl's diamond engagement ring.
At a nearby pub, the barmaid Sally Bailey remembers the couple had been buying drinks there. Had someone spotted their well-filled wallet? In a nearby pond, a "heavy blunt instrument" is found, a spanner.
Hardly the weapon of a tramp.
A tip leads Reynolds to Farmer Dent's attic, where he finds a simple lad hiding, Billy the son of the house. The truth comes out- Dent had discovered him in the caravan, dazed "standing over them with the blood."
It transpires that Billy had been hidden by his parents after an incident some years back when a garage mechanic had seen him attacking a girl. Billy is declared certifiably insane
but though "the evidence against him was overwhelming," Reynolds doesn't find the stolen property, and one
puzzling clue convinces him not to close the case- there's a patch of oil near the crime scene. Oil that proves to be from a powerful Tornado motor bike.
The machine belongs to the boy friend of Sally, Hans Brandt, who'd been blackmailing Dent over
Billy's former crime.
Edgar explains that Hans had spotted the idiot son near the caravan that day, and knocked him unconscious to throw blame on him for the crime Hans had committed.
Hans tries to escape on his bike but crashes at the foot of a gallows.
Edgar can't resist a final comment, "Hans Brandt met his own end at the foot of a gallows from which so many a grisly burden had hung in times gone by."
Hans' bike PPG728. Police cars: NPK155, KXF510
Scotland Yard Menu
THE UNSEEING EYE (1959)
The Bassett Case
featuring Russell Napier as Inspector Duggan.
Firemen treating a blaze in a warehouse spot a body. The Yard are soon on the scene as the man had been killed before the fire started. One useful clue as to his identity is a glass eye. An expert believes it to have been made in America. "The United States!" exclaims Edgar in a quizzical voice, "this was broadening the inquiry with a vengeance."
The owner of the disused building is now running a hotel and hadn't visited his warehouse for weeks. But he and his wife act very suspiciously.
The next real development is when Wendy Green returns to work after her holidays. She remembers serving a person who'd purchased some jerry cans of petrol. She identifies Mrs Bower, wife of the hotel owner.
The FBI succeed in working out the owner of the eye was a John Bassett, an artist last heard of in Paris. Over there, Duggan speaks to his "intimate friend" Janette who tearfully explains he had travelled to London for a few days to stay at a small hotel- you've guessed where! "A dramatic revelation," admits Edgar.
Duggan now has a "trick up his sleeve." A policeman is made up to look like Bassett and, as Edgar juicily observes "a dead man walked the streets of the city." You know his destination. Mrs Bower sees him- "no... it can't be.... You're dead." Duggan forces home his advantage and she spills the truth.
There follows a dramatic chase across the rooftops after the killer. It ends with a fireman preventing him from falling to his death. Edgar rounds it off noting the irony.
Scotland Yard Menu
These inspectors feature in more than one story (numbers refer to the story number)-
In 5 and 8 Russell Napier is Inspector Harmer while in 17, 18, 19, 22 , 25, 26, 28 , 30, 31,
33, 34 , 36, 37 Russell Napier plays Inspector Duggan (a total of 13 stories).
The next most active actor is in 24, 27 and 29 in which John Warwick plays Supt. Reynolds.
Gerald Case (Inspector Carron) appears in two- 3 and 11.
So does Geoffrey Keen in 32 and 35 but with different names: Supt. Graham/Carter.
Similarly in 9 Kenneth Henry is Inspector Baker, while in
10 he is Inspector Ross.
In 21 Ronald Adam, in 23 Dennis Castle and in 38 Harry H. Corbett all feature as Inspector
Other police officials in charge of cases only make one appearance each:
in 1 is John Le Mesurier (Supt. Henley),
in 6- Colin Tapley (Inspector Turner),
in 7- Gordon Bell (Inspector Durrant),
in 12- Frank Leighton (Inspector Parry),
in 13- Robert Raglan (Inspector Dexter),
in 14- Ewen Solon (Inspector Conway),
in 15- Cyril Chamberlain (Inspector Harris),
in 16- Hugh Moxey (Inspector O’Madden),
in 20- Ballard Berkeley (Inspector Berkeley),
and in 39 John Welsh appears as Supt. Hicks.
In Story 2 there is no main investigating police officer, while in 4 he appears very
The first 26 Scotland Yard stories were produced by Alec Snowden.
Jack Greenwood took over for the final thirteen stories, continuing his association with Merton Park by producing nearly all the Edgar Wallace series.
The theme music in the Scales of Justice series, issued on Decca F11662, was recorded by The Tornados.