...because the plot is quite complex. Since you know it's a murder mystery, you know someone is going to wind up dead, but prior to the murder it's not even obvious as to who that someone might be. A British governor of an Indian province is murdered on the "Bombay Mail", an express train in India. Edmund Lowe effortlessly plays Inspector Dyke, who comes aboard the train to sort out the suspects and solve the murder. There is quite the cast of characters too. You have a mysterious woman (Shirley Grey) who speaks with a Russian accent in the presence of some but not others, a large satchel that the owner keeps peeking into from time to time. The owner, by the way is an expert in toxicology and the governor was poisoned. There is the governor's widow (Hedda Hopper) who is seemingly lacking in hysterics or mourning but has a big bottle of cyanide in her compartment, and a man with a tobacco pouch (Onslow Stevens) that he carefully guards as though it contained something precious. Finally there is a Brahman in whose bathroom the body of the governor is found, but he claims to have been in a self-induced trance at the time of the murder through the time that the body was found. The Brahman just happens to be an activist against the British occupation of India.
Dyke gathers up his suspects and quarantines them in the train's private car where he has 30 hours to solve the crime before the train enters Bombay. In the process, we learn of the relationships and rivalries among the passengers that could have given them motives for murder. Probably the strangest thing about this film is that, even though the passengers are all supposed to be British, some speak with a British accent and some sound like Americans.
If you like romance in your crime dramas, that is definitely lacking in this one. There is the hint of a possible romantic development, but it is more of a friendship than anything else when the film ends.
Universal went bankrupt two years after this was made, and if they had made more films consistently as good as this one maybe they would have remained solvent. Highly recommended.
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