Two murders are committed and a $50,000 Chinese Mandarin stamp is stolen, tossed around and eventually recovered as an aggregation of costly-stamp counterfeiters are uncovered through the mastermind investigation by Ellery Queen.
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A very rare and priceless Chinese postage stamp is stole as its thief claims two victims in a hotel,, both of whom are murdered in inexplicably locked rooms. Young Ellery romances the stamps beautiful owner, Josephie Temple, while working with his father, Inspector Queen to solve the baffling case and expose the killer. Written by
Josephine Temple arrives in New York with a rare stamp, the Chinese Mandarin, which she has arranged to sell to stamp collector, Dr. Alexander Kirk, for $50,000, which upsets his two nieces (Martha and Irene, as well as her fiancé Donald Trent) who don't like him spending their inheritance as an investment. Soon after she arrives, Josephine finds that the stamp has been stolen, and races up to Kirk's room. Soon after Josephine leaves the room, the real crook, Craig, is found murdered in the library adjoining Dr. Kirk's room. Inspector Queen goes up to solve the case, while son Ellery's interest is in Josephine (smart boy) which he seems to be protecting. Ellery finds out that many of the stamps in Dr. Kirk's collection are counterfeit and when he goes to Craig's apartment he discovers his counterfeiting tools, but not before he is knocked unconscious by Howard Bronson, another stamp collector, who expressed a high interest in the Mandarin. The stamp is later found on an envelope sent by Martha, but when she is confronted with the evidence, she is mysteriously killed. Who is the murder of Craig and Martha Kirk. A good B mystery from the 30's, but the injection of humor and Quillan's aw shucks persona, really kill the movie at several occasions. Much of the plot and characters are not fleshed out as deeply as a Charlie Chan or Philo Vance film and the ending is rushed with explanations that would bewilder any audience member. The plot is a standard B mystery with the usual clichés and twists, which does work. Rating, based on B mysteries, 6.
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