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Robert Z. Leonard
Joel Sloane is a rare book dealer and part time detective. He finds stolen or lost rare books for the insurance companies and gets a reward for their return. But this is a little different. Otto Brockler, a rare book dealer with questionable ethics, has been murdered. The list of suspects is long. Ned, who Otto sent to prison to get insurance money and keep him away from Leah. Leah, who is in love with the falsely convicted Ned. Elias, a silent partner in stolen and forged books. Sydney, a master forger of rare books. Julia, Otto's secretary who has expensive clothes and jewelry. Joel is the one who must find the murderer before he becomes the next victim. Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Lightweight murder mystery with much plot, more comedy
Melvyn Douglas and Florence Rice are "Joel Sloane & Co. Rare Books," as it says on their office door. The husband and wife team spends as much time flirting as detecting in this clever and very funny mystery.
The plot involves a rival book seller (George Zucco) who has reported some valuable books stolen. Something is fishy .did he steal his own books and then frame his daughter's hot-tempered fiancé, who is in jail for the crime? Zucco is in cahoots with a counterfeiter who produces rare editions, and employs a clever secretary (the excellent Claire Dodd) who wears a mink coat that ought to be out of her price range .
Anyway, it's not exactly a surprise when the shady Zucco is found murdered. There are multiple suspects, and Douglas sums up the general feeling when he tells the investigating police detective, "Well, if you're looking for a statement from me, I am not bogged down with grief."
It's a very fast-paced picture. In one sequence, Douglas is kidnapped, tied up in a hideout, and escapes while Rice gets herself captured and the cops show up to the rescueall in a matter of a couple of minutes.
Witty dialog and the very attractive cast pleasantly overshadow the plot, which is rather complex butin a movie like thisnot all that important anyway.
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