Peter Baxter decides to test the loyalty of his heirs. He pretends to change his will cutting them all out and leaving his estate to groundskeeper, James Hing. Hing is then supposed to burn down Baxter's house with a medical cadaver in it.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Kenneth Baxter (as John G. Agar)
Robert Knapp ...
Stuart Baxter
Maxine Cooper ...
Edith Devoe
Winifred Oakley
Dr. Douglas Keene (as Dick Crane)
Mr. Hilliard
Anthony Eustrel ...
Gordon T. Roland
Frank Biro ...
Judge (as Barney Biro)
A.J. Nelson - Paint Store Owner


Peter Baxter's family are shocked to learn that he prepared a new will shortly before his death in a tragic fire leaving everything to his caretaker, James Hing. Kenneth Baxter and his cousin Stuart Baxter are particularly distressed and have every intention of challenging the validity of the will in court. James Hing approaches Perry Mason to help him defend the will and his inheritance but he isn't' being entirely truthful with him. In fact, James is arrested for Baxter's murder and the convoluted truth finally emerges. Wanting to test the loyalty of his heirs, Baxter wanted to test their loyalty and respect and planned to fake his death. James Ling admits to setting fire but Baxter was not supposed to die. Perry takes on the case knowing that someone other than his client made it impossible for Baxter to leave the burning house. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

7 March 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first appearance of the new introduction, with the stylized bench, judge and attorney becoming a real hand and file, Mason's face fading into Lady Justice's sword. See more »


When Doug removes the glass container of "volatile spirits" from his office closet the label reads "mineral spirits." However, when a close up of the container is shown it says "Volatile Spirits." This was done due to the censor not wanting the name of an actual accelerent to be used. See more »


Version of The Case of the Black Cat (1936) See more »

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User Reviews

Oops, a scripted plan goes terribly wrong.
8 May 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After the first ten minutes of the show if you were given a guess of who is the guilty party then I am sure you would be correct. During the course of the investigation, the writers try to throw the suspicion on different parties but when the final courtroom scene is completed the obvious person will be serving time for murder.

It begins with a scheme by a rich sickly older man named Peter Baxter. It seems that Peter believes that his family is waiting for him to die so they can collect the inheritance. So he plans, with help from his long time gardener James Hing, to have the house catch on fire and Peter will pretend to have been killed by means of an cadaver. Mr Baxter tells everyone that he has left the entire estate to Hing and everyone else will get nothing. After three years if anyone contest the estate then they will be removed from the actual estate will that provides for the family.

Well this sounds nice but something goes terribly wrong during the fire part of the plan. Peter Baxter is actually killed and James Hing is accused of murder. Not many believe Hing's story that it was suppose to be a prank until Perry gets hold of the case and springs into action as he questions family members, nurses and bankers until he has a clear view of the situation.

It was nice to see the writers take a different approach to a mystery. A refreshing move from some of the rehashed plots already experience in season two. The story was good along with the cast in making this episode a good watch for viewers.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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