Business man Mercer McLeod is swindled out of his life-savings by hotel owner and card reader Bertha Belmore and a pickpocket living in her hotel, Mason Curry. McLeod calls in William 'Martin Kane' Gargan for help. Meanwhile McLeod's flame and burlesque dancer Jem Benet, who also lives in the hotel, has overheard Belmore and Curry, and takes the money from them at gunpoint. Due to a freak coincidence, McLeod retrieves the envelope with the money, but then Benet is found in her locked room, strangled to death with some towels that are missing from Curry's room. But when Kane interviews another occupant of the hotel, he finds the missing clue to solving the murder.
For a 30 minute TV show that always featured heavy product placement by its sponsor, a tobacco company, this one is a bit different. The usually lengthy middle section inside Walter Kinsella's tobacco store, advising his customers on the best brands, feels shorter than in other episodes. Which I didn't exactly mind, those bits are far and away the most annoying part of an otherwise nice and enjoyable TV series. And this episode also needed a few extra minutes to fully get the plot in. I wouldn't say it's a complicated story, but it does twist around a bit more than usual.
Gargan was the first and most laidback of the Kane actors, he also played Kane on the radio show before the TV series. He's fun to watch and the fast pace of the episode barely leaves room to breathe, making it a fun episode overall. There are even a few darker scenes inside the dingy hotel, adding a nice feel to the place. A great piece of early 50s live television making. 7/10
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