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William A. Wellman
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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Based on the "I Love a Mystery" radio program (where most of the stories were told in serial fashion over several episodes): Searching through the wreckage of a crashed airline, the police find five shrunken human heads, and one of them is a white man with red hair. The head belonged to an explorer, deemed lost on an expedition to South America, and is tagged as a victim of jungle savagery. His daughter thinks otherwise, and suspects foul-play outside the jungle. She hires a team of private detectives to investigate, and points them in the direction of her stepmother and a colleague of her father, who appears to be more than a colleague of the stepmother. The detective, however, also looks in another direction and vocation for the killer.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"The Devil's Mask" (1946) is one of the "I LOVE A MYSTERY" series of B-movies produced by Columbia Studios, based on the then-popular radio show. Poker faced Jim Bannon heads up a duo of private detectives who appear in each of the mysteries.
This one begins after a shrunken head is found in the ruins of a crashed plane that was headed from California to Latin America. A woman, who believes that her step-daughter is planning to kill her, hires the pair of detectives.
The mystery deepens when the woman's butler is killed by a poison dart from a blow-gun similar to those used by the jungle tribe of head-hunters responsible for the shrunken head. Add a blackmailing psychiatrist, a crazy taxidermist, a ferocious black panther, a few nebulous characters of dubious repute, and you have an atmospheric little chiller that's most enjoyable.
You may be able to figure out who the killer is, but that won't stop you from searching out more of these neat little "I LOVE A MYSTERY" thrillers.
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