The whole town’s in on this Cover Up! Insurance investigator Sam Donovan (Dennis O’Keefe) is in a small town at Christmas to look into a claim regarding a Roger Phillips who committed suicide – or was it murder. The poster above has William Bendix looking like a gangster and he gets billing above O’Keefe.
Donovan’s company will be making a big pay-out, so he just wants to confirm what happened. Unfortunately the local sheriff ,Larry Best (William Bendix) isn’t helpful. The gun used in the suicide has disappeared. Best’s laconic response is .”It’ll turn up.” The coroner is out of town. There’s no police report. All highly suspicious.
The sheriff smokes a pipe – that usually means the character’s a good guy!
Donovan is smitten with Anita Weatherby (Barbara Britten) whose father is a businessman in the town. (Barbara reminded me of Joan Leslie.)
Doro Merande is very good as the protective Weatherby housekeeper,Hilda..
Virginia Christine plays Margaret Baker,the beneficiary of the insurance policy. Did she and her husband have anything to do with the death. But she insists it was suicide – she’d get more if it was murder.
The sheriff finally produces two bullets which seem to have come from a luger – Anita’s father Stu Weatherby (Art Baker) owns such a gun. But so does the sheriff.
So, plenty of suspects as Donovan tries to unravel what happened. The sheriff tells Donovan about a case he had – a man who was a blight on the whole community. He hurt a lot of people and there was another man who loved the town and couldn’t stand it any longer.
The ending isn’t entirely satisfactory, but the plot is quite good .
The shop owner who found the body,Mr.Abbey (Paul E. Burns) says he didn’t see any gun. I only recall Paul E. Burns playing bit parts ,mainly as a drunk. It was nice to see him in this as a solid citizen.
According to IMDB, Dennis O’Keefe wrote the story under a pen name, Jonathan Rix.
The DVD cover is also a mystery! Anyone know what film the front cover shows? or the back cover?