The Robert Perry Murder Case
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The Robert Perry Murder Case
|COMPANY:||American Continental Life Insurance|
Johnny answers his phone and a voice tells him that he must leave for New York City immediately: a policyholder is afraid for his life. He is worth $100,000 alive to the insurance company. Johnny says the case is simple "He must be afraid of somebody to whom he is worth $100,000 dead".
Johnny takes a night train to New York and cabs to Mr. Perry's New York City import office at exactly at 9:00 AM. When the receptionist Susan buzzes Mr. Perry, the office explodes. Johnny rushes in to find a dead Mr. Perry. Susan tells Johnny that Mr. Perry had thought his life was in danger, and now he is dead. Johnny gives the receptionist some water to drink as the occupants of the building stream in. Johnny tells everyone to leave and tells someone to call the police. Susan is guilty that she killed her boss, but Johnny explains to Susan that someone hooked up a bomb to the buzzer to kill Perry. Johnny tells Susan that someone must have come in afterwards and rigged the bomb. Johnny learns that Perry's next appointment was to be with his partner Van Brooten, who came from Holland to pick up a check dissolving their partnership. Susan tells Johnny that they had met last night at Van Brooten's hotel to finalize the deal. Christine Perry, the wife, was due later to finalize the upcoming divorce. The fire department arrives looking for a fire, and Johnny tells them "someone will get burned when the cops arrive". The police arrive and conduct an investigation. At eleven o'clock, Van Brooten arrives to pick up the check. Johnny tells Van Brooten that Perry is dead and he is very upset, but Susan is confused. Susan gives Van Brooten the check and he leaves.
Johnny calls American Continental and tells the secretary to sit on Mr. Gordon's lap with some smelling salts, but she tells Johnny that she is not that kind of secretary - and he does not have a lap! Johnny tells Mr. Gordon what has happened and Gordon tells Johnny to stay on the case. When Mr. Gordon asks Johnny if the death could have been suicide, Johnny tells Gordon that trying to prove "suicide" to enable the suicide clause would require a "Santa" clause. Johnny tells Gordon that he will talk to the wife first to see if fraud is involved.
Johnny cabs to the apartment of Christine Perry. Christine tells Johnny she knows who he is and why he is there, and Johnny wonders about the motives. She tells Johnny that she knows very little about her husband's friends, and that she left him six months ago. Christine tells Johnny that the previous night she was with a friend, Al Donovan at the Clover Club - anyone can tell Johnny that she was there. Her husband was there also with his beautiful little secretary, Susan Gates. Al Donovan enters the apartment and slugs Johnny after he starts asking questions. Al tells Christine that she has lied to him as he was not with her at the club, and that she was supposed to be there with her husband talking about the divorce. Johnny listens from the floor as Al slaps Christine and they leave the apartment. The noon whistle blows, and Johnny decides to allow himself the luxury of a full minute for lunch by grabbing a handful of Mrs. Perry's bon-bons on the run.
Al and Christine get into a yellow convertible, and Johnny follows in a cab. After a car ride through town, Christine jumps out and Johnny follows Al who parks illegally in front of a police precinct. Johnny speaks with the police and they tell Johnny that Al Donovan has made a full confession to bombing the office. Donovan told the police he was in love with Mrs. Perry and planted a bomb in the office. Johnny thinks he is trying to cover up something. Johnny searches Perry's office and learns that Van Brooten was bald and had been getting toupees from Perry for years. In the personnel files, Johnny learns that Al Donovan was Perry's former bodyguard, and until the day before the murder. Johnny also learns that the secretary had worked in a munitions plant during the war - wiring bomb fuses.
Johnny breaks into Susan's apartment and waits for her to come home. When she comes in Johnny tells her about Al's confession, but Susan thinks he is covering for Christine. Johnny mentions the Clover Club and Susan tells him that she was there with Mr. Perry, and Mrs. Perry was there with a man who Susan did not know, but Mr. Perry did but he would not tell her who the man was, lest she get the wrong idea. Susan tells Johnny that she has worked for Perry for four years, and Johnny tells her about her prior job making bombs. The doorbell rings and Susan six shots ring out as Susan unlocks the door. A bullet hits Susan once in the shoulder spinning her out of the way of the others. Johnny pushes her out of the way and opens the door but he can find no one in the hallway. A frantic Susan is sure that the police will arrest her, but Johnny tells her that she will not be arrested for being shot. She tells Johnny that the man in the office was a phony and Johnny surmised that she was shot because she was trying to blackmail him. Susan tells Johnny the man's name is Van Zandt and that he is in the Marsden Hotel and faints.
Johnny goes looking for Van Zandt in the Marsden Hotel. Johnny cannot find any Dutch names in the registry, so he gets the rooms that the housekeepers have not been able to make up and starts looking. Johnny finds pay dirt in room 427. Johnny goes to get a fire axe but changes his mind when he remembers that the man loves to shoot through doors. Johnny pulls the fire alarm and grabs Van Zandt when he runs out of the room. Johnny threatens to leave Van Zandt in the room if he does not talk. Van Zandt tells Johnny that the real Van Brooten in the bedroom and is sedated. Van Zandt tells Jonny that had known Van Brooten in Antwerp and knew about the sale of the company and that the secretary had never seen Van Brooten. Van Zandt had drugged Perry's cocoa after the deal had been completed and set up the bomb in the office. Van Zandt did not know how Susan had known he was a phony. Johnny tells Van Zandt that Perry was "sending his partner gray wigs, my red-headed friend!"
Johnny wires the insurance company that they will have to pay Christine Perry, who was only guilty of trying to stay on the right side of a hot-tempered boy friend. Christine had lied about the Clover Club because she had been there with the real Van Brooten who was trying to convince her not to divorce his friend Perry. Johnny expenses a fine of one hundred dollars for setting off the false alarm, which is fine with him as the company is paying it.
|Producer: Jaime del Valle||Writers: Paul Dudley, Gil Doud|
|Cast: Walter Burke, Jeanne Bates, Joe DuVal, Ted de Corsia, Joyce McCluskey, Raymond Burr|
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