Dial M for Murder (1954) Script

[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]


[FOGHORN BLARING]

[CHATTERING]

Let me get you another drink.

Mark, before Tony comes...

...I ought to explain something.

Yes, I've been waiting for that.

I haven't told him anything about us.

That's not surprising. It's a tough thing to do.

MARGOT: When you telephoned this morning...

...I simply said you wrote crime stories...

...and I'd met you once when you were here before.

Heh. That has a pretty guilty ring to it. I'd never use it in one of my stories.

Mark, I know you think it's silly, but when you get to know Tony...

...you'll understand why I said that.

Darling, I understand now but that doesn't stop me from loving you.

It's not as simple as that.

Tony's changed.

Thanks.

He's a completely different person to the one I used to tell you about.

Really? When did all this happen?

That night I came to say goodbye.

When I left your apartment, I came back here.

I sat down on the sofa and had a good cry. And then I fell asleep.

And when I woke up, there was Tony standing in the hall...

...with all his bags and tennis rackets.

He just said he decided to give up tennis and settle down to a job.

-Just like that? -Just like that.

Of course I didn't believe him at first, but he meant it all right.

But he's been wonderful ever since.

I suppose that's when you stopped writing me?

Margot, is it?

Do you remember the letters you wrote to me?

Yes, I remember.

After I read them, I burned them. I thought it best.

All except one.

You probably know the one I mean.

Yes, I think I do. What about it?

It was stolen.

One day Tony and I were going to spend the weekend in the country with friends.

While we were waiting on the platform, I noticed my handbag was missing...

...and the letter was inside.

Where was this?

Victoria Station.

I thought I left it in the restaurant...

...but when I went back to look, it had gone.

You mean you never found it?

I recovered the handbag about two weeks later...

...from the lost and found, but the letter wasn't there.

And then about a week afterwards, I received a note.

It told me what I had to do to get the letter back.

Yes. Go ahead. Go on.

I was to draw £50 from my bank in £5 notes...

...and then change them for used £1 notes.

It said that if I went to the police or told anyone else...

...he would show the letter to my husband.

You still have the note?


Printed, all capitals. Anyone could have done this.

And two days later, I got this one.

Both mailed in Brixton.

"Tie up the money in a package...

...and mail to John S. King, 23 Newport Street, Brixton SW 9.

You'll get your letter by return."

It's a little shop. People use it as a forwarding address.

You didn't mail the money?

-Yes, but the letter was never returned. -Margot.

So after waiting about two weeks, I went there.

Said they'd never heard of a man by that name.

And the parcel was still there, it had never been opened.

Well, that's something, I suppose. May I keep these?

Yes, if you like.

I can't understand why you didn't tell me.

There wasn't anything you could do.

You probably would've made me tell Tony and the police.

As it was only £50, I thought I'd pay up and have done with it.

Margot, I better tell Tony about us tonight.

No, Mark, please, you mustn't.

You don't understand. Tony's changed. Please.

I wish it was a year ago when you came to say goodbye.

We were in the kitchen. I nearly said, "I can't go through with this.

Let's find Tony and tell him all about it."

I believe you'd have done it then.

[MARK SIGHS]

Well, I can see this is gonna be a rough evening.

All of us saying nice things to each other.

Look, there's only one thing you haven't explained.

Why didn't you burn that letter too?

[DOOR CLOSES]

[DOORKNOB RATTLING]

MARGOT: There you are. We thought you were never coming.

What have you been up to?

Oh, I'm sorry, but the boss blew in just as I was leaving.

Tony, this is Mark Halliday.

-Hello, Mark. -Tony, hello.

I'm terribly sorry to be so late.

How do you like it over here?

MARK: Oh, fine. Just fine, Tony.

Is this your first visit to London?

No, no. I was here a year ago for a vacation.

Oh, yes, that's right. Margot told me.

You, uh.... You write for the radio, don't you?

-No, television, for my sins. Ha, ha. -Darling, did you reserve a table?

-Yes, 7:00. -Well, come on then--

Oh, darling, a slight alteration in plans.

-Oh, now don't say you can't go. -I'm afraid so.

Old man Burgess is flying to Brussels on Sunday...

...and I have to get my monthly report in by tomorrow.

Well, can't you do it when we get back?

I'm afraid not. It'll take hours. I shall have to fake half of it as it is.

But....

Could you join us after the theater? We might go somewhere.

Why don't you give me a ring at intermission?

If I'm inspired, I might make it.

-Well, do try. -All right.

I'll just get my things, Mark.

-Oh, here are the tickets. -Oh, thanks, Tony.

I'm afraid this is terribly rude of me.

-Not at all. I'm just sorry you can't come. -You must come to dinner.

-Thanks, I'd like that. -By the way...

-...what are you doing tomorrow night? -Saturday? Nothing I know of.

-How'd you like to come to a stag party? -A stag party?

Yes. Some American boys have been playing tennis all over.

We're giving them a sort of farewell dinner.

Well, I'm not much of a tennis player.

That doesn't matter. You know New York and all that.

-Mark's coming to the party tomorrow. -Oh, good.

Well, you better drop in here first and have a drink.

-That's the idea. -Yes. All right. I'll try and get a taxi.

Oh, no. We can usually pick one up.

So long, darling.

Enjoy yourself.

MARK: So long, Tony. -Good night.

Oh, Mark?

Yes?

Sell the extra ticket. Have a drink on the proceeds.

-All right, Tony, we'll try. TONY: Have a good time.

MARK: Thanks. Night.


MAN: Hello. -Hello. Hampstead 7899?

-Yes. -Could I speak to Captain Lesgate?

Speaking.

Oh, good evening. You don't know me. My name is Fisher.

I understand you have a car for sale.

Oh, yes, an American car.

Yes, I saw it at your garage. How much are you asking?

-Eleven hundred. -Eleven hundred, I see.

Well, it certainly looks just the job for me. But I don't like that price.

Well, I didn't like it when I bought it.

Ha, ha. Now, when can we meet?

Well, now, how about tomorrow afternoon?

I'm afraid I can't manage that.

Uh, no, I can't, and I'm going to Liverpool on Sunday.

I was rather hoping....

I say, you couldn't come around to my flat tonight?

-Where is it? -Maida Vale.

I'd call on you, only I've twisted my knee rather badly.

Oh, I'm sorry. Well, what's your address?

61-A Charrington Gardens.

-Harrington? Oh. -Oh, no, no. Charrington.

Turn left at the underground. It's about a two minutes' walk.

I'll be there in about an hour.

That's extremely good of you. Oh, by the way, will you be bringing the car?

Oh, I'm afraid I can't--

Well, that doesn't matter. I had a good look at it.

As you might bring the registration book and any necessary papers.

Yes, of course.

I don't see why we couldn't settle this thing here...

...provided you drop the price sufficiently.

Oh, I'm afraid that's out of the question.

Well, we'll see what a couple of drinks can do.

[BOTH CHUCKLE]

Uh, goodbye.

Goodbye.


[DOOR CLOSES]

[FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING]

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

-Mr. Fisher? -Yes. Captain Lesgate?

-Yes. -Won't you come in?

Thank you.

It's very good of you.

Let me have your coat.

-Have any difficulty finding your way? -No. None at all.

Do sit down. How about a drink?

You know, I can't help thinking I've seen you before somewhere.

You know, it's funny you should mention that.

The moment I opened the door, I....

Wait a minute. Lesgate?

You're not Lesgate. Swann. C.J. Swann. Or was it C.A?

C.A. Well, you've got a better memory than I have.

Fisher. When did we meet?

-Weren't you at Cambridge? -Yes.

Heh. Must be 20 years ago. You wouldn't remember me.

I only came your last year.

Well, what a coincidence.

Yes, this calls for a special drink.

I was planning to palm you off with an indifferent port...

...but let's see what we have here. How about this?

Perfect.

By the way, how do you know my car's for sale?

Your garage told me.

That's odd. I didn't mention it to anyone.

I was stopping for a fill-up and I told them I was looking for a car.

They gave me your phone number. I say, it is for sale, isn't it?

-Well, of course. -Good. I refuse to discuss the price...

...until you've had three brandies.

Well, I warn you, I drive a hard bargain, drunk or sober.

So do I.

You know, I think I must have seen you somewhere since we left Cambridge.

Ever been to Wimbledon?

That's it. Wendice. Tony Wendice.

What's all this about Fisher?

What's all this about Lesgate?

Would you like a cigar?

No, thanks. I'll just stick to my pipe.

That's one habit you've changed.

-Oh? -I remember, at college...

...you always used to smoke rather expensive cigars.

Wait a minute, I think I have a picture of you here somewhere.

Yes.

Yes. Here's one...

...taken at a reunion dinner.

There you are.

With the biggest cigar in the business.

SWANN: Well, that's the first and last reunion I ever went to.

What a murderous thug I look.

Yes, you do, rather.

Of course I always remember you because of the college ball.

You were the treasurer, weren't you?

Honorary treasurer.

I used to organize the beastly things.

Yes. Some of the ticket money was stolen...

-...wasn't it? -That's right. Almost £100.

I'd left it in a cashbox in my study and in the morning it had gone.

It was the college porter, of course.

Yes, of course. Poor old Alfred.

He never could back a winner.

They found the cashbox in his back garden.

But not the money.

Heh. Twenty years ago.

What are you doing nowadays?

I deal in property.

I say, I don't follow tennis closely. Do you still play?

No, I've given up tennis, or rather, tennis gave me up.

One has to earn a living sometime, and I had a good run for my money.

Went round the world three times.

-What are you doing now? -I sell sports equipment.

It's not very lucrative, but it gives me plenty of spare time.

Well, I see you manage to run a very comfortable place.

My wife has some money of her own.

Otherwise, I should hardly feel like blowing £1000 on your car.

Ah-ah, 1100.

You know, people with capital don't realize how lucky they are.

I'm almost resigned to living on what I can earn.

Well, you can always marry for money.

I suppose some people make a business out of that.

-I know I did. -Why do you think she married you?

Well, I was a tennis star.

You've given up tennis. She hasn't left you.

She nearly did.

After we married, I played...

...in championships and took Margot with me.

She didn't like it much, and when we got back...

...she tried to make me give up tennis and play husband instead.

In the end, we compromised.

I went alone to America for the grass-court season...

...and returned after the national championships.

I soon realized that a lot had happened while I was away.

For one thing, she wasn't in love with me anymore.

There were phone calls which would end abruptly if I happened to walk in.

There was an old school friend used to visit from time to time.

One day we had a row. I wanted to play in the covered-court tournament...

...and as usual, she didn't want me to go.

I was in the bedroom. The phone rang. It all sounded pretty urgent.

After that, she seemed keen that I play in the tournament after all.

So I packed my kit into the car and drove off.

I parked the car two streets away, walked back in my tracks.

Ten minutes later, she came out of this house and took a taxi.

I took another.

Her old school friend lived in a studio in Chelsea.

I could see them through the studio window...

...as he cooked spaghetti over a gas ring.

They didn't say much. They just looked very natural together.

You know, it's funny how you can tell when people are in love.

I went for a walk.

I began to wonder what would happen if she left me.

I'd have to find some way of earning a living to begin with.

I suddenly realized how much I'd grown to depend on her.

All these expensive tastes I'd acquired while I was at the top.

And now big tennis had finished with me, and so apparently had my wife.

I can't ever remember being so scared.

I dropped into a pub and had a couple of drinks.

As I sat in the corner, I thought of all sorts of things.

I thought of three different ways of killing him.

I even thought of killing her.

That seemed a far more sensible idea.

And just as I was working out how I could do it, I suddenly saw something...

...which completely changed my mind.

I didn't go to that tournament after all.

When I got back, she was sitting exactly where you are now.

And I told her I decided to give up tennis and look after her instead.

Well?

Well, as things turned out, I needn't have got so worked up after all.

Apparently that spaghetti evening had been a sort of a fond farewell.

The boyfriend had been called back to New York.

-Ah, an American? -Yes.

There were long letters from there.

They usually arrived on Thursdays. And she burned them all except one.

That one she used to transfer from handbag to handbag.

It was always with her.

That letter became an obsession with me. I had to find out what was in it.

And finally I did.

That letter made very interesting reading.

-Do you mean you stole it? -Yes.

I even wrote her two anonymous notes offering to sell it back.

Why?

I was hoping it would make her come and tell me all about him...

...but it didn't.

So I kept the letter.

Why are you telling me all this?

Because you're the only person I can trust.

Anyway, that did it. It must have put the fear of God into them...

...because the letters stopped...

...and we lived happily ever after.

It was funny to think that just a year ago...

...I sat in that Knightsbridge pub actually planning to murder her.

And I might have done it...

...if I hadn't seen something that changed my mind.

Well? What did you see?

I saw you.

What was so odd about that?

The coincidence.

Only a week before, I'd been to a reunion dinner...

...and the fellas were talking about you.

How you'd been court-martialed during the war, a year in prison.

That was news.

Mind you, at college, we'd all said that old Swann would end up in jail.

That cashbox, I suppose.

Well, what about it?

Oh, my dear fellow, everybody knew you took that money.

Poor old Alfred.

Thanks very much for the drink.

Interesting, hearing about your matrimonial affairs.

I take it you won't be wanting that car after all.

Don't you want me to tell you why I brought you here?

Yes, I think you'd better.

It was when I saw you in that pub that it happened.

Suddenly everything became quite clear.

Only a few months before, Margot and I had made our wills...

...quite short affairs...

...leaving everything we had to each other in case of accidents.

Hers worked out at just over £90,000. Investments mostly.

All a little too easy to get at.

And that was dangerous as they'd be bound to suspect me.

I needed an alibi, a very good one.

Then I saw you.

I often wondered what happened to people when they came out of prison.

People like you, I mean. Can they get jobs?

Do old friends rally round? Suppose they'd never had any friends.

I became so curious to know that I followed you.

I followed you home that night.

And-- Would you mind passing me your glass, old boy?

Thank you. Thank you very much. And I've been following you ever since.

Why?

I was hoping that sooner or later I might catch you at something...

...and be able to, uh....

-Blackmail me? -Influence you.

After a couple of weeks, I got to know your routine...

...and that made it a lot easier.

-Rather dour work. -To begin with, yes.

But you know how it is. You take up a hobby...

...and the more you get to know it, the more fascinating it becomes.

You became quite fascinating.

In fact, there were times when I felt that you almost belonged to me.

That must have been interesting.

You used to go to the dog racing Mondays and Thursdays.

I even took it up myself, just to be near you.

You'd changed your name to Adams.

Yes. I got bored with Swann. Any crime in that?

No, no. None whatever.

In fact, there was nothing really illegal about you.

I got quite discouraged.

Then one day, you disappeared from your lodgings.

I phoned your landlady. I said Mr. Adams owed me £5.

But apparently that was nothing.

Mr. Adams owed her six weeks' rent and her best lodger £55.

And Mr. Adams had been such a nice gentleman.

That's what seemed to upset her most.

Yes. That always seems to upset them most.

I say, old boy, if you want another drink...

...do you mind putting on these gloves?

Now, where were we? Oh, yes, I'd lost you...

...and then I found you one day at the dog racing.

And I tailed you home to your new lodgings in Belsize Park.

There Mr. Adams became Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson left Belsize Park owing 16 weeks' rent...

...and somewhat richer for a brief encounter with a Miss Wallace.

You used to take Miss Wallace out on Wednesdays and Sundays.

She certainly was in love with you, wasn't she?

I suppose she thought you were growing that handsome mustache to please her.

Poor Miss Wallace.

This is all very interesting. Do go on.

July, August, September. Apartment 127, Carlisle Court.

Occupant, a Mrs. Van Dorn.

Her late husband left her two hotels and a large apartment house, furnished.

What a base to operate from, Captain Lesgate.

The only trouble is, she does rather enjoy being courted...

...and she's so very expensive.

Perhaps that's why you've been trying to sell her car for over a month.

Mrs. Van Dorn asked me to sell it for her.

I know. I called her up just before you arrived here.

She only wanted 800.

Where's the nearest police station?

Opposite the church. Two minutes' walk.

-Suppose I walk there now. -What would you tell them?

Everything.

Everything?

All about Mr. Adams and Mr. Wilson?

I should simply tell them that you're trying to blackmail me into--

Into?

Murdering your wife.

I almost wish you would. When she heard that...

...we'd have the biggest laugh of our lives.

-Aren't you forgetting something? -Am I?

-You've told me quite a lot tonight. -What of it?

Suppose I tell them how you followed her to that studio in Chelsea...

...and watched them cooking spaghetti, and all that rubbish?

-Will that ring a bell? -Oh, it certainly would.

They'd assume you followed her yourself.

-Me? Why should I? -Why should you steal her handbag?

Why should you write her all those blackmail notes?

Can you prove you didn't? You certainly can't prove I did.

It'd be a straight case of your word against mine.

That would puzzle them, wouldn't it? What could you say?

I shall simply say that you came here tonight half-drunk...

...and, uh, tried to borrow money...

...on the strength that we were at college together.

When I refused, you mentioned something...

...about a letter belonging to my wife.

As far as I could make out, you tried to sell it to me.

I gave you what money I had and you gave me the letter.

It has your fingerprints on it, remember?

Then you said if I went to the police...

...you'd tell some crazy story about my wanting you to murder my wife.

But before you go any further, old boy, do consider the inconvenience.

You see, I'm quite well-known. And there'd be pictures of you as well.

And sooner or later, there'd be a deputation of landladies and lodgers...

...who would step forward to testify to your character.

And someone is almost certain to have seen you with Miss Wallace.

You were careful not to be seen around with her, I noticed.

You usually met in out-of-the-way places where you wouldn't be recognized...

...like the little tea shop in Pimlico.

That was her idea, not mine.

Yes, it was a bit crummy, wasn't it?

Hardly the place to take Mrs. Van Dorn.

By the way, does Mrs. Van Dorn know about Mr. Adams and Mr. Wilson...

...and Miss Wallace?

You were planning to marry Mrs. Van Dorn, weren't you?

-Smart, aren't you? -No, not really.

I've just had time to think things out, put myself in your position.

That's why I know you're going to agree.

What makes you think I'll agree?

For the same reason that a donkey with a stick behind him and a carrot in front...

...always goes forwards and not backwards.

-Tell me about the carrot. -One thousand pounds in cash.

For a murder?

For a few minutes' work, that's all it is. And no risk, I guarantee.

That ought to appeal to you. You've been skating on pretty thin ice.

-I don't know what you're talking about. -You ought to know. It was in all the papers.

Middle-aged woman found dead due to an overdose of something.

She had been taking the stuff for quite some time...

...and nobody knows where she got it.

But we know, don't we?

Poor Miss Wallace.

This £1000. Where is it?

It's in a small attaché case in a checkroom.

SWANN: Where?

Somewhere in London.

Of course we don't meet again.

As soon as you've delivered the goods...

...I shall mail you the checkroom ticket and the key to the case.

You can take this £100 on account.

The police would only have to trace one of these notes back to you...

...to hang us both from the same rope.

They won't.

For a whole year, I've been cashing an extra £20 a week.

Always in fivers. I then change them for those at my leisure.

Let me see your bank statement?

By all means.

Don't touch.

Turn back a page.

Ah. Your balance has dropped by over £1000 during the year.

Suppose the police ask you about that.

I go dog racing twice a week.

They'll check your bookmaker.

Like you, I always bet on the tout.

Satisfied?

When would this take place?

Tomorrow night.

Tomorrow? Not a chance.

I've gotta think this over.

It has to be tomorrow. I've arranged things that way.

Where?

Approximately where you're standing now.

How?

Tomorrow evening, Halliday, the American boyfriend, and I...

...will go out to a stag party. She'll stay here.

She'll go to bed early and listen to Saturday Night Theatre on the radio.

She always does when I'm out.

At exactly three minutes to 11...

...you'll enter the house through the street door.

You'll find the key to this door...

...under the stair carpet here.

-The fifth step. -That's the one.

Go straight to the window...

...and hide behind the curtains.

At exactly 11:00...

...I shall go to the telephone in the hotel to call my boss.

I shall dial the wrong number, this number. That's all I shall do.

When the phone rings...

...you'll see the light go on under her bedroom door.

When she opens it, the light will stream across the room.

So don't move until she answers the phone.

There must be as little noise as possible.

After you've finished...

...pick up the phone and give me a soft whistle, and hang up.

Don't speak, whatever you do. I shan't say a word.

When I hear your whistle, I shall hang up and redial...

...but the correct number this time.

I shall then talk to my boss as if nothing had happened and return to the party.

Well, what happens next? Go on.

You'll see the suitcase here.

It contains some clothes of mine for the cleaners.

Open it and tip the clothes out onto the floor.

Fill it with a cigarette box and some of these cups.

Close the lid, but don't snap the locks.

Then leave the suitcase there just as it is now.

-Ah, as if I'd left in a hurry. -That's the idea.

Now the window.

If it's locked, unlock it and leave it open.

Then go out exactly the same way you came in.

-By this door? -Yes.

And here's the most important thing:

As you go out, return the key to the place where you found it.

-Under the stair carpet? -Yes.

Yes, but what exactly is supposed to have happened?

They'll assume you came in by the window.

You thought the apartment was empty...

...so you took the suitcase and went to work.

She heard something. She switched on her light.

You saw the light under the door and hid behind the curtains.

When she came in here, you attacked her before she could scream.

When you realized you'd actually killed her...

...you panicked, bolted through the garden...

-...and left the loot behind you. -Just a minute.

I'm supposed to have come in through these windows.

-Suppose they'd been locked. -It wouldn't matter.

You see, she often walks around the garden before she goes to bed...

...and she usually forgets to lock up when she gets back.

That's what I shall tell the police.

Yes, but she may say that....

But she isn't going to say anything, is she?

All right. I leave the apartment.

I put the key back under the stair carpet and go out by the street door.

Suppose the street door's locked. How do I get in in the first place?

The street door is never locked.

-What time will you get back? -About 12.

I'll bring Halliday back for a nightcap so we'll find her together.

And we shall have been together since we left her...

...and there's my alibi.

-You've forgotten something. -What?

When you get back with what's-his-name, Halliday...

-...how will you get into the apartment? -I shall let myself in.

But your key will be under the stair carpet.

He'll see you getting it out. It'll give the show away.

No. It won't be my key under the carpet, it'll be hers.

I shall take it from her handbag and hide it out there...

...just before I leave the flat.

She's not going out, so she won't miss it.

When I come back with Halliday, I'll use my own key to let us in.

Then while he's out searching the garden or something...

...I'll take the key from under the carpet and return it to her handbag...

...before the police arrive.

How many keys are there to this door?

Just hers and mine.

[PHONE RINGING]

Maida Vale Z499.

MARGOT: Tony, it's me. -Oh, hello, darling. How's it going?

Wonderfully. It's really a splendid play.

-We're enjoying every minute. -Oh, I'm sorry. I mean, I'm glad.

You will join us, won't you?

Well, I don't think so. I hardly seem to have started.

Oh, darling, just a moment, I think someone's at the door.

Psst. You can be seen from the bedroom window.

Sorry, darling. False alarm. Look, why don't you take Mark to Gerry's?

-How do we get in? -Well, just mention my name.

I don't know about the band, but the food's good.

By the way, Maureen called up just after you left...

...and wants us for dinner on Wednesday.

But you've got something written in your diary for Wednesday...

...and I can't read your writing. Looks like AI Bentall.

Who's he, another one of your boyfriends?

Albert Hall, you idiot.

Oh, the Albert Hall, of course.

I'm so glad we don't have to go to Maureen's.

She's such a filthy cook.

Oh, there's the bell. I must fly.

All right, dear. Enjoy yourself.


[ICE CLINKING]

[MARK & MARGOT SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY]

MARGOT: Tony, don't make that martini too watery.

Oh, now, where's the picture of the maharaja?

Darling, when are you gonna finish pasting in those clippings?

Oh, I shall find time one of these days. Oh, here it is.

This is the maharaja. Isn't he dreamy?

He had four Rolls-Royces and enough jewels to sink a battleship...

...but all he wanted was to play at Wimbledon.

The poor darling. He was so shortsighted, he could barely see the end of the racket...

...let alone the ball.

You know, you should, um.... Thanks, Tony.

-You should write a book about all this. -Why don't you two collaborate?

A detective novel with a tennis...

-...background. -What about it, Mark?

Would you provide me with the perfect murder?

MARK: Nothing I'd like better.

How do you write a detective story?

Well, you forget detection and concentrate on crime. Crime's the thing.

Then you imagine you're going to steal something or murder somebody.

Oh, is that how you do it? Interesting.

MARK: Yes, I usually put myself in the criminal's shoes and ask myself, um:

"What do I do next?"

-Ha-ha-ha. -Do you really believe in the perfect murder?

MARK: Mm. Yes, absolutely. On paper, that is.

And I think I could plan one better than most people...

-...but I doubt if I could carry it out. -Oh? Why not?

Well, in stories, things turn out the way the author wants.

And in real life, they don't always.

-Hm. MARK: No, I'm afraid my murders...

...would be like my bridge.

I'd make a stupid mistake and never realize till I found everybody was looking at me.

-We better drink up, Mark. -Yes.

-What are you doing tomorrow? -Mm. Nothing I know of.

Why don't we all drive down to Windsor for lunch?

That's a good idea. Come along early, but not too early.

-We may be nursing a hangover. -How about 11?

Fine.

MARGOT: We'll have lunch at the King's Head.

MARK: Is that in Windsor?

MARGOT: No, it's just outside. -Oh.

Did I lend you my latchkey? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

I don't know. I may have them both in my handbag.

I'll just look.


No. I've only got one here.

Are you sure yours isn't in your overcoat?

No, I've looked. May I borrow yours?

-Well, that's a bit awkward. -Why?

I may want to go out.

-Tonight? MARGOT: I thought I might...

...go to a movie or something.

Won't you listen to the radio? Saturday Night Theatre?

Oh, no. It's a thriller. I don't like thrillers when I'm alone.

-I see. MARGOT: Well, in any case...

...I'll be back before you. I can let you in.

But we won't be back until after midnight. You may be asleep by then.

You can always put your key under the proverbial mat.

No, it's all right.

Here it is. It was in my glove all the time.

Well, that settles that.

TONY: What movie are you going to?

MARGOT: Oh, The Classic, I expect.

Will you get in? Saturday night?

-Oh, I can always try. -Oh, but, darling--

Now, don't make me stay home. You know how I hate doing nothing.

Doing nothing? Why, there are hundreds of things you can do.

Have you written to Peggy thanking her for the weekend?

And what about those clippings? It's an ideal opportunity.

Well, I like that. You two go gallivanting...

...while I stay home and do those boring clippings.

Very well. We won't go.

What do you mean?

TONY: You don't want us to go out...

...so we won't. We'll stay here with you instead.

What shall we do, play cards?

Oh, Tony, darling.

Well, I'd better call the Grendon and tell them we're not coming.

Oh, Tony, please, let's not be childish about this.

All right, I'll do your old press clippings.

You don't have to if you don't want to, you know.

MARGOT: But I do want to.

[PHONE HANGS UP]

I think I'll try and scare up a taxi.

MARGOT: Have we any paste? TONY: There's some in the desk...

...I believe.

-You'll need some scissors. -Oh, they're in my mending basket.


Lend me some change, dear. I need some money for the taxi.

Hey, you leave my bag alone. How much do you need anyway?

TONY: Well, let's see how much you've got.

MARGOT: Heh. Put that down. TONY: You owe me 10 bob anyway.

-For what? -I paid for that package you sent Peggy.

-That comes out of housekeeping. -Let me give it...

...to you. Keep your hands off.

[MARGOT CHUCKLES]

There now.

How much do you want?

Well, I've got 3, 5, 7 and sixpence.

Enough to get us there and back.

You'd better take something. How much are the dinner tickets?

Already paid for, tip included. If I run short, Mark will help out.

MARK: Taxi's here.

MARGOT: What are you waiting for?

Oh, nothing, dear. Nothing.

-Good night. -Good night.

-What time will you get home? -About 12, I should think.

I'll bring Mark back for a nightcap on his way home.

I'll be fast asleep and I don't want to be disturbed.

We shall be as quiet as mice.

-Night. -Night.

Uh....

Margot?

MARGOT: Yes?

TONY: It's quite possible old man Burgess might call.

Tell him we're at the Grendon. Might be important.

-What's the number? All right. -It's in the book.

Goodbye, dear.

All right, Mark.


I was staying at the Torbay Hotel. Know the Torbay Hotel in Dartmoor?

Well, it's not exactly in Dartmoor, but sort of in the district...

...if you know what I mean. The point of this story is...

...that it concerns Dartmoor Prison.

Anyway...

...I was staying at the Torbay Hotel. I went to the bar one day....

So I turned and said, "What are you doing here?"

He said, "I'm a commercial traveler. I sell...

...agricultural machinery."

I said, "Agricultural"--

Excuse me. Any of you fellas have the right time?

-Yes, I have seven minutes past 11. -I make it only just after 11.

Well, my watch has stopped. I must have overwound it.

So as I was saying--

Excuse me, old boy. I have to call my boss.

Agricultural machinery....


[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]


[PHONE RINGING]


Hello.

Hello?

[SWITCHHOOK CLICKING]

Hello?

Hello?

Hello?

[MARGOT GROANING AND GASPING]

[GLASS SHATTERS]

[GRUNTS]

[GASPS]

MARGOT: Get the police. Quickly. Police.

[COINS CLATTERING]

-Margot? -Who's there?

Darling, it's me.

[SOBBING] Oh, Tony.

Tony, thank God. Come back at once.

What's the matter?

I can't explain now. Come quickly, please.

Now, darling, pull yourself together. What is it?

A man attacked me. He tried to strangle me.

Did he get away?

No. He's dead. He's dead.

[MARGOT SOBBING]

Tony, are you still there?

-Margot. -Yes?

Now, listen very carefully.

Yes, I'm listening.

Don't touch anything. I'll be with you right away.

No. No, I won't.

Don't touch anything and don't speak to anybody until I get there.

-No, I won't touch anything. -You promise?

Yes, I promise. Only, please, be quick.


[COUGHING]

[GRUNTS AND SOBBING]

MAN: I'm sitting at the same bar...

...and I see the same man standing at the end...

...and he came across to me and said--

No, do sit down. I have to run along.

It's Margot. She's not feeling well.

-Serious? -Nothing serious.

-You stay and enjoy. -I'll come.

No, it's perfectly all right.

MAN: --with which he was buying me dry martinis. Anyway....


[SOBBING] Tony! Oh, Tony.

It's all right, darling. It's all right. What happened?

He put something around my throat. It felt like a stocking.

Are you sure? Let me see.

I got up to answer the phone...

...and he came from behind the curtain and tried to strangle me.

I almost...

...passed out.

I felt the scissors in my hands.

Then he let go suddenly...

...and he fell on the floor.


There's hardly any blood.

When he fell, he must have-- What are you doing?

MARGOT: I'm trying to find my....

Oh, here they are. My aspirin. I've got such an awful head.

What is it?

I'd better get a blanket.

Shut the window, please.

TONY: No, we mustn't touch anything till the police arrive.

He must've broken in. I wonder what he was after.

Those cups, I expect.

When will the police get here?

Have you called them already?

No. You told me not to speak to anyone.

Hadn't you better call them now?

Yes.

-Where's Mark? -I told him to go straight home.

WOMAN: Operator.

Hello, operator. Get me the Maida Vale Police, quickly.

Did you tell him?

No, I didn't know what had happened. I just said you weren't feeling well.

MAN: Maida Vale Police.

Oh, police, there's been a ghastly accident.

-Yes, sir? -A man has been killed.

-Your name, sir? -Wendice.

-Is that a double "S"? -No, D-I-C-E.

C-E. Your address, sir?

61-A Charrington Gardens, the ground floor apartment.

Was it an accident?

I don't know.

What do you mean, sir, you don't know?

You think he might have been killed by someone?

Well, I don't know.

Well, have you any idea who might have done it?

I'll explain that when you come. How long will it take?

-About two minutes. -Two minutes?

And don't touch anything, will you, sir?

No, we won't touch anything. Goodbye.

I'll get dressed.

Why?

They'll want to see me.

-They're not going to see you. -But they'll have to ask me questions.

They can wait till tomorrow. I'll tell them all they need to know.

-Tony. -Yes?

Why did you phone me?

What?

I'm sorry, darling, I'll tell you about that later.

I just thought of something. You said he used a stocking?

I think it was a stocking or a scarf. Isn't it there?

No, but I expect they'll find it. Now, you go on to bed.


Tea, gentlemen?

[MAN 1 SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY]

MAN 2: Sergeant. MAN 3: Mm-hm?

MAN 2: Look, it's the other stocking.

MAN: All right, break it up. Let's get moving on.


Hm. Almost empty. Remind me to get some more.

It always runs out just when we need it.

Oh, look, before I forget, the sergeant wanted to know...

...why you didn't phone the police immediately.

-How could I? You were on the phone. -I know, but--

You distinctly told me not to speak to anyone until you got here.

I know, darling, but I told him a slightly different story.

Why?

Well, I said you didn't phone the police because you assumed...

...that I would do it from the hotel.

Why did you say that?

Because it was the perfectly logical explanation, and he accepted it.

Now, if they get the idea that we delayed reporting it...

...they might get nosy and start asking all sorts of questions--

-So you want me to say the same thing? -I think so, dear, in case it comes up again.

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

Oh, that'll be Mark. Would you let him in?

Good morning, madam.

MARGOT: Oh. Good morning.

-Mrs. Wendice? -Yes.

-I'm a police officer. May I come in? -Of course.

Excuse me. I'll just tell my husband you're here.

Oh, thank you.


TONY: Good morning.

Good morning, sir. I'm Chief Inspector Hubbard...

...in charge of criminal investigation of this division.

We gave your sergeant all the necessary information.

Yes. I've seen his report, of course...

...but there are a few things I'd like to get firsthand.

I gather the sergeant only saw you for a few moments, Mrs. Wendice?

Yes, I--

My wife was suffering from considerable shock.

Yes, that was a very nasty experience you had.

Do you mind if I take a look around?

Go ahead. The bedroom and bathroom are through here.

He certainly didn't get in by the bathroom.

And the kitchen has bars on the window.

We assume he must have come in through these windows here.

I, uh-- I understand you weren't here when this happened.

No, I was at a dinner party at the Grendon Hotel.

And by a curious coincidence...

...I was actually phoning my wife when she was attacked.

So I gather. Can you tell me exactly what time it was, sir?

No, I'm afraid I can't. I do remember my watch had stopped.

Did you notice, Mrs. Wendice?

No, I didn't.

Won't you sit down, inspector?

Thank you.

Have you any idea who he was?

Hmm? Oh, yes. At least, we've discovered where he lived.

There still seems to be some confusion as to his real name.

MARGOT: Oh? -He appeared to have several.

-Had you ever seen him before? -Why, no, of course not.

Oh.

-Is this him? -Yes.

-You don't recognize him? -No, I never saw him.

But didn't you even catch a glimpse of his face?

No. You see, he attacked me from behind...

...and it was dark. I hardly saw him at all.

But before I showed you these photographs, you said you'd never seen him...

...before.

How could you know that if you never saw his face last night?

I don't quite understand.

Inspector, my wife simply means that as far as she knew...

...she never saw him before.

-Was that what you meant? -Yes.

Yeah. Now, how about you, sir? Had you ever seen him before?

No.

-At least.... -Yes?

It's very like someone I was at college with.

But the mustache makes quite a difference.

Oh? What was his name?

Oh, I don't know. It must be 20 years since I left.

-Was it, uh, Lesgate? -No.

-Wilson? -No.

Swann?

N-- Swann?

Wait a minute. Swann. Yes, that's it.

Here's an old photo taken at a reunion. We were at the same college together.

There he is there.

-Why, it's unbelievable. -Did you know him well?

No. He was senior to me.

-Have you met him since then? -No.

At least....

Come to think of it, I did see him quite recently, but not to speak to.

-Oh? When was that? -Six months ago at a railway station.

Victoria, I think.

I remember noticing how little he'd changed.

-Had he a mustache then, sir? -No.

Hm. Uh, Mrs. Wendice, would you show me exactly what happened last night?

-Tony, do I have to? -I'm afraid so, darling.

I was in bed when the phone rang, and I got up and I came in here.

-Did you switch this light on? -No.

Just show me exactly where you were standing.

I stood here and I picked up the phone.

HUBBARD: Just one moment.

Are you sure you had your back to the window like that?

Yes.

-But why? -Why not?

Heh. I mean, why go around the desk? I should have picked it up from this side.

But I always answer the phone from here.

But why?

In case I have to write anything down. I can hold the phone in my left hand.

I see. I'm sorry. Go on.

When I picked up the phone...

...he must have come from behind those curtains and attacked me.

-He got something around my neck. -What do you mean by "something"?

MARGOT: I think it was a stocking.

HUBBARD: I see. And what happened then?

MARGOT: Well, then he pushed me across the desk.

I distinctly remember feeling for the scissors.

HUBBARD: Where were those scissors usually kept?

In that mending basket. I'd forgotten to put them away.

Now, what makes you think he came from behind those curtains?

Where else could he have been?

-The curtains were drawn? -Yes.

Did you draw them yourself?

No, inspector, I drew them just before I went out.

-Did you lock the window at the same time? -Yes.

Are you quite sure of that, sir?

Oh, perfectly sure. I always lock up when I draw the curtains.

-Then how do you suppose he got in? -We assume that he broke in.

Well, there's no sign of a break-in.

Our report shows the lock's quite undamaged.

Mrs. Wendice...

...why didn't you call the police...

...immediately this happened?

I was trying to get through to the police...

...when I discovered my husband was on the line.

I naturally thought he would call the police from the hotel...

...before he came here.

Uh, didn't it occur to you to call a doctor?

MARGOT: No. -Why ever not?

-He was dead. -How did you know that?

I.... It was obvious.

-Did you feel his pulse? -No, of course I didn't.

Anyone would have realized he was dead. Just one look at those staring eyes--

Oh, so you did see his face, after all.

I saw his eyes! I can't remember his face!

Inspector, my wife obviously had never seen this man before.

If he didn't come in by those windows, how did he get in?

As a matter of fact, we're quite certain that he came in by this door.

MARGOT: But it was locked.

Margot, did you open that door at all after we'd gone?

No.

-How many keys are there to this door? -Only two.

Mine was in my handbag, and you had yours with you.

Yes, that's right.

-Has the caretaker got a key? -No.

HUBBARD: Do you employ a charwoman?

MARGOT: Yes, but she hasn't got one either. I'm always here when she comes.

What makes you think he came in this way?

His shoes.

His shoes?

The ground was soaking wet last night.

And if he'd come in by the garden, he'd have left mud all over the carpet.

As it is, he didn't leave any marks at all...

...because he wiped his shoes on the front doormat.

How can you tell?

It's a fairly new mat and some of its fibers came off on his shoes.

Oh, but surely--

And there was a small tar stain on the mat, and some of the fibers show that as well.

No, there's no question about it.

Wait a minute. I think I've got it.

You remember when your bag was stolen?

MARGOT: Yes.

TONY: Wasn't the key inside?

MARGOT: Yes, but it was still there when I got it back.

Now, just a moment. I'd like to hear about this.

What sort of bag?

A handbag, inspector. My wife lost it at Victoria Station.

But I got it back from the lost and found about two weeks later.

Was anything missing?

All the money was gone.

-Anything else? -No.

-I mean, no papers or letters? -No.

Are you quite sure about that?

Yes.

Your latchkey was in your handbag when you lost it?

Yes, but it was still there when it was returned.

Whoever stole the money could have copied the key.

Where was the bag found eventually?

At Victoria Station.

Wasn't that where you said you saw this man, sir?

When did you lose the bag?

Wasn't it that weekend we went to visit Peggy?

Yes, it was. I remember now. He was sitting in the restaurant.

HUBBARD: That where you left your bag?

Yes, and didn't I say something about "There's someone I was at college with"?

I don't remember.

That's how he got in. He had a duplicate made...

-...and returned the original to the bag. -Before you go any further...

...how did he get in through the street door?

TONY: Well, the street door is never locked.

I see.

He could have had your key copied...

...and he could have used it to open the door...

...but of course he didn't.

Why not?

Because if he had...

...the key would still have been on him when he died.

No key was found when we went through his pockets.

We seem to be back just where we started, don't we?

Well, not quite.

Well, then how did he get in?

We'd better get all this down on paper.

I'd like you both to make an official statement...

...before the inquest.

My office is only a few moments from here. Perhaps you could come now.

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

MARK: Tony. -Mark. Oh, this is Inspector Hubbard.

Inspector, this is Mark Halliday. He was with me last night.

How do you do, inspector?

As you were with Mr. Wendice last night, you may be able to help us here.

Now, did you notice what time it was he went to the phone?

Yes, matter of fact, it was just three minutes after 11.

How did you come to notice that?

Well, Mr. Wendice's watch had stopped and some of us compared times.

Thank you. So you see, it was when Mrs. Wendice came in here...

...to answer his call that she was attacked.

Did you phone Margot before or after you phoned your boss?

Tony, I know what I wanted to ask you.

Why did you...

...telephone me last night?

Now, just one moment, before I lose the thread of this.

Now, at three minutes past 11, you left your party to phone your boss.

Yes, I used the pay phone in the lobby.

How long were you on the telephone to your boss before you called your wife?

In fact, I never did speak to him. I couldn't remember his number...

...so I rang my wife to ask her to look it up in the address book.

You mean you hauled me out of bed just to get his number?

I had to, darling.

My boss is flying to Brussels this morning.

I wanted to remind him of something. It was rather important.

Wasn't there a telephone directory in the hotel?

Yes, but his country number wouldn't be in that directory.

Mm. And did you phone him?

Oh, no. Naturally when I heard what had happened here, I forgot all about it.

Mm. Yes.

Mr. Halliday, Mr. and Mrs. Wendice are coming to my office...

...to make their statements.

Would you give me your address, sir? I may want to get in touch with you.

-Why, certainly. -I'll get my coat.

I'm staying at Carfax Hotel.

Just write it down there, will you? Your telephone number as well.

All right.

Ever been over here before, sir?

-Uh, yes. Yes, about a year ago. -Mm.

-There you are, sir. -Thank you.

Uh, Mr. Wendice.

There's quite a crowd in front of the house.

I was going to suggest that we left by the garden.

-Isn't there a gate at the far end? -Yes.

I'm afraid the gate may be locked. Would you mind taking a look, sir?

Certainly.

How much does he know about you and Mrs. Wendice?

I beg your pardon?

You wrote a letter to Mrs. Wendice from New York.

It was found in the dead man's inside pocket.

I didn't mention it because I wasn't sure how much Mr. Wendice knew.

Have you any idea how it got there?

No.

-Where's Tony? -He's just gone into the garden.

Mrs. Wendice, when you lost your handbag...

...did you lose a letter as well?

No.

MARK: Margot, it was found in the dead man's pocket.

HUBBARD: You did lose it, didn't you?

Yes, I did.

I asked you that before, didn't I?

Yes, but you see, my husband didn't know about it.

This man was blackmailing you, wasn't he?

It's no good.

-Tony will have to know. -No.

It's the only thing we can do. Inspector...

...after Mrs. Wendice lost my letter, she received these two notes.

HUBBARD: Last October.

How many times have you seen this man?

I've never seen him.

-I'd like you to come along with us. -Yes, of course.

Mrs. Wendice, when you come to make your statement...

...there may be other police officers present.

I shall warn you first that anything you say...

...will be taken down and may be used in evidence.

Now, never mind what you've told me so far.

We'll forget all about that.

But from now on, tell us exactly what you know about this man...

...and exactly what happened last night.

If you try and conceal...

...anything at all...

...it may put you in a very serious position.

MARK: I wish you'd explain what you mean by all this.

I will. Now, you admit that you killed this man.

Well, you say you did it in self-defense.

Unfortunately, there were no witnesses...

...so we've only your word for that.

But I heard it all, inspector, over the telephone.

What exactly did you hear, Mr. Wendice?

Well, I heard a series of faint cries.

Well, did you hear anything to indicate that a struggle was going on?

What I did hear, inspector, is perfectly consistent with what my wife told me.

So all you really know of the matter is what your wife told you, isn't it?

Now, you suggest that this man came to burgle your flat...

...but there's no evidence of that.

There is evidence, however, that he was blackmailing you.

Blackmail?

MARK: Yes, I'm afraid that's true.

HUBBARD: And you suggest he came in by the window.

And we know that he came in by that door.

But he can't have come in that way. That door was locked.

And there are only two keys.

My husband had his with him and mine was in my handbag. Here.

You could have let him in.

TONY: Are you suggesting she let him in herself?

HUBBARD: That appears to be the only way he could've entered.

Don't you even believe I was attacked?

How do you think I got these bruises on my throat?

You could have caused those bruises yourself.

A silk stocking was found outside the window.

It had two knots tied in it.

Does that mean anything to you?

I suppose it must have been the stocking he used.

We found the twin stocking hidden underneath this blotting pad.

Can you explain why your attacker should do that?

No.

Those stockings were yours, weren't they?

MARGOT: No.

HUBBARD: We know they were.

One of the heels had been darned with some silk that didn't quite match.

We found a reel of that silk in your mending basket.

Tony, there was a pair of stockings here.

I've heard of the police deliberately planting clues to ensure a conviction.

His men were here for hours last night.

They could've taken those stockings and done anything with them.

Of course they did.

Probably wiped his shoes on the doormat as well.

MAN: Hello?

Oh, hello, Roger, thank heaven you're in. Tony Wendice here.

Uh, listen, we had a burglary last night and Margot was attacked.

Margot? Was she hurt?

No, she's all right, but the man was killed, and the police are here.

And don't laugh...

...they're suggesting that Margot killed him intentionally.

I wouldn't say that if I were you, sir.

Well, that's a good one. Ha-ha-ha.

TONY: Yes, it is funny, isn't it?

Now, Roger, could you come around at once, Maida Vale Police Station?

-I'll be there right away. TONY: Oh, thanks, old boy. Goodbye.

It's all right, darling. Roger's gonna meet us at the police station.

Mr. Wendice, I should advise you--

Our lawyer will give us any advice we need, thank you.

MARK: Margot.

-Here's your handbag. -Thank you.

-You are coming? -Oh, but of course, inspector.

Yes. Yes, well, I just-- I mean, I just wondered.

MAN 1: I charge you that on the 26th of September...

...you did willfully murder Charles Alexander Swann.

Do you wish to say anything in answer to this charge?

MAN 2: And did you, at any time in your life, meet this man, Swann?

MAN 3: You received a letter from Mr. Halliday.

This letter was found in the dead man's pocket.

Now you say you did not know him?

JUDGE: Do you find the prisoner, Margot Mary Wendice...

...guilty or not guilty?

FOREMAN: Guilty.

JUDGE: The sentence of this court...

...is that you be taken to the place from whence you came...

...from thence to a place of lawful execution.


[DOORBELL BUZZES]

-Oh, hello, Mark. -Tony.

I--

Have you, uh, gotten any news from the Home Secretary?

Then it's tomorrow?

Tony, I take it you'd do anything to save her life.

-We've done everything. -No, Tony, we haven't done everything.

I've been trying to figure out something for weeks in case it came to this.

-Now I really believe it's her only chance. -Let's have it.

Margot was convicted because nobody believed her story.

The prosecution made out she was telling one lie after another...

...and the jury believed him.

But what did his case really amount to? Just three things:

My letter, her stocking...

...and the fact that because no key was found on Swann...

-...she must've let him in herself. -Don't try and tell me--

Wait a minute, Tony. Now, hear me out. This is where you come in.

You go to the police and tell them...

...some story...

...anything that will convince them Margot wasn't lying after all.

The police aren't likely to believe anything I might tell them.

Tony, I've been writing this stuff for years.

I've figured out something for you to tell them.

Now, let's take those points one by one.

Margot says she never let Swann in through this door.

Okay.

He must have opened it somehow.

Suppose you tell the police that you left your key out here somewhere.

Then Swann could have let himself in.

-How'd he know it was there? -You told him.

But I haven't met Swann in 20 years.

Tony, Swann is dead. Now, we've gotta make the most of that.

You can tell any story about him now.

You can even say that you two met somewhere...

...and you planned this whole thing together.

Planned what?

Are you suggesting I arranged for Swann to come here...

...to blackmail her?

No.

To kill her.

-Kill Margot? -That's it.

Why?

Because she said so.

"He came from behind the curtain...

...and he tried to strangle me." Okay, that's what he did.

All you gotta do is support everything she said.

Don't you see? That's my whole idea.

What about your letter?

A man doesn't kill the person he's blackmailing. Doesn't make sense.

Yes, I know. That worried me for a while too, but I've got that licked.

You tell them...

...that you stole her handbag yourself.

Why should I do that?

Because you wanted to read my letter.

When you had read it, you got mad and decided to teach her a lesson.

So you wrote those blackmail notes.

Nobody can prove you didn't.

You can also say you never saw Swann at Victoria Station.

You just invented that to try to connect him with my letter.

Don't you see how it all hangs together?

But your letter was found in his pocket.

-Well, you put it there. -When?

Sometime before the police arrived.

And you could have also...

...planted the stockings...

...at the same time.

But, Mark, why should I want anyone to kill Margot?

I know, Tony.

It's tough for us to see because we both love her...

...but we need a reason now.

We need it badly.

Let's take one of the old stock motives. Had Margot made a will?

-Yes, I believe she had. -Who was the beneficiary?

Why, I am, I suppose.

There's your reason, Tony.

Thousands of husbands and wives leave money to each other...

...without murdering each other. The police wouldn't believe it.

They'd take it for what it is:

A man trying desperately to save his wife.

Well, I certainly think it's worth that try.

Let's face it. They can't hang you for a murder that never came off.

You'd get a few years in prison.

Thanks very much.

It's a small price to pay. You'd be saving her life.

That's fine coming from you, Mark.

Her life wouldn't be in danger at all if it hadn't been for you.

It's because of her association with you that she lost the sympathy of the jury.

Don't get me wrong, Mark.

If there was the slightest chance of this coming off, I'd do it...

...but it's got to be convincing.

For instance, how could I possibly have persuaded Swann to do a thing like this?

Well, you offered him money...

-...or something. -Money? I don't have any.

Yes, you'd have had Margot's.

It'd be months before I get my hands on that...

...and people don't commit murder on credit.

No, I'm....

I'm afraid you'll have to think of something better than that.

I know you're trying to help...

...but can you imagine anyone believing a story like that?

Yes, I can, if you make them believe it.

I wouldn't know what to say. You'd have to come with me.

Tony, that'd really be a mistake.

They know the kind of stuff I write. We wouldn't stand a chance there--

[FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING]

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

TONY: Oh, hello, inspector.

Is it about my wife?

-No, sir, I'm afraid not. -Then what is it?

Well, I'm making inquiries in connection with a robbery...

...that took place about three weeks ago, sir.

Well, can't it wait a few days?

Of course, sir. I'm very conscious of your position.

If I may, I'd like to say how deeply sorry I am--

Yes, inspector, yes, all right. Now, how can I help you?

HUBBARD: The cashier of a factory in Ledbury Street...

...was attacked in his office...

...and two men made off with several hundred pounds...

...mostly in pound notes.

TONY: What is all this to do with me?

Well, in cases like this, all police divisions are asked to keep a lookout...

...for anyone spending large sums of money.

I see.

And I was wondering if you'd sold anything recently for cash.

Why?

Well, my sergeant happened to be making inquiries at Wales' Garage the other day...

...and it appears that you settled an account there recently...

...for just over £60.

Yes, I happened to have quite a bit on me at the time...

...so I settled for cash.

I see.

Had you just drawn this money from your bank?

Have you been to my bank, inspector?

Yes. Yeah, as a matter of fact, I have, yeah. Yeah, but they wouldn't help me.

Oh, bank statements are always jealously guarded.

Yes, but I'm rather surprised you didn't come to me first.

It was only a routine matter after all. I didn't want to disturb you.

Where did you get it, sir?

Is that any of your business?

Well, if it was stolen money, yes, sir, it is my business.

-Do you mind if I smoke? -Go ahead.

Do you really think I've been receiving stolen money?

Well, until you tell me where you got it...

...I shan't know what to think, shall I? You see...

...if you got this money from someone you didn't know...

...I mean, that might be the very person we're looking for.

Hello.

-Is this yours, sir? -What is it?

Somebody's latchkey.

It was lying on the floor just here.

No. Mine's here.

No. No, it's not yours. It may be mine then.

Yes. Yes, it is mine. Heh. Yes, it must have dropped out of the pocket.

There's a small hole there.

That's the trouble with these latchkeys, they're all alike.

I'm sorry, you were saying?

-I don't think I was, was I? -Oh, yes, about that money.

I'd be grateful if you'd tell me where you got it.

After all, £100 is quite a lot to carry around.

-You said 60 a moment ago. -Did I? Oh, yes.

Yes, my sergeant decided to dig a little deeper before he put in his report.

He said that you also paid a bill at your tailor's...

...and another for wines and spirits.

TONY: I'm sorry he went to all that trouble.

Had he come to me, I could've explained at once.

I simply won rather a large sum at dog racing.

Over £100?

Yes, over £100. It has been done before, you know.

Yes, well, why didn't you tell me this straightaway then?

Well, I was rather ashamed of being caught going to dog racing...

...when my wife is under sentence of death.

Yes, I know how it is. It helps to take your mind off things.

Well, that answers everything, doesn't it?

I'm sorry to have to bother you at this time.

Not at all, inspector.

Not at all.

Uh, there's just one other thing, sir.

Have you a small, blue attaché case?

-Don't say you found it already. -Why, have you lost it?

TONY: Yes. I was going to report it this afternoon. I think...

-...I left it in a taxi. HUBBARD: I see.

Well, we-- We must try and get it back, mustn't we?

Where did you pick the taxi up, sir?

Uh, Hyde Park Corner about half an hour ago.

Anything valuable?

TONY: No, a few books and, uh-- HUBBARD: Any money?

Two or £3 in an envelope, I believe.

Not 2- or 300?

TONY: No, I'm afraid not.

HUBBARD: Just as well.

TONY: Inspector, how did you find out about the attaché case?

HUBBARD: The wine shop mentioned you had it when you paid your bill.

So my sergeant checked back on your garage and your tailor.

They both remembered you having it when you paid them.

TONY: Yes, I use it instead of a briefcase. HUBBARD: Mm. Well...

...these taxi men are pretty good at turning things in.

I hope you'll find it all right, sir.

MARK: Inspector, before you go...

...I think Mr. Wendice has something to tell you.

Has he?

Then I'd like to show you something in here, sir.

No wonder you couldn't bear to sleep in her bedroom.

There must be over £500 here.

Where did you get it?

Well, I can tell you why he got it.

This money was to have been paid to a man named Swann...

...after he murdered Mrs. Wendice. But as you know, there was an accident...

...so it wasn't necessary to pay Swann after all.

Obviously, he couldn't produce all this without questions being asked...

...so he lived on it.

He's been living on it since the 27th of March.

Well, Mr. Wendice?

Before you came, inspector, he was trying to persuade me...

...to go to the police with the most fantastic story you ever heard.

Apparently, I bribed Swann to murder my wife so that....

Correct me if I go wrong, Mark.

So that I could inherit all her money.

And that isn't all. You remember Mr. Halliday's letter?

Well, apparently, Swann didn't steal it, I did...

...and I wrote those two blackmail notes...

...and I kept Mr. Halliday's letter and planted it on the body.

-And the stocking-- -Oh, yes, the stocking.

Perhaps I'd better tell this, Mark. Might sound more like a confession.

I substituted.... Is that the right word?

Yes. I substituted my wife's other stocking for the one that.... Uh--

You do follow me, don't you?

What else, Mark?

He told Swann...

...he'd hide his key somewhere out here...

...probably up on this ledge.

Swann let himself in.

He hid behind the curtains. Then Wendice phoned from the hotel.

-That brought her-- -Just one moment.

If Swann had used Mr. Wendice's key...

...it would still have been on him when he died.

Besides, how did Mr. Wendice get in when he returned from the hotel?

Well, she could have let him in.

He could've taken his key from Swann's pocket before the police got here.

But he let himself in with his own key. That came out in the trial.

Don't you remember?

Come on, Mark. Your move.

MARK: Uh....

Swann could have taken the key down from here, unlocked the door...

...and then replaced the key on the ledge before he came in.

All right. This is very interesting...

...but it isn't getting me any nearer what I came to find out.

But this is a question of life and death. What else matters?

What matters to me is where Mr. Wendice got this money.

That's all I want to know.

Just a moment, please, sir.

Inspector, wait a minute. Look at this.

The last check he wrote was on the 26th of March...

...the day before this all happened. He's been living off it ever since.

-There's his bank-- -Mr. Halliday.

Sorry.

He hasn't drawn any large sums from his bank. Nothing over £53.

But look, inspector, practically every week.

Thirty-five pounds, 40...

...£45, 50.

He could've saved it up.

Of course I could've been planning all this for years.

Then where did you get it?

Do you really want to know? I warn you, you won't like it, Mark.

Come on.

All right, you asked for it.

When she called me back from the party that night...

...I found her kneeling beside Swann's body, going through his pockets.

She kept saying he had something of hers, but she couldn't find it.

She was almost hysterical. That's why I wouldn't let the police question her.

In the state she was in, she would have told every lie under the sun.

The next morning she showed me the money just as it is now, all in £1 notes.

And she said, "If anything happens to me, don't let them find this."

Well, after she was arrested, I took the money in that case...

...to Charing Cross Station and left it in the checkroom.

Whenever I needed money, I took it out and left it in some other checkroom.

I knew if you had found it, she wouldn't stand a chance.

You see, she was just about to give it to him when she killed him instead.

You don't expect anyone to believe this, do you?

I have really no idea. What about it, inspector?

Hm?

Well, I must say I suspected something like that.

MARK: You're not even gonna check on this?

She's being hanged tomorrow.

Look, all this has been out of my hands for months.

There's been a trial and an appeal--

Oh, of course it wouldn't mean much to you.

You'd have to admit you arrested the wrong person.

TONY: I think you'd better go.

You bet I'll go.

But you've made one mistake.

What'll happen when Margot hears about this?

-She'll deny it, of course. -And perhaps she'll change her will.

You'll have done it all for nothing, Tony.

If I'd told that story of his, would anyone have believed me?

No, not a chance.

Before nearly every execution, someone comes forward like this.

This must have been very distressing for you, coming as it did.

You suppose they'd let him see her? I don't want her upset just now.

Have a word with your lawyer. He might be able to prevent it.

I should get all that money into the bank before somebody pinches it.

Thank you. I think I will.

I hope Mr. Halliday's not waiting outside to see me.

Would you mind just taking a look, sir, to make sure he's gone?

TONY: All clear.

Good. Oh, by the way, sir, I was asked to tell you.

There are a few things belonging to Mrs. Wendice at the police station.

What sort of things?

Oh, just some books and a handbag, I believe.

They'd like you to come and collect them sometime.

-You mean after tomorrow? -Yes, or today, if you like.

Just ask the desk sergeant. He knows all about it.

-Yes. -Well, goodbye, Mr. Wendice.

I don't suppose we shall meet again.

Goodbye, inspector, and thank you very much.

[DOOR CLOSES]

[LIQUID POURING]


MAN 1: Maida Vale Police.

Chief inspector here. Give me Sergeant O'Brien, quick.

MAN 2: O'Brien here.

Hubbard. Look, O'Brien, I've got back in again.

Start the ball rolling.

Right away, sir.

[DOOR CLOSES]

[DOORBELL BUZZES]

[KNOCKING ON DOOR]

MARK: Inspector Hubbard, it's me, Mark Halliday.

Now, what are you up to? What's the idea?

-What are you doing here? -Never mind that.

-I wondered why-- -Get out of here, quick.

-Listen-- -Shut up.

You want to save Mrs. Wendice? Keep quiet. Let me handle this.

[CAR HORN HONKING]

How are you possibly gonna--?


[DOOR OPENS THEN CLOSES]

[FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING]

[DOORKNOB CLICKS]

[DOORKNOB RATTLING]

[DOORBELL BUZZING]

[FOOTSTEPS LEAVING]

[DOOR OPENS THEN CLOSES]


MARK: Look, what is all this?

They talk about flat-footed policemen.

May the saints protect us from the gifted amateur.

You'd better prepare yourself for a surprise, Mr. Halliday.

MARK: Margot.

Hello, Mark.

Where's Tony?

He-- He's gone out.

When will he be back?

We're not sure.

Was that you who rang just now?

Yes. Why didn't you let me in?

You've got a key. Why didn't you use it?

-I did, but it didn't fit the lock. -No. And you know why, don't you?

No, I don't. Has the lock been changed?

May I have your bag a moment?

Whose key is this?

I thought it was mine. I don't know.

What's going on here?

Your husband's explained this, you know.

You can tell us all about it now.

What is it? I don't understand.

No, I don't believe you do.

-Pearson? MAN: Yes, sir.

Take this handbag back to the police station...

...and get that car out of the way.

-Yes, sir. -Wait a minute, you clod.

You can't walk down the street like that. You'll be arrested.

Well, here. Put it in this.

Margot, how did you get here?

I don't know.

About an hour ago, the warden came to see me...

...and just said I was to be taken home.

And then two detectives brought me here.

They said I could go, but I couldn't get that door open.

Where's Tony? He was supposed to visit me this morning...

...and they said he couldn't come.

Has anything happened to him?

No. Nothing.

Inspector, I don't wanna interfere...

...but do you think you could tell us what you're up to?

Mrs. Wendice, what I'm about to tell you may come as a shock.

Yes?

We strongly suspect that your husband had planned to murder you.

Tony arranged for Swann to come here that night and kill you.

How long have you known this?

Did you suspect it yourself?

No, never. And yet....

What's the matter with me, Mark?

I don't seem able to feel anything.

Shouldn't I break down or something?

It's delayed action, that's all.

In a couple of days, you're gonna have the most wonderful breakdown.

When did you find out, sir?

Well, the first clue came quite by accident.

We discovered that your husband...

...had been spending a large number of pound notes all over the place.

It ran into over £300.

And it appeared to have started at about the time you were arrested.

Now, I had to find out where he got that money and how.

And then I remembered...

...that after you were arrested, we searched this flat.

And I saw a copy of his bank statement in that desk.

So yesterday afternoon, I went to the prison and asked to see your handbag.

While I was doing this, I managed to lift your latchkey. Heh.

Highly irregular, of course, but my blood was up.

And then this morning when your husband was out...

...I came back here to look at his statement.

I never saw it, because I never got through that door.

You see, the key that I'd taken from your handbag...

...didn't fit the lock.

[THUMPING]

Williams?

[WHISPERS] Wendice.


Heh. Oh, that was a near one.

MAN: Maida Vale Police. O'Brien speaking.

Hubbard. Look, O'Brien, he's found out about his raincoat.

He just came back and couldn't get in. I think he's on his way to the station now.

-Has Pearson arrived with the handbag? -Yes, sir.

Good. Now, listen. Give Wendice those books and the handbag...

...and make sure he sees the key.

Better make him check the contents and sign for them.

If he wants his own key and raincoat, tell him I've gone to Glasgow.

Right, sir.

-Any questions? -No.

-Right. Call me back when he leaves. -Right, sir.

Well, Mr. Halliday, have you got it?

I don't think so.

Where's Mrs. Wendice's key?

HUBBARD: It took me just half an hour to find it.

MARK: But if it was there, why didn't Wendice use it just now?

Didn't use it because he doesn't realize it's there.

He still thinks it's in his wife's handbag. You see, you were very nearly right.

He told Swann that he would leave your latchkey...

...under the stair carpet, Mrs. Wendice...

...and told him to return it to the same place when he left.

But as Swann was killed, we naturally assumed...

...that your key would still be in one of Swann's pockets. Heh.

That was his little mistake...

...because Swann had done exactly as you suggested, Mr. Halliday.

He unlocked the door...

...then returned the key before he came in.

MARK: And it's been out there ever since.

And the key Wendice took out of Swann's pocket...

...and returned to her handbag was--

Swann's own latchkey.

Mind you, even I didn't guess that at once. Extraordinary.

You know, it had always puzzled me that no key was found on Swann's body.

After all, most men carry a latchkey about with them.

And then I had a brainwave.

I took the key that was in your handbag...

...to his girlfriend's, Mrs. Van Dorn's, and unlocked the door of her flat...

...and then I borrowed her telephone and called Scotland Yard.

Why did you bring me here?

Because you were the only other person...

...who could possibly have left that key outside.

I had to find out if you knew it was there.

Suppose I had known?

[SIGHS]

You didn't.

-Mark. -Yes, darling?

I think I'm going to have that breakdown.

[PHONE RINGING]

MAN: Inspector Hubbard? -O'Brien?

-Yes. He's just left the station. -Right.

Try and hang on just a little longer.

Williams, he's just left the station. Give me a thump if he comes this way.

MARGOT: Can I have a handkerchief? MARK: What happens now?

Sooner or later, he'll come back here.

As I've pinched his latchkey, he'll try the one in the handbag.

When that doesn't fit, he'll realize his mistake...

...put two and two together, and look under the stair carpet.

But if he doesn't do that, all this is pure guesswork. We can't prove a thing.

That's perfectly true, but once he opens that door...

-...we shall know everything. -What will you do then?

I'm to phone the Home Secretary personally. He's standing by for a call now.

-And Mrs. Wendice? -Will have nothing else to fear.

[THUMPING]

MARK: All right, Margot?

Yes, I'm all right.

HUBBARD [WHISPERING]: Quiet now, you two.

[DOORKNOB RATTLING]

[FOOTSTEPS LEAVING]

[DOOR OPENS THEN CLOSES]

[WHISPERS] What's he doing?

He's wondering why that key doesn't fit.

He's going around to the back entrance. He's stopped again.

He's looking at the handbag now.

He's trying to remember when he put the key back in there.

Now he's given up.

I'm afraid we've had it this time. He's going way down the street.

Hold it.

He's stopped again. He's turning round.

He's staring at the key.

Of course. That's Swann's key, isn't it?

Now he's got it.

He's coming back fast.

He's remembered.


As you said, Mark, it, uh, might work out on paper but, uh--

Congratulations, Inspector.

Oh, by the way....

Oh, how about you, Margot?

Yes, I could do with something.

TONY: Mark? -So could I.

I suppose you're still on duty, inspector.

[LINE RINGING]

[English - US - SDH]