Murder On The Blackboard (1935)

Edna May Oliver as Hildegarde Withers

Second in the seven film series about an older school teacher who is an amateur detective. They’re based on the novels by Stuart Palmer. Oliver did the first three movies and then a number of actresses took over the part.

Once again Hildegarde teams up with Inspector Oscar Piper (James Gleason) to solve a murder. Music teacher Louise Halloran is depressed. Her roommate Jane Davis took a gun from her drawer to keep her from harming herself. Principal MacFarland tries to get Jane on a date. He’s interrupted when his wife phones.

He leaves and into the office comes teacher Addison Stevens (Bruce Cabot). He’s Jane’s boyfriend. A year ago he had a summer romance with Louise and then dumped her. He says he has to spend time at the library and will meet her later.

Otto the janitor comes into Louise’s schoolroom and says a check she gave him bounced and he wants his money. He’s drunk. She gets him out of there.

Later in the day Hildegarde discovers Louise’s murdered body. Piper shows up with Detective Smiley North (Regis Toomey) and Detective Donahue (Edgar Kennedy). The body’s missing. Donahue hears someone digging in the school’s cellar and investigates. He’s hit over the head and knocked out cold. Louise’s body is discovered in the furnace.

Hildegarde goes to Jane’s apartment and finds out she and Louise hold a winning sweepstakes ticket. Piper arrests the janitor for disorderly conduct so he can hold him. He thinks he’s the murderer. Hildegarde discovers a musical clue on Louise’s blackboard. An autopsy finds that Louise wasn’t long for this world as she was dying of a bone disease.

During a search of the cellar someone throws a hatchet at Hildegarde. Then she and Piper make a discovery. Hildegarde adds up the clues and has Piper and Donahue agree to set a trap in Donahue’s hospital room.

This is an entertaining movie and will appeal to fans of Agatha’s Christie’s Miss Marple series.

Bruce Cabot was John Driscoll in 1933’s “King Kong.”

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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