Minor mystery with William Bendix as a small town sheriff and Dennis O’Keefe as an insurance investigator.
Anita Weatherby (Barbara Britton) returns to her small town for Christmas. Helping her with all her packages is insurance investigator Sam Donovan (Dennis O’Keefe). A bus driver tells Anita the good news that the town’s most hated resident committed suicide. That’s what Sam is there to investigate.
Sam calls on Sheriff Larry Best (William Bendix). He’s not too cooperative but finally gives the bullet that killed the man to Sam. It came from a German Luger. Larry just happens to have one. It’s not the murder weapon.
With not much to do Sam starts dating Anita. It becomes obvious to Sam that the man was murdered. Sam visits the man’s niece who is the beneficiary. It’s a double indemnity policy. That night she and her boyfriend Frank eloped. Her uncle hated him. Despite the big payoff if it was murder she insists her uncle was a suicide. The body was discovered by the local jeweler. The gun is missing.
Anita told Sam her father owns a Luger. He hedges around about it to Sam. He finally says he gave it away to his gun collecting friend Dr.Gerrow. He’s since moved out of town and disconnected his phone. Before Sam leaves to check out the story he finds out that Gerrow is returning that night to light the town’s Christmas tree. He doesn’t make it. He just died of a heart attack.
Anita is writing in her diary and finds out her little sister has been snooping. She finds another hiding place and also finds her father’s Luger. The next day she sneaks it into her purse. As she’s leaving the house Sam just showed up early for their date.
At the sheriff’s office Sam tells Larry he’s going to Gerrow’s house to look for the gun. He doesn’t know it but Anita is there ahead of him and puts it with the collection. When Sam comes in he notices a few things that make him think. He never sees Anita. He takes the gun and sets a trap for the killer.
The movie is just okay and not really worth hunting for. It’s missing an edge that would have made it a lot better.