Fair B movie that won’t be found on a priority list but it’s a decent time passer if there’s not much to choose from. It’s based on the serial “The Dartmouth Murders” in College Humor magazine.
College student Ken Harris (Charles Starrett) is at a party at Professor Bostwick’s house celebrating a football victory. A dance will be held a bit later. He gets a call from his father Joe who just came into town. That changes his plans. Back at the dorm his roommate Byron Coates said he had a headache and stayed away from the party. His sister Jean is Ken’s girlfriend.
Ken tells his father he can stay in his room with Byron. Ken puts the car in the garage and when he comes back the door to his room is locked. He calls for his Dad and Byron but doesn’t get an answer so he sleeps downstairs in Charlie Fenton’s room. Charlie is fast asleep after one too many.
Ken is awakened by a banging sound. He looks out the window and there’s Byron hanging outside. Finding the door locked Joe went to the Inn to stay the night. Joe Harris is an attorney and amateur criminologist and investigates. A student named Bill says Byron had a visitor last night but he doesn’t know who it was. Another student, Sam Anderson, says he knows who the visitor was and will tell the police after choir practice.
An autopsy shows that Byron was murdered and the hanging was to try and cover that up. A steel needle was found embedded in his brain. In the auditorium the college president is speaking to the students. Professor Bostwick is manning the organ. Stanley stands up to tell who Byron’s visitor was when he keels over…dead. Another victim of the steel needle.
Jean and her companion Miss Chase discover that Byron was due to inherit a half million bucks on his twenty-first birthday. John Meseraux, a student from France drops by to offer his sympathy even though Byron never liked him. Byron resented that John could be his double.
A telegram arrives from Byron and Jean’s mother Lucille who lives in Boston. She used to be a concert singer in Paris. The telegram asks that a letter she wrote to Byron be destroyed unread. Ken goes to look for it but Byron’s desk has been gone through and the letter is missing. Joe tells Ken to call on Lucille. While he’s there she shows him a photo album of young Byron. He spots a picture of his father signed to Lucille in Paris many years ago.
Ken finally tells her that Byron was murdered and didn’t commit suicide. She refuses to tell him the contents of the letter. Back at the college Ken accidentally discovers the letter in one of Byron’s robes.
Anything further would be a spoiler. It’s not all that interesting on the way to the solution which is marked with coincidence and attempted surprises that are tossed in to give the impression of cleverness. A couple rewrites would have helped.