Ellery gets involved in a case about smuggled diamonds and Nazi agents. His secretary Nikki gets into the act and into trouble. Ellery’s Dad the Inspector is frustrated with all of them. This is an okay movie. Spots of comedy are tossed in but add nothing.
Ellery (William Gargan) and Nikki (Margaret Lindsay) take a train to New York after their ship docks in New London,Connecticut. Also on board is an Egyptian mummy from the Royal Cairo Museum. It’s being sent to New York for safe keeping during the war.
They’re surprised to see Sgt.Velie (James Burke). He has a prisoner named Reece handcuffed to him that was wanted in a murder case. When he gets back to his compartment he’s hit over the head. While he’s out of it a group headed by Nazi agent Heinrich (Sig Ruman) questions Reece about a shipment of diamonds the man he killed was supposed to know how they were coming into the country. He finally remembers they’re in the mummy case. In gratitude Heinrich tosses him off the speeding train.
Back in New York Inspector Queen (Charles Grapewin) fires Velie for losing Reece. Ellery decided to investigate and get Velie reinstated. He goes to the gallery owned by the murdered man Van Dorn. He doesn’t get much out of the widow (Gale Sondergaard).
Nikki plays detective and follows Paul Gillette (Gilbert Roland) to the museum where the mummy is being kept. She met him earlier buying a train ticket and became suspicious of him. She gets into a car with him. To her surprise he calls her Miss Gestapo and pulls a gun. Now she’s tied and gagged on a floor and manages to knock the phone over and call Ellery. Thanks to the gag she’s almost impossible to understand but Ellery manages to figure it out and come to her rescue.
Now the mummy is stolen. Ellery and Nikki find it in a nearby cemetery. When they open the case they find Gillette’s body. Nikki gets Velie and the Inspector. When they open the mummy case they find a knocked out Ellery. The Inspector isn’t happy that it’s not one of Ellery’s finer moments.
The next day Mrs.Van Dorn tells Ellery the diamonds were to help the Dutch resistance. She doesn’t know who stole them but gives Ellery a lead to the Club Lido. Now he’s starting to figure it out.
This isn’t a bad entry in the series. The problem is the way Grapewin plays the Inspector as a nasty old man that wears out his welcome in a hurry. Ralph Bellamy was the best Ellery but Gargan isn’t bad. Margaret Lindsay has been better as Nikki but maybe some of that can be blamed on the script. While not a must see it still isn’t a bad representation of a war years movie.
William Gargan starred as “Martin Kane” in the 1949-51 TV series and then again in 1957 in “The New Adventures Of Martin Kane.”