|I Love a Mystery|
|Directed by||Henry Levin|
|Produced by||Wallace MacDonald|
|Screenplay by||Charles O'Neal|
|Based on||I Love a Mystery|
1939-52 radio series
by Carlton E. Morse
|Edited by||Aaron Stell|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
I Love a Mystery is a 1945 American mystery film directed by Henry Levin and starring Jim Bannon, Nina Foch, George Macready, and Barton Yarborough. Based on Carlton E. Morse's popular radio serial of the same name, I Love a Mystery was the first of three Columbia "B" pictures inspired by the radio series and the only one actually based on a script written by Morse for the radio series. The Devil's Mask and The Unknown followed in 1946.
Two detectives, Jim Packard (Jim Bannon) and Doc Long (Barton Yarborough), make the acquaintance of Jefferson Monk (George Macready) in a nightclub they frequent. When a flaming dessert is nearly spilled onto the trio, Monk informs them that it was meant for him. He explains that, according to a prophecy, he is to die in three days. Upon learning their profession, he hires them to protect him, particularly from a man with a peg leg and a valise, the latter (he suspects) to transport his severed head to the ancient secret society of the Barokan. The leader of the society, Mr. Gee (Lester Matthews), has offered to buy Monk's head (after he is dead) because he looks exactly like the ancient mummified founder of his order. When the two trail Monk and his woman companion, Jean Anderson (Carole Mathews), out into the night, the one-legged man does approach, but eludes their efforts to catch him.
As Packard delves into the mystery, he comes to suspect that someone is trying to drive Monk into committing suicide after he learns that Monk's two million dollar inheritance will go to charity if he divorces his wheelchair-bound wife Ellen (Nina Foch). Along with Ellen, the suspects include her physician, Dr. Han (an uncredited Gregory Gaye); her nurse (Isabel Withers, uncredited); her lover, Justin Reeves; Jean; and the minions of the society.
Then the one-legged man has his throat cut. He is identified as Jean's father. Jean and Reeves soon suffer the same fate.
It turns out that all of Monk's acquaintances, led by his wife, are plotting his death. However, he found out by bribing Dr. Han and started killing them off one by one. Fearing that Packard and Long will eventually figure out the identity of the murderer, Monk tries to dispatch them as well, but they manage to foil his scheme. Unmasked, Monk flees in his car, only to have a crash result in his decapitation.