A psycho-analyst comes to Sam Spade’s office with a load of troubles about a blackmailer. Not particularly interested in the doctor’s trouble, it takes a nice price to sway him. Look out, once Sam takes the job, it doesn’t take long for the bodies to pile up.
At the scene of the murder, the cast of suspects begin to make their way before Sam. The weeping widow, a partner who only wants the patient records and take over the business. Is this a suicide, as the police claim?
The doctor was involved with an actress on the stage. What about her, or her manager? Meet the shady blackmailer, Nicholaitus. Is there a motive for him to kill his mark?
Get ready for some gun blasting moments as Sam Spade wisecracks his way through the loose ends. Have you got the mystery figured out? Who’s motive for murder was the real one? Who was the one person that could be at the right place at the right time?
PS: I love Howard Duff as he portrays the hard boiled, wise cracking detective. Though I love the work of Lurene Tuttle as Effie Perine, or any role she’s in, I really hate the character in the show. OK, I hate the way the writers wrote the character, and changed her from a smart gal who knew what she wanted, and knew how to pave the way to get it.
In the books, Effie could be vulnerable, but she was strong and multi-faceted. In the radio show, she does little more than read a few lines at the beginning and end, and is such a dumb and clueless person.
Of course, the 30 minute format of each mystery makes it hard to cram her part into the mix. It’s also one big reason I’m less keen on mysteries. It can take much longer than 30 or even a 60 minute show to develop characters, and clues. More red herrings can enter the story, and make things less cut and dried. Or more character development can make it more clear why a person acts the way they do. In the short format, you get 2 dimensional people, with stereotypical personalities.
Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy a mystery. Especially when they’re well written and acted. Despite my criticism of Sam Spade, and Dashel Hammet was only involved in name only, the shows are action packed, with clear cut morals, and justice intact. Good guys win, bad guys lose.