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The Case of the Black Cat

The Case of the Black Cat(1936)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Wealthy California invalid Peter Laxter, afraid that Douglas Keene, the fiancé of his granddaughter, Wilma Laxter, is only interested in her money, calls lawyer Perry Mason to his bedside late one night and requests that Wilma be cut from his will. Instead, all of his money is to go to his two grandsons, Frank Oafley and Sam Laxter. Peter also stipulates that his heirs must continue to employ Ashton, the crippled caretaker, and further, must allow his cat to stay with him. Shortly after his will is changed, Peter is found burned to death and a million dollars is discovered to be missing from his bank account. Perry learns that Peter died before the fire and suspects murder. After Ashton is found dead and his cat is found missing, Perry makes a visit to Peter's nurse, Louise DeVoe, and discovers her lying dead next to a broken crutch. Perry learns that Laxter, Oafley and Douglas Keene, Wilma's fiancé, all visited Louise the evening she died. Several hours earlier, Keene brought Ashton's cat to Wilma, after not having found the caretaker at home. Keene is arrested for Louise's murder when blood is found on one of his shirts, and he is also accused of Peter's murder. At Keene's trial, Perry calls a surprise witness--Peter Laxter. Peter explains that because he knew his relatives were trying to kill him, he substituted his body with the body of a vagrant and went into hiding with Ashton's help. He saw Ashton visit Louise just after her marriage to Oafley. Ashton was killed when Oafley strangled him while attempting to retrieve the stolen diamonds hidden in Ashton's crutch. When Ashton failed to come out of the apartment, Peter confronted Louise, killing her in self-defense. Laxter found the body, then framed Keene for the murder. Now that everything is cleared up, Wilma and Keene are free to marry.