Tom Conway (Tom Conway) is a former FBI agent that now works as a private investigator. His current client is Mr. Mercedes (Eric Pohlman). When the safe at the auspicious fashion house “Pascal” is robbed and Mercedes’ jewels are stolen Conway is sent to investigate. At the scene is Detective Inspector MacLeod (Richard Wattis). He’s not keen on having a private detective shadowing his routine but he softens a little when he finds out that Conway’s credentials include the FBI.
On hand to answer questions are the owner of the fashion house, Helen Pascal (Mila Parely) and her assistant Captain Colin Simpson (Andrew Osborn). All the models for the house who had worn the missing jewelry are also questioned.
One of the patrons of Pascal’s is Lady Marchant (Margaret Halstan). Conway overhears her talking to a model named Chelsea (Delphi Lawrence) about a string of red rubies she had modeled the day before. Lady Marchant maintains that the rubies had been stolen from her two years ago. She recognized them because the large stone had a milky cast to it.
When Conway tells Mercedes of Lady Machant’s claim he is told that the investigation is to be stopped. He claims that the publicity would be bad. He is then reassigned to another task. Despite the change Conway goes back to Pascal to talk to another model, Gina (Naomi Chance). While he is watching the fashion show Chelsea approaches him and tells him she needs to see him later. Not long after that Chelsea is killed.
Wanting to talk to Lady Marchant Conway gets to her place in time to find her dead body. Now with two people killed Conway is in the middle of a lot more than just some stolen jewelry.
“Blood Orange” AKA “Three Stops to Murder” in the U.S. was released in 1953 and was directed by Terence Fisher. It is an early Hammer Productions crime drama and is a little on the obscure side. The American title doesn’t make any sense so I’m not surprised that it didn’t do well in the U.S. Hammer made several mystery style films usually using various American actors before they switched over to horror.
Even though Tom was born in St. Petersburg, Russia he and his brother George Sanders were raised in England. A well to do family they moved to England at the start of Russian Revolution leaving all their wealth behind. Both brothers ended up starting their acting careers in Hollywood. To prevent confusion between the brothers they flipped a coin to see who would change their last name. Tom lost and so changed his last name to Conway.
The movie is a decent mystery for the most part. There are more than the usual red herrings which does affect the flow of the story a little. There are also some twists and turns that, by themselves were good but, added to the red herrings can make the film a little too involved. Still it’s a decent mystery with good acting. Tom Conway as the jaded detective is the perfect private investigator.
Michael Ripper has a small part as a low level hood named Eddie. I didn’t recognize him until I saw his name in the credits. Ripper was in about thirty-three Hammer films.
The movie is also an interesting addition to the Hammer family largely due to Terence Fisher’s direction.