THE GREAT HOTEL MURDER. 1935). Edmund Lowe, Victor McLaglen, Rosemary Ames, Mary Carlisle, Henry O’Neill, C. Henry Gordon, John Wray, Madge Bellamy. Based on the novel by Vincent Starrett. Director: Eugene Forde.

   Edmond Lowe, the star of two mystery movies recently reviewed here by David Vineyard, plays detective once again in The Grand Hotel Murder. An amateur detective, I should add. In real life he’s a writer of mystery novels, but also one who’s able to make Sherlock Holmes-type deductions just by careful observation of a young girl sitting impatiently in a hotel lobby.

   His counterpart in this film is a somewhat slower in the wits department hotel detective, played in good humorous fashion by Victor McLaglen. (This is not the only time that he and Lowe teamed up together, beginning with their Flagg and Quirt series, the first of which was What Price Glory?, a silent film released in 1926, with three or maybe four sequels.)

   The dead man whose murder is reflected in the title of the film was a gentlemen who finagled the young girl’s uncle into switching rooms with him over night. The question immediately of course is, who was the actual target?

   Lowe and McLaughlin do their best to one-up the other throughout the movie, and it comes as no surprise (without revealing anything) that it is Lowe’s character who almost always come out on top, to good comedic effect, as well as being a fairly decent detective story.

   The opening scenes follow Vincent Starrett’s novel fairly closely, but from that point on, the two story lines diverge significantly. I remember reading somewhere, a reference now lost, that after seeing the movie himself, Starrett confessed that the killer’s identity surprised him as much as anyone else.

   In conclusion, I will say that it surprised me too, even though I didn’t write the book.