S.S. Van Dine’s original story, from which the scenario was adapted, was a bestseller among detective novels.
The Canary is Margaret O’Dell (Louise Brooks), musical comedy star. She is a merciless little blackmailer off stage, having three prominent and wealthy men in her power for coin and young Jimmy Spotswood (James Hall) for social climbing.
On the night she was murdered, she called up the three rich suckers, informing them she would shortly marry Jimmy and advising them to deliver some hefty wedding gifts that evening in person.
Intricacies of the motive, crime and detection are intelligently directed by Malcolm St Clair. Next to Powell in the trouping section comes Eugene Pallette as a thick-headed detective sergeant.