House by the River is a fair mystery which lacks sufficient plot twists and suspense.
As screenplayed from an A.P. Herbert novel, the film departs from the conventional whodunit in that the audience knows the identity of the murderer from the opening reel. Subsequent footage is chiefly a character study of the three principals.
Bulk of the action takes place in a gloomy mansion and a courtroom. Yarn revolves around a hack writer who strangles the maid when she rebuffs his advances. His brother, an accountant, realizes murder has been committed, but somehow lets his kin persuade him to assist in disposing of the body.
Role of the writer represents a meaty part for Louis Hayward who essays it with such gusto that he frequently overplays.