The Case of the Caretaker's Cat
Airdate: Saturday, March 07, 1959
This page contains plot information, including
the resolution to the murder.
Enter at your own risk.
PlotPeter Baxter is an old, sick man, confined to bed. When his house is burnt down, and Peter is found burned to death, his will is read. Peter's family, grandson Kenneth Baxter, grandson Stuart Baxter, granddaughter Winifred Oakly, are given the princely sum of one dollar each. The bulk of the estate is given to his caretaker, James Hing. This, as one might expect, angers the grandsons, who protest. James consults Perry and discusses the will with him. Kenneth and Stuart are contesting the will to prevent it from being probated. Winifred is not protesting, but her boyfriend Douglas Keene would like her to. Perry agrees to look into the situation further, and represent James. James is then arrested for the murder of Peter Baxter. James admits withdrawing a large sum of money from the Baxter account before the murder, buying the flammable spirits used to start the fire at the house, and actually starting the fire, but denies killing Mr. Baxter. Other than these answers, James will answer no other questions from Perry, who decides not to represent him. However, the mystery around everything intrigues Perry, who realizes that Peter Baxter did not die in the fire after all. After this, James answers all Perry's questions. It turns out that Peter was trying to test his family to see just how greedy they were. James did not know any details about the body found in the house, or how the switch was to be made. After hearing the story, Perry changes his mind and decides to represent James. Perry begins investigating, and finds that Peter's attorney, Gordon Roland, is supposed to have a sealed envelope detailing this plan, and James' involvement, and that John Hilliard is the executor of the Baxter estate, and visited Peter on the night of his supposed death. Perry then has Paul plant a rumor that there is an investigation going on to find a later will dated after the will entered for probate. This causes everyone involved, including Burger, to try to talk to Perry to find out what is going on. Stuart Baxter comes to Perry to try to strike a deal to split the will equally among all of the heirs. When he is turned down, he begins to offer evidence against his cousin Kenneth trying to implicate him. Right after Stuart leaves the office, Kenneth comes to try to make the same deal. When he, like is cousin, is turned down, he begins to provide evidence to implicate his cousin. The funny part is that both cousins tell the same story, that the other was involved with Peter's private nurse, Edith Devoe. When the trial begins, Burger presents evidence that the body burnt in the fire was that of Peter Baxter, and evidence that James Hing was the person who set the fire that killed him. Several witnesses provide Burger with the motive, 3.5 million dollars worth, for James Hing to kill Baxter. Perry begins investigating and finds that Baxter had canceled the fire insurance on his house 2 days before the fire was set. This provides evidence that Baxter may have been the person who wanted to set the fire, since committing arson to collect insurance is a felony. Upon questioning Hilliard, Perry discovers that he is the person holding the envelope from Baxter. During cross examination of all of the witnesses, Perry establishes that Edith Devoe was seen in the hospital, near Dr. Keene's office, where she attempted to frame him for the murder. He then questions her and accuses her of killing Baxter, which causes her to break down and attempt to expose Stuart as the killer. Perry discovers that she is attempting to protect Kenneth, who confesses after she breaks down on the stand.