A rebellious upper-class Bostonian and an ex-cop gone private make for a volatile investigative team, especially in 1926.
Mercedes Louise Allcutt has fled to her sister’s home in Los Angeles to escape her domineering mother and take a job she hopes will provide her with a fund of real-life experiences for her planned future career as a writer. Horrified when her mother turns up on the doorstep, Mercy deals with the problem by racing off to her job as secretary for private investigator Ernie Templeton. When Ernie refuses to help prospective client Francis Easthope, whose mother is being exploited by spiritualists, Mercy, who’s had some luck in the past (Lost Among the Angels, 2006, etc.), offers her services. Even though both Ernie and the police sternly warn her against meddling, she takes charge when a famous gossip columnist is murdered at a seance at the Easthope cottage. Equally eager to prove herself and avoid her mother, Mercy keeps sleuthing. But it’s in the company of her mother that she attends a second seance at which the murdered woman’s son and a movie star both pass out, one of them failing to survive the night. Although her naiveté nearly makes her a third murder victim, Mercy closes the case just as the country is mourning the death of Rudolph Valentino.
The solution is telegraphed early on, but the plucky heroine and her tough-guy boss work well together in an amusing period piece reminiscent of old Hollywood.