A female blackmailer is found murdered at her apartment and the police have several suspects to investigate. All have something to hide. Hugh (Edward Underdown), an aspiring young writer, was the dead girl s lover, but has now fallen in love with Alycia (Valerie Hobson). Alycia is a married woman however and her husband (James Robertson Justice) is a famous playwright and belligerent social snob. He decides to have his wife s lover narrate his new radio serial, The Voice of Merrill, but as the episodes are broadcast Inspector Thornton (Garry Marsh) realises that the storyline is helping him to discover the murderer s identity...
Three people are suspected by Scotland Yard of killing convicted blackmailer Jean Bridges (uncredited). The people in question are struggling author Hugh Allen (Edward Underdown) whom was going out with the murdered woman but it broke off due to unhappy circumstances. Allen's publisher Ronald Parker (Henry Kendall) is also a possible candidate because Jean Bridges blackmailed him out of three-thousand pounds whilst she was working as his secretary and finally there's the arrogant play write Jonathan Roach (James Robertson Justice) whom also knew the dead girl, but is very vague about his acquaintance with her. Inspector Thornton (Garry Marsh) discovers that none of these men have satisfactory alibis for the time of the murder so he decides to shadow these people and wait for the guilty party to give himself away. Meanwhile, Hugh Allen has fallen in love with Roach's wife Alycia (Valerie Hobson) and in order to boost her new lover's flagging career, she persuades her husband to let Allen be the narrator of his new radio serial "The Voice Of Merill". Roach agrees as he doesn't want his name associated with the stories and Alycia then suggests that she and Allen commit a fraud and claim the works as their own. She is confident that they can get away with it as her husband has a chronic heart condition and can't live for much longer. He dies but not before he has discovered what Alycia and Hugh are up to. By bribing Ronald Parker whom is in financial trouble, Roach concocts a nasty posthumous revenge that involves them both in a murder plot... I was attracted to watch The Voice Of Merrill because it was an early work by director John Gilling, who would subsequently go on to direct two of the very best Hammer horrors, The Plague Of The Zombies and The Reptile. Before that he was a very prolific director of quota quickies such as this one, which was very much the case for another of Hammer's best directors, Terence Fisher. A number of these early efforts by these guys seem very interesting but rather frustratingly have proved to be practically untraceable. Of those I have been able to see (thanks to the wonders of satellite television) have varied in quality. In this case, The Voice Of Merill, is one of Gilling's better early efforts. It was produced for a mere £25.000 as a quota quickie, but obvious care was taken with the photography and the set work and on its merits the picture was elevated to co-feature status on its release in 1952. Gilling directs from his own script here and he turns in a very fine little picture with great suspense and a fantastic twist at the end. There's an edge of seat scene near the end where Alycia thinks she's killed her husband by spiking his Port with poison. She left the room and returned to find him lying dead. When Inspector Thornton informs her that an autopsy will be required she's in hysterics. However, when Thornton returns after the postmortem it transpires that it was his heart that gave out. Alycia can't understand why the poison didn't show in the autopsy and her butler then informs her that he was clearing up a stain on the carpet, which indicates that the wine was spilled before Roach died. She is overjoyed and thinks they've got away with it, but there was more to Roach's scheme that met the eye. In addition, Gilling had a marvelous cast here and Valerie Hobson as the unhappy wife Alycia and James Robertson Justice as the obnoxious and self-centered play write Jonathan Roach are standout. Very few of the quota quickies from this period are anything special in terms of acting, direction, writing or suspense so this is a refreshing change from what one would normally expect of this medium. --www.imdb.com