A rare surviving one-reel comedy-drama from the New York-based Thanhouser Company, The Amateur Detective was, according to Thanhouser publicity, "a laughable parody of Sherlock Holmes." Veteran character actors Carey L. Hastings and Ernest C. Warde play Jane and Pat, a cook and her policeman boyfriend. Pat discovers some mysterious writings on the back fence to the Wise mansion and mistakes the signs for ominous signals from the secret society of the Black Hand (read: Mafia). In reality, the hieroglyphics are love letters from Betty Wise (Muriel Ostriche) to Jack (Harris Gordon), the boyfriend deemed too worldly by Mr. Wise (J.S. Murray). Discovering Jane and Pat's misinterpretation of the signs, Betty and Jack play a wild charade that ends with Papa Wise agreeing to the match. The Amateur Detective has been preserved by the Library of Congress.
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