British stage star Jessie Matthews, who lit up the silver screen in England during the '30s, returned to the screen for her first starring vehicle in five years in Candles at Nine
. Adapted from Anthony Gilbert's novel Mouse Who Couldn't Play Ball
, it's a haunted house/mystery film along lines that intersect with Gaslight
, and a dozen lesser influences from the same genre. Matthews plays Dorothea Capper, a plucky, unpretentious chorus girl who suddenly inherits 100,000 pounds (easily the equivalent of several million dollars in the British economy of the early '40s) from an eccentric great-uncle whom she never even knew. The problem is the disappointed would-be heirs, who would like her out of the way -- one of whom tries to take care of that matter before she even goes to claim her inheritance. The estate itself, called Brakes, is a pretty forbidding place, especially as maintained under the housekeeper Miss Carberry (Beatrix Lehmann
), who likes shadows (as opposed to Dorothea, who loves the sunlight). So not only must she contend with the rivals, but with Miss Carberry as her diametrical opposite in just about every way possible, hating the fact that Dorothea is now the mistress of Brakes. And neither the heroine nor the audience can be certain that detective Bill Gordon (John Stuart
), who is trying to protect her, is quite up to the job.