The Second Floor Mystery

The Second Floor Mystery is a 1930 American pre-Code film directed by Roy Del Ruth. It was based on the 1916 novel The Agony Column by Earl Derr Biggers. The film stars Grant Withers, Loretta Young, H. B. Warner and John Loder.

The Second Floor Mystery
theatrical release poster
Directed byRoy Del Ruth
Written byJoseph Jackson
Based onThe Agony Column (1916 novel) by Earl Derr Biggers
StarringGrant Withers
Loretta Young
H. B. Warner
John Loder.
Music bySamuel Kaylin
R.H. Bassett
CinematographyBarney McGill
Edited byWilliam Holmes
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • April 26, 1930 (1930-04-26) (US)
Running time
58 minutes
CountryUnited States


Geoffrey West and Marion Ferguson (Grant Withers and Loretta Young), two American tourists in London, meet each other at a London hotel while eating breakfast. Both are reading the personal columns of The Times. The next day Withers inserts an ad, under the alias of Lord Strawberries, which requests her friendship. Ferguson, using the alias of Lady Grapefruit, places an ad in reply which suggests that he write a series of five letters proving himself worth knowing. West makes up a fabulous story about a murder mystery based on the things he has heard his upstairs neighbors arguing about. Ferguson's aunt, who disapproves of West, suspects West is the murderer and contacts Scotland Yard. West's neighbor (the one he mentioned in his letters) is found dead and the police immediately suspect West and Ferguson as being involved in the murder. The real murderer, when he hears they are prime suspects, then attempts to frame them.


Preservation status

The film survives complete. A mute print was transferred onto 16mm film by Associated Artists Productions in the 1950s.[1] The Vitaphone soundtrack was lost until 2004 and restored to the film by the UCLA Film and Television Archive. A 16mm copy is housed at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.[2] Also listed as being incomplete at the Library of Congress.[3]


  1. 1957 MOVIES FROM AAP Warner Bros Features & Cartoons SALES BOOK DIRECTED AT TV
  3. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection And The United Artists Collection At The Library of Congress, p.161 by The American Film Institute, c.1978

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