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Exploits of Three-Fingered Kate, The (1912)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Kate Purloins the Wedding Presents (1912)

Douglas Carrington oversees the delivery of £1,000 worth of presents for his daughter's wedding the following day. He writes a letter to the Baker Street private detective 'Sheerluck' Finch, asking him to stand guard over the presents during the celebrations, and hands it to the maid to post. The maid, in turn, delegates responsibility to a passing child.

Meanwhile, arch-criminal Kate is leaving her sister's house next-door. Encountering the child, who is too short to reach the post box, she offers to help. While the child is distracted, she pockets the letter and rushes back to her sister's house, where they steam the letter open, read the contents and then pass it on to their maid for posting.

That night, Kate and her gang begin tunnelling through her sister's fireplace to the house next door. The following day, Sheerluck arrives at the Carrington house and has his assistant stand guard outside the room, disguised as a butler. While the festivities go on outside, Kate enters the room via the fireplace and makes off with the presents and the money in Carrington's safe, which is not locked. As an act of provocation, Kate places an alarm clock set to go off in 20 minutes in the guarded room and a note announcing her responsibility for the deed on the back of her sister's door. She and her gang then escape by car.

On hearing the alarm sound, Sheerluck, Carrington and the guests burst into the room to find the presents, and the thieves, long gone.