As The Cat o' Nine Tails(1971) opens we see Franco and his young ingenue, Lori, walking down the street. The two overhear a conversation between two men in a car and Franco is intrigued. Oscar-winner Karl Malden (wow, you don't say giallo and Oscar together very often) portrays Franco, a blind ex-newspaperman now obsessed with crossword puzzles. "I like solving puzzles," he later says, explaining his interest in mysteries. When a nearby genetics lab is broken into but nothing stolen, Franco's interest is piqued and he approaches reporter Carlo Giordani to aid in solving the crime.