Hunted by the police, escaped convict Red Hogan eludes his
pursuers by pulling into the secluded Malibu driveway of heiress
Linda Vale. After forcing his way into the house, Red holds Linda
and her faithful butler Riggs at gunpoint while he phones his
mistress, Belle Marlin (Anne Gwynne), with instructions to meet him in Malibu.
Unknown to Red, the sexy Belle is entertaining her current lover,
crime reporter Joe Eykner.
The opportunistic Joe, spotting a big
scoop in the story of Red's capture, notifies his childhood
friend, homicide lieutenant Max Anderson, that he can lead him to
Red. Soon after, Max and Joe arrive at Linda's house to arrest the
fugitive. When Joe learns that the naïve and vulnerable Linda is a millionairess who suffers from heart disease and hence has only
months to live, he immediately schemes to marry Linda for her
fortune. Feigning compassion for Linda's condition, Joe proposes
that he write a story about her courage in facing death.
Belle's apartment, Benny Brandini, Red's emissary, comes to give
Belle a cache of money from Red, and Belle lies that the police
discovered Red's whereabouts by tapping her phone line. After
dinner at Linda's that night, Joe romances the heiress during a
moonlight stroll along the beach, much to Max's disapproval. After
leaving Linda, Joe visits Belle and relates his plan of "hitting
the jackpot" by marrying Linda.
Broke, Joe uses Red's money to
court Linda, and after a whirlwind romance, Linda informs her
heart specialist, Dr. John F. Lawson, of her impending marriage to
Joe. Upon returning from his honeymoon, Joe hurries to Belle's
apartment to replenish his funds. After he leaves, Benny, who has
been watching Belle, appears and insinuates that he knows about
Belle's affair with Joe. Eight months later, Linda is the picture
of health, causing Joe to anxiously inquire about his wife's
Belle, who is worried that Red will discover her
infidelity and is fed up with supplying money to Joe, urges Joe to
speed his wife's demise. When the impatient Joe buys a bottle of
unmarked aspirin tablets at a pharmacy, Max witnesses the
purchase. That night, Joe replaces Linda's heart pills with the
aspirin tablets. Afterward, Joe arranges to meet Belle on a street
corner, and there she berates him for his ineffectual murder
scheme and informs him that Red has stopped sending her money.
next day, Max calls on Belle to inform her about Red's escape.
After he departs, Belle phones Joe with the news and Riggs
overhears their conversation and the desperate tone in Joe's
voice. Devising a new plot, Joe sends Belle to Palm Springs.
Suspicious of Joe's confident attitude in the face of Red's
escape, Max drives to the beachhouse to investigate and interrupts
Joe in the midst of a phone call to Belle. Pretending that he is
speaking to his publisher, Joe tells Max that he must leave
immediately for Palm Springs.
Before departing, Joe instructs
Linda to lock her bedroom door and then drives off. Stopping at a
gas station along the highway, Joe makes certain that the
attendant is aware of his name and destination. After meeting
Belle on the road midway between Palm Springs and Los Angeles, Joe
accompanies her back to Palm Springs and establishes an alibi for
himself by imprinting his fingerprints on the door knobs, glasses
and ashtrays in Belle's hotel room.
Joe then drives home, climbs
into Linda's bedroom through an open window, fires a gun into her
sleeping body and then speeds away toward Palm Springs, but is
forced to turn around by a police roadblock erected to stop Red.
Returning home at dawn, Joe is met by Max, who accuses him of
killing Linda and then making her death appear to be a suicide.
When Joe protests that he spent the night in Palm Springs with
Belle, Max vows to expose his "glass alibi."
Soon after, the
coroner, puzzled as to why Linda's prescription bottle contained
only aspirin, announces that Linda died of heart failure hours
before being shot, prompting Joe to taunt Max that he can hardly
arrest him for shooting a corpse. Max, defeated, leaves the house
and is informed by a police officer that Belle has been murdered
and Joe's fingerprints discovered in her hotel room.
the house, Max arrests Joe for Belle's murder and informs him that
Red and Benny, his only hope of being proved innocent, have
perished in a shootout with the police. On the day that Joe is
found guilty of murder, Max pays his tab at the local bar