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As a winter storm rages, Magee, a novelist, arrives in the summer resort of Asquewan Junction and checks in at the Baldpate Inn, where he is left alone by the caretakers and given the "only key" to the hotel. To make good on a bet with a friend that he can write a novel in twenty-four hours, Magee soon finds himself spying on the strange activities of Bland, a gangster. After Bland makes a suspicious telephone call, he deposits an envelope in the inn's safe and confronts the snooping Magee at gunpoint. Magee tricks Bland into locking himself in his room and then bumps into Mary Norton, who claims to be a down-on-her-luck actress. The inn's next unexpected visitors are Professor Bolton, Adlebert Peters, Baldpate's woman-hating hermit, and the exotic Mrs. Hayden, who confides in Magee that Bland's boss, Jim Cargan, a private detective, is trying to extort $200,000 from her husband for the return of her stolen jewels. A confused Magee then sees both Mary and Bolton trying to open the safe, which Mary explains contains Hayden's $200,000. After Mary shows Magee the inn's secret passage, Bland, who had jumped out of Magee's window, Hayden and Cargan arrive and open the safe. With the help of his "trigger man," Max, Cargan double-crosses his cohorts and runs off with the money, but is knocked out by Bolton, who is then knocked out by Magee. After Magee hides the cash in a vase, Bland accidentally stumbles on it and hides it in a woodstove, which is opened by Peters, who then transfers the money to a chair cushion. While Mary attempts to retrieve the cash, Magee is confronted by the gangsters and Hayden, who implicates himself in an insurance scam. In the heated confusion, Mrs. Hayden, who is actually an impostor named Myra, reveals that Max stole Hayden's jewels at Cargan's request. Max shoots and apparently kills Myra. Finally, the police arrive and, once assured that Myra is not dead, hear Magee's accusations. Mary then reveals that she is really Mary Johnson, a New York reporter, and Bolton confesses that he is really Harrison, an insurance detective. Although Magee loses his literary bet, he is rewarded with Mary's hand in marriage.