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On the day he is to marry singer Joanne La Marr, private detective Michael Shayne meets her in her room at the Hotel Du Nord, which adjoins the theater where she works. As they are leaving, Shayne hears a woman screaming upstairs and rushes to investigate. There he finds Emily the maid, who has discovered the bodies of Louis Lathrop, a one-time famous producer who owned the hotel and theater, and Desiree Vance, Lathop's leading lady. They are both dressed in medieval court costumes, and the head of a dog costume is over Lathrop's head. When police Inspector Pierson arrives, hotel manager Hal Brennon explains to him and Shayne that the costumes are from Lathrop's hit show of many years ago, Sweethearts of Paris , the cast of which included Desiree, Julian Davis, David Earle and Carlo Ralph, who played "Beppo the dog." Shayne casually remarks that Ralph must be the killer because of the dog costume, then notices that the show's musical director was Max Allaron, a drunk who lives at the hotel. David Earle arrives and tells the police that the previous evening, Lathrop gave a party for the cast of Sweethearts of Paris to commemorate its anniversary. Otto Kahn, the theater doorman, arrives through one of the apartment's many entrances and reveals that there had been another woman there aside from Desiree. After learning from Earle's daughter Connie that Davis embezzled money from Lathrop, Shayne goes to Davis' apartment, where he finds Davis and Phyllis Lathrop, the producer's estranged wife. Phyllis admits that she went to Lathrop before the party to ask him not to prosecute Davis and then hires Shayne to prove Davis' innocence. Shayne returns to the hotel and learns from Allaron that Carlo Ralph was killed in World War I at Château-Thierry and therefore could not be the murderer. Shayne's next stop is Desiree's rooms, where he finds a box containing a letter from Ralph, dated 1920, stating that he spent ten months in captivity but did return to the United States. After rescuing Davis, who is about to be arrested by Pierson, Shayne takes him to Lathrop's apartment and they find an entrance leading to Emily's room below. Emily, who was once an actress known as Lynne Evans, is dead, and a note beside her body states that she killed Lathrop and Desiree because Lathrop threw her over years ago for the other actress. Shayne realizes that Emily's death is not a suicide, however, and prepares to flush out the killer. While Shayne waits in the dining room of Lathrop's apartment, Pierson waits in the next room, but is knocked out by Allaron. Otto comes in and confirms Shayne's suspicions that he is Ralph and that he murdered Lathrop and Desiree, to whom he was married, for their years earlier betrayal of him. He also states that he killed Emily because she caught him tampering with the same evidence that led Shayne to suspect him, and that Allaron saw him leave the apartment after the murders and has been blackmailing him. Pierson regains consciousness and helps Shayne capture Otto and Allaron, then goes with Shayne to serve as his best man. When they reach Joanne's apartment though, they find that the singer, disgusted with waiting for Shayne, has eloped with her former boyfriend.