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Wealthy expatriate Paul Dutraz returns to France from Africa, settles outside of Paris, and places an advertisement for a wife: "Under 40, self-sustaining." He selects Norma O'Brien, a mature, Australian actress who, like Paul, wants only to live a quiet existence and hopes to forget her first, unhappy marriage. She tells Paul of her 20-year-old son, Dominique, currently studying at the Beaux Arts in Paris, who is the object of her continual solicitude. Dominique arrives at their villa with a broken leg, and succeeding events begin to sow suspicions in Dutraz' mind. He discovers that Norma is disguising herself with stage makeup to appear older than she really is. With the help of his old friend Blanchin, he finds that Dominique's fracture is a fake. He eventually learns that Dominique is Norma's gigolo, and that the two have hatched a plot to murder him for his fortune. Blanchin, along with Dutraz' maid, Valentine, and her lover, Clément, help Paul to unravel the intrigue. Dominique dies in an auto accident, and Paul gives away his fortune and makes plans to return to Africa. At the last moment, Norma attempts suicide, and Dutraz realizes that she has grown to love him. He learns that she tried to deter Dominique from his villainous plans and forgives her; and they depart for Africa together.