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After her husband, T. J. Brennon, the owner of the Blue Swan nightclub, is killed in an auto accident, Lynn Brennon returns home from the club one night and sees three men struggling on the balcony of her apartment. After one man pushes a second man over the railing and shoots the other, he runs up the fire escape to the roof and escapes. Meanwhile, two hired killers from Chicago, Hart and Santoni, check in to a local hotel and look up Brennon's address in the phone book. The men killed at the Brennon apartment were narcotics agents searching for heroin, and consequently, Capt. Andy Hampton and Chief Sloane of the narcotics division are called in to investigate. Soon after, T. J.'s long-estranged brother Bill comes to town in response to a telegram he received from T. J. asking for help. Alerted about Bill's arrival, Andy does a background check on him and learns that he works for the Kansas City police department. Upon learning that T. J. is dead and his widow is in the hospital suffering from shock, Bill goes to the hospital to meet Lynn, who had married his brother just three months earlier. When Bill questions Lynn about T. J.'s difficulties, she is baffled. Once Bill leaves the hospital, he is contacted by Andy, who explains that T. J. was involved with Minelli, a local gangster, in transporting heroin from Mexico to Chicago, and asks him to find out what Lynn knows about her husband's business. Before Lynn is released from the hospital, the police find a cache of heroin hidden in a ceramic Mexican doll in her apartment and replace it with sugar, then put a watch on the building, waiting for someone to claim the doll. At their hotel, meanwhile, Hart is complaining about a little old lady who was eyeing them in the lobby when they receive a call from the syndicate boss in Chicago, ordering them to kill Minelli for hijacking the syndicate's drugs. Shortly afterward, Minelli is gunned down on the street while having his shoes shined. The night that Lynn is released from the hospital, Bill accompanies her to the Blue Swan where Hart and Santoni tell her that T. J. was holding a "sentimental object" for a friend who now wants it back. When they begin to question Lynn in a threatening tone, Bill intervenes and orders them to leave. Distressed by Bill's assessment that T. J. was a "user who bought people," Lynn asks Rak, the bartender, to drive her home. Later that evening, Santoni and Hart return to the Blue Swan, having gained access to a phony police record that Andy has created for Bill. Assuming that Bill is a fellow criminal, they think that he has found the heroin and demand its return. After Bill asks for a share of the profits, they knock him out, then leave. Meanwhile, a police surveillance team watches Lynn's apartment from across the street while a listening device they have installed on the premises records her conversations. After Rak drops Lynn off, she goes to bed, but is awakened when Rak unexpectedly returns, claiming that he noticed Bill's car parked outside and came back to investigate. When Rak insists on staying, Lynn tells him to sleep on the couch, and after she closes her bedroom door, he begins to search the living room for the heroin. The next day, the old lady from the hotel, a police informant named Sally Hemphill, comes to headquarters to tell Andy and Sloane about the two suspicious men with guns who checked in. As Sloane dispatches several men to the hotel to investigate, Andy asks Bill to reconcile with Lynn, who is visiting T. J.'s grave at the cemetery. At the hotel, Hart finds Sally listening outside his door and escorts her to her room upstairs. The police arrive just after Hart and Santoni check out, and find Sally's dead body. At the cemetery, Lynn criticizes Bill's callous attitude toward her late husband. When Bill tells her about being attacked the previous evening, Lynn confides that she heard Rak searching her apartment, then tries to remember the night the two men were killed on her balcony, but can only recall hearing a gunshot fired. She also states that she doubts T. J.'s car crash was accidental. Bill then drives Lynn back to the club, where a drunken Rak, who is secretly obsessed with Lynn, confronts Bill. When Rak goes into the office to sober up, he is shot by an unseen assailant. Hearing the gunshot, Bill hustles Lynn out of the club. On the run from the police, Hart and Santoni stop at a diner to inform their employer of the situation. The syndicate boss then orders them to kill everyone involved with T. J., starting with Lynn. As the killers are about to leave, the police, having traced them to the diner, arrive, and in the ensuing shootout, Hart and Santoni are killed. Back at her apartment, Lynn apologizes to Bill for not trusting him. After Bill leaves, Lynn goes into her bedroom and finds T. J., very much alive, waiting for her. As the police listen in, T. J. confesses that he killed Rak and pushed the man off the balcony. He continues that he was double-crossing a Chicago crime syndicate by stealing heroin and selling it to Minelli. Shocked by her husband's confession, Lynn tells him to get out. When he asks for the doll, she realizes that the drugs are hidden inside. As Lynn and T. J. struggle over the doll, Bill and Andy, who have listened in on the conversation, break in and T. J. runs to the roof where he is shot and killed by the police. Bill then escorts Lynn out of the building.