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One night, New Orleans police lieutenant Steve Abbott sneaks into the apartment of blackmailer Philip Wallace's to recover old love letters written to him by Steve's wife, Ethel, and discovers that Philip has been murdered. Several clues lead police lieutenant William Richards, who is in competition with Steve for a promotion, to suspect Steve, who had been investigating Philip's connections to a gambling ring. When Steve confides in police chief Dan Odell that his investigations connected Philip to a citywide gambling ring based at the waterfront Mississippi Inn, Dan takes him off the case because he never obtained evidence. Newly suspicious because of the murder, Steve questions Philip's brothers Edward and George. Edward admits that Philip was commonly disliked, and Steve's interest grows when he learns that George's girl friend Janet Price works at the Mississippi Inn. Steve is nearly shot by George outside of Janet's apartment, but he escapes because Ethel, an amateur sleuth, has followed him and screams a warning. Bill finds more evidence linking Steve to Philip's murder, but Steve makes an anonymous call to the police that sends Bill after George instead. Ethel, meanwhile, decides to investigate the Mississippi Inn on her own and borrows dice from her house man, Shadrach Jones, not realizing that they are loaded until the dealers start to chase her. During the pursuit, Ethel finds George's dead body in Janet's dressing room, but runs into the dealers before she can notify anyone. She then encounters Dan, who attempts to intimidate her into convincing Steve to discontinue his investigation. Steve comes to her rescue, however, and they are both forced to leap from the Inn's dock into the river, where Shadrach awaits them with a rowboat. They lurk in the fog until they can recover George's body, which has been dumped into the water. Steve now suspects that Dan is involved in the gambling ring, but because he and Ethel return to their apartment with George's body in their car, their involvement in Philip's murder appears obvious. Steve gives Bill a false lead by telling him that Ethel's unsigned love letters to Philip were written by Janet and earns an hour from Bill to prove his innocence. After Steve and Ethel find clues at Janet's apartment, Ethel calls a meeting at Philip's apartment of all the participants in the murder investigation, including Edward and Philip's bodyguard, Carney. Steve proves that he could not possibly have been the murderer because of the time factor and weapon used, which he has found. Edward hastily exits, presumably to join the Mardi Gras parade that is in progress. When they find a costume exactly like Edward's in Philip's closet, however, they realize that he is the murderer. Steve chases after Edward, and after an exchange of gunfire, Bill arrests Edward for Philip and George's murder. Steve explains that the bodyguard wore Edward's costume in a parade to provide Edward's alibi, while Edward, who hated his brother, killed Philip. Edward then killed George because he knew about the murder and was blackmailing him. Later, Bill and Steve are both disappointed when another candidate is appointed to be the new police commissioner.