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"Boy" Barrett, a young English construction worker, is arrested for stealing a large sum of money from his firm. When he learns that the police know he used the money to pay a ring of blackmailers who threatened to expose him as a homosexual, he hangs himself rather than endanger the career of Melville Farr, a successful barrister with whom he had become emotionally, but not sexually, involved. Farr does become implicated, however, when the police discover that the blackmailers were using a photograph of them together to extort money from Barrett. Filled with remorse and angered by the existence of a law that makes homosexuals criminals, thereby making them easy prey for blackmailers, Farr decides to jeopardize both his marriage and his career by bringing those responsible for Farr's suicide to justice. Before his marriage Farr had admitted to his wife, Laura, that he had homosexual tendencies; now, forced to confess that these tendencies still exist, he offers Laura her freedom. Despite pressure from both the blackmailers and their victims, Farr cooperates with the police in tracking down the blackmailers--a sadistic young hoodlum, Sandy, and an embittered spinster, Miss Benham. Though fully aware that the scandal will ruin him, Farr insists upon prosecuting; as he prepares his case, Laura, who still loves him, realizes that her husband's need for her is stronger than any passing emotion he may feel, and she intimates that she will return to him when the trial is over.