powered by AFI
Tom Lawrence, the debonair sleuth known as "The Falcon," is suffering from a hangover when Mia Bruger bursts into his bedroom and begs his help in locating her missing brother. Tom agrees to accompany Mia to a cocktail bar frequented by her brother, but when he enters the bar, he is knocked unconscious. Awakening in the backseat of his car, which is parked alongside a country road, Tom starts to drive back to the city when he is stopped by a police officer and arrested for the murder of a bank official. The officer turns Tom over to Inspector Timothy Donovan, who interrogates him about the theft of $250,000 in war bonds and the murder of a bank official. When Donovan tells Tom that six witnesses testified to seeing his car leave the scene of the crime, the detective states that he was with his fiancée, reporter Marcia Brooks, at the time. After Marcia refutes Tom's alibi, Donovan accompanies Tom to the bar, which is now the headquarters of a woman's knitting society. Skeptical of Tom's story, Donovan arrests the detective. Marcia, accompanied by Tom's sidekick Goldy Locke, has followed the inspector to the bar, however, and Tom is able to jump into her car and speed away from the police. Tom then sends Marcia to infiltrate the knitting circle, and when she reports that Mrs. Geraldine Lipton, the woman in charge, lives in a resort hotel in the country, Tom and Goldy drive there to investigate. After framing the hotel detective for thievery and getting him fired, Tom arranges for hotel manager Gwynne Gregory to hire Goldy as the detective's replacement. In the hotel garden, Tom sees Mia conferring with Rickey Davis, a criminal he had sent to prison years earlier. Rickey is posing as a nurse to invalid Bruno Steffen, and when Tom greets Mia, she pretends that she doesn't know him. To escape the inquisitive detective, Mia dives into the pool but as she hits the water, she is killed by a gunshot. Looking for Mia's murderer, Tom searches the rooms overlooking the pool, but all he finds is puppeteer Smiley Dugan performing with his puppets. Tom then enters Gwynne's office, where he finds Rickey and Gwynne arguing and a spent shell on the rug. Suspicious of Gwynne, Tom gives her cigarette case to Marcia for fingerprinting. Tom then follows Gwynne on a bike ride, and when the two are almost run down by a car, Tom traces the vehicle to Steffen. Following this lead, Tom breaks into Steffen's room to search for the bonds but is interrupted by Dugan, who begins to rant and rave about waste and extravagance. Soon afterward, Donovan, alerted by Dugan, comes to the hotel to arrest Tom for murder but learns that the resort is outside his jurisdiction. When Marcia reports that the fingerprints belong to a notorious thief known as "the Duchess," Tom phones his houseboy, Jerry, and instructs him to pose as the Chinese Trade Commissioner and check into the hotel. After Steffen confides to Jerry that he plans to buy war bonds from Gwynne, Tom confronts her about the cigarette case, which she denies owning. At that moment, Mrs. Lipton returns to the hotel and claims the cigarette case. After exposing Mrs. Lipton as the Duchess, Tom accuses her of stealing the bonds, but Donovan, who has returned with a warrant for Tom, arrests the detective, Marcia, Goldy and Jerry instead. Escaping from the police once again, Tom returns to the hotel, where he overhears Mrs. Lipton and Rickey blackmail Gwynne into selling the stolen bonds to Steffen. When Tom steps in to prevent the sale, Mrs. Lipton admits that Rickey framed Tom as revenge for sending him to prison. Just as Rickey is about to enter the room, he falls dead from a gun shot, prompting a terrified Gwynne to confess that she was married to Rickey, who was blackmailing her. Fearful of becoming the next victim, Mrs. Lipton retires to her room, while Tom and Gwynne take the elevator to the lobby. When the power is cut off, trapping Tom and Gwynne in the elevator, Tom begins to suspect Dugan, who is familiar with the working of the hotel, of murder. Upon discovering that Dugan's puppets run automatically, Tom realizes that the puppet shows provided the puppeteer with a perfect alibi and rushes back to Mrs. Lipton's room, where he finds Dugan accusing Mrs. Lipton of robbing him of his life savings. Fleeing from Tom, Dugan falls to his death from a rooftop. Donovan, who has returned to the hotel, then arrests Mrs. Lipton for the bond theft. Marcia and Tom are about to return to the city when a glamorous foreigner rushes into the hotel lobby and begs Tom for help.