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Drunk and broke, Jeffrey Andrews, an accomplished but unsuccessful mystery writer, goes to the office of his publisher, Henry Small, and brashly forces his way past Evelyn Green, Small's secretary. In the presence of Lloyd Harrison, a successful writer of mystery books, Andrews demands that Small give him a new contract and more money, and in a drunken stupor, relates the plot of a new mystery he intends to write, dealing with a man who is murdered in a locked room. Unimpressed, Small gives Andrews twenty dollars and sends him away. Proceeding to the nearest bar, Andrews discusses his proposed novel with the bartender, Mike Foster. Soon after, Evelyn comes into the bar, upset and disheveled because Small has made an improper advance to her. She and Andrews begin to talk, and he reveals the solution to the murder to her. Quite drunk, Andrews returns to Small's office to tell him the end of his novel. Finding the office empty, Andrews, in his inebriated state, rifles the files and destroys his contract. The next day, the police arrest Andrews after discovering that Small has been murdered in precisely the same manner that Andrews had outlined for his novel. Andrews, unable to recall the events of the prior evening, cannot remember the climax of his murder yarn, which he believes could solve the mystery surrounding Small's death. Meanwhile, both Evelyn and Foster have disappeared. When Harrison convinces Lt. Applegate to release Andrews into his custody, the two men go to Harrison's home. Unable to sleep, Andrews gets up to search for Foster. At the office building housing the bar, the elevator operator offers to take Andrews to Foster's home, where they discover the bartender's dead body and one of Evelyn's earrings discarded on the floor. Thinking that Andrews is connected to the murder, the elevator operator tries to overpower him, and in the ensuing struggle, he shoots Andrews in the shoulder. After escaping to his own room, Andrews finds Evelyn hiding there. Putting his hand in his pocket, Andrews discovers a check for $500, proving that he must have told the entire story to Small and Harrison. Finally realizing that the theft of his story presented a powerful motive for Harrison to murder Small, Andrews goes to police headquarters. With the help of the police, Andrews learns that Harrison retrieved Evelyn's earring after Small assaulted her in his office. Aware that Foster knew that he murdered Small, Harrison tried to bribe the bartender, and when that failed, killed him, placing the earring next to the body to throw suspicion on Evelyn. Confronted by the evidence, Harrison confesses to both murders and Andrews then reveals the solution to his murder story--the supposedly locked door was actually unlocked.