Dan Conway (H.M. Wynant
), president of Cal-Texas Explorations returns to his office to find his secretary out but Rose Calvert (Pamela Duncan
),an employee who doesn't belong there, snooping around his desk. He immediately suspects that she's working for former Cal-Texas executive Warner Griffith (Johnny Mack Brown
). She denies this, but we soon see her calling Warner, informing him that she has possession of confidential reports. Working late, Dan can't find documents relating to a Texas project, and is certain Rose took them. Amelia Armitage (Jacqueline Scott
) barges in, introduces herself, and says she knows all about Warner's plan to take the company away from him through a proxy fight. She believes he would bleed the company, thus hurting the stockholders. After she leaves, Dan gets a call from an unidentified woman. She has a list of the proxies Warner has obtained, but because Dan is being followed and his phone may be tapped, insists on an elaborate plan. Dan is to go to a phone booth at a nearby drug store. The phone will ring at 8:15 and he'll get further directions.
Dan proceeds as instructed, and the phone does indeed ring at about 8:13. He's told to go to Room 709 of the Hotel Redfern. This being 1958, the hotel actually has a human elevator operator, Mavis Jordan (Natalie Norwick
). She's absorbed in a book, so doesn't look up when Dan asks for the 7th floor. There's no answer at Room 709, but the door is open so he goes inside, finding Rose lying dead on the floor. He takes the gun lying near her body and wipes his prints off surfaces he touched. He takes the stairs to the 6th floor and summons the elevator from there. Mavis, still not looking up, comments that he walked down from 7. As he exits the elevator, he brushes past Lt. Tragg, who's headed in the opposite direction.
Later, Dan and Cal-Texas attorney Varnell (Donald Foster
) explain the situation to Perry. They show him the gun, which Perry says he'll have Paul send to the police, as it's evidence. Dan says he thinks he now knows who called him - Linda Griffith (Marie Windsor
), Warner's wife. Perry tells Dan that he should stay out of circulation, but not by fleeing town or hiding under an assumed name. He should drive his own car to a nondescript motel and register under his own name. Perry visits Linda and asks why she lured Dan into a trap. She admits making the first phone call, but when she called at 8:15 to have Dan meet her, he didn't answer. When Perry describes the second call Dan did get, she realizes that she was right - Dan's phone was tapped, and whoever tapped it set up the fake second call. She was quite sincere about helping Dan with the proxy fight, as she's planning on divorcing Warner. She's convinced he's having an affair with Rose, who's helping him obtain proxies. Hearing there's been a murder, she's too nervous to hand Dan the proxy information now, but she does give Perry a photo of Rose that she discovered her husband had taken. She mentions that Rose is married but separated. She also knows that Rose had been using Room 709 at the Redfern for the work she was doing for Warner, but actually lived at the Serrano Arms.
Perry finds a letter stuck partway into Rose's mailbox at the Serrano, and sees on it the return address of Fred Calvert (Jack Weston
) in Ellendale, about an hour's drive from L.A. Perry goes there, and Fred says that Rose left her about 7 months ago. She wanted more fun than she could have with Fred, but he thinks she'll eventually return to him and the security provided by their house, which is completely free of mortgage. Perry shows him the photo, which Fred identifies as Rose, and tells him that she may have been murdered. When Perry gets back to the office, Warner is there. Perry voices suspicions that after Rose delivered her material against Dan, and Linda started accusing him of an affair with her, Rose turned from asset to liability, giving him a motive for murder. Unfortunately, the murder took place between 7:30 and 8:30 PM, and Warner didn't get back from a day in Phoenix until around 1 AM.
Perry enters Burger's office, in response to an "invitation" delivered by Tragg. The D.A. says that the gun he sent was indeed the murder weapon, and then goes into one of his typical tirades about Perry's shady behavior. However, this time Burger and Tragg have duplicated his reasoning about avoiding flight or hiding. Tragg opens a side door, and beckons Dan into the room. As Dan's trial nears, Amelia comes to Perry with a story of having eavesdropped on the phone call Dan received after she had supposedly left, and then having followed him to the drug store, where she heard the pay phone ring. This would prove that Dan was telling the truth about those calls, but Perry immediately realizes she made the whole thing up out of information that had been made public.
He tells her that help like that could get his client the gas chamber.
In court, Fred testifies to coming to the morgue the day after the murder and identifying Rose's remains. Tragg testifies that he went to Room 709 based on an anonymous tip. He found a set of Dan's prints on a chair. Mavis testifies that she saw Dan in her elevator, despite being absorbed in the book "You'll Die Laughing". She remembers him in particular, because he went to 7 and came back from 6. On cross, Perry questions how she could recognize anyone if she was looking down at her book. She reveals that she's an expert at identifying people by looking at their feet. She mentions tests at Stanford at which her ability was declared "phenomenal - a quirk of nature" and is ready to cite other academic references when she's excused.
Warner describes his spying with Rose's help as an investigation of Dan - attempting to show that he was releasing valuable information to competitors. He claims that Dan learned that she kept her documentation in Room 709 and says "She could have ruined him. That's why he killer her!" On cross, Perry forces him to admit that the "release of information to competitors" really just consisted of partnering with a group of smaller companies to make land purchases for Cal-Texas, to avoid the spurt in prices that would have resulted from one big offer. This was a perfectly natural business practice, which Warner as a candidate to take over the company ought to know. In fact, Rose's "evidence" was merely a cheap trick, and not a motive for her murder. Warner admits he knew that Rose had taken a company-owned gun from the Cal-Texas offices. However, he denies having chartered a private plane to take him to L.A. and back to Phoenix in order to commit the crime while apparently out of state. He says that he really did return around 1 AM and went to her residence at the Serrano Arms, but no one was there. He denies having taken the letter from Fred that Perry had seen but is now missing.
Back on the stand, Perry questions Fred about the time gap between when he learned his wife might have been murdered around midnight and his visit to LAPD the following morning. Fred finally admits that he had driven to the Serrano Arms to retrieve the letter then back to Ellendale, so he could tell the local sheriff about his wife's possible murder and have him accompany Fred on his trip to the L.A. police. He wanted the letter back because in it he'd given Rose the deed to his house in an attempt to win her back. If she was dead, he didn't want her relatives getting the house. He insists he had no motive to kill her, as he just wanted her back. Perry badgers him with accusations that he went to Room 709, pleaded with her, and when she kept rejecting him, killed her in the heat of the moment or accidentally. Fred keeps saying "No" to all this, so Perry has him stand up so Mavis can identify his feet. Before she can say anything, Fred admits that everything happened exactly as Perry had said.
Perry and Della are out celebrating with Dan, and they reveal to him that Mavis couldn't have actually identified Fred, because he was wearing different shoes in court than on the murder night. Amelia drops by, and Dan belatedly recognizes her name as belonging to the family that controls 37% of Cal-Texas stock. Given her obvious sympathy for Dan, the proxy fight is a dead issue. Perry and Della leave Dan and Amelia. Looking back at them, Della remarks that Dan is a good age match for Amelia. Perry asks what she has in mind. She answers that with them both caring so much about Cal-Texas, it would be a good time for a merger.