A woman, Eleanor Duzak, is sleeping and her husband Bernard barges into the bedroom. She says that she didn’t expect him, and Bernard tosses a letter to her. He says that his bank told him that he has no money on Eleanor’s instructions, and Eleanor says that she had to do it. Eleanor points out that he’s been gone more often than not and they couldn’t discuss the matter. Bernard insists that his family is not shopkeepers and she tells him not to expect a shopkeeper’s money. Furious, Bernard slaps her and Eleanor says that she wanted him to bring him to his senses. Her husband says that she made him a laughingstock and complains about the lack of alcohol, and demands 5,000 pounds at once. When Eleanor asks why, he refuses to explain. She figures that he’s spending it on another woman, and asks where she is. Bernard shoves her onto the bed and prepares to hit her, and Eleanor draws a gun. Surprised, Bernard storms out despite Eleanor’s pleas for him to come back.
Once Bernard is gone, Eleanor puts the gun away and goes to the next room where McGill is sitting, drinking. He confirms that he heard the whole thing and it’s not his business. Eleanor insists that she needs protection, and writes McGill a check for a week’s work. She asks him to find Bernard’s woman and warns him that her husband carries a gun.
The next day, McGill is at home reading when Eleanor pays him a call. She tells McGill that Bernard is flying to Paris and she’s booked McGill on the same flight. Eleanor has also made out another check. McGill is impressed by the amount, and Eleanor says that Bernard is worth every penny that she has.
McGill takes the case and follows Bernard to the Club de la Guillotine. The club performers stage a mock guillotine execution, and the barman Kraut tells McGill that they’ve been open for three weeks. A woman, Janine Dufault, comes in and goes into the back room. McGill asks who she is, and the barman confirms that Janine is the owner.
In her office, Janine finds Bernard waiting for her. She asks where he’s been, but Bernard avoids the question and kisses her. Undeterred, Janine asks if he went back to Eleanor, and is angry when Bernard admits that he hasn’t left her yet. He insists that he won’t beg for the money. Janine storms out and McGill calls to her by name. He invites her to have a drink with him, while Bernard comes out. He tells McGill not to buy Janine a drink, and McGill leaves it up to her. Janine takes the drink and offers to show him the night life. Bernard argues with his mistress, while McGill pays up his tab. He flashes his hotel card, and Janine suggests that the two of them go.
After hitting the clubs, Janine takes McGill back to her apartment while flirting with him. She says that Bernard will be there the next day with flowers and an apologize, and avoids McGill trying to kiss her. Janine suggests that she’s with McGill for his money, and is surprised when he admits that he isn’t a rich American. She assures him that she’s not with him for mercenary reasons, and they finally kiss.
At 3:30 a.m., McGill returns to his hotel room and finds Bernard waiting. He takes offense that McGill took “his” woman, and McGill orders him out. As he goes Bernard, says that he’ll kill McGill if he sees him with Janine again.
The next day, McGill wakes up when his phone rings. It’s Eleanor, and he gives her what he’s learned about Janine. He says that he’ll coming back to London and will only charge Eleanor for one day. Eleanor begs him to get Justine to leave Bernard regardless of the cost. McGill agrees and goes back to Janine’s apartment. He lets himself in with the key she gave him, and finds the police there. Janine is dead on the floor, and Inspector Lamotte asks if he’s Janine’s friend. Lamotte takes the key and asks McGill to come to the station with him.
At the police station, the examining magistrate questions McGill and he tells the truth. McGill wonders if they’re charging him, and warns that Lamotte is jumping to conclusions. McGill left Janine’s apartment at 3, and the forensic examiner believes she was killed at 4. The ex-agent suggests that they talk to Bernard, and Lamotte admits that they haven’t found Bernard yet. He calls in Kraut, who testifies that he recognizes McGill from the club. Kraut also claims that Bernard was at the club until 6 a.m. McGill accuses him of lying, and figures that Kraut wants a piece of the club so he’s providing Bernard with an alibi. The magistrate holds McGill for 24 hours.
Bernard drives out to the abandoned Duzak manor in the country.
Lamotte and the magistrate check with American Intelligence and confirm that he was dishonorably discharged. An officer escorts Eleanor in and summons McGill. She admits that she suspected Bernard has a mistress and hired McGill to find out who she was. Eleanor says that she was jealous and offered McGill money to make sure that Bernard didn’t see her again. She testifies that she said to get rid of Janine but didn’t mean for McGill to kill Janine. McGill points out that she said that she needed protection, and they bring out McGill’s suitcase. The gun isn’t there, and McGill says that Bernard was in his hotel room and took it. Eleanor insists that Bernard wouldn’t have killed anyone, and McGill figures that she’s protecting Bernard. When McGill wonders why they don’t believe him, Lamotte shows him the Intelligence report disavowing McGill.
Later, McGill is eating in his cell. The gaoler wonders why he doesn’t plead a crime of passion, and McGill says that he hasn’t committed a crime. Despite that, the gaoler says that he’ll be executed by the guillotine if convicted.
The magistrate calls McGill in again to summarize the case against him. Lamotte says that they’ll find Bernard, and brings out the gun. McGill confirms that it’s his, and Lamotte says that it was found in the canal behind McGill’s hotel. The only fingerprints on it are McGill’s, and tests have confirmed that it was the murder weapon. The gaolers take McGill away, and he tries to make a break for it. He escapes and Lamotte sounds the alarm.
That night, McGill goes back to the club and climbs up to Janine’s office via the drainpipe. Meanwhile, Lamotte and his men pull up out front and go inside. The inspector asks Kraut if he’s seen McGill or Bernard, and the barman says that he hasn’t. Meanwhile, McGill finds the intercom and buzzes Kraut. Shocked, he picks up the phone and asks if it’s Bernard. McGill remains silent, and Kraut hangs up.
As Kraut heads to the upstairs office, Lamotte orders him to stay and goes himself. The office is empty, and Lamotte goes back to the bar. Kraut offers him a drink and notices that the phone light is still on. The performers stage the mock guillotine execution and Lamotte leaves. Kraut then goes to Janine’s office and McGill jumps him. After a brief fight, McGill subdues the barman and demands to know where Bernard is. Once he finds out, he drives to the Duzak manor
Once Kraut recovers, he calls Bernard to warn him.
McGill arrives at the manor and calls to Bernard. Bernard comes in, holding a dueling pistol, and says that he is La Comte Duzak. He knows all about Janine’s murder, and figures that Eleanor paid McGill to kill Janine. Bernard says that McGill is insulting his family honor by accusing him of murder, and McGill asks if he’s going to shoot him in cold blood. Amused, Bernard takes out another dueling pistol and then demonstrates his prowess by shooting out a portrait’s eye from across the room.
Unimpressed, McGill says that Bernard is without honor. He insists on setting the terms of the duel since he’s the challenged party. Since Bernard’s pistol is unloaded, they’ll each take a pistol at random and shoot each other at point-blank range. Bernard agrees, setting down both pistols, and McGill kicks him back and grabs both pistols. He orders Bernard out, but Bernard shoves a chair at him and they brawl. McGill soon disposes of Bernard.
Eleanor is in her hotel room when Bernard staggers in. He explains that he fought McGill, and McGill let him live. Eleanor says that she was wrong for not trusting Bernard, and will never forgive McGill for involving Bernard in Janine’s murder. Bernard doesn’t believe that McGill is a killer, and explains that the two of them talked on the way back to Paris. Neither one of them thinks the other killed Janine, and Bernard points out that Eleanor is the only suspect left. Eleanor admits that she killed Janine, and Lamotte and McGill come in behind them and hear her confession. Lamotte says that they’ve traced her movements and have witnesses that she was in Paris the night of the murder. Eleanor begs Bernard to understand, saying that she did it for them. When she breaks into tears, Bernard says that he didn’t know the depth of her feelings.
Written by Gadfly on Sep 10, 2016