The first thing Sam Spade needs to do is sober up his client. The distraught architect has had his building project sabotaged. Who had it out for him? Sam’s investigation leads to a dame. Does her boss, Albert Mitchell, know something about the building that collapsed? Sam might never learn what Mitchell knows, because he discovers the building inspector just moments after being gunshot.
After a night of questioning by the police, Sam gets an audience with the mayor. Sam learns that both the architect and inspector had good reputations in town. Who is the third party who might want to ruin them? Who else is in this story? Will the dame have something to do with the case? Shady business contacts? Someone else? Sam learns deadly secrets about the inferior building project.