- Directors: Robert Montgomery
- Producers: George Haight
- Writers: Story, Raymond Chandler, Screenplay, Steve Fisher
- Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Romance
- Actors: Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Tom Tully, Leon Ames, Jayne Meadows
The story is set on Christmas Eve. Hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe (Montgomery) is asked by a publishing executive, Adrienne Fromsett (Totter), to locate the wife of her boss, publisher Derace Kingsby (Ames). One month earlier she had sent her husband a telegram saying she was heading to Mexico to marry a man named Chris Lavery.
However Kingsby had recently seen Lavery in the neighboring Bay City, and Lavery seemed unaware of the trip to Mexico. Marlowe pursues his investigation at the Kingsby’s lakeside cottage, where Mrs. Kingsby was last seen. There, he finds Lavery shot dead, and he then becomes involved in a complex web of intrigue.