After killing a man in self-defense, a young woman is blackmailed by a witness to the killing.
On 26 April 1929, Scotland Yard Detective Frank Webber escorts his girlfriend Alice White to a tea house. They have an argument and Frank storms out. While reconsidering his action, he sees Alice leave with Mr. Crewe, an artist she had earlier agreed to meet.
Crewe persuades a reluctant Alice into coming up to see his studio. She admires a painting of a laughing clown, and uses his palette and brushes to paint a cartoonish drawing of a face; he adds a few strokes of a naked feminine figure, and guiding her hand, they sign the picture with her name. He gives her a dancer’s outfit and Crewe sings and plays “Miss Up-to-Date” on the piano.
Crewe steals a kiss, to Alice’s disgust, but as she is changing and preparing to leave, he takes her dress from the changing area. He attempts to rape her; her cries for help are not heard on the street below. In desperation, Alice grabs a nearby bread knife and kills him. She angrily tears a hole in the painting of the clown, then leaves after attempting to remove any evidence of her presence in the flat, but accidentally leaves her gloves behind. She walks the streets of London all night in a daze.
When the body is found, Frank is assigned to the case and finds one of Alice’s gloves. He also recognizes the dead man, but conceals this from his superior. Taking the glove, he goes to see Alice at her father’s tobacco shop, but she is too distraught to speak.