A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.John “Scottie” Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine.After a rooftop chase, where his fear of heights
and vertigo result in the death of a policeman, San Francisco
detective John “Scottie” Ferguson retires. Scottie tries to conquer his fear, but his friend and ex-fiancée Midge Wood says that another severe emotional shock may be the only cure.
An acquaintance from college, Gavin Elster, asks Scottie to follow his wife, Madeleine, claiming that she is in some sort of danger. Scottie reluctantly agrees, and follows Madeleine to a florist where she buys a bouquet of flowers, to the Mission San Francisco de Asís and the grave of one Carlotta Valdes (1831–1857), and to the Legion of Honor art museum where she gazes at the Portrait of Carlotta. He watches her enter the McKittrick Hotel, but on investigation she does not seem to be there.