Beautiful Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) is found shot and killed in her apartment. Hard-nosed Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is assigned as the lead investigator on the case. As he gets into the investigation, he learns that all of the men in her life were in love with her including her fiancé Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), and the women either loved her as a person or were envious of the attention she received from men. As he questions the suspects and witnesses, reads her diary and private letters, and most importantly stares at the large portrait of her that hangs over her mantle, he falls under the spell of Laura. Three days into the investigation, someone walks through Laura's apartment door that changes the focus of the investigation and answers some nagging questions on McPherson's part, but also adds one more person to the long list of suspects.