The race to win an electrical competition incites Professor Benjamin Bradshaw's obsession for invention. The contest winner's telephonic system will deliver music of the Seatlle Grand Theater to homes throughout the city, and Bradshaw is confident he can win. But he is diverted by a peddler and a child gone missing. When Bradshaw discovers that the peddler's child may have witnessed a murder, he follows her trail, which takes him to the Seattle waterfront and into the seedy underworld of bars and brothels. Frustrated by the police department's apathy and caught between power struggles, he doesn't know whom to trust. Each step of his investigation entangles him deeper in crime and corruption until he realizes that, to save the peddler's child, he must transform his contest entry into a trap to catch a killer.