Charles Rankin is a professor in a respectable Connecticut town about to marry the daughter of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. But his name is fake and his past is filthy. An earnest convert to Christianity, who once ran a Nazi concentration camp, is capable of exposing him. So "Rankin" kills this little old man and buries his body in the forest. But he isn't safe because an investigator from the War Crimes Commission is on his tail. Rankin will need his own wife to help him elude capture. But his fascination with the local clock tower may prove his undoing.