The French Riviera, 1956.
A world-weary Bernie Gunther is working under a false name as a hotel concierge when his past walks through the door. Harold Hennig was responsible for the deaths of thousands, among them a woman Bernie loved.
Hennig plans to blackmail the famous writer Somerset Maugham. On a visit to Maugham’s magnificent villa, Bernie learns of a compromising photograph that reveals far more about Maugham’s life than just his notorious sexuality. Hennig is demanding $50,000 for the photograph’s release.
Bernie is reluctant to become Maugham’s agent but his former life has made him as vulnerable to blackmail as Maugham himself. And he can’t pass up this chance to revenge himself on Hennig.