The downgrade from meticulous petty thievery to murder in the life and crimes of Thomas Bates. There's Grace Pickering, whose life he saves and who rewards him with an affection he avoids until he finds out about her savings account which he can only disengage through marriage. His next victim, a man, he is forced to kill. He marries again, for a dowry in jewels, but returns to Grace until he disposes of her with greater finality. But when his last enterprise, marriage to a wealthy woman whom he removes from an asylum, ends in suicide, his innocence of the crime is invalidated by the past. An unsavory study which is precise in pathology and cold in ridicule.