The writer Morton Screw travels to Venice to meet his idol's former lover, Jeffery Aspern. Julian Bordero lives there reclusive life together with the unmarried niece Tina. A man just wants to take possession of her correspondence with her lover. For the sake of these letters, he can even go on an affair with Tina, if necessary. Upon arrival, the writer decides to rent a few rooms from the women in order to gain confidence. In an effort to avoid suspicion, he seems to be an American traveler who dreams of renting a house with a garden, which is quite rare for a city on the water.
Morton is looking forward to meeting with the elderly mistress, but she turns out to be an evil and greedy old woman. It requires a lot of money for rent. The writer can only agree. Soon the niece begins to like their new tenant. One day they both go for a walk, during which the girl talks about the cherished letters. Screw asks them to kidnap and hand him over to him, but she disagrees, fearing to betray his aunt. Then he learns that the grandmother wanted to burn the correspondence, and a relative prevented her from doing so. Suddenly, the girl confesses to Morton in love. He turns out to be completely unprepared for such a development of events.