Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Richard Hannay, a mining engineer, has returned to England after having made a modest fortune in South Africa. Before long, he finds that he is very bored with the conversations and actions of the English people he meets. He has almost decided to return to South Africa when a strange series of events begins. One day, as he is unlocking the door of his flat, he is startled by the sudden appearance of Franklin Scudder, another tenant in the building. Scudder, obviously badly frightened, begs Hannay to give him refuge in his flat. Hannay lets him in, and after the two men are settled comfortably, Scudder tells Hannay a fantastic tale. He says that a plot to start a war between England and Germany is under way. The Greek premier, Constantine Karolides, the only really strong leader in Europe, is scheduled to visit London on June 15. The assassination of Karolides during the visit will suffice as an excuse for the declaration of war.
Scudder tells Hannay that the members of a group called the Black Stone are the agents arranging for the assassination. They know that Scudder has learned of their plot, and they have tried several times to kill him. He has planted a body in his flat, hoping that the murderers will think the body his. He asks Hannay to let him stay with him until plans can be made to prevent the assassination.
Impressed by the sincerity with which Scudder tells his story, Hannay gives him sanctuary. Soon after, he returns to his flat...
(The entire section is 1219 words.)
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