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The first significant event in The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene actually occurs before the start of the narrative. Arthur Rowe, the protagonist, had given his wife poison to help her die when she was suffering from an incurable disease. Within the Roman Catholic ethical system to which Greene subscribes this is simultaneously humane and a mortal sin, and Rowe experiences a great deal of guilt over it.
Next, Rowe visits a fair and at the fair, Rowe wins a cake as a prize, but the cake actually contains a secret microfilm belonging to Nazi spies. The next major event is the spies trying to poison Rowe and then trying to kill him with a bomb. Next, Rowe develops amnesia and wakes up in a nursing home. Eventually, he partially recovers his memory, and then has a climactic confrontation with Willi Hilfe, the leader of the Nazi spy ring.
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