A man is murdered in a phone booth on Waterloo station while Simon Templar is making a call. But before his death he has managed to slip a mysterious package of "Miracle Tea" into the bag of a young nurse who works at the naval base at Portland. Now the Saint wants to know why.
In Paris, the Saint attends a reception for the dictatorial Oriental Stateswoman Madame Chen, who owns a priceless pearl necklace.He recognizes her personal assistant as Jeannine Roger, a lady who has, in the past, been a thief, although she assures the Saint that she has now reformed. An attempt is made to steal the pearls but the thief is a poor Chinese who wants to sell them to help his starving people and the Saint covers for him. Now the Saint has a dual task - to help this man and to thwart Jeannine, who, he is sure, is NOT a reformed character.
Petty crook Long Harry is murdered after telling the Saint that he has been paid to steal documents for blackmail purposes by a villain known as the Scorpion. The Saint follows the blackmail victim to the Bird's Nest club where he is to make his payment but Patsy,the girl who accepts the money, is herself later attacked and crippled and the Saint is sent a package containing a large scorpion. Patsy sends a message to the Saint that she has a telephone number which will hopefully lead to the exposure of the Scorpion.
In a South American republic the Saint meets an American couple, Doris and Sherm Inkler, whom he believes to be gun runners. However they tell him that they are hoping to swindle the Enriquez brothers, vicious would-be revolutionaries according to the local police chief, by selling them boxes of lead with only a few real guns for examination. The Saint agrees to help the Inklers pull off their deception in return for a third of the profits whilst, at the same time, wondering if they can be trusted.
The Saint is approached by yet another damsel in distress, this time Madeline Gray who tells him that her father has invented a chemical called Process G, which she believes his business associate Hobart Quennel is out to steal. Quennel explains that the invention is worthless but the Saint is unconvinced particularly when Gray disappears and later Madeline is herself kidnapped, both by Quennel. With the help of Quennel's daughter the Saint goes to his house where he forces Quennel, at gunpoint, to admit that if Process G is manufactured he will be ruined. But one of ...
In the Australian outback the Saint tricks two greedy and quarrelsome brothers into repaying their old father money that they have long owed him when he tempts them with the offer of shares in a silver mine.
The Saint helps Chief Inspector Teal find out why business-man Lewis Enstone willingly put a gun to his head and shot himself, given that, despite several complications in his life, he had no cause to feel suicidal. The one clue is his love of novelty toys.
Whilst in the South of France the Saint meets Laura Stride and her apparently respectable father, as well as crossing swords with Abdul Osman,a member of the local crime syndicate, the Latini, of which the boss, unbeknown to his daughter, is Stride himself. A power struggle begins between the two men to be head of the Latini, in the course of which Osman kidnaps Laura and holds her as a hostage on his yacht. Yet again it is a case of the Saint to the rescue as he goes to free Laura and ensures that the villains of the piece pay the death penalty.
Married politician Christopher Waites is being black-mailed over an extra-marital affair but his black-mailers do not seek money. They want access to an important speech which Waites is going to deliver to the Prime Minister. The Saint sets a trap, deliberately leaving the speech exposed, to flush out Waites' black-mailer.
The Saint is in Munich for the Oktoberfest when a friend of his, American Army Sergeant Henry Johns, is killed whilst trying to stop an armed robbery at his base. Unbeknown to him, Mathilde Baum, whom he believed to be his girl-friend, was actually part of the gang, using her friendship with him to gain insider information. Furthermore, she is now getting cosy with another American soldier, Sergeant Pargo, who was a friend of Johns. He teams up with the Saint to go after the hi-jackers and avenge their dead buddy.
In Puerto Rico the Saint meets a young woman called Tristan Brown, who is there to bestow funds upon needy people on behalf of the charity which employs her. She is trying to find someone help her allocate the money and considers Elmer Quire, who is well-known as a local philanthropist. However, the Saint finds out that Quire is a fraud and that in fact he is dishonest and greedy. Given that 'Tristan' is also a man's name the Saint pretends that he is Tristan Brown and approaches Quire with a plan that will fleece him of his ill-gotten gains and re-distribute them to ...
The Saint is approached by Italian restaurateur Domenick Naccaro and his family. Domenick's daughter Maria has had a baby by a fraudster called Rolfieri, who promised to marry her but fled the country back to Italy having embezzled vast sums of money. The Saint follows him to Florence along with Maria's brother Allessandro, and, under an alias, takes a job with him. Before long, however, the Saint's cover is blown and he finds himself - not for the first time - in a very perilous position, in a car with cut brakes hurtling down a hillside.
The Saint is the victim of an attempted hit-and-run, the driver being a man called Farnberg. Some years earlier he was an airman at an American air-base and he was involved in a robbery there. He was sent to prison but the spoils of the robbery were never found. Now he is out of jail and looking for the money.The Saint is saved by a man called Dunstan, who was the chief security guard at the base when the robbery happened and he and the Saint team up to get to the loot before Farnberg.
The Saint interrupts an armed robbery and is told by Chief Inspector Teal that the gang in question are responsible for similar crimes and are building up to a last big job. A hit is put out on the Saint to prevent any further attempts on his part to foil the gang, and, as he entertains a young lady in his apartment, a man with a telescopic rifle takes aim at him from a house opposite.
In Germany the Saint saves a young girl, Julia, from what appears to be an accident but is an attempt on her life by Charles Voyson, a man who swindled her father out of £250,000 and is planning to change his identity. Voyson feigns illness and is taken to a clinic run by an accomplice, Dr. Schreiber, who informs Julia and the Saint that Voyson has just died. In fact he is very much alive and about to jump onto a train. The Saint and Julia follow him but she is captured by Voyson and held hostage in his compartment. The Saint climbs along the carriages to save her.
The Saint is in Malaya, working for the British government to locate a local terrorist gang who have killed a friend of his. He stays at a farm owned by Don Morland and his daughter Jean and finds that they are being threatened to leave by a neighbour called Valmon. When the Morlands refuse the farm is attacked and Jean is abducted. The Saint must rescue her and unmask the leader of the terrorists who goes by the Sign of the Claw.
In South America the Saint meets two swindlers, Alice Nestor and her father. They show him a golden statue of a frog, claiming it is one of many such icons of the sacred frogs of the Incas and request that the Saint backs their expedition to find others. The Saint pretends to co-operate but plants some fake gold of his own to turn the tables on the swindlers, only to discover that they are also gun-runners for local revolutionaries.
The Saint is summoned to a remote inn in Cornwall by Julia Jeffroll, although, when he arrives, it is clear that her father, the inn-keeper, though telling him that there is nothing wrong, is actually very scared, especially of three male guests at his inn. Julia tells the Saint that she hears strange noises at night and has overheard the men boast about coming into money very soon. Then the Saint discovers that there is a tunnel being built in the cellar with an underground rail-track. He decides to investigate.
On the island of Haiti, noted for voodoo, the Saint meets the beautiful Sibao, a mystical young woman, and her fiance, Theron Netlord, a young Englishman who is entranced by voodoo and is marrying Sibao purely to learn its secrets and gain power for himself. The Saint accepts an invitation to dinner with Netlord and finds himself in danger.
Betty Tregarth is forced to go with a group of men led by Bernhard Raxel. Earlier Chief Inspector Teal had told the Saint that he suspects Raxel of planning the 'crime of the century', having killed an undercover officer planted by Teal for more details. Betty works at a research plant perfecting nerve gas and Raxel has kidnapped her brother as security for her cooperation. He wants to employ nerve gas in a robbery to steal the plates and paper from the Bank of England's printing house. Teal intercepts one of the safe-crackers Raxel intends to use in the raid and ...
Television host Ziggy Zaglan has a jovial public image but is really a very unpleasant man who owes his success to the clever writing skills of his adopted brother, Paul. Paul is visited by James McCleary, a man who claims that Ziggy was responsible for his sister's death by drowning, and the next morning Paul is found dead by hanging. The assumption is that he killed himself but the Saint is not convinced and sets out to find the murderer.