Richard Hannay’s boredom with London society is soon relieved when the resourceful engineer from South Africa is caught up in a web of secret codes, spies, and murder on the eve of WWI. When a neighbor is killed in his flat, Richard, suspected, decodes the journal, runs to the wilds of his native Scotland in disguises and local dialects, evades Germans and officials.
The man, named Franklin P. Scudder, is a freelance spy, and reveals that he has faked his own death. Scudder claims to be following a ring of German spies called the Black Stone who are trying to steal British plans for the outbreak of war. Hannay, convinced of his honesty, lets Scudder hide in his flat. Police discover the fake suicide and suspect nothing, but Hannay finds Scudder murdered in his flat a few days later nonetheless. Feeling now part of the plot, Hannay takes up Scudder's encoded notebook and escapes his apartment by disguising himself as the milkman one day.
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