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While on vacation in Panama, detective Nick Carter is hired by a large international insurance firm, Llewelyn's of London, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of British merchant ships passing through the Panama Canal. Though he rejects the offer at first, Nick accepts it once he discovers that the lovely Cora Barnes works as a dispatcher for the Morris Shipping Company. Assisted by bee fancier Bartholomew, Nick soon learns that Al Taurez, an American gangster who has moved his operations to Panama, is behind the disappearances. Once a ship is declared missing, Taurez collects the insurance on the ship's falsified cargo. When Nick learns that Cora is engaged to John Ramsell, Jr., the son of a shipping company magnate, he decides to quit the assignment. Nick changes his mind, however, when he receives an anonymous threat instructing him to leave Panama at once or face certain death. Undaunted by the threat, Nick decides to stay. Later, when Nick catches Eddie Anders, one of Taurez' henchmen, in his room, he forces him to admit that Taurez is behind the plot to kill him. Nick soon learns that Cora is unwittingly being used by Taurez to supply him with insurance information on ships passing through the canal, and that Ramsell, Sr., has been coerced into signing indemnity claims for Taurez whenever one of his ships is sunk. In order to get into Taurez' office to search for clues, Nick instructs Bartholomew to pose as a maddened gunman, hold Taurez hostage and insist that he be taken for a walk around the block to calm his trigger-happy nerves. The plan works, and once inside Taurez' office, Nick discovers a remote control detonating device used to send high frequency radio signals that explode bombs hidden in electronic appliances. When Nick activates the device, an explosion rips through the building next door--the explosives lab. Meanwhile, Taurez and his partner, Dr. Grisson, have taken over the Morris Company, and when they attempt to force Franklin Morris to sign an order for Ramsell, Jr., to sail the next ship through the canal, Morris refuses and is stabbed by a someone hidden in the shadows. Ramsell, Jr., is arrested for the murder, but Nick soon unravels the crime web when he forces Taurez aboard the ship as it is about to be exploded. With only moments to spare before Grisson is to detonate the midnight blast, Taurez confesses his crimes to Nick, and he and Grisson are arrested.