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In World War II, a British officer, Captain Roberts, and two of his men, Adams and Brodie, are captured in Burma by the Japanese. Both Adams and Brodie endure the severance of their right hands rather than divulge secret information to the enemy, but the captain gives in, thereby saving his own hand. In contemporary London, the amputation of an alcoholic's hand and his subsequent abduction and murder are investigated by police detectives Pollitt and Munyard. Tracing the murder victim to the Allin House Nursing Home, the detectives discover that the amputation was performed by Dr. Simon Crawshaw. The surgeon, however, is murdered during the inquiry, as is Brodie, who had been hounding Roberts for his wartime capitulation. Aided by Adams and Brodie's brother Noel, the investigators pursue the murderer. Fleeing across a railroad trestle, Roberts stumbles, and a speeding train severs his hand.