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Because of his knowledge of ancient languages, David Pollock, an American professor visiting Oxford, becomes the key figure in deciphering a secret message written in hieroglyphics. First, he is kidnaped by the prime minister of a Middle Eastern nation who asks him to spy on oil magnate Beshraavi in the interest of world peace. Then, while visiting Beshraavi's home, Pollock meets Yasmin Azir, Beshraavi's mistress, who warns him that his life is in danger and helps him escape through the London zoo. Pollock hides the secret message before being captured by Yussef, another conspirator who seems to have a proprietary interest in Yasmin. Once more eluding his captors, Pollock runs into Yasmin, but, unable to figure out which group of spies she is with, he refuses to trust her. However, when both of them are attacked by Yussef and his henchmen, Pollock decides to work with her against Beshraavi. They decipher the cryptogram and learn that the prime minister is about to be assassinated while making a speech at the London airport. Despite their frantic efforts to save him, the man is shot down by Beshraavi. Yasmin then reveals that she is a spy for the real prime minister and that the murdered man was merely one of Beshraavi's employees. The real minister has been kidnaped to prevent him from making a speech denouncing Beshraavi's oil interests. Pollock and Yasmin succeed in rescuing the minister; but as they flee across the open countryside, Beshraavi pursues them in a helicopter. Pollock outwits him by hurling a steel ladder into the aircraft's propeller blades, and Beshraavi crashes to his death. Yasmin decides to retire from international intrigue and follow Pollock back to the peaceful life at Oxford.