WINSLOW GREENE, a shy and likable young American geologist in the employ of the Boca Grande mine in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, comes down to the coast town of Santa Rosa on the first leg of a dangerous gold-prospecting trip into the interior. At the hotel he runs into Milton Bird, metallurgist from Boca Grande, who had come down to Santa Rosa a week before on some complicated business which the geologist has forgotten. Bird, a handsome, self-assured man, is drinking heavily. He mentions that a British destroyer on the trail of a German raider lurking off the canal has been in. . . .
At the ship, Winslow meets Miss Simpson, a beautiful blond girl wearing expensive clothes. . . .