Paul Sherman of Interpol’s Narcotics Bureau lands at Schiphol Airport. As far as he is aware no one but Jimmy Duclos knows of his arrival in Amsterdam. Duclos is there to meet him-and four men are there to meet Duclos. Sherman has to recognize that the gang of heroin smugglers he was out to smash know his movements as well as he does. Backed by Amsterdam’s police, Sherman tries to outwit the genius behind the drug ring, a master-puppeteer who knows how to manipulate the underworld so that his own tracks are obliterated at every step.
The action moves from the back streets of Amsterdam to a barge on the Zuider Zee, from an island whose inhabitants specialize in making costumed puppets, to the crypt of a missionary sect’s church. Not until the very last minute is the master-puppeteer revealed — and by then he is in possession of a puppet of such value and beauty that it taxes all Sherman’s ingenuity and courage to prevent this-one, too, from swinging on a grisly chain . . .