A man awakens in a hospital to realize that he remembers nothing about who he is or what has happened to him. Then he overhears a nurse and policeman talking. Someone has killed a policeman. Thinking they are talking about him, he escapes in the outfit of a fireman.
We soon learn that the escaping man is Albert Campion. Although he is picked up outside the hospital by his fiancée Amanda, he soon realizes that something important is happening and everyone is looking to him for instruction. He must stop something from happening, but he doesn’t know what.
This mystery, which is set during World War II, has to do with a plot to destroy the foundations of the country. All Campion knows is that it involves the mysterious Institute of Bridge, an organization called the Masters, and the number 15.
In this novel, we understand a little more about Campion’s thinking, precisely because he’s not behaving in character. I believe he is normally supposed to be somewhat inscrutable, because he’s frequently described as “wooden-faced.” Because of the unique situation of the novel, it is truly suspenseful.