Richard Hannay was born in Scotland but had been leaving and working for 20 years in Africa. At the age of thirty-seven he returned to Britain as enough rich and happy young man. The events of the novel took place when Europe was on the threshold of the First World War. Meanwhile Richard became a neighbour with Franklin P. Scudder. It turned out Franklin was an American journalist who was writing about politics. He had managed to scout out the German spies plans as for hostilities outbreak. Every day Franklin told him some pieces of the stories and made certain notes into his black notebook. Although Richard was not interested in politics, he was just delighted with the journalist's adventures. One evening our hero discovered his neighbour dead. Obliviously, Franklin passed the baton to Richard.