A story of flying, drug smuggling and murder in the 1920s. Pilot Philip Stenning crashes his aircraft while flying from London to Devon. He is rescued by escaped prisoner Denis Compton, who claims he was sent to prison for embezzlement after being framed by his half-brother, Italian baron Rodrigo Mattani. Owing Compton his life, Stenning agrees to investigate Mattani's illegal activities.
Nevil Shute Norway was born in 1899 in Ealing, London. He studied Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford. Following his childhood passion, he entered the fledgling aircraft industry as an aeronautical engineer working to develop airships and, later, airplanes. In his spare time he began writing and he published his first novel, Marazan, in 1926, using the name Nevil Shute to protect his engineering career. In 1931 he married Frances Mary Heaton and they had two daughters. During the Second World War he joined the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve where he worked on developing secret weapons. After the war he continued to write and settled in Australia where he lived until his death in 1960. His most celebrated novels include Pied Piper (1942), A Town Like Alice (1950), and On the Beach (1957).