On a public beach in St. Tropez, Pascal, a bi-sexual young man is found stabbed and sexually mutilated in a manner that has been associated with murders in the Middle East. When the police detective who is in charge of the investigation is also discovered murdered, 77 year old retired soldier, General Pineau, France's head of the Middle East Section of counter espionage is called in to help with the crime.
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In Washington, El Kaffar, the representative of a small Middle Eastern country delivers an ultimatum from his ruthless potentate – to the President of the United States. If the President does not do as he is bid, all oil fields within the Middle Eastern country will be blown up, thus ending all exports and grinding the U. S. to a halt.
Simultaneously, the President of General Motors and his two top executives are negotiating with a genius (whom they have never met) for the design of a ground breaking solar powered car. They are negotiating through messengers.
But the president of America's largest oil company, who sits on the board of General Motors, is determined to use all force, including murder, to stop the development of this automobile. He has traced the messages to the Riviera and sits in a yacht off the coast of St. Tropez plotting (with assistance from the blackmailing potentate) to find and murder this inventor.
When it is found out that Pascal was one of the genius' messengers, the police and General Pineau, along with an elderly Jew working for Israel's Secret Service, begin to untangle the web of deceit and violence.
The genius is the victim of a grenade attack while dining in a luxury hotel; the United States President prepares to invade the Middle Eastern country; and El Kaffar turns out to be a pivotal character.