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At a society gathering in the home of Mrs. Brookfield, detective Craig Kennedy tells the story of one of his unsolved cases--the mysterious poison murder of Mrs. Franklin Ward. Although Kennedy had discovered that the suspect, Mary Wayne (later, Kennedy's fiancée), had administered the poison under the hypnotic influence of Prince Hamid, that East Indian mystic slipped out of the hands of the police and is still at large. It soon becomes apparent that Kennedy's story is part of a strategem to expose and capture Prince Hamid, who is at the party in the guise of Count Sebastian Domingo de Navarre, and whose forearm scar provides proof of Kennedy's identification. Kennedy also relates how he exposed a seance rigged by Hamid for the benefit of Franklin Ward, who sought contact with his deceased son.