RANSOMED Baron Henri de Mortelart, head of a vast French international mining conglomerate, is kidnapped while holidaying in the South of France by a suave American gangster and his beautiful partner in crime, who demand a ransom of ten million dollars for his release. Arrangements are in hand to meet the complicated terms and conditions demanded for the payment, but these are temporarily disrupted when Henri's daughter Maxine is involved in a car crash, so police want to contact him as next of kin, his mistress threatens to inform the press of his disappearance, and his brother Maurice develops a taste for power and surreptitiously throws a further spanner in the works to delay matters and turn the situation to his advantage. Then, when finally the way seems clear for the payment to be effected, a forest fire devastates the property where Henri is being held, and his captors have to flee. But will Henri survive, or will he be left to be burnt alive with no one the wiser, and all traces of his captivity conveniently erased, as his kidnappers hope? Who, though, was responsible in the first place for his kidnapping? Who, apart from his captors, was to benefit from it? A business associate? One of his employees? His brother? Maurice's brassy mistress, whose father has mafia connections or, as his step-father suspects, Henri's current girl friend, who knew all his movements and could tell the kidnappers exactly when and where to seize him without any one the wiser? And what of the American socialite and his beautiful partner in crime who masterminded the operation? Will they collect and get away with the ransom money as planned?