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Townrow ​is a 31-year-old Fund Distributor stealing from the fund he is in charge of. He is contacted by the widow of an old friend, Elie Khoury. They had met in 1946, in Port Said in Cairo after he had fallen off a horse in front of the Khoury’s beach hut. Mrs Khoury wants Townrow to go to see her in Cairo because she believes her husband was murdered.
After thinking it through, Townrow accepts Mrs Khoury’s offer of a plane ticket to Cairo. He stops over in Rome where he argues with two men, defending the British Government from its involvement in Nazi Germany’s Final Solution campaign. The discussion ends on a friendly note.
In Cairo, Townrow makes a joke about marrying Mrs Khoury for her money to an immigration officer, which leads his being interrogated. He is kept in a cell and is released once his train has departed. In Port Said, Townrow doesn’t go straightaway to see Mrs Khoury, instead opting to stay in a hotel. Here he considers having no one who really cares about him in his life.
Townrow visits a bar he used to frequent while serving as a sergeant. The owner of the bar, Christous, recognises him and kicks out his clientele for some privacy. Townrow asks about Elie’s death. Christous tells him that Mrs Khoury, with great difficulty, took her husband’s body back to Lebanon to be buried. Because of her actions, Colonel Nasser took the Suez Canal as Egypt’s.

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