Bianca Castafiore travels to San Theodoros to give a concert. She is arrested by General Tapioca’s authorities on a trumped up charge. Tintin, Haddock and Calculus are determined to rescue their friend and along the way, they end up helping General Alcazar plan a coup to snatch power back from his rival.
The story revolves around a number of supposed thefts and a missing emerald. The opera singer Bianca Castafiore invites herself to stay at Marlinspike Hall, causing Captain Haddock to panic and have an accident that prevents him from escaping!
Tintin finds himself on the trail of international arms dealers. He tracks down a man smuggling military aircraft; the crook turns out to be Dawson, the corrupt ex-police chief who used to be responsible for the International Concession in Shanghai (see The Blue Lotus). But there are more surprises to come!
Professor Calculus has invented a machine capable of destroying objects with sound waves. It has already come to the attention of the Bordurian secret services, who will stop at nothing to steal it. When their plans are foiled, they simply kidnap the Professor and take him to Borduria!
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