A modestly effective end-of-the-financial-world thriller involving skulduggery on and off the commodities exchange. When his South African stringer reports that terrorist sabotage has virtually halted gold mining in the world's largest producer, Drew Dumesnil, managing editor of World Commodities News, promptly puts the item on the wire, though he knows it will panic markets around the world. It isn't until after the price of gold has tripled, commodities exchanges have been closed, and bank holidays are being considered that Drew begins to suspect a hoax. The stringer's telex has disappeared along with MacLean, the newsman who received it; Drew's banker friend Hannes Kraml, who's gone to work for shady financier Philip Marcus in Switzerland, reports that Marcus seems to have access to a bottomless supply of gold that allows him to control the market; and first MacLean, then Kraml, turns up dead. But the hoax, as Drew gradually realizes, isn't designed just to enrich a few traders. South Africa and Russia, after under-reporting their production for years, have hatched a plot to drive up the price of gold before releasing their reserves to a hungry market. As Third World countries threaten to bring down the tottering structure of international finance by repudiating their foreign debts, Mark Halden, president of the New York Federal Reserve, prepares his counterthrust: the US will repudiate its foreign debt, ending the reign of the dollar for good. Should Drew report that South African mines are really producing as usual, even if his news leads to financial chaos? Halden's sympathetic and decorative right-hand woman Carol Connors holds his hand while he makes the foregone decision. Tidy plotting, solid background, and a brisk pace make this an appealing debut until the story, along with the gold market, collapses near the end.