After further washing they head to the front of the boat with Sarah for the ball. The ballroom is lit by crystal candlabras and has an imaculate wooden dance floor. Waiters thrust glasses of wine into everyone's hands, Mirriam thrusts back. Amongst the attendies are the Meldewd's, the Forsyth-Roxbury's, Gemma, Louise, a local musical star, Sarif el Fazir and three of his sons and the German ambassador and his younger, blond, wife. A bunch of crotechety, bearded, racist, colonial Rhodesians are getting drunk in a corner. Sarah and Samuel talk to the Captain and learn that only by luck was the catering staff replaced after an out break of food poisoning. Mirriam and Francois get caught by an American travel journalist and Francois starts rabbiting on about eygptology.
The dancing starts - Sarah looks out Quentin but is soon grabbed by Ramon in a slick interchange. Mirriam dances with Francois and then one of the el Fazirs. Defanuh slinks off to check out the new cooks' quarters. They're on the lowest deck next to the stores and luggage. Someone seems to have been opening some of the hunting rifle chests but nothing else is amiss.
The dancing stops for the national anthem during which Louise and boyfriend slip outside and so does the German ambassador. The moment the anthem stops The Rhodesians slip out with a bottle of wine - suspecting somehting amiss Ramon watches them head up to the front top deck. Samuel begins his speech - "blah blah.. reviving old colonial traditions.. blah blah". It is dull and too long but thankfully interrupted by a scream from outside. Then "man over board".
Ramon races to the back of the boat, past the kissing couple of Louise and lover, feeling a worrying jolt in the motion of the paddle wheel. A young naval lad is running from the back of the boat towards him putting his shirt on - he stops to vomit over the side. When questioned he runs below.
At the back the sailor who called out is explaining that whoever it was seems to have been hit by the paddle wheel. Ramon joins a group putting the lifeboat into the water - inside the boat is a blanket and half empty bottle of wine. They row out and recover a body - the German ambassador! - much mangled by the paddle wheel.
Meanwhile the Captain has confined as many people as he can to the ballroom while he does a head count. Samuel is huffing and puffing ineffectively. When he leaves to investigate Mirriam and Sarah stride after him. Defanuh takes up position to watch the recovered body. In one pocket is a master key to the ship's rooms! The Captain says that the ambassador lost his key so he gave him the master... but he also has his room key in the same pocket.
Mirriam checks out the rusty version of the ship in the Shadows but there's no sign of a ghost. Ramon returns to the ballroom (noting the return of the Rhodesians) and spreads the rumour that something might have been stolen from somebody's cabin - the party disperses but nobody has obviously had their cabin broken into. Defanuh checks out the cooks - below the kitchen three new staff are in turmoil - "what shall we do now?" "return to work we mustn't appear involved" - ah ha! They go back to the kitchen and make souffle. They whisper to meet in the kitchen at 3am.
Sarah takes the German ambassador's wife tea (bringing her cat, Mirriam, along too). She doesn't seem as upset as she might but she's putting on a good show. Mirriam pokes around the ambassadors documents - low scale intelligence for the German government but nothing directly incriminating.
Ramon finds the shirtless lad he met on the deck staggering out of a toilet looking very pale in the army quarters below deck. He hides in bed but Ramon insists on talking. The lad, Mark, claims to have seen the body hit the paddle wheel but doesn't know anything else. Ramon suggests he was in the lifeboat with a woman and he bursts into tears but sticks to his flimsy story.
The cats exchange data and Defanuh goes to watch the Mark below. He sees him sneek over to the bunk of Niall, the man who shouted the alert. It becomes clear that they are lovers! Defanuh attempts to forcibly question Niall after Mark has gone but Niall shouts an alarm. Now everyone thinks the murderer has tried to silence Niall for being a witness and the captain has Niall put in a guarded cabin. Ramon quickly finds Mark (Sarah and Mirriam are in shock that two men could do that ) leading him to think Niall has been arrested. Mark is beside himself and pretty soon it dawns on the cats that Niall and Mark killed the ambassador to hide up their love affair.
The English women want to tell the Captain all, Defanuh is less concerned about immoral relationships but thinks murderers should get their rightful comeupance. Ramon thinks this is all a bit harsh and suggests that they shouldn't tell on them until after they've worked out the cooks' role.
At 3am the cooks meet in the kitchen under the watchful gaze of four cats. The talk about "doing it anyway, for Eygpt!". When they go to get guns below Defanuh strikes with a little aid from the others. Under interrogation they are revealed as nationalists who were going to kidnap the governors daughter with the aid of the key that the German ambassador would have provided if he hadn't been killed. The cats set it up so the crew come running at Sarah and Mirriam's cries and think they were attacked while grabbing a late night snack! Suddenly there are more cries above deck - Mark has jumped overboard and swum off.
Everyone gathers bemused in the ballroom and Samuel tries to get a medicinal whiskey down the poor victims but Mirriam is having non of it. Ramon can't resist the Poirot role and leaps up and explains all dramatically. "Good Lord!" says Samuel. Everyone retires to bed with the promise of a relaxing river cruise the next day.
In the morning Ramon and Defanuh return to the felucca for the hunt. Gemma, Mirriam and Sarah gather with Samuel. He shows them the Lilly Queen , his motorboat with a large smoke stack and frilly canvas roof. They hop in, Samuel revs her up and they head out to the middle of the swamp where he makes an opening speech. Nobody else can hear a thing he says but eventually he fires his rifle and the hunt is underway.
Mayhem soon breaks out on the banks closest to Baquar Isle as hoards of boats make for the few crocs in easy sight. Arguments and gun shots break out. The felucca sets sail for the temple the cats found the previous day. Samuel steers around the lake and finally follows the British troops to watch their hunting.
The hippo pack is in a lagoon nearby the temple and the intrepid hunters work their way through mud and over half submerged trees to points from which they can get at the white backed hippo. Defanuh hurls a harpoon tagging it to a tree and the others let off several rounds. It is badly injured and lurches off after the rest of the herd that is fleeing. More shots and its brought down in a thick mud pool.
Meanwhile a croc that got away from the soldiers swims towards the Lilly Queen and Samuel can't resist a shot. He fires! The croc goes still in the water so samuel steers over to collect his prize. As the boat bumps it it comes to life and rocks the boat covering everything in water before swimming off. The boats motor has been soaked and doesn't work anymore. Drat! One of the soldier's boats comes over and Quentin comes aboard to fix the motor. He's quite skilled but concludes that the motor parts need to dry out and poles across to a tree by the bank to moor at.
Defanuh wades into the waist deep mud to rope up the dead hippo. Suddenly the mud beneath him gives and he and the small tree he grabs disappear under water. Ramon leaps into try to save him. Defanuh is beneath the tree with thick mud all around when he kicks out and something gives again. All the mud suddenly drains into the ground taking cats, hippo and tree with it. They're in an underground room. The swamp has claimed it but a passage way leads off and warbling screeching chants echo down it.
On the Lilly Queen they spot a pillar inland and everyone but Gemma wades through the mud to look. It has a prayer to Sebek on it. Suddenly two crocs attack. Samuel and Quentin bravely face them down firing all the weapons they have. One still comes on and hurls Samuel against the pillar. Quentin bayonets it then ends up rolling around on the floor with it. Mirriam steps in with a piece of wood but whacks Quentin by mistake! The croc seems to be in its last death throws. Quentin is bleeding but waves off aid. Samuel is concussed.
Defanuh and Ramon investigate the passage which comes out above a temple dominated by a mud effigy of Sebek and crococdile breeding pools. Twenty naked mud covered cultists are chanting for Sebek's rebirth through the recreation of his true name or some such.
Gemma screams back at the Lilly Queen and Quentin charges off to help. Mirriam and Sarah help Samuel back top the boat but the other two are gone. Their footprints and those of others, barefoot, lead off. They follow. At one point Quentin's footprints separate from the others - they continue after Gemma. She is being dragged into a temple by cultists! They follow into the temple and down some steps.
Gemma is dragged in a swoon into the temple for sacrifice. Suddenly Quentin comes crashing down the stairs delerious and maoning about saving Sarah (even walking straight past her!). He bursts into the temple gun blasting. Defanuh and Ramon join in from above and the cultists flee or cower. Mirriam rushes out and grabs Gemma (pausing to scrawl a curse to those who don't respect Osiris in heiroglyphs). Quentin collapses and everyone flees.
Samuel has recovered and rebuilds the motor which fires to life. They take the hunters back to their hippo (which Hassan has skinned) and then takes the girls back home. Defanuh and Ramon return home with side trips to kill a small and a large croc. Everyone takes a bath on the Nile Queen.
Sarah visits the recuperating Quentin and feeds him some soup. Then she makes a quick retreat before the love struck hero can say anything she'd regret. Samuel declares Ramon the winner of the 100 pound prize for twice saving his daughter. The steamer sails back to Cairo where the cats hang the hippo skin on the wall of their favourite bar.