The Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn

The Hour of the Cat_It is 1939 and Fintan Dunn, is a PI, struggling to find work in New York City. He had a great lead on a divorce case; a woman wanted him to catch her husband in flagrante delicto in order to improve her case for divorce. But alas, just that morning his potential client was found, literally, holding a smoking gun at her husband who was dead lying next to his hysterical nubile lover. So maybe that is why when he met the beautiful Miss Elba Corado in his office, he actually listens to her request to help exonerate her brother, Walter Grillo, who was convicted of rape and murder and is now serving time on death row. Usually he wouldn’t have given her the time of day. People who think their relatives are innocent are a dime a dozen, but there was something about Miss Corado and her story that made Fintan a bit curious.

Across the ocean in Germany, Adolf Hitler is consolidating his power.  Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, as head of Military Intelligence, has discovered a group of Wehrmacht officers who are plotting a coup against Hitler, something Canaris is duty bound to report to the head of the Gestapo, Rudolph Heydrich. But Canaris is reluctant to report the conspiracy, especially as he sees more and more of Hitler’s volatile nature and claims of destiny. Things might have stayed in this uneasy equilibrium indefinitely, but Canaris soon discovers another plot, this time on foreign soil and it is so provocative and dangerous that he is forced to act.

How these very disparate story lines come together is what makes this book so interesting. Based loosely on historical facts, this book fleshes out the period before World War II, giving us insights on the significant events leading up to the war. Quinn really knows his history and he seems equally at home talking about what happened in New York or Germany. He also does an excellent job in fleshing out his characters so that we can see both their strengths and weaknesses as well as their motivations. Their dilemmas seem real and the choices they must make are in some cases extraordinary.  Fintan Dunn is quite an interesting character, who although initially seems almost  like a caricature of the strong silent PIs of the movies, quickly becomes more nuanced as we learn about his service in WWI and the intelligence work he did during that time. If you are interested in history, particularly of this time period, this is a fascinating read!

Brenda’s Rating ***1/2 (3 1/2 out of 5 Stars

Recommend this book to: Ken and Marian

Book Study Worthy? Yes

Read in ebook format.

This entry was posted in Detective novel, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Series, Spy/Covert Operatives, Thriller and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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