Scotland Yard’s Sergeant Troy returns in a WWII thriller praised as an absorbing blend of espionage and detection” (The Denver Post).
It is 1941. Wolfgang Stahl, an American spy operating undercover as an SS officer, has just fled Germany with Hitler’s henchmen on his trail. Stahl’s man in the American embassy, the shy and sheltered Calvin M. Cormack, is teamed with a boisterous MI5 officer, Walter Stilton, to find the spy and bring him to safety. Their investigation takes them across war-torn London, and in Cormack’s case, into the arms of Kitty, his partner’s rambunctious daughter. As Cormack and Stilton close in on Stahl, bodies begin turning up—and the duo realize they may not be the only ones in pursuit of the spy.
When his partner is suddenly murdered, Cormack must turn to the ingenious devices of his lover Kitty’s old flame—Sergeant Troy of Scotland Yard. Together, they investigate the trail of murders and come to a horrifying realization: Cormack and his spy are being played by one of their own in the American embassy.
“The blend of Lawton’s fictional creations with real characters like Churchill . . . produces a rich and juicy montage that throbs with life.” —Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune
In this stimulating prequel to Lawton's acclaimed Inspector Troy series (Black Out; Old Flames; etc.), London is in the middle of the blitz and 25-year-old Freddie Troy is a Scotland Yard sergeant, chafing at the limits of his post. As the novel begins, he is relegated to the background, the focus instead on a gawky American named Calvin Cormack, who has come to London to help find and debrief Wolfgang Stahl, a top aide to Hitler's SS chief, Heydrich, and a spy for the Americans who has been forced to flee Germany for England to avoid capture, carrying with him plans for the imminent German invasion of Russia. The seriously spooked Stahl disappears into the vast underground system of bombed-out London, accessible only to Walter Stilton, a wonderfully bluff old copper. Calvin (whose father is a U.S. senator working with Charles Lindbergh and the America First group to keep the U.S. out of the war) is quickly absorbed into the large Stilton family, winning the affections of oldest daughter Kitty, also a police officer. Kitty, as it happens, was previously involved with Freddie Troy (and hasn't given him up entirely); Freddie's ties to the family and Calvin become more complicated when tragedy strikes and Freddie is drawn into the search for Stahl. Lawton meshes comedy and suspense with skill and energy, and seamlessly mixes fictional creations with real characters like H.G. Wells, newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill and distant cousin Robert Churchill (a talented gunsmith who plays a key role here), producing a distinctive, vigorous novel of wartime suspense.