Deathwatch '39

Jack Gerson, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (344p) ISBN 978-0-312-05412-0
Methodical in his Teutonic manner but also acutely sensitive, former Berlin police department inspector Ernst Lohmann ( Death's Head Berlin ) again demonstrates his sleuthing skills in this third adventure. The early days of WW II find Lohmann a refugee in London, about to be interred as an enemy alien. Instead he is offered an undercover assignment by Scotland Yard and the first lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill: to watch over Capt. Robert Pardoe, the naval officer in charge of a crucial mission in Washington, and make sure that Pardoe, a suspect in the deaths of two prostitutes, does not murder again. Once in the U.S., Lohmann is threatened by a rabid J. Edgar Hoover, who accuses him of being a Communist. Following Pardoe to New Orleans where the latter plans to meet a physics professor vital to the British mission, Lohmann finds himself and Pardoe suspects in the professor's murder. They are arrested by a redneck sheriff and narrowly escape lynching by the KKK. Lohmann begins to feel that the naval officer has been unfairly accused, but then Pardoe is found at the scene of another murder. Gerson's plot has several more surprises, however, and a gripping, poignant denouement closes Lohmann's best outing to date. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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