Bluffing Mr. ChurchilleBook - 2007
In April 1941, Wolfgang Stahl, an American spy posing as a German SS officer, flees Germany when he senses his cover is blown. To throw the Germans off, he plants his identity papers on the body of a man who died in his house during an air raid. News of Stahl's supposed death is brought to Stahl's supervisor in the SS, who refuses to believe it is actually Stahl until the corpse's hands are brought to him. Dubious, he launches a search for Stahl, who in the meantime has left Germany. News of Stahl's death reaches Calvin “%x;Cal" Cormack, Stahl's liaison in the US State Department. Cormack is instructed to go to London where he will help Special Branch officer Walter Stilton track Stahl down. Unlike the shy, somewhat sheltered Cormack, who is the son of an aristrocratic isolationist congr3ssman, Stilton is a gregarious, cockney-slinging working class Englishman, the father of a large military family that includes a policewoman daughter—%x; the rambunctious, carefree sexpot Kitty, who quickly seduces Cormack when Stilton takes him home for dinner, much to Cormack's comical discomfort.Stilton and Cormack begin their search by focusing on a man who has gone missing off of a Swedish merchant vessel. Things are complicated when they discover that Smulders, another German spy they have been shadowing (presumably sent to London as an assassin), has been killed—%x;choked and thrown down a flight of stairs. Was Smulders sent by the Germans to assassinate Stahl?Stilton goes to his Czech informant Hudge's house to ask him whether he had seen Stahl or the dead spy Smulders that week. Hudge reveals that he saw them at the pub talking to Fish Wally, a Polish engineer who fled the Germans when they invaded Poland and is now working as a police informant of sorts. Fish Wally reveals that Smulders asked him for lodging and he referred him to his cousin, Cash Wally, a boarder, who reveals that Stahl left earlier that day.There is a report that Stahl has been spotted in a flat. Stilton and Cormack go to check it out. While they are scouring the apartment, a man in a black hat charges Stilton, forcing Cormack to fire at the man. It turns out that the man was not Stahl, but a German spy posing as a Brit. Cormack and Stilton hypothesize that he was also sent to kill Stahl. They figure the man's papers were forged in Germany, but that his ration book was counterfeited right in London. They go to the notorious counterfeiter Lawrence Forsyte and pressure him into revealing that he sold the ration book to Fish Wally, who in turn sold the ration book to the German spies, believing they were Czech exiles. Fish Wally also reveals that he suggested that Stahl get a room at the Welsh Widow.Cormack receives a note from Stilton telling him to meet him in the alley behind a pub. When Cormack arrives there, Stilton is dead, shot in the head. The devastated Stilton uses the phone to call the police and Inspector Frederick Troy of Scotland Yard arrives. After Troy leaves the scene, Cormack is taken into custody as a suspect by detective Nailer, a hard-nosed Special Forces goon who is more interested in detaining a suspect for show than in finding the actual killer. Cormack is let off the hook, though, when Troy returns to exhonorate him via a ballistics test that indicates Cormack was not the gunman. Meanwhile Stilton's daughter Kitty, who once carried on an affair with Troy and has been toying with him throughout the book even as she hooks up with Cormack, asks Troy to find her father's killer.Cormack has a run-in with Stahl in the London underground. It turns out that Stilton had tracked Stahl down the night before he died, and that Stilton had intended a meeting between himself, Stahl, and Cormack, hence his note to Cormack inviting him to the alley behind the pub. Stahl watched from the shadows as Stilton was killed, hopeless to intervene. He did not see the face of the killer, but he did see that he was wearing brown shoes much like Cormack'
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Grove Atlantic, 2007
Branch Call Number: EBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Alternative Title: Bluffing Mister Churchill