Cleverly using Pinkerton agents to investigate crimes in various locales, Satterthwait sets this third installment of the Phil Beaumont and Jane Turner mystery series in post-World War I Germany. Germany is shattered and Hitler is slowly gaining popularity. An assassination attempt on his life brings the team of agents to Germany to investigate. They are soon saddled with a list of suspects, real and fictitious, some of whom are close to the Nazi leader.
If you can buy the premise that Hitler would resort to a foreign agency to uncover who is behind the attempted murder, and are willing to abide a tendency to name-drop, you will enjoy this mystery. The complex setting of 1923 Germany is exploited nicely by the author: the highlighting of Hitler’s rise from his popular roots in Bavaria, the state of the German people after the war, and their reactions, pro and con, to Hitler, the political maneuverings of the “reds,” and the extreme right. Told from dual viewpoints, Phil’s first person account and Jane’s letters to a friend, the book is well-structured and contains some splendid passages like Hitler’s speech to a crowd. While it may be difficult to consider Hitler neutrally, Satterthwait manages to pull it off. After this escapade, the sympathetic sleuths are heading for Greece, and I intend to follow them there.