Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn

Published: 2005

Genre: historical fiction/noir

Length: 400 pages

Setting: NYC and Berlin, 1938

Interest: I chose it because it seemed half-way interesting and the author’s name filled a hole in my reading challenge

Summary: There are two stories with only minor ties to each other. In NYC, Fintan Dunne, a private investigator, gets sucked into a case against his better judgement. He’s looking to prove that a man on death row was framed for a murder. Turns out, the woman was murdered by a Nazi agent to cover up the fact there was a sanitorium in NYC killing the feeble-minded. Over in Berlin, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris is the head of Military Intelligence and he’s watching Germany spiral into a pit of racial “integrity” and war-mongering.

Final thoughts: I wasn’t very impressed. I suppose it’s what I get for just picking a random book off the shelf. Every once in a while I find something great, though, so I take the duds when I get them.

I don’t like mysteries very much, so it has to be high quality to jump the bar for me. This one had a very strong noir feeling, which I’m not against, but didn’t do much for me. I also didn’t find the author’s attempt to link the NYC and Berlin stories to be very effective. That meant every time he jumped from one place to another, I found it very jarring. This is the first in a trilogy featuring Fintan Dunne, but I won’t be looking for any others.

What the author did well was provide a feeling for pre-war America and Germany and how easily eugenics were implemented. So many people found those with mental or physical disabilities to be a drain on the state, until they had a family member that fit that classification. I’ve read quite a few stories set in WWII, but the pre-war vibe is different that the during the war vibe. That was interesting.

Title comes from: I honestly don’t know – usually there’s something I can figure out, but I’ve got nothing on this one.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 45/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, and a Q in my author Alphabet Soup Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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