A former spy colleague drags Ian Fleming into dangerous doings in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
James Bond’s future creator is safely ensconced in his Jamaican retreat, coping with the death of his beloved, Nora Blair DeYoung (Siren Song, 2003), when he receives an urgent request from Prescott Quick, whom he hasn’t seen in years, since the two of them served together in WWII. Both were among an elite group of spies known as Churchill’s Boys. Fleming’s current professional success as a journalist depends in part upon keeping the secret of his past. So when Prescott asks his help in a baffling and sordid New Orleans case, Fleming reluctantly accepts. He’s well aware of Prescott’s erratic behavior as a result of intermittent bouts with alcoholism, and figures it’s wise to keep an eye on him. Someone’s been sending Prescott photos of the mutilated bodies of formerly attractive young people. Prescott has traced the photos to a love triangle involving Angelina Marquette (daughter of one of the Big Easy’s wealthiest industrialists), her new husband Gerard, and Gerard’s apparent mistress, Faith Ullrich. As Fleming works uneasily with Prescott and his coterie of “Irregulars,” which includes those two misfits Chopper and Slim, Fawcett cuts repeatedly and enigmatically to an ominous duo lurking in the shadows known only as Hush and The Queen.
This third series entry veers from cloak-and-dagger intrigue into noir detective territory, all to good effect.