In his sixth Johnny Donohue Adventure, Mason (Havana Moon, 2012, etc.) sends his sleuth after a treasure supposedly lost in the wake of World War II.
Software entrepreneur Johnny and his easygoing girlfriend, Carmen, are enjoying Florida’s summer waters in his Catalina sailboat. Upon docking, Johnny receives a phone message from Jane Haggerty, his former love in Long Island: her father has died. Johnny travels back home to Westhampton Beach for the funeral of Willie Haggerty, a brilliant mathematician/physicist who worked with Alan Turing to break the codes of Germany’s Enigma Machine during WWII. Johnny’s friend and ex-cop Lonnie Turner tells him that Turing supposedly hid bars of Nazi silver in the woods near Bletchley Park. Eventually, Johnny also learns that Willie was in perfect health (for an 88-year-old) and was found dead inside his Mercedes-Benz, which he’d brought home from the war. Meanwhile, Jane’s new boyfriend, investment banker Mason Goodwyn, rubs Johnny the wrong way. Lonnie discovers his criminal past involving the IRS and SEC—as well as a dead business associate. Willie’s grandson, Jason, later informs Johnny that the mathematician somehow paid Jason’s law school tab and set him up living in New York. Perhaps those silver bars aren’t as lost as everyone thinks….Whether you’ve read all or none of these nautical mysteries, Mason presents his laid-back tough guy with breezy panache that requires little catch-up. There’s a hint of wistfulness, though, as Johnny remembers growing up with Jane; their childhood was “way too brief like a flat stone skipping across the bay and disappearing just below the surface of the water.” Generally, Johnny’s narration is quip-filled, including welcome notes of self-deprecation: “strange situations...seem to drop into my life like bad movies from the nineteen forties.” Readers also learn about Alan Turing’s tragic life, his fascinating code-decryption methods, and the beginnings of the modern computer. Willie’s later work to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons provides noble commentary to this pivotal Johnny Donohue adventure.
Thrilling, with a perfect mix of brains and bravado.