CAVALCADE by Walter Satterthwait


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News flash: Even back in 1923, somebody disliked Adolf Hitler enough to take a shot at him.

Stung by the threat to their charismatic leader, the National Socialist Workers’ Party hires the Pinkerton Agency to identify the would-be assassin and turn him over to the Nazis instead of the police. Arriving from London, Phil Beaumont and Jane Turner (Masquerade, 1998, etc.) face daunting obstacles. The Party’s top brass aren’t eager to talk to anybody, even the agents hired to catch the shooter. Nor do they seem sufficiently alarmed to divert their attention from infighting, shadowing Jane and Phil and visiting sex clubs. Under the pretense of questioning the future Führer’s intimates, Mr. Beaumont and Miss Turner, decorously refraining from on-the-job romance, journey from Berlin to Bayreuth to Munich. Along a road that seems longer than the Thousand-Year Reich, they hit all the most decadent Weimar high spots, get news of the requisite celebrities (Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Albert Einstein, “a really great fella”) and learn to their horror that Hitler is anti-Semitic, drunk with power and fond of being dominated by attractive young ladies. The story, smoothly unfolding in Phil’s wisecracking narrative and Jane’s breathless letters home, provides a couple of more successful murders, but except for the edifying tableau of Hitler begging to be ordered around, there’s not much new.

As for the question of who shot at Hitler, don’t worry. It couldn’t matter less.

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-33974-7
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2004


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