It is 1941. A detective and his partner discover an accidental death is actually a homicide. Their investigation traces events back to 1900 and forward. Author uses both third and first person, ranges from past to present tense, in telling a story that creates two heroic characters and puts them in conflict. Eventually it is about love, loyalty and friendship -- and about betrayal and revenge. Dialogue and style are consistant with the Thirties and Forties.
This report prepared by william diehl
Ballantine, Mar 2002, 25.00, 448 pp.
In 1941 Verna Wilensky is electrocuted in her bathtub in what at first seems like a freak accident caused by a misplaced radio. However, the woman turns out to have been dead before the “accident” occurred. The real mystery behind the victim is that she lived a lower middle class lifestyle yet held a bank account packed with just under a hundred thousand dollars in it. For no apparent reason Verna received monthly deposits from an unknown benefactor for more than two decades. Police officers Zeke Bannon and Ski Agassi investigate the homicide just before the former goes off to war.
In 1945 Zeke recovers in his hometown from a combat injury when his friend Ski hands him the so-called solved Wilensky case file. Both cops know that some segments of the murder remain unresolved. As Sheriff Thomas Culhane initiates his run for state governor, Zeke uncovers dark secrets from the first two decades of the century that could derail the bid.
The return of William Diehl after such a long absence is wonderful news for his fans, but this time it is great news for historical mystery readers in general. The story line is taut, exciting, and non-stop as the complex powerful novel brings alive the first half of the twentieth century in California. The cast is a robust group that enables the plot to move forward and make the eras seem so realistically alive. Readers will shout EUREKA at Mr. Diehl's latest and perhaps greatest work to date, which says a lot about the quality of this tale from a best-selling and award winning author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner