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Face of the Enemy
New York in Wartime Mysteries #1
Joanne Dobson and Beverle Graves Myers

Poisoned Pen Press
September 2012/ ISBN 978-1464200311
Historical mystery

Reviewed by Cheryl Green

It was a typical Sunday in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Nurse Louise Hunter was having an egg cream in the local candy store. She was thinking about her current patient, Professor Robert Oakley. He had collapsed at the opening of his wife’s art exhibit.

Turns out he had pneumonia and after letting him know who was in charge he was just a pussycat. He has a lovely wife, Masako, originally from Japan. Louise turned to people watch. One guy was listening to the football game on his radio. Then he stopped moving. Louise thought he was having a stroke – but it was much worse than that…. Oh, I didn’t tell you the date this all occurred – December 7, 1941……the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor!!!

Louise and her boarding house roommate Cabby Ward returned home and crowded around the kitchen table with the other boarders to listen to the radio. In spite of everything that had happened that day Louise pressed her uniform and went to the Oakley’s apartment to care for her sick patient. A knocking on the door woke Louise and she found 4 FBI men outside the door of the Oakley apartment to take Masako Oakley away – they gave Masako 10 minutes to pack a bag. Meanwhile, Cabby was given an assignment by her NY Times editor to check out a vandalized art gallery. It is the very same gallery that had the exhibit for Masako Oakley (who was now being held on Ellis Island). Cabby thinks it is a good way to get off the fluff pieces and onto the hard news. Why is Masako a national threat?

Cabby is not allowed into the shop to interview the owner, Arthur Shelton. There is a very good reason – he was found dead. The number one suspect: Masako Oakley. Louise is going to have to gather all the friends she has made in order to clear Masako of this crime.

Things to ponder: Is Cabby really doing all she can to help Masako – or is she out to make a name for herself? Is the incident at the art exhibit opening connected to the murder of Arthur Shelton? Why was Shelton packing up the exhibit several weeks before it was scheduled to close?

Joanne Dobson and Beverle Graves Myers have woven a tale of intrigue that keeps the pages turning. They have done meticulous research into the period and places the characters go. Originally from Brooklyn – this was really a special treat to go all the way to back Flatbush Avenue and never leave my chair. This is not just a novel about the start of World War Two and the treatment of the Japanese in America. It is a murder mystery with all the twists and turns you could ask for. If you like your mysteries with a view of WWII in America, then this is the book for you. I am thrilled that this is just the first in what I hope will be many more in the series.


Reviewer's Note: Joanne Dobson is the author of the Professor Karen Pelletier mystery series and Beverle Graves Myers is the author of the Tito Amato mystery series
Reviewed 2012