Cavalcade by Walter Satterthwait


Cavalcade is Walter Satterthwait‘s third mystery featuring the two Pinkerton detectives, Phil Beaumont and Jane Turner, following Escapade and Masquerade. With the Paris case solved, Phil and Jane head to Germany in 1923. Why Germany? It seems someone took a pot shot at a rising politician, Adolf Hitler, when he was in Berlin for a meeting. So Phil and Jane are dispatched by the Pinkerton agency, which was hired by the rising political party, the Nazi Party, to discover who wants their new star leader dead.

Satterthwait once again mixes characters from history with ones of his own and it was again fun for me to try to guess who was real and who was not. Readers have to remember that the mystery is set in the 1920’s, well before the later atrocities that we are aware of but not Phil and Jane.

The two Pinkertons travel together to Frankfurt, Berlin, Beyreuth, and Munich chasing leads in their case. When they detour to Beyreuth, the home of the Richard Wagner family, they meet Wagner’s aged second wife and widow, the “charming” Cosima, and the rest of the Wagner clan. Besides the Wagners and the Nazis, Satterthwait introduces readers to some everyday people of the times just trying to survive in an ever scary world. As you can imagine, the detectives’ interactions with some of the Nazis are not so pleasant, but Jane manages a romance with one while Phil visits the local beer halls with another, both trying to follow the clues.

A cavalcade is a dramatic sequence or procession, or a series, and Phil and Jane survive the cavalcade of characters and events in a most interesting time and place in history. Cavalcade, as were Escapade and Masquerade, is another historical mystery that I could not put down.