Book: The Saboteurs

The Saboteurs

The Saboteurs

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A L S O B Y W. E . B . G R I F F I N









































(with William E. Butterworth IV)











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I N H O N O R O F :

Lieutenant Aaron Bank, Infantry, AUS,

detailed OSS

(Later Colonel, Special Forces)

November 23, 1902–April 1, 2004

Lieutenant William E. Colby, Infantry, AUS,

detailed OSS

(Later Ambassador and Director, CIA)

January 4, 1920–April 28, 1996

It is no use saying,

“We are doing our best.”

You have got to succeed in doing

what is necessary.

—Winston S. Churchill, British Prime Minister




[ ONE ]

Villa del Archimedes

Partanna, Sicily

1215 25 February 1943

I do not want to die that way, Professor Arturo Rossi

thought as he looked through the doorway at the far end

of the tiled hallway. It’s utterly terrible . . . inhuman.

His light olive skin paler than usual, the tall, slight

fifty-five-year-old felt himself swaying, faint from all he

had seen.

The bruised, disfigured bodies of four men lay strapped

to battered wooden gurneys inside the room. The an-

cient villa on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean

Sea had six such rooms off of the common hall, three on

either side, each of cold coarse stone with the windows to

the outside boarded over. More than thirty men also lay

bound to gurneys in the other rooms, lit by harsh light—

alive, but barely.

A warm hand gently gripped Rossi’s left upper arm,

steadying him, and he turned to look at his soft-spoken

old friend from the University of Palermo.

Dr. Giuseppe Napoli, his wild mane of white hair

flowing, had brought Rossi here to witness with his own


W . E . B . G R I F F I N

eyes the unspeakable acts that were being committed by

the German Schutzstaffel—the SS.

Rossi had followed the elderly physician’s stooped walk

down the hallway in shocked silence. He had glanced

through the staggered doorways and noticed that the

condition of the men worsened room to room, from

mildly sedated with no obvious illness to grave with as-

tonishing symptoms.

And then they had come to this last room, with its

horrid stench of death.

It was the worst of all.

The torsos were mostly covered by dirty gray sweat-

and blood-stained gowns, the arms and legs exposed,

and the wrists and ankles secured to the gurneys by

worn-leather straps. All the bodies bore some sort of

rash. The legs on a couple also showed small open

wounds—infected and festering—while the arms and legs

of the others were spotted with blisters filled with dark


Rossi noticed that the smell of rotting flesh was made

worse—if that was possible—by the unemptied tin buck-

ets hanging beneath the gurneys. These held what had

been the contents of the men’s bowels, which with all

Teutonic efficiency had passed through a hole fashioned

in the gurneys for unattended evacuation.

Rossi quickly turned away from the doorway. His

throat contracted, and he felt his eyes moisten, then a

tear slip down his right cheek.

It was clear that these men—all Sicilians, as his friend

had warned him—suffered greatly in their final weeks



and days. Yet the contorted faces of the dead suggested

that not even death had brought them any real peace.

Rossi realized that what disturbed him—beyond the

obvious outrage at such atrocities against his fellow

man—was that foreigners could come in and inflict such

terrible things upon Sicilians in their own country in a

villa named for Archimedes, perhaps the greatest of all Si-


And that they could do it with what appeared to be

absolute impunity.

But how can anything be done about something no one

knows—or admits—is happening?

The villa, built by the Normans nine centuries earlier,

overlooked the sea a little more than ten kilometers up

the coast from Palermo’s Quattro Canti quarter—the

“four corners” city center—and the Norman-built Royal

Palace, as well as the University of Palermo.

Far enough away so that any screams or gunshots or

whatever would be lost to the blowing winds. And the secret

remains safe. . . .

“So now you know,” Napoli whispered.

Rossi looked at his friend, who held a cotton handker-

chief over his nose and mouth. Rossi could see in his eyes

genuine sadness and more than a little fear.

Rossi nodded softly and risked another glance around

the cold, hard room.

“The Germans have brought yellow fever here,” the

doctor continued. “They use these human hosts to keep

the virus alive . . . and, I think, to serve as an example of

what they are capable of doing. I fear that this is just the


W . E . B . G R I F F I N

beginning. I hear the Germans are experimenting else-

where with other unorthodox methods—worse ones that

also could be brought here.”

Rossi had heard such stories, too, when he had visited

the University of Rome. Quietly told, they described

what was happening in the concentration camps run by

the SS. Humans treated worse than laboratory rats. Bod-

ies dissected without benefit of anesthesia. Legs and arms

and torsos collected and stacked dispassionately, like so

many cords of firewood.

The stories recounted conditions and acts so horrific,

it was said, that German soldiers had to be bribed with

bonuses of cigarettes and salamis and schnapps in order

for them to agree to serve there.

And now, here in Sicily, this outrage of using humans—

Sicilians—to keep alive a deadly virus strain.

“Where are they getting these poor people?” Rossi

asked softly.

“Sturmbannführer Müller of the SD—”

“The Sicherheitsdienst?”

Napoli nodded.

Rossi knew the reputation of the SD, the SS’s intelli-

gence branch. They were ruthless in the execution of

their job: to take out any threat to the Nazis.

“—he has ordered them brought in from the island


“That’s where they took town leaders who opposed

Mussolini. Many were mafia.”

“And many of these here are mafia. Sturmbannführer

Müller says the SD, with Il Duce’s blessing, wants to



neutralize them. This way, they’re not a possible threat—

and they’re no longer ‘useless eaters.’ ”

Rossi nodded slowly. That was another of the stories

he had heard in Rome. As far as the Nazis were con-

cerned, you either actively contributed to the war effort

or you were a burden—a useless eater.

“So Müller says at least now they are useful,” Napoli


Rossi stared him in the eyes.

“For what? I do not understand why they bring this


Napoli checked behind them and down the hallway

before responding.

“They’re useful in the preparations for the Americans

and British,” he said softly.

Rossi shook his head.

Napoli went on: “There is much talk that they could

invade Sicily and then Italy on their way to Germany. As

Hitler has not sent many German soldiers here—perhaps

cannot send many, as rumors suggest he is stretched thin

on other fronts—he needs other methods to defend

against such an invasion. And so the few forces that he

has sent—Müller, for example—have very short and very

mean tempers. . . .”

The two men glanced at the bodies on the gurneys.

Rossi softly finished the thought: “. . . And they are

not at all unwilling to do the unspeakable.”

They stood there a long time before Rossi broke the


“What about Carlo? He would never stand for this.”


W . E . B . G R I F F I N

A brilliant mathematician and a kind man, Dr. Carlo

Modica was, like Napoli, in his seventies, and had served

as the head of the University of Palermo for almost ten

years. In his specialty as a metallurgist, Rossi had at times

worked closely with him.

Napoli put his hands on Rossi’s shoulders.

“Carlo is the reason I felt you had to see this for your -


“You’re not telling me that he is permitting this?”

Napoli stared him in the eyes.

“What I am telling you, Arturo, is that Sturmbann-

führer Müller made it clear to Dr. Modica that his partic-

ipation would be in his best interest. Müller said that it

would send a good message to others if someone in such

a prestigious position participated.”

Rossi’s eyes grew larger.

“With all due respect, I would like to hear Carlo tell

me that personally.”

Napoli dropped his hands to his sides.

“He cannot,” he said softly, and his eyes moistened.


“Because Müller has put me in his place here.”

“I don’t—”

“Carlo was injecting the virus in a—” he paused,

searching for the right word “—in a ‘patient’ when the

‘patient’ struggled. Carlo was pricked by the needle or

scratched by the ‘patient’ . . . that part is unclear . . . but

the result is that he somehow infected himself. . . .”

“He has yellow fever?”

Napoli shook his head.



Had yellow fever.”

He nodded to the men on the gurneys.

Rossi looked, then looked harder, and suddenly was

sick to his stomach.

He now recognized the grotesque body on the far

right as that of the gentle mathematician.

Dear Holy Mother, Rossi thought, and motioned with

his hand in the sign of the cross.

“None of us is safe,” Napoli whispered.

[ TWO ]

Woburn Square

London, England

2010 25 February 1943

Major Richard M. Canidy, United States Army Air Corps,

bounded unnoticed up the stone steps to the first-floor

flat at 16 Woburn Mansions. Solidly built and good-

looking, the twenty-five-year-old displayed such confi-

dence in his quick stride that if any bystanders had seen

him approach the massive wooden door of the flat they

would have mistakenly believed that not only was he sup-

posed to be there but that he may very well have owned

the place.

The flat instead was home to the beautiful Ann Cham-

bers, with whom he had recently shared—and he hoped

soon would again share—some very special times.

No matter how much that idea appealed to him, how-

ever, right now it was not the reason for his haste to get

to the flat—and inside.


W . E . B . G R I F F I N

If I don’t get the door open in the next second, he

thought, I’m going to piss my pants. My back teeth are

floating. . . .

Canidy knew that the door had a solid-brass handle-

and-lock set, the type with a thumb latch that, when left

unlocked, a simple depressing of the latch caused the bolt

to pull back from its place inside the doorjamb and the

door could then be swung inward. And he knew that it

was old and worn.

If the lock isn’t busted, he thought, odds are good she’s

left it unlocked again.

In one fluid move, he found the handle in the dark

with his right hand, pushed on the latch with his thumb,

and leaned forward in anticipation of the door’s swinging


A split second after the electrical pulses traveled from

his thumb to his brain, and the brain interpreted these

pulses to mean that the latch did not depress and that the

door was in fact locked, his brain received priority elec-

trical pulses of information from his right shoulder—in

the form of a sharp pain—that the brain then interpreted

to mean the door had not swung inward . . . that it had

not moved at all.


He winced and yanked at the door handle, pushing at

the latch again and again, causing the lock set to rattle.

The door remained locked, but the rattle told him

that there was more than a little slop in the old mecha-


Hitting the solid door did his bladder absolutely no



good, and he found himself doing a little anxious dance

to try to hold back the inevitable.

He quickly pulled out his pocketknife, opened the

blade, and carefully slipped it in the crack between the

door edge and the doorframe, just above where the bolt

engaged the strike plate. As fast as he could, he worked the

knife blade downward and then methodically back and

forth, the blade little by little depressing the bolt against

its spring until the bolt was clear of the doorjamb.

And the door swung inward.

He entered the flat and slammed the door shut behind

him, the bolt clicking back in place.

It was even darker inside the flat, but the absence of

light only served to heighten Canidy’s sense of smell.

And he could very much detect the sweet, delicate scent

of a woman.

He stumbled around in the dark till he found—

actually, ran into—the lamp where he remembered it

being and clicked it on.

The flat, nicely furnished with ornate old furniture

covered in well-worn fabrics and soft leather, opened

onto a large main room, off of which were two smallish

bedrooms, a single bath with a toilet and a shower, and a

kitchen. There were dark hardwood floors throughout, as

well as thick woolen rugs. A marble fireplace topped with

a four-by-five-foot mirror graced the main living area.

He made a beeline for the head.

The leak surprised even him with its duration; he con-

sidered timing it with his wristwatch chronometer. He

pledged never to pass another crapper without at least

1 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

considering how full his bladder might be and the dis-

tance to the next crapper should he choose not to stop.

When he had finally finished and went to wash his

hands, he caught himself making a massive yawn. Now

he did check his watch.

Only eight-fifteen? Jesus, this has been a long day—didn’t

think we’d ever get wheels-up out of Casablanca this morn-

ing—and she may not be here for some time. Wouldn’t want

to miss what could be a long, passionate night. . . .

He walked to the couch, turning out the light as he

passed the lamp.

He yawned again, and shortly after he lay down and

his head hit the tasseled pillow he was snoring.

As Ann Chambers rounded the darkened street corner,

she caught her right heel in a crack in the sidewalk that

had been left uneven by the bombs of the Luftwaffe.

“Shit,” she whispered in her soft Southern drawl.

When the heel caught, it had stuck fast, and her foot

had come completely out of the shoe, causing her to place

her stocking-covered foot on the cold ground. She reached

down and grasped the heel to pull it free of the sidewalk and

found that it had almost completely separated from where it

attached to the sole.

The twenty-year-old blonde sighed. This was her sec-

ond-to-last pair of really nice—and really comfortable—

shoes, and she wasn’t sure how soon the replacements

she had written home for would arrive. She did a lot of


1 1

walking—everyone in London did a lot of walking—and

for her, comfortable shoes rated high on the list of ab-

solute necessities.

So that she would not tear the small leather tag that

barely connected the heel at the back, she put down her

heavy, black leather briefcase and used both hands to

carefully tug at the heel until it pulled free.

Ann held up the shoe, trying to get a decent look at

the damage in the dim light. She thought that there

might be a small chance she could repair the shoe herself

because she knew there was next to no chance of getting

a cobbler, even if she could find one that hadn’t been

blown out of business, to do so in a timely fashion.

A nicely dressed middle-aged man approached and


Great, she thought. Just what I need now. . . .

“Can I be of any help, lass?”

Ann, still kneeling, looked up at him.

“Thank you, but no.”

“You’re sure?”

The only thing I need is protection from strangers who

can’t take no for an answer.

“Yes,” she snapped.

She saw him make a face and immediately felt bad. Be-

ing frustrated about the broken shoe—not to mention

going home to an empty flat—was not his fault.

In a softened tone, she added, “I’m almost home.

Thank you.”

He turned smartly on his heel. “Very well.”

1 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

As the man walked away, she stood up and looked

again at the shoe and still couldn’t tell how badly it was


She frowned, then—despite the fact that her right

foot was close to numb from the cold—removed her

other shoe, collected her briefcase, and padded all but

barefoot in her now-torn hosiery the final block to her flat

at 16 Woburn Mansions.

As she went, she could not help but be saddened again

by the ugly gaps in the buildings. German bombs had de-

stroyed large sections of the city—the damage had been

utterly indiscriminate—and there was more and more of

the destruction almost every day.

It was no different here at Woburn Square, where

bombs had taken out ten of the twenty-four entrances

and reduced what not very long ago had been a lush and

meticulously kept park to nothing more than a burned

fence and bare trees.

Adding another insult, the once-manicured park was

now pocked from where crews had dug dirt to fill sand-

bags and dug out small shelters, for those who could not

reach a basement or subway shelter quickly enough when

bombs began to fall.

Sixteen Woburn Mansions had survived, but its win-

dows now were boarded with plywood and its limestone

façade scorched black from the fires that had raged up

and down the street.

Ann walked up the short flight of stone steps, dug into

her briefcase, and came out with a key ring, then put one

of the keys in the heavy brass lock of the massive wooden


1 3

door and, when she heard the loud metallic clunk of the

tumbler turning, depressed the lever above the handle

with her thumb, leaned her shoulder into the door, and

walked inside.

She went to the lamp, clicked it on, and sighed. It was

good to be home. Ann appreciated the fact that while her

flat was not what one would describe as opulent, it was

certainly comfortable—and superior to most flats in Lon-

don, particularly the ones on Woburn Square that now

were nothing but rubble.

And most important, for now, it was hers alone.

Sixteen Woburn Mansions had been assigned to the

Chambers News Service, through its London bureau

chief, by the Central London Housing Authority acting

on a memorandum from CNS’s main office in Atlanta,

duly relayed through the SHAEF (Supreme Headquar-

ters, Allied Expeditionary Force) billeting officer, that

had stated that the flat was intended to house all five

CNS female employees in London, names to be provided

as soon as they were available and could be forwarded

from Atlanta.

And while the flat technically did indeed currently

house all of the female employees of the Chambers News

Service London bureau—in the person of one Miss Ann

Chambers—what the bureau chief did not know was that

it had been Miss Chambers who initiated the memoran-

dum from the Atlanta office just after having obtained an

assignment to the London office and just prior to her ar-

rival in England, and that while it was theoretically possi-

ble there would be more female employees sent to serve

1 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

in the London bureau, for the near term at the very least

it was not at all likely.

This caused Ann some genuine mixed feelings. She

knew that she was bending the rules. She knew that

people in London were packed in flats, and ones smaller

than hers. But she also knew that she would give up the

flat in a heartbeat when she was sure that it had finally

served its purpose—helping her have a private place to

land the love of her life—and she was determined that

that was going to be soon . . . very soon.

After that, she promised herself, she would make

amends for this bit of selfishness.

The bureau chief suspected, of course, that Ann had

used the system to her advantage, but it made no sense to

fight it.

For one thing, Ann Chambers was the daughter of

the owner of Chambers Publishing Company and the

Chambers News Service—and, accordingly, was the Lon-

don bureau chief’s boss’s boss.

For another, she was a fully accredited correspondent,

and a damned good one. She had real talent, wasn’t

afraid of hard work, and consequently turned in solid fea-

ture articles that the news service sent out on the wires

around the world. Her Profiles of Courage series about

ordinary everyday citizens serving in extraordinary roles

during wartime had become wildly successful.

Why, then, would the bureau chief want to upset the

apple cart over what, at least for the time being, was a

technicality? As far as he knew, more female employees

might be on the way; he certainly could use them.


1 5

There was no question that Ann was more than earn-

ing her keep. Which was a good thing because there was

no doubt in anyone’s mind that the last thing that Bran-

don Chambers, chairman of the board of the Chambers

Publishing Company, would have stood for was blind

nepotism. He was a tough, no-nonsense businessman—

some said a real sonofabitch, a reputation that Chambers

wasted no effort to dispel or even dispute—who had

built a world-class news service from the ground up and

would not make a token hire of a family member unable

to pull his or her own weight.

Early on, Ann had shown that she had a way with

words—much like her father—and so while it came as no

real surprise to Brandon Chambers, he was nonetheless

not happy when out of the blue she showed up at his At-

lanta office and announced that she had dropped out of

Bryn Mawr and said that if her father did not give back

the part-time correspondent job that she had held off

and on since high school, she was reasonably sure Gard-

ner Cowles—who owned Look magazine and a lot else—

could find something for her to do. And very likely make

it a full-time position.

Cowles was Brandon Chambers’s bitter competitor

and just cutthroat enough to find great glee in providing

Ann Chambers with a job at Look magazine, which was

regularly beating the life out of Life.

Thus, there was no changing his daughter’s mind. “I

wonder where she got that lovely stubborn personality

trait?” Mrs. Brandon Chambers had said with more than

a little sarcasm when her husband phoned with the news

1 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

of their daughter’s plan—and Ann went to work that day

in the Atlanta home office as a full-time Chambers News

Service correspondent.

Now, some months later, she had had herself trans-

ferred to the London bureau.

That, too, had triggered howls of protest from the

corporate office of the chairman of the board—he never

believed any woman should be a war correspondent, and

certainly not someone of his own flesh and blood—but it

quickly became another father-daughter battle lost by

Brandon Chambers.

Dick Canidy had been asleep twenty minutes when he

snored so loudly that he woke himself up. It took him a

moment to get his bearings, and as his brain told him

where he was he heard a key being put in the front door,

the lock turning, and the door opening.

He started to jump up but stopped to admire the sil-

houette of the well-built young woman in the doorway.

Ann closed and locked the door and carefully found her

way across the flat in the dark.

He laid his head back on the pillow. Her presence ex-

cited him. He could feel the beating of his heart begin-

ning to build and a slight sweat forming on his hands.

After a moment, he ever so slightly caught her scent . . .

and smiled.

He watched as she padded to the fireplace— Is she bare-

foot? he wondered—and dropped her shoes and leather

bag to the floor— She is barefoot! Or at least in stockings.


1 7

Ann groped around until she found the matches, then lit

the candles at either end of the marble mantel. They

started to glow brightly, the light filling more and more

of the flat, and he lay in the shadows on the couch.

Jesus Christ, if I say anything now it’s liable to scare her

out of her skin!

Then she started to take off her outer clothes.

Now, this could get interesting. . . .

Ann put down the matches on the mantel, then pulled

off her overcoat and without turning tossed it over the

back of the couch. She slipped her V-neck sweater over

her head—uncovering a white blouse that fitted her form

tightly—and was about to throw it on the couch, too,

when she had a second thought.

She put the armpit of the sweater to her nose, sniffed

with more than a little apprehension, grunted Ugh—then

threw it to the couch.

When she next adjusted her skirt, pulling it up at the

waistband and twisting it slightly, the wool caused her

buttocks to itch and she found herself vigorously scratch-

ing her fanny with the fingernails of both hands.

Those unfortunate events now handled, Ann arranged

the candles to her satisfaction, then examined herself in

the mirror and fixed her hair mussed by the sweater.

Looking at herself, she could not help but think of

Sara Spenser and the profile of her that she had spent the

day writing.

For most of the last week, Ann had followed the

1 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

nineteen-year-old, spunky, petite brunette as she’d served

with the Light Rescue Section of London’s Civil Defence.

Under a 1914 tin hat, draped in baggy woolen men’s

pants and heavy overcoat and clunking around in

“Wellies”—men’s rubber Wellington boots—three sizes

too big, Sara worked twenty-four-hour shifts, carefully

but quickly digging through rubble to uncover victims

whose homes or businesses had been bombed and then

carrying them by canvas stretcher to the buses converted

into ambulances that waited nearby.

It had taken a couple of days—and one long, teary

night over pints of stout at the Prince’s Bangers & Mash

Pub—to get Sara to open up, really open up, but Ann

had, and she learned that Sara was all that was left of her

immediate Spenser family.

Her brothers had died in battle, and her parents and

grandparents were killed during a blitz when a series of

bombs leveled their neighborhood. There were some-

where some second cousins twice or thrice removed, but

for all the contact between the families, she said, “They

may as well be bloody Aborigines. Could be dead, too.

Who knows? That’s how close we are.”

Ann was not sure if it was Sara’s matter-of-fact deliv-

ery, or the realization that Sara was about Ann’s age and

given some tragic turn Sara’s story could be Ann’s story,

or all the beer they had consumed—or a combination

thereof—but Ann was terribly saddened for Sara.

Sara, however, would have none of it. She would not

accept pity, she said. “Others have lost everything, yet


1 9

here I am alive and well and with my life ahead of me. I

can—I must—carry on.”

Ann had found strength in Sara Spenser. She was im-

pressed with her brave front, and perhaps even more so

with her ability to find humor in some of the most diffi-

cult of times.

Sara had turned heads with her laughter that night in

the noisy pub as she told Ann about the time her Light

Rescue Section had been removing rubble of another

bombed-out building, first evacuating victim after victim

still alive to the ambulances, then dealing with the dead,

then uncovering an older gentlemen, looking a bit bewil-

dered but clearly alive, pants around his ankles and sur-

rounded by debris one would expect to find in a water


Sara had taken a deep swallow of her stout, then re-

called, “As I helped him pull up his trousers, I asked if he

was all right. He nodded and said, ‘It’s just that it’s

rather odd that one moment, here I am sitting on the

loo, and the next, when I pull the chain, down comes the

bloody house!’ ”

Ann had spent exhausting days running around Lon-

don’s bomb-debris-filled streets to track down stories

and interview people, then often-sleepless nights await-

ing the haunting sounds of the air-raid sirens.

More than once she had wondered why she didn’t just

go home to Atlanta . . . or even back to Bryn Mawr. Re-

turn to the safety and sanity of the States. But then she

realized that she might not meet a person such as Sara

2 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

otherwise, and she knew there was no way she could not

be here. Writing about the war had become her duty.

In the glow of the candles in the mirror, Ann smiled at


And I didn’t really come here for the work. I came here

for Dick.

And then her throat caught.

Where the hell is he? It’s been almost two weeks since he

left and not a word. For all I know he could be lost or cap-

tured or . . . She tried to force herself not to think it . . .


Although Major Richard M. Canidy wore the uniform

of the United States Army Air Forces, Ann Chambers

knew that the dark-haired aviator worked for an outfit

called the Office of Strategic Services. More than worked

for it—was pretty high up in it.

It was more or less known that the OSS was a military

intelligence operation, a secretive collection of spies, an-

alysts, and such from various branches of the military

and the government and corporate America, some very

highly connected, reflecting in part the fact that its head,

Colonel William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan, enjoyed the

confidence and close friendship of President Franklin D.

Roosevelt going back to their days in law school at Co-


But that was all she knew—despite her sniffing around

on the side—and it was more than Canidy was willing to

tell her. Even this current mission of his was one he had

said not one word about.


2 1

Except to say good-bye here at the flat in a very spe-

cial, very personal way.

Which was why, she thought, and made a mischievous

grin in the mirror, the flat would always be kept only for

her. Her and Dick.

If he ever comes back.

Dick, with the warmth and smell of Ann on her coat and

sweater, thought that he had nearly died and gone to

heaven. He moved under their weight and caused a spring

in the couch seat to creak.

He looked toward Ann and saw her eyes dart in the

mirror, searching.

After a moment, she turned toward the couch.

What the hell. Now or never.

As he started to sit up, he said, “Hey . . .”

Ann had heard a noise. Was it the floor creaking?

She held her breath and looked in the mirror, search-

ing to see if there was someone in the room behind her.

She saw nothing, then quickly turned to look more care-


Then she thought she had heard a man’s voice—

Dick’s? —but knew that that had to be impossible.

Just imagined it, she thought, just wished it.

She shook her head, telling herself it had been too

long a day.

2 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Then suddenly she saw the clothes she had tossed on

the couch were . . . moving?

She started to scream—but then there was Dick

Canidy coming out from under her coat, the sweater still

on his head.

He was dressed in uniform, his eyes smiling, his arms

open wide.

“Hey, baby!” he said. “Surprised?”

Ann caught her breath, then felt slightly unsteady on

her legs.

“Dick!” she cried softly.

She padded across the room into his arms, pulled the

sweater off his head, buried her head in his neck. She felt

his arms wrap around and hold her tightly. It was an in-

credible feeling.

She turned to look up at him, smiled, and they kissed


When finally they had separated, Dick lovingly cupped

her face with both of his hands. He thought he noticed

something on her cheek, gently angled it toward the can-

dlelight, then saw on her fair skin a line of tears that glis-

tened with the reflection of the flame.

He felt his body quiver, slightly and involuntarily, as

he realized just how incredibly beautiful he found Ann

and how deeply she affected him.

“Miss me?” he said softly and kissed the tears.

Ann was already unbuttoning Dick’s shirt.


2 3

“So how did you get in the flat?” Ann said as she poured

port into the wineglass that Dick Canidy held, filling it

about halfway.

They were lying side by side on the floor before the

fireplace—which now crackled as it burned brightly—on

top of giant pillows covered in a fine silk fabric and under

a goose-down-stuffed, cotton-fabric-covered duvet.

Ann put the cork back in the squat fat bottle, placed

the bottle near the fire to keep it warm, then snuggled up

to Canidy.

He offered the glass to her, raised an eyebrow, and she

leaned forward and took a big sip, then leaned forward

and kissed him. She wondered if it was possible to feel

any more warmth in any more places of her body at once.

Canidy smiled and finally said, “Getting in places—

mostly where I’m not supposed to be—is what I do for a


He shrugged.

“This place is no challenge—boarded windows, half the

building missing—”

“Is that where you were?” she pursued. “Where you

weren’t supposed to be?”

“Annie,” he said, sighing. “You know I can’t—”

“I know, I know. But you can’t blame me for trying.”

She looked into his eyes.

“I worry about you. I worry about you and me.”

“Shhhh,” he said, looking back into her eyes and

gently touching his index finger to her lips. “Stop.

Don’t. We’re fine. And now that I’m back and certain

2 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

problems have been solved, I plan to be around for as

long as I can.”

Beaming, Ann quickly sat up, and as she did the du-

vet slipped, exposing her bosom.

Dick smiled and kissed her left breast.

“Promise?” she said softly, modestly pulling up the


“I go where I’m ordered, Annie. I can’t—”

“Promise?” she repeated, this time more forcefully.


Dick took the glass of port and put it beside the bot-

tle, then wiggled under the duvet and wrapped himself

around her.

“Promise,” he said softly, knowing sometime—

probably soon—he would have to break it.


Brooklyn Army Base and Terminal

Brooklyn, New York

0545 26 February 1943

“Tony the Gut” Lucchese, the five-foot-seven, 220-

pound gang boss of local 213, International Longshore-

man’s Association, stood near the edge of the industrial

dock as icy gusts came across the East River.

Son of a bitch! the thirty-five-year-old thought, turn-

ing his back to the wind. I’m gonna freeze my fuckin’ nuts

off out here.

He took a final puff of what was left of his stub of a ci-

gar, threw the butt into the dark water, then thrust his


2 5

hands into the pockets of his heavy woolen overcoat, his

fat fingers hitting the grip of the .357 caliber revolver

he’d put in the right pocket.

Lucchese looked up as an olive drab jeep floated past,

hanging from a cable of a loading boom on the dock,

then shivered violently and wondered if the shiver had

been caused by the bitter cold—or his outright fear.

Seventy percent of the war goods and soldiers shipped

to Europe passed through New York area terminals—

much of that going through the Brooklyn terminal.

The ILA controlled it all.

The union saw to it that the loading went on

smoothly round the clock—and on time, like that bastard

Mussolini ran his trains—because not only was the ship-

ping critical to winning the war, keeping the pace steady

was important to the ILA boys doing the skimming.

The more they moved, the less anyone noticed a con-

tainer here and pallet there had been “misplaced” in


This was not lost on Lucchese.

It don’t take no Road Scholar to figure out I can get

whacked for doing this thing, he thought.

And Lucchese knew that if they didn’t whack him for

causing the loading of the ships to slow—or stop—then

they’d likely do it for him going behind the ILA’s back

and working for Harry Bridges in the first place. The

head of the stevedore unions on the West Coast, from

Seattle to San Diego, was trying to muscle his way in on

East Coast business—and the ILA locals weren’t happy

about that shit at all.

2 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Lucchese mindlessly kicked at the snow with the toe

of his boot. He still had time to back out of this thing,

time to save his ass. Just pick up the phone and call it off.

But . . . Bridges’s boys would be really pissed, and he

would blow this, his big chance to move up when

Bridges came in, to be at the front of the line—to be the

real player they kept saying he should be.

Lucchese pushed back his round, pressed-steel safety

hat. He scanned the lines of railroad flatcars and semi-

truck flatbed trailers that waited to off-load tanks and

trucks and munitions and medicine and food and more—

everything desperately needed to fight and win a war.

The lines went back as far as he could see in the dimly lit


At the head of the lines, booms on the dock and ships

moved like giant fingers lifting the pallets and containers

and vehicles into EC2 (Emergency, Cargo, Large Capac-

ity) ships. Each 441-foot-long vessel could transport the

same amount as three hundred railroad cars, and a dozen

EC2s were moored here, taking on cargo, while a couple

dozen more were staged in the bay, waiting for their turn

at the dock.

It was no secret that these so-called Liberty ships were

being built in record time at U.S. shipyards on the East,

West, and Gulf Coasts—and being sunk by enemy torpe-

does damned near as fast.

Convoys, each with scores of Liberty ships, rushed

eastward across the Atlantic, only to be hunted down by

packs of German U-boats. Hundreds upon hundreds of

the ships and their crews were blasted into the icy-cold


2 7

depths—seven and a half million tons of critical cargo

lost in 1942 alone.

The Nazi submarines were so deadly effective that the

Allies considered a Liberty ship to have earned back its

cost if it made just one trip across the Atlantic Ocean.

Which made, the nervous Lucchese knew, today’s act

all the more volatile, if not reprehensible.

A ship horn suddenly blew and Tony thought he’d

shit his pants.

Aw, fuck it. I gotta do this thing.

Tony the Gut walked up to the door of the tin box of a

dock office that he shared with International Longshore-

man’s Association gang bosses Michael Francis “Iron

Mike” Mahoney and Franco Giuseppi “Little Joe” Biag-

gio. He grabbed the knob, then stopped short of turning

and pulling it.

He was still anxious, not to mention breathing a little

heavily from the walk, and the feeling in his ample belly

still was not a good one. Maybe not so much dread.

Maybe more like a mix of emotions—fear for sure, anxi-

ety . . . hell, even a little excitement muddled in there.

Yeah, Lucchese thought, that’s all. C’mon, you can do


He took a deep breath, exhaled, turned the knob, and

pulled the door open.

The twelve-by-twelve paneled office held—barely—

the wooden desks of the three gang bosses. Space was

tight; if two of the men leaned back in their chairs at the

2 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

same time, they hit. Each desk was pushed up against a

wall of its own. The top of Lucchese’s desk butted the

bottom of the grimy plate-glass window—with the dusty,

three-month-old merry christmas! & happy new

year! banner draped across the top—that overlooked

the waterfront. Mahoney’s was opposite it, at the foot

of a large chalkboard that was a grid of white boxes in

which the gang bosses kept track of who worked load-

ing what ship and at what job—winch drivers, boom

men, jitney drivers, and so on. The third desk, Biaggio’s,

was against the wall directly across from the door.

They shared the office’s one battered telephone, coal

black with a long, frayed cord. It was on Biaggio’s desk,

next to a filthy ashtray and a beat-up RCA radio softly

playing music.

Biaggio, a compact five-foot-three, 120-pound thirty-

year-old with piercing gray eyes and a mostly bald head

that he kept trimmed to the scalp, was talking on the

phone when Lucchese entered the office. The bitter cold

wind blasted in from behind him, carrying some snow-


“Close the goddamned door already,” Mahoney

snapped, grabbing at papers being blown about his desk.

Mahoney, who was thirty-two and had thick black hair

that he kept slicked back, stood as tall as Lucchese but

weighed 160, every ounce of muscle toned from long

hours at Nicky’s Gym.

Biaggio looked up from his desk, said, “I gotta go,”

into the phone receiver and put it in its cradle.


2 9

He caught Lucchese’s attention.

“We need to talk, Tony. Have a seat.”

Lucchese looked at him. Biaggio was the brightest of

the three, on top of everything. He’d been brought in by

the ILA not quite six months ago, when the union hall

boss said Lucchese “could use a little help, what with the

push to load ships faster and all.”

Biaggio showed that he could handle his own work

and at the same time know what was going on with Luc-

chese’s and Mahoney’s gangs.

Since just after Biaggio first arrived, Lucchese had

tried—but usually failed—to be one step ahead of Little

Joe. The second-guessing tended to annoy Biaggio, but

Lucchese never stopped.

Must be that boom thing he’s worried about, Lucchese

thought now.

He said, “Engineering’s fixed that winch on that


“Sit,” Mahoney said pointedly as he stood up.

Lucchese stared at him.

“What the hell’s up with you?”

“Tony, don’t make this harder than it has to be,” Bi-

aggio said quietly. “Sit. Please.”

Lucchese moved toward his chair, making an agree-

able gesture with his hands up, palms out. He shrugged

out of his heavy coat and dropped his huge frame into

the wooden chair. He nodded toward the phone.

“I’m expecting a call, just so’s you know.”

“We know,” Mahoney said.

3 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Lucchese raised an eyebrow, his face questioning.

“Everything,” Biaggio added, staring at Lucchese.

“We know everything.”

Lucchese looked blankly at Biaggio.

What the hell? Everything?

Biaggio stared straight back, said nothing, just let that

information take root. He then, with some element of

theater, pulled a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes from his

shirt pocket, slid one from the pack and put it to his lips.

He produced a scratched and dinged stainless-steel

Zippo lighter from his pants pocket and, with a flourish,

lit the cigarette, clicked the top closed with a flick of the

wrist, and put the Zippo on the desk.

He held the pack out to Lucchese.

“No, thanks,” Lucchese said and cleared his throat,

hoping that no one noticed the nervous slight stammer.

He felt himself starting to sweat, despite the cold of-

fice, and hoped that that was not evident, either. A ciga-

rette could calm him.

“Wait. Yeah, Little Joe, I’ll have a smoke.”

After he’d lit Lucchese’s cigarette and put the Zippo

in his pants pocket, Biaggio continued: “Look, we know

who you’ve been talking to, who you’re waiting to talk

to”—he glanced at the phone—“and, most important,

we know why. So don’t try bullshitting us.”

Lucchese felt his stomach twist into a knot. He took a

pull on the cigarette and looked out the window.

Biaggio said, “You want to tell us why?”

Why what? You don’t know shit, Lucchese thought.


3 1

He said, “Tell you why what?”

“Why you’re doing this thing?” Biaggio said, his tone

suggesting that he was beyond annoyed.

Lucchese inhaled deeply, then let it out.

“What thing?”

Mahoney slammed his fist on the desk. “Don’t bull-

shit us!”

Lucchese slid his chair back and away, toward the


“What the fuck is your problem?”

“You!” Mahoney said, clearly upset. “You—”

“Easy, Mike,” Biaggio said.

Biaggio glanced out the window. No one was paying

any particular attention to the gang bosses’ office. Men

and machines worked at a steady pace. A jeep on a cable

swung past the window.

Biaggio locked eyes with Lucchese.

“Harry Bridges,” Biaggio said slowly.

Oh shit! Lucchese thought.

He automatically glanced at the phone, then hated

himself for it when he saw that Biaggio’s eyes had fol-

lowed his eyes to it.

Lucchese did not trust himself to speak at first. He

took a puff, exhaled. Then: “Yeah? Okay, so what about

Bridges? It’s no secret a bunch of us from the ILA lis-

tened to him speak.”

“But after that,” Biaggio said, “ ’most everybody took

the hint and forgot about him.”

“And what if I didn’t?” Lucchese said.

3 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Biaggio sighed. He stubbed out his cigarette in the

half-full ashtray on his desk, lit another. He picked up the

whole phone and slammed it on Lucchese’s desk.

“What you’re gonna do when it rings is this,” Biaggio

said, his eyes cold gray. “You’re gonna tell Bridges that

you’ve done this thing, that it’s happening, then you’re

gonna say you gotta go and you hang up. That’s it.”

“It’s not Bridges who’s calling,” Lucchese said defi-


This, he knew, was of course true—if not entirely

transparent—because he also knew it was one of Bridges’s

men who was supposed to call.

Biaggio shook his head, then exploded: “Then you

fucking well tell whoever calls that you’ve done the fuck-

ing thing and it’s fucking happening! You got that?”

He paused, caught his breath.

Then he more quietly added, disgusted, “Jesusfuck-

ingchrist, Tony. How stupid do you think I am?”

Slowly shaking his head, Lucchese looked down at his

boots, then up and out the window, avoiding eye con-

tact. This had all seemed so much easier when it was be-

ing planned.

How’d it go bad? Who talked?

As he watched a cable swing two U.S. Army one-ton

Ben Hur trailers past the window en route to a ship hold,

Lucchese thought that he might cry.

The phone rang.

Tony turned to the sound, looked at the phone,

looked at the clock on the wall showing 8:01, looked at



3 3

It rang a second time.

“Go on and get it,” Biaggio said after a moment.

But it had stopped ringing.

“I’m supposed to answer on the third ring next time

they call, at two after.”

Lucchese looked up at the clock and watched the sec-

ond hand tick around the face.

When the phone had rung three times, Lucchese put

the receiver to his ear and said, “Yeah?”

Biaggio sensed Mahoney moving, and when he looked

at him he saw that he was leaning down and pulling his

Colt .38 caliber revolver out from where he stashed it in

the bottom drawer of his desk. Mahoney swung out the

cylinder of the snub-nose, checked to see that it was

loaded, then softly clicked the cylinder back in. He pulled

up his left pants cuff, tucked the pistol in his sock, snug-

ging it inside the top of his leather boot, then pulled the

cuff back down. He looked at Lucchese.

“Uh-huh,” Lucchese was saying into the phone, his

eyes glued on Biaggio. “That’s right. It’s done. I’ve

passed the word.”

Lucchese listened for a moment, said, “Right,” then

hung up the receiver.

He looked at Biaggio. “Now what?”

Biaggio stubbed out his cigarette.

“You wait,” Biaggio said. “Right there, by the


“Another call?”

“Let’s go, Mike,” Biaggio said, standing up. “We got

work to do.”

3 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“A call from who?” Lucchese pursued.

Little Joe and Iron Mike ignored the question.

Lucchese watched them pull on their heavy coats and

thick knit caps and steel safety helmets, then go through

the door without saying another word.

The icy wind blew in, and for a moment there was the

loud drone of the heavy equipment outside before the

door slammed shut with the wind.

The gang boss office was now quiet except for the

sound of the radio playing. Softly, International Long-

shoreman’s Association gang boss Anthony Christopher

“Tony the Gut” Lucchese started crying.

“Oh, God . . .” he sobbed.

As Biaggio and Mahoney walked away from the office,

they were aware of a U.S. Army six-by-six—a Truck,

General Purpose, two-and-one-half-ton 6×6, meaning all

wheels were powered—hanging from the cable of a ten-

ton boom.

The GMC “deuce and a half,” an Army workhorse,

had an open cab with a canvas-covered cargo area and

was painted olive drab with white markings, including

that of a three-foot-diameter star-in-a-ring that about

covered the whole door. It was not uncommon for a Ben

Hur trailer to be hooked behind a six-by-six.

“Okay,” Biaggio said to Maloney.

They gave the signal—each pulled a knit scarf from an

overcoat pocket and simultaneously wrapped their necks—

then turned to walk toward the farthest Liberty ship.


3 5

Immediately, they heard the pitch of the ten-ton

boom winch become deeper, straining under a heavy

load. The six-by-six hanging on the ten-ton boom cable

was now beginning to swing toward its ship hold.

Then there came a great screaming of winch gears and

the cable started to unspool rapidly as the giant GMC

truck fell from the sky.

As he stared intently at the phone, waiting for it to ring

and wondering who it would be, Tony heard a terrible

noise on the dock outside the office.

He looked up at the plate-glass window in time to see

a blur of olive drab with a white star fill it.

In his last conscious moment, Tony the Gut saw the

window explode—its shards flying into the office and

spearing his flesh—and felt the office ceiling collapse on

his head.

A huge truck tire came to a rest on his back, crushing

out his last breath.

[ FOUR ]

OSS London Station

Berkeley Square

London, England

0745 28 February 1943

Colonel David Kirkpatrick Este Bruce, the distinguished-

looking chief of London Station, heard the rapping of

knuckles on the wooden doorframe and looked up from

3 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

the stack of documents that he had been reading since he

had arrived at six o’clock.

Bruce had the calm and detached manner of a high-

level career diplomat, which is what he had set out to be

when he’d joined the diplomatic corps after graduating

from Princeton University. His face was stonelike, chis-

eled, and his eyes burned with an intensity that caused

him to appear older than his years, though he had turned

forty-five just two weeks earlier.

His number two, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Stevens, a

beginning-to-gray forty-four-year-old whose strong face

always seemed to be in deep thought, stood in the door-

way to the empty outer office of Bruce’s administrative


“Good morning, sir,” Lieutenant Colonel Stevens

said, and held up an envelope stamped top secret.

“This just came in from Colonel Donovan.”

Bruce glanced at a side table. It held photographs in

silver and wooden frames of Bruce with politicians and

military leaders—one showed him with British prime

minister Winston Churchill at the polo grounds, another

with General Dwight Eisenhower in Algiers—and there

was a silver-framed image taken of Bruce in an Adiron-

dack chair with his wife, Alisa, sitting on his lap.

It had been snapped in Nantucket some years earlier—

a decade, if not longer—and it had captured the young,

vibrant couple in a relaxed, carefree moment. A visibly

half-in-the-bag Bruce, in a tailored dark suit, had the top

button of his crisp white shirt undone and his orange-

and-black rep necktie loosened, while his wife, in pearls


3 7

and a dark silk cocktail dress, held her high-heel shoes in

one hand, a drink in the other.

It was one of Bruce’s favorites because it froze in time

a very rare moment when their vast wealth did not mat-

ter—Bruce had a great deal of his own money when he

married Alisa, née Mellon, the richest woman in America.

At that moment, they had been simply happy, a loving

couple—which wasn’t necessarily the case now, and one

reason Bruce found himself more and more on edge.

“ ’Morning, Ed,” Bruce said almost absently, waving

him in the office.

Next to the papers on the deeply polished desk was a

silver service for coffee—a large carafe, three clean cups

and saucers in addition to the cup and saucer Bruce had

used, and sugar and milk in their bowl and pitcher—and

Bruce motioned toward it.

“You’ll forgive my manners when I ask you to please

pour yourself a cup,” Bruce said, taking the envelope.

“Thanks. I believe I can manage,” Stevens said agree-

ably, as Bruce broke the seal on the envelope, flipped past

the two top secret cover pages, and began to read.

Bruce grunted.

“Interesting,” he said. “Not exactly surprising.” He

put the sheets back in the envelope and looked at Stevens.

“Damned good news, as far as I’m concerned.”

Ed Stevens, settling into one of the two chairs in front

of the desk, did not reply immediately, but when Bruce

continued to look at him, seemingly expecting some

comment, Stevens said cautiously, between sips of coffee,

“Canidy is due here this morning.”

3 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Good. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’ve al-

ways thought that Canidy is out of his depth here, and he

is helping prove my point with his reckless acts.”

He poked a finger at the stack of documents.

“There’s a message in here from Howell confirming

that Howell arrived in Washington with Fulmar and the

Dyers. Just that. Nothing more.”

Stevens felt unease at what he recognized as Bruce’s

obvious anger. The slight that had triggered it clearly had

not been forgotten nor forgiven.

David Bruce had learned on February 14—two days after

celebrating his birthday—in an eyes only personal mes-

sage from Colonel Donovan that a mission was taking

place in Bruce’s backyard, one of such extreme impor-

tance—“Presidential,” Donovan had written—that Bruce

was deemed not to have the “Need to Know.”

That was difficult enough for the chief of OSS Lon-

don to swallow, but what made matters worse was the

fact that Stevens— My deputy, for Christ’s sake! Bruce had

thought disgustedly—did have the Need to Know,

though Donovan had said that Stevens was privy only to

limited details in order for him to act should he suspect

that any actions by OSS London Station—or by Bruce

personally—might undermine the mission.

It was not a perfect situation, the OSS director apolo-

gized, but it was a necessity, one made by direct order of

FDR. Donovan promised to bring Bruce into the loop as

soon as possible.


3 9

It turned out that Donovan didn’t have to; of all

people, Canidy had done it for him, in a top secret—

eyes only message that he had sent from German-

occupied Hungary.

Dick Canidy was Eric Fulmar’s OSS control officer.

He had sent Fulmar, his prep-school classmate and the

American-born son of a German industrialist, to Ger-

many to smuggle out Professor Frederick Dyer, whom

Canidy understood to be an expert in metallurgy and in

the manufacture of jet and rocket engines. The fifty-nine-

year-old professor was disgusted with Nazis in general

and Hitler in particular, and it was hoped that he would

assist the Allies not only in the pinpointing of the facto-

ries that were producing these engines, which would

then be bombed and thus preserve Allied air superior-

ity, but also in the advancement of the Allies’ own devel-

opment of jets and rockets.

What Canidy—and Stevens and Bruce and everyone

except a select few on the secret list controlled by the

President—did not know was that Dyer was more impor-

tantly also a scientist with expertise in nuclear fission, and

his escape would (a) deny the Germans his work in the

race to develop an atomic bomb and (b) help the Ameri-

cans in theirs—code-named the Manhattan Project—at

which they had already had considerable success, includ-

ing the first uranium chain reaction on December 2,

1942, in a lab secretly built in a squash court under the

football stands of the University of Chicago.

An escape route had been carefully planned, with a

series of OSS and British Special Operations Executive

4 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

agents and resistance members set to smuggle Fulmar

and the professor and his daughter from Marburg an der

Lahn in Germany (where Fulmar was leaving a long trail

of German SS bodies) to Vienna, then Budapest, and ul-

timately to the coast of the Adriatic Sea, where a fishing

boat would ferry them out to the island of Vis, on which

Canidy waited with his hidden B-25 aircraft.

That had been the plan. But, as plans can, it went

bad—placing the President’s extreme mission, as well as

the lives of Fulmar and the professor, in jeopardy.

Canidy had sent a message from Vis saying that only

Gisella Dyer, the professor’s attractive twenty-nine-year-

old daughter, had made it out via the Hungarian pipe-

line. Fulmar and the professor were serving ninety days’

hard labor in Pécs, in southwest Hungary, their punish-

ment for being black marketers, ones who failed to pay

off local officials.

When word got back to OSS Washington, Donovan

made a cold-blooded decision: If in ten days Canidy

failed to rescue Fulmar and Professor Dyer, Canidy was

ordered to terminate them to keep them from falling into

the hands of the Germans on their trail.

When Donovan then learned that Canidy, risking

everything, had gone after them himself, and then that

the OSS team and the C-47 sent to support him was de-

clared late and presumed lost, Donovan had had to cut

his losses: He ordered a squadron of B-17s, ostensibly en

route for a raid on Budapest, to take out the Hungarian

prison as a target of opportunity.


4 1

But the C-47 hadn’t been lost—it’d been forced to land.

And then, as the B-17s leveled the prison at Pécs,

it’d taken off with Canidy and Fulmar and Professor

Dyer . . . mission accomplished.

Bruce reached out for the carafe and poured himself

more coffee as he thought how that damned loose can-

non Dick Canidy had again gotten away with not follow-

ing the standard operating procedures.

But maybe not, he thought, judging by this morning’s

message. Maybe Donovan is about to call Canidy on the


Bruce caught the look in Stevens’s eyes and realized

that he had put him in an awkward position.

“Sorry, Ed. Forget I said anything.”

Bruce thumbed through the pile of messages until he

found what he was looking for and passed it to Stevens.

“You’ve seen this?”

“Yeah,” Stevens said after he scanned it. “Another re-

quest from Sandman for Corsica.”

“I know getting the weapons is no problem. But do

we have the cash on hand that they request?”

“Can you give me a minute?” Stevens asked and nod-

ded toward his office, signifying that he wanted to check


“Of course,” Bruce said, then picked up his coffee cup

and turned his attention to the decrypted message from

the OSS agent on the Axis-held French island of Corsica.

4 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Two months earlier, in mid-December, the Office of

Strategic Services had made history with the landing of

the first OSS secret agent team inside enemy-occupied

Europe. To the great relief of OSS stations from North

Africa to London to Washington, the team, with minimal

difficulties, had had textbook success from the time its

clandestine radio station, code-named pearl harbor,

had, on December 25, 1942, sent to OSS Algiers Station

the first of what would become almost daily messages

that detailed German and Italian strengths and strategic

locations and more.

It was remarkable for the OSS on a number of levels,

not the least of which was that it garnered the young

agency genuine credibility—albeit grudgingly in some

quarters, such as the British SIS, which had been formed

in the sixteenth century and had absolutely no patience

for the stumbles of the infant American intelligence or-


General Dwight David Eisenhower, the supreme Al-

lied commander, while not exactly a cheerleader for the

unorthodox methods of Colonel Donovan and his merry

band of spies, became a cautious convert when, at Allied

Forces Headquarters in North Africa, he was provided

with the OSS intel relayed from Corsica.

The covert team, using its growing web of local con-

nections, had reported that only twenty-five thousand

Italians had taken the island; that they’d done it with rel-

ative ease because the Vichy government had ordered the

French army’s two battalions there not to resist; that

these battalions were demobilized and their general put


4 3

under house arrest; and that the Italians had limited their

strength on the island only to the west and east coasts

and to major highways inland.

Building on that team’s success, the OSS was contin-

ually assembling and training more teams. Two were on

standby to go in as soon as possible, one of these an

emergency backup to the first—as relief, when the team

was exfiltrated, or as replacement, in the event that its

cover was blown. The rest were being trained for SO—

Special Operations—OSS agents sent in to support the

local resistance, the Corsican Maquis, with tools for sab-

otage and harassment of the enemy.

As Bruce read the most recent report from the agent

on Corsica—this report including a list of the local gen-

darmes that the team had recruited and their needs—

there was a light tap at the door.

“Good morning, sir,” the pleasant voice of a woman


David Bruce looked up and saw Captain Helene

Dancy, Women’s Army Corps.

Captain Dancy was Bruce’s administrative assistant, an

attractive brunette in her thirties who had left a position

at the Prudential Insurance Company as executive secre-

tary to the senior vice president for real estate. She was

professional and thorough, with the golden ability to get

things done when others would have long ago given up.

“Good morning, Captain. Everything well with you

this morning?”

“Just fine, thank you, sir.”

She nodded at the stack of reports.

4 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“And you? I see you’ve managed your usual early

start. Anything for me?”

“Never early enough, it would seem,” he said with a

tone of resignation. “Colonel Stevens just left to find

something. I have nothing for you right now, but should

Stevens require help that could change.”

“Certainly, sir.”

“Were you able to locate Captain Fine?”

“Yes, sir. Late yesterday. And I just passed by him in

the hall. He said he would be by momentarily.”

Bruce glanced at the file on his desk that held the top

secret message from Donovan.

“So should Major Canidy. While I’d like to keep

Canidy at bay, I don’t think that that’s going to happen.”

He paused. “But I might be able to use that to my ad-


“Sir?” Captain Dancy said. “I don’t follow.”

“Never mind it, please. Just thinking aloud. Show

them in when they get here.”

Captain Dancy had finally sat down at her desk after hav-

ing replaced the coffee service in David Bruce’s office

with a carafe of fresh coffee and clean cups when a tall

scholarly looking man in the uniform of a United States

Army Air Forces captain entered her office.

“Sorry I took so long,” Captain Stanley S. Fine said.

“Not a problem,” Captain Dancy replied with a smile.

“Colonel Bruce said you were to go right in when you

got here.”


4 5

She had long been impressed with the thirty-three-

year-old Fine and not just because she knew that before

joining the OSS and before being a commander of a

B-17 squadron (this despite his great desire to be a fighter

pilot) he had been a Hollywood lawyer. That, of course,

did impress her—the movie business had that effect—but

what Captain Dancy really understood about Captain

Fine was that he was a very wise man and she knew this

judgment of his character was widely shared, including

by both Colonel Donovan and Colonel Bruce.

“His nose out of joint that I’m late?” Captain Fine


“You’re not late. And I don’t think that it’s you he’s—”

“Stan!” a familiar voice called from the hallway just

outside the door. “I need a moment with you.”

Captain Dancy recognized the voice, and was not sur-

prised when a moment later Major Richard Canidy ap-

peared in the doorway.

“—It’s him,” she said, finishing her sentence with a

smile in her voice.

“ ‘It’s him’ who?” Dick Canidy said, mock-innocently.

“I could not possibly be guilty of that for which I have

been unjustly accused.” He paused. “Could I?”

Captain Dancy liked Major Canidy as much as—if not

more than—she did Captain Fine. And for some of the

same reasons—Dick was a bright guy, one who was gen-

uine and caring—as well as for some other reasons—Dick

was damned dashing, with a real magnetism that on oc-

casion caused her to lament the differences in their ages.

“You tell me, Major Canidy,” Captain Dancy said in a

4 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

conspiratorial tone, then added warmly, “It’s nice to have

you home safe.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

“Can whatever it is you need to discuss wait till

lunch?” Fine asked.

Canidy thought about it for a second. “Fine, Captain


Captain Dancy stood, shaking her head.

“If you two will follow me, please,” she said, and

started for the office of the chief of OSS London Station.

David Bruce, holding a coffee cup saucer in one hand

and sipping from the cup in his other, was in deep

thought looking out one of the tall windows when his of-

fice door opened and Captain Dancy announced, “Sir,

Captain Fine and Major Canidy are here.”

Bruce, still looking down at the street and sidewalk,

said, “Thank you. Send them in, please.”

A moment later, Fine and Canidy said, almost in uni-

son, “Good morning, sir.”

Bruce turned away from the window in time to see

Captain Dancy leaving the office and pulling the door

closed behind her.

“Good morning,” Bruce replied. He looked them in

the eyes for a moment, then said, “Please allow me to say

that I am deeply relieved that you both made it back.”

He looked at Canidy and added, “That didn’t always

seem to be the case.”

“Thank you, sir,” they replied.


4 7

“You certainly deserve some time off after that mis-

sion,” Bruce said. “But I’m afraid it’s going to have to

wait. The sooner we get going on this, the better.”

Fine and Canidy exchanged glances.

“Get going on what?” Canidy said to Bruce. “We


There was a knock at the door and it swung open.

“Colonel Stevens, sir,” Captain Dancy announced.

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Stevens was standing there be-

hind her, a worn-leather briefcase in each hand.

“Come,” Bruce said almost impatiently.

When Ed Stevens entered, Fine and Canidy came into

his view.

“Stan! Dick!” Stevens said.

He put down the briefcases, went to them, and em-

braced them one at a time, giving each a loud double pat

on the back. When he was confident of his voice, he

added, “Damn, it’s good to see you guys!”

Lieutenant Colonel Stevens took a step back and com-

posed himself.

“Thanks, Ed,” Canidy said.

“It’s good to be back,” Fine added. “Thank you, Ed.”

Stevens nodded and smiled, then collected the briefcases

and turned to Bruce.

“I knew we had these funds in the safe. I’m having

them see how much more we can get, and how soon.”

“Funds?” Canidy repeated.

When Stevens nodded, Canidy turned to Bruce.

“This have to do with what you’re talking about,


4 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Bruce ignored the question. He pointed to the couch.

“Put them there, Ed,” he said.

He looked at Canidy and Fine.

“Can I offer you some coffee?” he asked. “Helene just

made it.”

As Bruce poured everyone a cup from the new carafe

brought in by Captain Dancy, Stevens placed the brief-

case from his left hand on the couch first, then the one

from his right hand beside it.

He worked the combination lock on the left briefcase,

pushed the buttons to unlock its clasps, and after the

clasps sprung open with a dull click-click he slowly

opened the case. Then he repeated the process with the

right case.

Stevens looked at Bruce.

“Nice,” Bruce said, stepping over to admire the worn

currency that was in fat bundles secured with paper

bands. “I don’t care how much one might be around

money, you just can’t help but be impressed with cold,

hard cash—seeing it, feeling it, smelling it.”

There were appreciative chuckles.

Canidy offered, “I’ve always thought that bank tellers

were not being completely truthful when they said that

they were unaffected by all the money they handled day

in and day out.”

“They were just saying something they felt obligated

to say?” Fine said.

“That’s my guess,” Canidy said. “That, or they’re just

damned liars looking for a chance to skim it.”


4 9

“There’s always that temptation,” Bruce said matter-

of-factly. “Or out-and-out steal it all.”

“Anyway,” Stevens said, pointing to the left briefcase,

“in here is a half-million francs, and—” he pointed to the

right one “—this is a hundred thousand in lire. It’s a start,

and more is on the way. We had another two hundred

thousand francs, but our contact at Banque Oran became

suspicious of a series of deposits by the owner of a restau-

rant that had suddenly become quote very successful un-

quote and when the bills were inspected, about one in

ten were found to have had sequential serial numbers.”

Bruce grunted.

“The Fascists really can’t think we are that stupid,” he

said. “That’s insulting.”

“More likely a stupid mistake on the restaurateur’s

part. Careless. Or lazy. Just stuck the new bills in with old

ones in a single batch, not bothering to spread out the

ones with sequential numbers over time. After we discov-

ered that the money was marked, but before we could

turn him, I’m told somebody shot him.”

Bruce shook his head. There was no room for mis-

takes in this business. Especially sloppy ones. Yet, there

seemed to be no end of them, either. And it was too bad

he’d been killed; you could never have too many double


“That amount should satisfy Sandman’s immediate

request,” Bruce said, glancing at the pile of documents

on his desk that included the message from Corsica as he

sat down.

5 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He motioned for Canidy and Fine to take their seats

in the armchairs in front of his desk and they did.

“Yes, sir,” Stevens agreed and closed the cases, then

moved one to take his seat on the couch.

“Sandman?” Canidy said, eyebrows raised in question.

Bruce bristled at the temerity.

As a rule of thumb, the asking of questions in the OSS

was discouraged; in fact, the act could, depending on the

magnitude of the subject, carry significant penalties in-

cluding but not limited to, say, confinement in an obscure

stockade at the far end of the world for the duration of the

war plus ninety days—if not longer. One either had the

Need to Know or one didn’t. Lives—indeed, the war—

could be lost if too many knew too much.

Looking at Canidy, Bruce knew that he knew this. But

Bruce also knew that he was still pissed that Canidy and

Fine and Stevens, his goddamned deputy, had had the

Need to Know about the smuggling of Professor Dyer

and his daughter out of Hungary—while he didn’t.

Intellectually, he could understand the logic. Emo-

tionally, however, was something else.

Yet here was Canidy once again questioning at will.

Bruce was honest enough with himself to recognize

that he had more than a little resentment toward Major

Richard M. Canidy, USAAF.

What bothered Bruce wasn’t the fact that despite the

gold leaves of a major pinned to his A-2 jacket epaulets,

Canidy was not an officer of the Army Air Forces. Assim-

ilated ranks were issued all the time—particularly in the

OSS. Because civilians in a military environment attract


5 1

attention and because little attention is paid to majors,

especially at the upper levels of the military hierarchy, it

had made good sense to arrange for the Army Air Forces

to issue an AGO card from the Adjutant General’s Office

to “Technical Consultant Canidy” that identified him as

a major. That way, should someone inquire of Eighth Air

Force or SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expe-

ditionary Force), a record would exist of a Canidy, Major

Richard M., USAAF.

And what bothered Bruce was not the fact that Canidy,

with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engi-

neering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

1938, had, as a lieutenant junior grade, United States

Navy Reserve, been recruited from his duty of instructor

pilot at Naval Air Station Pensacola to be a Flying Tiger

with Claire Chennault’s American Volunteer Group,

then from there been tapped to be a “technical consult-

ant” to the Office of the Coordinator of Information, the

first incarnation of the OSS.

Canidy had proven himself a warrior—particularly in

China with the Flying Tigers—as well as a natural leader,

and Bruce respected that.

No, what bothered the strictly ordered sensibilities of

David Bruce was the fact that Canidy was simply too

young and too reckless—particularly in light of the fact

that being the officer in charge of Whitbey House Sta-

tion, OSS-England, made him the third-highest-ranking

OSS officer in England.

And, getting to the meat of it, what really bothered

Bruce the most was not only the fact that Canidy pulled

5 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

damned dangerous stunts—invariably leaving a mess for

the diplomatic-minded such as Bruce to clean up—but

that he damned well got away with them.

Which, of course, left Canidy with no problem asking

questions that he should not be asking.

“Ed,” London Station chief David Bruce finally said,

“why don’t you fill in the details?”

“Yes, sir,” Lieutenant Colonel Ed Stevens said, then

looked at Major Canidy and Captain Fine. “You’re famil-

iar with ‘Pearl Harbor’?”

“You’re referring to the OSS team,” Canidy said, “not

to the Territory of Hawaii.”

Stevens nodded.

Stan Fine said, “We are.”

Stevens stood and went to the desk and picked up the

carafe. He raised the pot to ask everyone, More? , and

poured after Bruce slid his cup closer, then warmed up

Fine’s and Canidy’s cups, then finally his own.

“Sandman is in Algiers,” Stevens continued, “training

additional teams for insertion into Corsica. The next

team will take in this cash, sharing it with the team al-

ready in place. You’re familiar with the makeup of the


“The recruits are Corsicans,” Canidy began, “from

the French Deuxième Bureau at Algiers.”

The French Deuxième Bureau was the intelligence

arm of the French army’s general staff.

“Right,” Stevens said. “An officer and three men. The

officer is the intel leader, and the liaison and the two ra-


5 3

dio operators report to him. So Sandman took the four-

man team in by Casabianca—”

“The French sub?” Canidy said.

“Exactly. They infiltrated at night onto the beach by

rubber boat. First wave ashore, they took wireless radio

sets, money, weapons—”

“Lots of Composition C-2,” Bruce interrupted.

“Lots of C-2,” Stevens confirmed with a smile. “Then

the sub backed just offshore, where it laid on the bottom

for twenty hours. Meanwhile, the team went inland, es-

tablished its base, then the next night returned to the

beach—a different spot that’d been prearranged—and

signaled the sub, which had been waiting subsurface,

watching with its periscope. It surfaced, and full supply—

more pistols, Sten nine-millimeter submachine guns,

ammo, et cetera, et cetera—was completed.”

Stevens took a sip of coffee, then continued: “In days

we were getting reports from Pearl Harbor, making it

successful on a number of levels—”

“So much so,” Bruce interrupted again, “that our

plan now is to send in teams to France.”

There was silence as Canidy and Fine drank from their

cups and considered that.

Stevens went on: “There’s more, but for now un-

derstand that we’re going to use the Corsica model of

inserting teams in France to supply and build the resis-

tance. That said, it’s going to be more difficult. We got

lucky in Corsica; the Germans and Italians took the is-

land with next to no troops, and continue to hold it in a

5 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

very sloppy manner. The French there hate the Fascist

Italians, of course, and so far don’t seem afraid to take our

help to rise up against them.”

“Conversely, France is crawling with Krauts,” Canidy

said. “And with a lot of Frogs who want to get along

with the Krauts.”

“Right,” Stevens said. “We’re confident that enough

of the French will fight; it’s just going to be harder get-

ting to them.”

“And that’s where we come in?” Canidy asked. “C-2

and suitcases of cash—I’m in.”

Canidy thought that he noticed a just-perceptible

smirk from David Bruce.

“That,” the chief of London Station replied evenly

and with a straight face, “is where Captain Fine comes in.

Captain Fine will be flying this money to OSS Algiers,

where he will give it to Sandman and then begin the

setting up of teams for France. Right now, Major, since

you’ve just successfully come from German-occupied ter-

ritory, I’m simply interested in your observations.”

“Well,” Canidy shot back, “my first observation—”

“Dick!” Fine said, cautioning him.

“Before you go off half-cocked, Major,” Bruce said,

“you should know that I have my reasons.”

“Reasons?” Canidy parroted.

David Bruce knew that he shouldn’t, but he felt some

small pleasure picking up the envelope and handing it to

Canidy. “For you.”

Canidy reached out, practically snatched the envelope,

and opened it. He flipped past the outer cover sheet


5 5

stamped top secret, then past the inner one stamped

top secret—eyes only bruce stevens canidy and

read the message without expression.











Canidy put it back in the envelope.

“Any idea what this is about?” he said.

Bruce locked eyes with him, waited for a moment, then

said, “Officially? No. Unofficially?” He paused, seemingly

deciding if it was wise to go on. “Unofficially, I think it’s

rather clear.”

Canidy waved Go on with his hand.

Bruce said, “You are damned lucky to be alive and free

as opposed to alive and in the hands of the Sicherheits-

dienst. You knew too much to go behind the lines. What

if you had in fact been captured?”

“But I wasn’t,” Canidy shot back. “And I accom-

plished the mission.”

“At an incredibly great risk,” Bruce replied icily. “And

not without significant loss. The Hungarian pipeline is

5 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

blown, and last word we got from the OSS radio station

was code that they had been discovered and were about

to be captured.”

Canidy’s face tightened. He looked past Bruce and

stared out the window.

“Judging by the wording of Colonel Donovan’s mes-

sage,” Bruce went on calculatingly, “I presume he feels

the same way.”

After a moment, Canidy locked eyes with Bruce.

“Maybe you’re right,” he said, putting his cup and

saucer on the desk. “I greatly regret the loss of any

agents, but I did what I thought was the best under the

circumstances. . . .”

“And you did do the best considering the circum-

stances,” Fine offered.

“Thank you, Stan,” Canidy said.

Then he stood, and took the envelope that held his

top secret order from Donovan.

“If you’ll excuse me, I think I should pack.”


[ ONE ]

Unterseeboot 134

30 degrees 35 minutes 5 seconds North Latitude

81 degrees 39 minutes 10 seconds West Longitude

Off Manhattan Beach, Florida

2305 27 February 1943

Kapitänleutnant Hans-Günther Brosin—who was twenty-

six years old, had a clean-shaven, soft-featured face, a

head of loosely cropped black hair, and a compact five-

six, 130-pound build that one might expect of a seaman

who had volunteered to go to war in the confines of a

tube only thirty feet tall and two hundred long—not

only was not happy with his present assignment, he was

highly pissed.

In his mind, it was one thing to have to follow orders

that you knew went contrary to everything you under-

stood your training to be—and, without question, the

training of a Kriegsmarine U-boat commander and his

crew was to hunt down and kill enemy vessels—but it was

entirely another thing to follow orders that not only es-

sentially repeated those of a mission that had been risky

beyond reason but that very much repeated orders of a

5 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

risky mission that had in fact proven to be a complete and

utter failure.

The vessel’s two-week-plus passage across the Atlantic

Ocean—during which the U-134, running under strict

radio silence, had come across a convoy of Liberty ships

carrying war matériel eastward and the crew had not

been able to fire a single one of its fourteen torpedoes be-

cause Kapitänleutnant Brosin’s orders specifically forbade

any enemy contact unless it was in an act of defense and

“necessary to ensure the success of mission”—had in no

way tempered his anger.

I am the commander of a fully armed man-of-war, he

thought, not of a passenger ferry.

Brosin looked up from the chart that plotted their

course to the shores of America, and studied the cause of

his contempt.

Richard Koch and Rudolf Cremer were the leaders of

the two two-man teams he was to put ashore. Koch’s

partner was Kurt Bayer, and Cremer’s was Rolf Gross-

man. They were all in their late twenties and of average

size and looks (none of the four appeared distinctly Ger-

man), each dressed in all-black woolen clothing, com-

plete with knit cap, and wearing a black leather holster

that secured a Walther P38 9mm semiautomatic pistol

and an extra eight-round magazine.

Brosin was unaware—his orders strictly spelled out

that he was to transport the teams and see that they made

it to shore; he knew not who they were nor what they

were doing, and they did not offer the information nor

did he ask it—that all four men had spent years in the


5 9

United States before the war and that if they had not al-

ready returned to the fatherland by December 1941 they

had in the months immediately afterward. Koch and

Cremer had served in the military; Bayer and Grossman,

civilians, were selected in large part for their knowledge

of America, then were trained for their mission by the

Abwehr, the military’s secret service.

The teams were moving four black stainless steel con-

tainers, each roughly the size and shape of a large stuffed

duffel, complete with black-webbed shoulder straps. One

by one, they staged the heavy containers near the base of

the ladder that led up to the hatch in the conning tower.

Feeling Brosin’s eyes on him, Koch glanced over at

him, and nodded. Brosin did not respond.

Koch, a good six inches taller and forty pounds heav-

ier than Brosin, had come to respect the commander—at

the very least for his obvious professional care for his men

and his ship, and surely for his temper. In view of the lat-

ter, Koch had—as difficult as such a thing was to accom-

plish on an undersea boat—managed to keep his distance

from the captain the whole two weeks. And, as overall

leader, he had made sure that Cremer and Bayer and

Grossman had done the same. At one point, when they

had confined themselves to their bunks to memorize the

details of their mission orders for after landing—every

phase had to be accomplished by memory only—two

days passed without the captain seeing his unwanted hu-

man cargo.

Crouching, Koch helped Cremer position the last con-

tainer, gave him a pat on the back, then, being careful as

6 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

he stood upright so as not to strike his head on any of the

ship structure, walked over to Brosin.

“Not long now, Commander,” Koch said.

“Not soon enough,” Brosin replied evenly, looking

right through him.

That, Koch remembered all too well, was exactly what

the captain of U-134 had told him when they had had

their first meeting—a private one—in the captain’s quar-

ters shortly after they had sailed from the bunker at Brest,


“Just so we are clear about this,” Kapitänleutnant Hans-

Günther Brosin had said, waving his copy of the mis-

sion’s secret orders. “Landing agents from a U-boat on

the shore of America was an idea that bordered on sui-

cide when it was attempted only months ago and it is an

idea that is more than suicide now.”

“Commander, not attempted but successfully—”

“I count Kapitänleutnant Linder,” Brosin inter-

rupted, holding up his hand in a gesture that stopped

Koch, “as a personal friend. He, as one professional to

another, personally told me the complete details of how

U-202, under his command, put ashore the four Abwehr-

trained agents on the Long Island of New York. Including

the fact that, as the agents and their containers of explosives

moved to shore by raft, the U-boat became grounded on

a shoal of sand.”

“Perhaps if the captain had—”

“Ach du lieber Gott!” Brosin snapped. “There is no per-


6 1

haps! This boat is the same type as U-202, and I can tell

you, Herr Koch, as I know every detail of this ship, stem

to stern, that for it to float requires a minimum water

depth of five meters. And what is more—”

He heard his voice echo down the ship. He had

quickly been losing his temper and realized it.

He paused, took a deep breath, then with a lower voice

had continued: “And what is more, Herr Koch, a U-boat’s

only measure of safety is the silence of the depths. If she

is in less than thirty meters—and certainly if she is in five,

ten meters of water, or, worse, is aground—she is a sitting

duck. As was the U-202.”

He shook his head.

Brosin went on, his disgust clearly evident: “Are you

aware that when the emergency measures of dumping

fuel to lighten the boat, then using her diesel engines full

power astern, did not seem to be helping free her from

the shoal—an act that not only resulted in the loss of

more precious fuel but also served to ruin any stealth the

boat might have enjoyed—Kapitänleutnant Linder had

ordered the crew to begin to scuttle her?”

“Commander, I am more than—”

“Of course you are. And so, too, you are of course

aware that the agents—those four in New York and an-

other four the next day put ashore just south of here—

were almost immediately captured? And those not put to

death by the Americans were sentenced to spend their

lives in prison?”

When Koch wordlessly stared back at Brosin, the cap-

tain threw up his hands.

6 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“It was insanity to embark on such a mission,” Brosin

said with disgust, “and it is insanity to repeat such a


“And, Commander,” Koch had said matter-of-factly,

“as it was the U-202’s and Kapitänleutnant Linder’s, so

is it our duty to serve as ordered.”

“That does not mean I will repeat mistakes made.”

“Nor will I, Commander,” Koch had replied coldly.

“With respect, that is why this time we land during win-

ter. And in deeper water. You will recall that Kapitänleut-

nant Deecke had no such problem with U-584 landing

its agents on the Florida shore. And U-584 is a Type

VIIC”—he paused for effect—“the same as this boat.”

“I have made my position clear,” Brosin said and

stood up. “There is no margin for error.”

“Understood, Commander,” Koch said, rising. He

started to leave, then added in a light and hopeful tone:

“Remember, it is the new year. Victory for the Führer

and the fatherland is soon, my friend.”

“Not soon enough,” Brosin had said.

Now, more than two weeks later, U-134 was within ten

miles of the uppermost east coast of Florida.

Brosin turned to his executive officer, who stood with

his forehead against the periscope, eyes pressed to its

rubber eyecups.

“Good, Willi?”

“Nasty weather up top, sir,” Wachoffizier Wilhelm

Detrick, a squat, dark-haired twenty-one-year-old, said.


6 3

“Rain, light wind from the northwest. Visibility is not

great. But nothing in sight, sir.”

“Take us up, then, Willi. Keep her running on batter-

ies, prepared to go immediately to full diesel power, if


Brosin paused and looked at Koch and his teams, then

added: “The sooner we get this over with, the sooner we

can get back to our real work.”

“Yes, sir,” Detrick said.

[ TWO ]

Manhattan Beach, Florida

0201 28 February 1943

United States Coast Guard Yeoman Third Class Peter

Pappas, who was five-foot-five, 130 pounds, and blessed

with the chiseled look of a Greek god bronzed by sun

and salt, tugged the hood of his poncho tighter around

his head, trying to seal out the cold rain that was drip-

ping in around the brim of his hat.

The rain had been coming in what seemed like almost

regular intervals the whole time—two hours so far, with

two to go—that he had been patrolling the beach. The

wind had been light but steady out of the northwest. A

very, very quiet Saturday night, and now early Sunday


Pappas stopped at another one of the somewhat regu-

lar indentations between the sand dunes, paths cut by

the feet of countless beachgoers during warmer and hap-

pier times. He looked inland and saw nothing suspicious.

6 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Then, with his handkerchief, he wiped rain from the lens

of the U.S. Navy binoculars hanging from his neck,

raised them to his eyes, carefully fitted the eyepieces to

his eye sockets, then made a 180-degree sweep of the

beach and ocean, slowly scanning from north to south.

And seeing absolutely nothing but black-gray sand,

black-gray sea, and black-gray sky.


He snickered. He had just remembered the line he’d

joked with the girls to get them to meet him at night on

the beach: “Want to go watch the submarine races?”

Damned submarines, he thought, the smile long gone.

Joke’s on me now.

It had been about a year ago when, as a seventeen-year-

old senior at Tarpon Springs High School, Peter Pappas

first began to seriously consider joining the United States

Coast Guard.

Being around boats and water was more than natural

for him. His grandparents had come from Greece and

settled into what then had been a village of fishermen

and sponge divers. In time, Pappas’s father and uncles

had followed their father into the business that had fairly

rewarded their families for their hard labors. And so, too,

had Pappas begun working the boats as a young boy,

learning the business from the bottom—literally, cutting

sea sponges from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

By age seventeen, though, after five-plus years of pulling


6 5

sponges and filleting fish, Pappas had more than convinced

himself that he needed to do something with his life other

than work the family boats.

Actually, it had been Ana who had convinced him.

Not that Anastasia Costas had told him that specifically,

but Pappas could figure out that a sponge diver had little

chance at a long-term relationship with the only daugh-

ter of Alexander Costas, Esquire, mayor of the town of

Tarpon Springs.

Pappas had the Greek-god-like looks and a seemingly

endless, easy charm that went a long way to masking the

fact that he had not necessarily been blessed with smarts.

He was a nice guy, even honest (something that could

not be said of many of the boat guys), and that coupled

with the looks and charm had caught the attention of

fifteen-year-old Ana. And he intended to keep it.

When Pappas had looked around Tarpon Springs and

considered his options, he found few. He had not ex-

celled academically—it had taken some tutoring for him

to actually graduate high school—and he certainly had

not performed well in any sport. Working long hours on

the boats had not allowed for any athletics.

Then, last summer, as the Sophia, one of his father’s

two wooden work boats, headed for port loaded with sea

sponges and grouper and snapper, he had seen a Coast

Guard cutter rumble past. The ship was at least one hun-

dred feet long—more than three times the length of the

Sophia—and fast. More impressive, though, was a crew

member at the stern: He stood at what Pappas was pretty

6 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

sure had to be a machine gun. Maybe a .50 caliber. And

he seemed to be making a slow salute or wave in Pappas’s

direction as the cutter continued past.

Pappas, hosing fish guts off his boots and the deck,

had made his decision then and there. Joining the Coast

Guard would give him the opportunity to be paid to

travel far, if he wanted. Or he could stay close to home,

as this cutter proved was possible. And with the United

States having just been bombed into the war, women

loved a man in uniform. Including Ana.

When Pappas went to enlist, the United States Coast

Guard recruiter down there in Tampa could not have

agreed with him more.

“And I can request where I’d want to be assigned?”

Pappas had asked him.

“Hell, son,” the recruiter said, handing him a pen and

the enlistment papers, “you can request anything you

want!” He pointed. “Your autograph goes right there.”

Pappas had not requested Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

The last place on God’s green earth that Pappas ex-

pected to be in the middle of winter was on a deserted

beach in a cold rain. With the world at war and being

two-thirds water—that was one thing he had actually ab-

sorbed when he hadn’t been daydreaming at Tarpon

Springs High—Pappas figured the odds should have

been in his favor that, rain or shine, he would instead be

manning, say, a USCG cutter .50 caliber machine gun in


6 7

the act of protecting U.S. merchant marine ships shut-

tling war supplies.

Or something, for Christ’s sake.

Certainly not a yeoman third class on coast watch,

standing on a dune in wet sand up to his ankles and look-

ing out through binoculars at the black-gray seas of the

Atlantic under an even blacker-grayer layer of clouds.

Sure, there had been more than a little hysteria about

the security of America’s shores after they caught those

Kraut spies last summer, but that had long ago died

down. And what idiots would again try doing something

with subs that had already failed them? Even the Krauts

couldn’t be that stupid.

So far, Pappas had heard only what sounded like some

drunken celebrating—at one point that naughty, deep-

throated laugh of a female having too much fun—but

that had been inland, toward the bungalows and bars

of the town of Jacksonville Beach, the voices carried out

on the wind.

Here on the beach, he had not seen anything all night,

and he had no reason to think he would see anything all

morning. Especially in this impossible soup.

And, he thought, for Christ’s sake, what if I did? They

didn’t even issue me a weapon. Just a damned whistle, these

binocs, and as a special treat—whoopee!—a hoagie sandwich.

Peter thought about Ana.

At least that part of his plan had not soured. Yet. They

still wrote to one another, though the span between her

letters seemed to be getting longer each time, and the

6 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

length of her letters shorter and less, well, personally de-


He reached inside his poncho and felt in his breast

pocket for the letter that he’d received from her just a

few days ago. She had written after Valentine’s Day, all

excited about the chocolates he had arranged to have

sent to her, but the letter otherwise was filled with gen-

eralities, and certainly no specifics about their plans to-


Peter was more than aware that if he had not volun-

teered to join the Coast Guard, he very likely would have

been with Ana on Saturday night—and maybe into this

Sunday morning—and there would have been absolutely

no chance that she was with some other guy who also

had found her many fine qualities desirable.

He suddenly felt very sad and lonely.

And while he was a little hungry— Hell, I always seem

hungry—the hoagie sandwich, a thick, soft roll slathered

with butter and packed with turkey, was really not going

to be much of a consolation.

Pappas walked toward one of the footpaths between

the dunes until he found a weather-beaten log that looked

as if it had been beached there for decades. He sat on it.

He considered rereading Ana’s letter—it was upbeat

and would probably cheer him—but realized it simply

was too dark to see much of anything, let alone read a

piece of paper. Besides, the rain would make the ink on

the letter run and likely dilute the delicate fragrance of

the perfume that she had misted it with and he didn’t


6 9

want to risk ruining a letter that he had read only three

times so far. And who knew when she’d write next?

Instead, he put the binoculars beside him on the log,

then dug down in his wool coat till he found the inside

pocket that held the wrapped-in-waxed-paper hoagie. He

pulled it out, pulled back the paper, and was surprised to

discover that it was somewhat warm, at least in relation

to the conditions outside his poncho.

Pappas again thought of the letter and the perfume

and suddenly had a mental image of Ana. The vision caused

a stir in his groin. He could see Ana, deeply tan and in

her black swimsuit, the one with the low-cut front and

the back open impossibly far down. She was lying on her

side, on a towel just above where the gulf surf rolled to

its highest point on the bright white sand.

He looked at the sandwich, looked into the dark dis-

tance, shrugged.

Pushing back the pangs of hunger, he ducked his head

completely inside the poncho, brought the sandwich in

under the same cover, then unbuttoned his fly, made

himself accessible, ran his fingers through the bun in or-

der to coat them with the butter, and, his hand thus lu-

bricated, reached down and found himself again as he

pictured Ana peeling off her black swimsuit.

7 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N


Unterseeboot 134

30 degrees 36 minutes 5 seconds North Latitude

81 degrees 39 minutes 1 second West Longitude

Manhattan Beach, Florida

0130 28 February 1943

The German submarine was motionless on the slick sur-

face of the Atlantic Ocean three hundred yards off the

shore of the United States of America and barely afloat in

a water depth of thirty-one feet.

Its conning tower was crowded. Kapitänleutnant Hans-

Günther Brosin stood there, as did his executive officer,

while a line of sailors worked to move the four stainless

steel containers from down below out through the conn

hatch and onto the deck, where the two teams of

commando-trained agents were quickly and efficiently

inflating the last of the six-foot-long rubber rafts and

preparing the three coils of three-quarter-inch-diameter

line that would be tied end to end to eventually tether all

of the rafts to the U-boat.

Brosin glanced up nervously at the thick clouds.

Though there was a steady, cold drizzle, he was content

to suffer it in return for the air cover that it and the

clouds provided.

It was eerily still and calm and quiet . . . too damned

quiet. What little wind that there was came out of the

northwest, causing the only surf—if the absence of such

could be called that—to be a soft lapping of waves on the


7 1

shore. No surf and no wind meant no natural sounds to

mask any loud noise that they might make.

As Brosin fitted the soft rubber eyepieces of his Carl

Zeiss binoculars to his eyes and made a slow sweep of the

coastline, he said, “What is our time, Willi?”

Detrick trained a penlight on the chronometer

strapped to his wrist.

“Nine and a quarter minutes so far, sir, twenty and

three-quarter to go.”

“An eternity,” Brosin muttered. Then he asked, “En-


“On standby, crew awaiting your orders.”

When Brosin took the binoculars from his eyes, he

saw that Richard Koch was coming up from the deck to

the conning tower.

As the agent approached, Brosin said, not kindly,

“What is it? Troubles?”

Koch held out his hand. “As this will be our last com-

munication, Commander, I wanted to say thank you. We

go now.”

Brosin nodded. “Go with God,” he said more warmly,

shaking Koch’s hand. He then added, in a serious tone:

“But go quickly. This exposure becomes more dangerous

by the moment. In precisely twenty minutes, we will be

under way, with or without the rafts.”

Brosin knew that while it was not absolutely critical

that the U-boat take the four rubber boats with it when

it left, everyone would be better off if it did—the agent

teams especially.

7 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

They could hit the beach, strap the stainless steel con-

tainers on their backs, and move inland without having

to take time to deflate and then bury the boats. Only

their footprints would be evidence of their having been

there, and in an hour’s time, with the rain, those would

be gone, too.

And if no rubber rafts were found, then there would

be no reason for anyone to look for whatever vessel had

launched them.

Koch lightly clicked his heels, nodded once in defer-

ence, and left the tower for the deck.

Brosin turned to Wachoffizier Detrick.

“If there is no signal within fifteen minutes to retrieve

the boats, Willi, personally see that the line is cut.”

“Yes, sir.”

Richard Koch dipped the wooden oar blades into the sea,

pressed for leverage the toes of his boots into the crease

formed where the floor of the rubber boat met the tran-

som, and slowly leaned back, pulling on the oars as he did.

The whole boat seemed to contort and simply move

in place at first. It felt as if the rubber ring that formed

the sides of the raft just flexed around the weight of the

cargo—Koch and the stainless steel container—and that

the boat made no forward motion across the water.

Koch raised the blades out of the water, leaned for-

ward, dipped the blades, and again leaned back and

pulled. More flexing of the raft, but not as much as the

first time. And when he made another cycle, he could


7 3

sense that he was making progress, that the rubber boat

was moving forward.

Between his raft and the U-boat, Koch could hear the

dipping of the others’ oar blades and similar sounds of


Getting the men and the containers from the U-boat

into the rafts had gone almost as they had practiced it

at the sub pens in France. They first had tied off each

boat—as an act of safety in the event one went in the

drink before anyone wanted it there—to a short line that

was secured to the ironwork that protected that deck gun

mounted just fore of the conning tower. Then, after the

boats were inflated with a foot-operated bellows, they

were slipped over the side. One had gone in upside down

and had to be recovered, drained of seawater, and re-


Next, a rope ladder was produced and deployed, and

the first agent, Bayer, made his way down it, along the

port side of the sub, and into a raft being steadied by a

sailor holding as best he could to the short length of line

tied to the bow. Once the agent was in the boat, seated

on the center bladder of inflated rubber that served as his

rowing position, one of the stainless steel containers, tied

to another line and with its web shoulder straps placed

against the hull to muffle any metal-on-metal clanking,

was slowly slid down the port side. The container was se-

cured on the deck of the raft by a strap affixed to the

floorboard, and the sailor then cast off the short bowline

and the next raft was pulled forward and positioned at

the foot of the rope ladder.

7 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

With each agent, the process had been repeated al-

most flawlessly. The exception was Rolf Grossman.

When Grossman’s container was lowered over the

side, the sailor, his fingers tired and cramping, acciden-

tally let the rope slip and in the quiet of the night the

container hit the water with a remarkable sound. The re-

sulting splash nearly soaked Grossman with cold sea-

water, and it took some effort for the quick-tempered

agent not to spring from the raft and up the ladder to let

loose a string of expletives—if not a fistful of knuckles—

at the sailor.

In addition to the short length of line on his boat,

Koch had another. It was tied to a hard point on his bow

and, at the other end of the line, to another coil of line

on the U-boat deck that in turn was tied to yet another

coil of line that was secured to the ironwork that pro-

tected the U-boat’s deck gun. A sailor played out the

coiled lines as Koch rowed away.

Koch now led the tiny flotilla to just shy of shore. He

kept a steady rhythm as he cycled the oars. And after

some time, he felt the raft suddenly rise higher on a swell

than it had on any swell since he had left the sub and he

knew that meant the water was getting shallower, that he

was almost ashore.

He dipped the blades and pulled hard on the oars,

once, twice, then, on the third pull, he at once felt the

blades strike the sand bottom and the raft slide to a stop

to the sound of rubber scraping on the beach.

Koch quickly shipped his oars and practically leaped

out of the boat and onto the shore. He scanned the area,


7 5

saw nothing in the darkness, then reached in the boat

and, with a good deal of effort, pulled out the stainless

container and set it on the sand. He turned and tugged

hard at the raft to pull it up and out of the water.

Next, he carried the container higher on the beach, up

past some driftwood and old logs, then ran back to meet

the other rafts.

One by one, as they repeated the pulling ashore of the

boats, Koch used hand signals to indicate that the agents

should move the containers to the collection point on

higher ground.

As Cremer and Bayer and Grossman did so, Koch

took the loose end of the short line of the nearest raft and

tied it to his boat, then tied the next raft to that one, cre-

ating a train of rubber rafts ultimately tethered to the


He was tying the last raft when Cremer returned.

“Herr Hauptmann, shall I make the retrieval signal?”

Cremer whispered in German.

“Not ‘Herr Hauptmann,’ ” Koch hissed in English.

“From now on, we use our American names.”

“Yes, sir—” Cremer began in English, then corrected

himself. “Okay, Richard.”

Cremer stepped to the water’s edge, removed a black

tin flashlight from his pocket, held it to the highest point

he could reach over his head, then pushed its switch six

times to make the agreed-upon signal of two series of

three flashes each. When there was no immediate re-

sponse from the U-boat, he quickly repeated the two se-

ries of three flashes.

7 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He heard a sound of something rushing through the

water just offshore and realized it was getting closer. It

sounded like a small school of fish rushing across the sur-

face. Then he noticed a line tied to the first raft was draw-

ing taut—fast. The line stiffened and the raft practically

shot off of the shore. It took him a moment to under-

stand that someone on the U-boat had seen his first sig-

nal and the sailors had begun to pull on the line. The

delay, he guessed, had to have been due to the length of

the line and the taking up of its slack.

Cremer put the flashlight in his pocket, then hurried

over to the next raft in line. He positioned it in the water,

toward the U-boat. Koch was about to do the same with

the third raft when he heard footfalls squeaking in the

sand as someone was fast approaching.

“Sir!” Bayer whispered excitedly.

“It’s Rich—” Koch began to correct Bayer as he

turned away from the raft to face him.

Koch stopped when he saw Bayer standing there with

Grossman. He couldn’t believe his eyes, but when Cre-

mer ran up with his flashlight and turned it on there was

no disputing it.

Between Bayer and Grossman stood a young man—

really, only a kid; his huge eyes showed stark terror—

wearing the uniform of an American coastguardsman.

Bayer had the young man’s hands bound together

with rope cut from one of the containers, and Grossman

had his Walther 9mm pistol pointed at the kid’s head.

They had used a length of material cut from the poncho

to gag his mouth.


7 7

“Turn off the goddamned light!” Koch whispered, in

German, and when it went dark he leaned closer to

Bayer’s ear and snapped, “What is this?”

Bayer replied in German: “I was having no luck find-

ing the placement of the containers. I went up to the

dunes, by some logs, and heard moaning.”

“Moaning?” Koch repeated.

“Ja,” Bayer said, a hint of laughter in his voice. “And

when I finally saw where it was coming from—a poncho—

I saw it was shaking. A happy shaking, if you get my

meaning, Herr Hauptmann.”

Koch looked at him incredulously. “Scheist!” he said.

“He has no weapons,” Grossman said. “What do you

want to do? I can kill him, but then we have a body.”

Koch considered that quickly. Grossman would have

no trouble strangling him—cutting his throat or shoot-

ing him was out of the question; too messy and noisy—

but they couldn’t leave the body on the beach or toss it

in the sea.

The kid clearly constituted some sort of beach patrol.

And if he didn’t check in with someone, that someone

would come looking for him, and if they found his body

there would be problems that the Germans did not need.

Same if they tried to bury him. Someone would eventu-

ally find the grave site. Worse, it would require the teams

to burn valuable time digging a grave, burying the body,

then covering their tracks.

There was the sound of laughter coming from a short

distance inland, and a woman’s cackle caused Koch to be

distracted for a moment. Then, behind him, there came

7 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

the sound of the third raft beginning to crunch across the

sand as it headed for the sea.

Koch turned and looked at it a long moment as it slid


“This way!” he said, running for the last raft in the

line. “Schnell!”

With more than a little effort, Bayer and Grossman

lifted and dragged the young American in the soft sand

behind Koch.

“In here!” Koch said, pointing to the raft.

The American squirmed and made angry grunts as

they placed him on the floor of the raft. Grossman smacked

him hard on the top of his head with the Walther and the

protests stopped for a moment. When the kid stirred,

Grossman hit him again with the pistol, this time behind

the right ear, and he went limp.

“Take those oars and put them in the other boat!”

Koch ordered as he rushed to wrap the kid’s ankle with

the strap that had secured the container to the raft. He

then took the end of the line that bound his hands and

ran it down to the ankles, trussing him to keep him from

jumping overboard in the event there came such an op-


The line that tied the fourth boat to the third boat

now began to tighten, then became quite taut. Koch

suddenly realized that with the added weight of the kid,

the fourth boat was stuck high and dry. He signaled for

each man to move to a corner of the boat and they lifted

and carried the raft into the water.


7 9

Slowly, the train began moving smoothly out to sea


“That should make a nice surprise for the com-

mander,” Koch said as the last raft and its cargo floated

from view.

The men chuckled.

“Enough of this,” Koch said. “Let us go before he is

discovered off his post—and then we are.”

U-134 had been moving slowly in reverse under the

quiet power of batteries for about five minutes—Kapitän-

leutnant Hans-Günther Brosin having given the order to

be under way immediately after seeing through his

binoculars the first blink of light from the agent’s six-

pulse signal.

After the first two sets of three flashes, there quickly

had followed another two sets, and Brosin wondered if

there was any particular reason for that—were the agents

simply more anxious than necessary or did they need to

get the rafts off the beach right away because they were

in immediate danger of being discovered?

There was a flash code for that contingency, of course,

as well as for others, but Brosin knew that invariably

there were gray areas when something happened that was

not addressed by some specific signal. So instead of hav-

ing the U-boat sit in the shallow sea while the deck crew

of five hand over hand pulled in the line in order to re-

trieve the rafts, he ordered another five sailors to go

8 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

down and help them pull against the extra strain of the

U-boat backing away from shore.

The sooner they were in deeper water, the sooner he

would feel better.

Moments after he had given the order to get under

way, as the sailors were hauling in the line, there came an-

other odd occurrence.

The line tethering the rafts suddenly became very

taut. It pulled forward the seamen who were retrieving it

due to the fact that the ship was of course motoring in

the opposite direction. This created the real danger of

pulling them overboard, and Brosin was just about to

bark the order that they let loose of the line and that the

engine power be cut when whatever obstruction there

had been was overcome, and the sailors were again re-

covering line hand over hand.

Now, with his binoculars, Brosin could see the first of

the four rafts coming into view through the drizzle.

“What is our depth, Willi?” Brosin asked.

The executive officer relayed the question down be-

low and a moment later replied, “Thirty meters, sir.”

Brosin watched the first raft reach the submarine. The

sailors cleated the line, ran to the raft, and manhandled it

aboard. Two seamen began deflating the recovered raft

while the others returned to pulling in the line that teth-

ered it to the following rafts.

Satisfied that the recovery process was progressing

well and nearly completed, the captain let the binoculars

hang from the strap around his neck and turned to his

executive officer.


8 1

“Bring her around, Willi,” he ordered, “and set a

course of one-two-five degrees. Go to diesel power, five

knots to start, then double that once all boats are aboard

and stowed.”

“Yes, sir,” Wachoffizier Detrick said, and called the or-

ders down below.

Brosin looked again at the men on deck, saw that they

had the third boat out of the water, then he removed the

strap from around his neck, handed the binocs to the

XO, and went to the hatch to go below.

Brosin had just stepped from the foot of the conning

tower ladder when he heard from above Willi Detrick’s

excited voice call down through the hatch, “Sir! I think

you should see this!”

[ FOUR ]

Gander Airport

Gander, Newfoundland

0840 4 March 1943

Dick Canidy had sensed in his gut the very early sign that

the Douglas C-54, one so new that it seemed right off

the assembly line, was going to have problems with one

of its four Twin Wasp radial engines.

The Air Transport Command flight had been eight

hours, ten minutes, and fifteen seconds out of Prestwick,

Scotland—Canidy had immediately checked his chron-

ometer, which he had reset to zero and activated as the

bird had gone wheels up—when he detected an odd faint

8 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

vibration that his aeronautic training had immediately

told him was more than a mere aberration.

Not a minute later, it manifested itself again, louder

this time, and one of the engines on the left wing of the

Douglas C-54 began to shake the plane violently. Then a

great cloud of black smoke erupted out of the outboard

Twin Wasp, and the pilot rushed to shut it down, feather

its props, and adjust throttles and trim to rebalance the


This took a few minutes, what to many passengers

seemed like hours, but soon afterward they were in-

formed that everything was fine, that the cause of the en-

gine failure was a common oil pressure problem, that the

pilots had absolutely no doubt that the aircraft could

make this leg’s intended destination—the refueling stop

of Gander—and that the only inconvenience was that

they would just be a bit delayed.

Canidy knew that “a bit delayed” was a huge under-

statement. Down one engine, they were going to be fly-

ing slower than the 250 miles per hour or so that the

aircraft had been making.

But he of course knew the rest to be true. The excuse

of an oil pressure problem was plausible. And the aircraft

was more than capable of cruising along at an altitude of

seven thousand feet on the power of the remaining three

1,450-horsepower Pratt & Whitney engines.

That had been the view of Canidy the Professional


Canidy the Bus Passenger, however, became miserable

after hours of looking at the dead engine with the At-


8 3

lantic Ocean in the background and was grateful to fi-

nally see the coastline of Newfoundland on the horizon,

and then the snow-covered airfield itself, a welcome way-

point carved out of the wilderness on what not five years

earlier had been an uninhabited plateau of Gander Lake’s

north shore.

As the Air Transport Command C-54 pilot turned on

final, the only sounds in the cabin were the hum of the

Twin Wasps and the rush of air over the flaps extended

from the wings. The next sounds heard—the chirp-chirp

of the aircraft wheels gently touching down on the run-

way—were followed by the raucous applause of the ner-

vous passengers now greatly relieved to have cheated

death again.

Canidy looked out the window, trying to avoid get-

ting drawn into the mindless jabbering of the other pas-


Just before touching down, his field of view allowed

him to see hundreds of warbirds parked in neat lines—

Douglas Boston light bombers with Canadian Air Force

markings, U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchells and B-24

Liberators, and more—all apparently waiting to be fer-

ried eastward to battle.

They came through here, Canidy knew, because the

shortest route between North America and Europe was

Gander to Prestwick. He remembered being told that

the population of this godforsaken frozen outpost had

swollen to some fifteen thousand—a mix of Royal Air

Force, Canadian Army, and U.S. Army Air Forces, heavy

on the Canucks.

8 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy could not see the warbirds now. All that was

visible was a wall of snow that had been plowed off of the

runway. He looked across the airplane and saw that there

was a wall on either side of them and it appeared as if the

plane was traveling along in some kind of winter canyon.

The aircraft came to a gap in the canyon wall—a ramp

to the taxiway—and as the C-54 turned into it, Canidy

could see that a yellow truck with a follow me sign had

been waiting there, and now was leading the way.

A moment later, Canidy began to see a row, then two

and three rows, of bombers. The C-54 rolled past them,

then past two hangars that looked full of aircraft in for re-

pair, then up to the Base Operations building.

Ramp personnel wearing remarkably heavy winter

outfits and carrying wands waved the C-54 to a parking

pad next to two other C-54s, and the pilot shut down the

three good engines.

After a long visit to the gentlemen’s facilities, Canidy

attempted to get a status report on the aircraft and—

though appreciative of having made it alive and well to

Beautiful Downtown Gander—an idea of when the hell

he could expect to be airborne out of this icebox of an

outpost, en route to Elizabeth City, New Jersey, and con-

nections from there to anywhere else but here.

He tried at first to go through channels.

Start with the little guy, he thought. Be nice. Don’t

make waves.

That had been a disaster.


8 5

At every step, they gave him a variation on the same

bullshit line: “It’s going to take more than a little time

to pinpoint the problem—a day, maybe longer—then fix

it—did you see the full maintenance hangars as you came

in?—or arrange for an available backup aircraft and get it

in the air, or failing all that, find everyone an empty seat

here and there on various other aircraft. We’re sorry, Ma-

jor. It’s the best we can do. We didn’t break the aircraft

on purpose.”

And the more Canidy pushed, the more resistance he


To hell with this, Canidy thought.

He made a direct path to the airfield’s Flight Opera-


There he learned from a clerk that another C-54—this

one freshly refueled and headed for Washington—had

just about finished embarking its passengers.

“As the major might expect,” the clerk added, in what

he thought was a helpful manner, “the aircraft is com-

pletely full. The passenger manifest is closed.”

With some effort, Canidy tracked down the Air Offi-

cer of the Day and explained his situation. This of course

could not have fallen on less sympathetic ears.

Everybody’s in a hurry to get home, Major,” Cana-

dian Air Force Group Captain Pierre Tugnutt said.

Tugnutt was an officious prissy type, tall and slight,

with a meticulously trimmed pencil mustache and thin

strands of hair combed over an enormous bald spot,

who practically sniffed with contempt as he handed back

Canidy’s USAAF travel orders.

8 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I’m not every—” Canidy said to Group Captain

Tugnutt before he realized others in the room were

watching their interaction and he stopped.

“Captain,” he began again, calmly, “could we have a

private moment?”

“I believe our business here is complete, Major.”

“Captain,” Canidy replied evenly and with a forced

smile, “it would really be in the best interests of both of

us.” He paused, then nodded toward the small adjoining

office. “Please.”

Captain Tugnutt’s bony face contorted to show his

obvious annoyance. He finally said, “Very well.”

“Thank you, sir,” Canidy said loudly, more for the

benefit of those in the room than for Tugnutt.

In the office, Captain Tugnutt said, “Now, Major—”

“Captain,” Canidy interrupted, his voice low as he

spoke with an edge to his words, “know that I share this

with great reluctance.”

Canidy produced a small leather wallet containing his

OSS anywhere-anytime-anyfuckingthing credentials.

“You get me on that plane, sir, ” Canidy added, “or we

get the air vice marshall on the horn.”

The AOD raised an eyebrow as he reviewed the creden-

tials—twice, since it was clear he had never seen any like

them before—before he handed them back.

“If you’d made these available from the start, Major,”

Captain Tugnutt said snottily, “there’d been no problem,

and certainly no call for threats.”

It was all Canidy could do not to suggest that the

captain make himself genuinely useful to at least one


8 7

person by going off and performing on himself what his

surname implied.

But Canidy wanted on that damned airplane—and out

of Gander—and impressed himself by keeping his auto-

matic mouth shut for once.

As Canidy climbed aboard the about-to-depart flight, he

realized that his problems would likely not end with the

fastening of his lap belt. He saw his open seat—the only

open seat on the whole aircraft—and it was right next to

a lieutenant colonel who had a very sour look.

He clearly was not at all happy that his traveling

buddy, also a light bird, had been bumped—and, worse

than bumped, made to get off of the plane—to make

room for a lowly major.

Canidy, not in any mood to deal with another by-the-

book type, dealt with the situation in what he felt was the

best manner: He ignored it.

Then he thought, Why the hell not? I’m ordered home

to take my medicine, so what’s the worst that can happen?

They send me back to fight the Krauts?

Canidy pulled a silver flask from his tunic, lifted it

toward the prickly lieutenant colonel as if in a toast, said

with a smile, “For medicinal purposes,” then, in three

healthy swigs, drained half of the scotch contained

therein, put the flask back in his tunic pocket, pulled his

cap down so the brim covered his eyes, and with vivid

memories of the bittersweet hours in the arms of Ann

Chambers at her flat the previous night— Or was it the

8 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

night before? Jesus, I hate this travel—he slid into a deep


[ FIVE ]

Anacostia Naval Air Station

Washington, D.C.

1520 5 March 1943

The change in pitch of the four Twin Wasp radial engines

on the Air Transport Command C-54 when the pilot

throttled back for a slow descent from its cruising alti-

tude of nine thousand feet caused Major Richard Canidy,

USAAF, to stir from his sleep. He had awakened briefly

once before when he thought he may have felt another

odd vibration, but all engines continued to turn and he

had dozed off again.

He cracked open one eye now, then the other, and af-

ter his pupils adjusted to the painfully bright afternoon

sunlight that was flooding into his window he glanced

out over the right wing. He could see a beautiful blanket

of snow covering everything on the ground of what he

guessed was Delaware. No, Maryland, he corrected him-

self when he recognized the geography of the eastern

shore of Chesapeake Bay.

The pilot banked a bit to the right, and when the

brilliant sun reflected off the wing, Canidy winced, then

turned away from the window.

The lieutenant colonel was still strapped in next to

Canidy, and though he did not seem to be as much out

of sorts as he had been at takeoff, he was not exactly


8 9

about to offer, say, his services as a D.C. tour guide—or

even share transportation into the district.

Sharing transportation, Canidy saw as he carried his

duffel on his shoulder down the aircraft steps behind the

lieutenant colonel, was not going to be a problem.

There, parked among a line of olive drab Chevrolet

staff cars, was a 1941 Packard 280 convertible coupe.

Leaning on its fender, reading a copy of the Washington

Star, was a stocky chief boatswain’s mate wearing an ex-

pensively tailored United States Navy uniform. On the

chief’s sleeve were stitched twenty-four years’ worth of

hash marks.

Canidy realized that the scene fascinated the lieu-

tenant colonel, and he intentionally picked up his pace

across the tarmac enough to move ahead of the lieu-

tenant colonel.

The lieutenant colonel watched as the goddamned

major who had bumped his buddy off of the C-54 ap-

proached the chief.

When the major barked, “Ellis!” the chief quickly

looked up from his paper, scanned the line of arriving

passengers, then even more quickly folded the Star and

tossed it in the Packard, and saluted the major crisply.

“Major Canidy, sir !”

The major tossed his duffel to the chief, who caught

it, then moved ahead of the major and opened the pas-

senger door of the coupe. Once the major was in the car,

the chief closed the door, put the duffel in the trunk, slid

in behind the wheel, and began to drive away.

The lieutenant colonel stood stiffly as the car passed,

9 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

the major saluting smartly and smiling from its passen-

ger’s seat. It took a moment or so for the stunned lieu-

tenant colonel to answer with barely a wave of a salute.

“How the hell are you, Chief ?” Canidy said as the

Packard turned left onto South Capitol Street, SE, then

started to cross the bridge into the city.

“Doing pretty good, Dick,” Ellis replied with a warm

smile. “That light bird with you have a bug up his ass or


Canidy picked up the copy of the Star and scanned

the headlines. “I had to bump his buddy off the flight at

Gander, and, if that wasn’t enough, the AOD refused to

tell him why. And then I wouldn’t, either.”

Ellis grinned, shaking his head. “Damned good to see

you. Didn’t think that I would.”

Ellis worked for Colonel Donovan as special assistant

to the director. He understood that to mean that he was

to do “everything and anything” to make the life of the

head of the OSS easier and that kept him going round

the clock. He was privy to ninety-nine-point-nine-nine

percent of everything the director read, wrote, uttered,

or otherwise transmitted, and knew all about Canidy

having been in German-occupied Hungary.

He was also quite aware that Donovan had called

Canidy back from London in a secret—eyes only mes-

sage—Ellis was the one who had hand-carried it to the

commo room for encryption and transmittal. That duty

of course naturally fell under the heading of doing every-


9 1

thing and anything for the director. But, as far as Ellis

was concerned, so did an errand to fetch Dick Canidy at

the airfield.

Truth be known, Ellis had the greatest respect for

Canidy, and would have done anything for him.

“Should I ask about the wheels?” Canidy said.

“I’ve got orders to drive it once a week so it don’t just

sit and rot behind the house on Q Street.”

The house on Q Street, NW, a turn-of-the-century

mansion that had long belonged to the wealthy Whit-

taker family, was being leased for one dollar a year to the

Office of Strategic Services as a place to safely and dis-

creetly house whomever—agents, politicians—was deemed

necessary in the course of duty.

Whittaker Construction Company, which had begun

by building and operating railroads before the Civil War,

now included various areas of heavy construction (ports

for ships and planes, hotels, office buildings), and con-

tinued to be quite prosperous.

With enormous wealth came very high connections

and the majority shareholder of the firm—James M. B.

Whittaker (Harvard ’39), presently a U.S. Army captain

on an OSS mission behind enemy lines in the Philip-

pines—had been known to address the President of the

United States as “Uncle Frank,” and not always pleas-


“Sounds like something Jimmy Whittaker would say,”

Canidy said.

“Yeah, and so I was doing just that, just about to go

on my usual thirty-minute spin, when the boss, who

9 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

didn’t want you looking for him in his office, said to go

find you at Anacostia. ‘Why don’t you take the convert-

ible out to the prodigal son?’ is what he said.”

“I’m not the prodigal son. Jimmy is. That’s why it’s

his car. Hell, his house. Any word from Jimmy?”

Ellis looked at him blankly. He didn’t respond.

“I’ll take the absence of bad news to mean good

news,” Canidy said with a smile.

Ellis, eyes on the road ahead, shook his head.

Canidy went on: “The boss have much to say about

me otherwise?”

“Only that he’d meet us after he stopped by his town

house in Georgetown.”

“That works,” Canidy said. “I definitely need a change

of clothes.”

“A shower wouldn’t hurt, either,” Chief Ellis said, and

smirked as he turned left onto M Street, headed for Rock

Creek Parkway.

The house on Q Street, NW—a mansion on an estate—

was surrounded by an eight-foot-high brick wall. Ellis

brought the Packard to a stop with its bumper against

the heavy, solid gate in the wall.

He was about to tap out “Shave and a Haircut, Two

Bits” on the horn—mostly because it drove the ex–Secret

Service guys nuts, and Ellis didn’t much care for them or

their holier-than-thou attitudes—when a muscular man

in civilian clothing and a woolen overcoat stepped out


9 3

from a break in a hedgerow and approached Ellis’s win-

dow, his shoes crunching the snow as he walked.

Canidy thought the overcoat more than adequately

concealed what he probably held underneath—a Thomp-

son .45 caliber submachine gun. The man looked inside

the vehicle, nodded at Ellis, then disappeared back in the


A moment later, the double gate swung inward, Ellis

pulled forward, and just as soon as the car was inside, the

gate doors swung closed again.

Ellis followed the cobblestone driveway back to the

five-car garage, which was called the “stable” because

that was what it had been before being converted to hold

automobiles. He parked the car, then went to the trunk

and retrieved Canidy’s duffel.

“I’ll get that, Chief,” Canidy said, holding out his


“I can use the exercise,” Ellis said, waving him off.

“Besides, I know how it feels when you get off that plane

from London.”

“Nothing a good belt won’t fix,” Canidy said.

They walked up to the mansion, and Ellis opened the

door that led into the kitchen, then followed Canidy in-


It was a very large space—filled now with the delight-

ful smell of onion and garlic sautéing in olive oil—and

had the industrial-sized stoves and cookware and the

stocked pantries and huge refrigerators that one would

expect to find in a restaurant. And it was noisy.

9 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

A short, rotund, olive-skinned man in his fifties, wear-

ing a white chef’s hat and coat, was loudly directing a

staff of four, waving a large knife as his pointer. Before

him on the marble counter were two large uncut tender-

loins of beef on a cutting board.

“Chief Ellis!” the chef, now waving the knife at him,

said in a deep, thick accent that Canidy guessed was Ital-

ian or maybe Sicilian. “You don’t interfere!”

“Just passing through, Antonio, just passing through,”

Ellis replied. “Say hello to Major Canidy.”

Chef Antonio approached Canidy, stopped within five

feet, put his hands stiffly to either side—the knife still

held in the right one—and in an exaggerated fashion

looked down at his feet for a long moment, then up and

at Canidy.

“It is my great honor, Major,” he said formally.

Then he glanced at Chief Ellis and said to Canidy,

“Chief Ellis is banned from my kitchen. He interferes,

and food disappears.” He motioned back and forth over

his round belly to illustrate.

Canidy laughed.

“It is my pleasure—Antonio, is it?” Canidy noticed

that the chef beamed appreciatively that he had ad-

dressed him correctly, then went on: “And you’re right,

Antonio. I’ve yet to meet a Navy man you can trust

around food or booze. Speaking of which”—he looked

at Ellis and nodded toward the heavy wooden door on

the other side of the kitchen—“I’m going to get a taste

of the latter and take it to my room.”

“Your bag will be waiting when you get there. And I


9 5

took the liberty of having the staff clean and press the

suit you left here. Might be a good idea to dress for din-

ner. The boss said to expect him about six o’clock.”

Canidy nodded. “Thank you, Chief,” he said sin-

cerely. As he went though the door, he added, “It’s al-

ways wise to dress for what might be one’s last meal.”


[ ONE ]

Q Street, NW

Washington, D.C.

1755 5 March 1943

Dick Canidy left his room on the third and uppermost

floor of the north wing of the mansion and walked down

the long hallway. He had had difficulty getting the top

button of his heavily starched dress shirt buttoned, and,

when he finally did, he could not believe how tight the

goddamned shirt collar felt. He wondered if the cleaning

staff had done something terrible to his shirt—at one

point questioning if it was even his shirt—then decided it

was simply a very heavy starching that likely caused some

shrinkage. Whatever the reason, the collar was extremely

stiff and extremely uncomfortable and so he worked his

necktie back and forth to loosen it, then squeezed fin-

gertips inside the collar on either side of his neck and

gently pulled, stretching the material.

That seemed to provide some comfort, and so he

carefully snugged up his Windsor knot just enough to

hold it in place but not so tightly as to cancel out what

he’d just accomplished. He then closed one button on

his dark gray, single-breasted Brooks Brothers suit jacket,


9 7

surveyed himself in the enormous, etched-glass oval mir-

ror hanging at the end of the hallway, then went down

the wide stairway.

One of the heavy wooden double doors to the library

was partially open and Canidy entered through it, closing

it behind him with a squeak from its heavy brass hinges.

It was a huge room paneled with deeply polished

hardwoods that held large oil paintings of family portraits

of generations of Whittakers. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves

were filled. The dark wooden floor area was segmented

by four large Oriental area rugs of equal size, on each of

which were the same heavy leather couches and arm-

chairs with overstuffed ottomans arranged facing inward,

the design creating a quad of individual areas.

On the farthest wall, above and on either side of the or-

nate brick fireplace, which crackled with a just-beginning-

to-burn fire, there were mounted trophies of great

animals—among them a lion, a wildebeest, a zebra, and a

pair of spectacular horned heads that Canidy seemed to

recall were commonly known as Greater Kudus, which

he thought was an antelope or such—in a gallery, near

which a rollaway bar service had been positioned.

The bar was Canidy’s immediate destination and the

soles of his leather shoes made a resounding thump-thump-

thump in the quiet room as he crossed the wooden floor

to reach it.

The service contained a wide selection of spirits, light

and dark and very expensive, as well as aperitifs and two

9 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

brands of VSOP cognacs he had never heard of. Canidy

found what he was looking for—a delightful twenty-year-

old single malt made by the Famous Grouse folks—and

he poured himself a double, neat, in a crystal tumbler.

He took his drink and stepped closer to the fire, and,

deep in thought, stood and stared silently at the flames.

So this is how it ends? Canidy thought somewhat mo-

rosely. In a glorious mansion with exquisite scotch? The un-

washed amid the trappings of great wealth and comfort

and success? How rich!

He took a healthy drink of the single malt and waited

a moment before swallowing, enjoying its deep flavor

and warmth on his tongue.

He looked up at the exotic animals. He raised his glass

to them.

“Make room for me up there, boys. I’m soon to join

your lot. . . .”

As he took another drink, he heard the door hinges

squeak across the room and he turned.

Canidy recognized the distinguished-looking gentle-

man of sixty standing in the doorway. He was stocky yet

fit, with a full head of silver hair neatly trimmed and

strong eyes set in the ruddy face of an Irishman. He wore

a well-cut, double-breasted dark gray suit, a crisp white

shirt, and a marine-and-white rep necktie. He had a strong

presence; his confidence filled the room.

There was a reason for this, Canidy well knew. Here was

a man whose accomplishments were legion—successful

Wall Street lawyer and Medal of Honor recipient led the

long list—a warrior, a genuine leader, someone whom


9 9

men would follow anywhere, anytime, for anything,

without question.

And here, Canidy knew, was the man he had let down.

“Good evening, sir,” Major Richard Canidy said,

mustering a voice stronger than he felt. He started walk-

ing toward him.

“Dick,” Colonel William J. Donovan, director of the

Office of Strategic Services, said warmly. “How are you?”

“Getting better by the sip, sir.” He raised his glass. “I

hope you’ll forgive me for starting.”

Canidy and Donovan met in the middle of the room

and they shook hands with some intensity.

“It’s really nice to see you, Dick,” Donovan said, his

eyes locked on Canidy’s.

“Thank you, sir. And you.”

After a long moment, Donovan released Canidy’s

hand, took a step back, and looked at Canidy’s glass.

“Do I suspect you’re into the good single malt?”

“Guilty, sir.”

“Well, then, what the hell.” He smiled. “As we say in the

business, ‘When with evil companions, try to blend in.’ ”

Canidy grinned, nodded once, said, “Single malt it is,

sir,” then turned for the bar, and thought, Helluva way

to get my head handed to me. But— he glanced at the ani-

mal trophies —I can think of worse.

As Canidy poured another crystal tumbler with two

shots of twenty-year-old Famous Grouse single malt

scotch, the director of the OSS said behind him, “I read

your after-action report.”

That was all he said. There was a silence, interrupted

1 0 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

only by the sounds of Canidy putting the bottle back on

the tray with a clunk and of the fire crackling.

Canidy wondered if he was supposed to say something

in reply.

But what? Is this where I throw myself on the mercy of the

court—court, my ass; more like the court, judge, jury, and

firing squad—and confess to having fucked up, apologize to

Donovan for having caused him to bring me home to deal

with my actions, and then beg him that I not be sent to some

hellhole of a stockade or mental ward where I’ll spend the

duration of the war cutting sheets of paper into paper dolls

and confetti?

“Yes, sir,” Canidy said—it was more of a question

than a statement—as he handed the drink to Donovan.

“Thank you.” Donovan took the glass and raised it to

Canidy in a toast. “To successful missions—”


“—To successful missions that contribute to winning

the war.”

Canidy touched his glass to Donovan’s, but as they

both took sips it was clear that Canidy was not com-

pletely following the OSS director’s meaning.

“Nice,” Donovan said, holding the glass in his palm

and admiring the booze. “Very nice.”

He walked over to the nearest leather couch, sat down,

then motioned for Canidy to do the same on the facing

couch. Canidy did, and now realized that the arrange-

ment of furniture created an environment where a dis-

cussion could be at once open and confidential.


1 0 1

After a long moment, Donovan looked at Canidy.

“Anything you want to add that you may have purpose-

fully left out of your after-action report?” he said, his

tone pointed yet at the same time assuring.

What the hell is he hinting at? Canidy wondered. I put

everything in there.

“There were some minor things,” Canidy offered.

“Operational logistics, communications snafus, that kind

of thing.”

Donovan nodded.

Am I missing something here? Canidy thought. Of

course I am. And, Christ, it’s crystal clear—that sonofa-

bitch David Bruce even spelled it out for me—so why the

hell not just get it over with?

Canidy inhaled deeply, let it out, and said, “There is

one thing that I felt best not put in writing.”

Donovan raised an eyebrow.

Canidy stood. “I fucked up, sir. And I apologize.”

The director of the Office of Strategic Services did not


“It’s just that,” Canidy went on, “someone had to do

something to complete the mission. And so, completely

aware of the fact that I was the control—and knew too

much to go behind the lines—I ignored that and . . . and

I went in.”

He took the last sip of scotch, put the empty tumbler

on the coffee table, and after a long moment of consid-

ering if he should say his next thought, he dismissed it,

then mustered the courage to say it.

1 0 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Colonel, while I do apologize to you personally, I

feel you should also know that I would do it again. I

couldn’t leave Eric and the professor in there; they knew

too much. I couldn’t do it—wouldn’t do it—and so I

would suggest that I am more than a little in over my

head. That now said, I’m prepared to—what? I’m not ex-

actly sure of my options. Quit? Resign? Drive a desk and

push papers here in Washington?”

Donovan was quiet as he considered that. He looked

Canidy in the eyes, looked at his glass, sipped the last of

his single malt.

“None of the above,” Donovan finally said. “You know

that, Dick. In fact, you know too much.” He paused. “Your

offer—however misplaced—is declined—”

“Sir? I—”

“Let me finish, please. While I appreciate what you’ve

said, more than I think you realize, I did not come

here—I did not bring you back from London—to shut

you down.”

Canidy, not believing what he was hearing, simply

stared at the director of the Office of Strategic Services.

“Would you mind, while you’re up?” Donovan said,

holding out his tumbler to Canidy. “But just half this

time. And a water alongside, please.”

Canidy nodded, and as he walked to the bar Donovan

said, “Tell me your understanding of what we’re doing in


“As far as the OSS specifically?” Canidy said, uncork-

ing the single malt bottle and pouring.


1 0 3


“Well, starting with the topic at hand, we’re pulling

scientists such as Dyer out through our pipelines, as well

as running harassment campaigns, such as Eric Fulmar’s

blowing up of the ball-bearing plant that was in my re-

port. Then there’s the Aphrodite Project, B-17 drones

packed with Torpex to blow U-boat pens and targets of


Canidy delivered to Donovan his drinks, placing the

glass of water and the glass of single malt on the coffee

table in front of him.

“That, plus some counterintel and psych ops, are all

being run out of Whitbey House Station,” Canidy said,

returning to the bar for his drink and bringing it back to

his place on the couch. “And just now, David Bruce told

me I’m losing Stan Fine, who Bruce is sending—maybe

has already sent—to Algiers to begin setting up teams to

go into France to support the resistance the way we’ve

got agents in Corsica.”

Canidy watched as Donovan picked up the glass with

the water, poured some into the scotch, diluting it by

about fifty percent, then picked up the single malt, took

a test sip, and, apparently satisfied, put the glass back on

the table.

“That’s mostly correct about Fine in Algiers,” Dono-

van finally said. “It’s all about building a réseau—a net—

of resistance.”

He paused in thought.

“Let me paint you a couple of pictures,” Donovan

1 0 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

went on. “First the big one. The Allies are mustering for

a large push and Hitler knows it. And it’s pretty obvious

to anyone paying even half attention that France is key;

we take it back, take all of it back, and the march is on

to Berlin. What isn’t so obvious is how we would take

France—simply by going in across the narrow top of

the English Channel or by coming up from the south,

through what Churchill has intimated as ‘the soft under-

belly of Europe,’ or by doing both—and what must be

even less obvious to Hitler is how to successfully defend

against any—indeed, all—of that while at the same time

battling the Russians.

“Our having done so well with Torch,” he continued,

“and now with having so many Allied forces in North

Africa would tend to suggest preparations for the latter,

taking Italy, then in through southern France. Yet no

matter which of those options is in play—indeed, if all

of them are in play; the President made it clear in his

Casablanca Conference speech two weeks ago that the

Allies will settle for nothing short of unconditional sur-

render—Hitler knows that his chances are made far bet-

ter by Germany’s success in the Atlantic.”

Canidy nodded. “The starving of England,” he said.

“Exactly. Continue to dramatically reduce the flow of

supplies—food, fuel, weapons, ammunition—and the

Germans’ defense of France becomes easier and gives

way to the Germans’ offense of London. And the U-boats

have been wildly successful in taking out our supply ships

in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.”


1 0 5

The director of the Office of Strategic Services leaned

forward and picked up his glass, took a sip of single malt,

considered his next thoughts.

He continued: “That’s the big picture, dangerously

simply put, for Europe. As for a smaller picture—at least

as far as the OSS is concerned—it involves what David

Bruce has Fine doing. OSS London’s Special Operations

is working with Britain’s Special Operations Executive

and the Free French to support the Maquis—young guys

pretty much your age—who fled for France’s woods in-

stead of being forced into slave labor for the German oc-


“Small wonder they don’t trust the Vichy govern-

ment, either,” Canidy said.

“And for damned good reason. So they’ve formed

groups. There’s the Francs Tireurs et Partisans, which is

controlled by the Communists. The Organization de la

Résistance dans l’Armée, full of followers of Giraud. De

Gaulle’s faithful are Forces Française de l’Intérieur, which

is the strongest, and in large part controlled from Lon-

don by the Bureau de Renseignement et d’Action. And a

smattering of others.”

“And we’re supposed to support all these various fac-


“That and pull them together,” Donovan said, nod-

ding. “For now, and for after the war. They’re already

fighting among themselves for postwar control. But they

need training. They need weapons. Food. Money.”

“They need us . . .” Canidy said.

1 0 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Exactly. We’re having great success in Corsica. And

we can do it in France. The vast majority of the French

was anti-Axis before being occupied by them, and they

can only be more so now. And those who may be on the

fence, for whatever reason, can be persuaded to work

with the réseau by appealing to their patriotism—or to

their basic sense of survival.”

“When you say ‘basic sense of survival’ . . . ?”

“I mean life or death,” Donovan replied, his tone cool

and calculated.

He let Canidy consider that, then said, “Our mission

will be to supply and lead the Maquis in guerrilla warfare,

sabotaging fuel-storage facilities, rail lines, factories, power

plants—anything to rob the Germans of their use. SHAEF

will designate targets, which SO and SOE agents will

then tell the Maquis to take out. For example, using Ful-

mar’s recent work, it’s a ball-bearing plant. If those who

run it are receptive to working with the Maquis, then we

blow the machinery—forges, lathes, electrical transform-

ers, whatever—to disrupt production for the short term;

if, however, they choose to be uncooperative, we lay on

an aerial bombing run and blow the whole building. The

whole damned neighborhood.”

“Making it a French decision if they want their infra-

structure to survive the war,” Canidy said, nodding. “Ef-


“Quite. And I don’t think we will have to resort to

the bombing more than necessary. The French, as we’re

finding on Corsica, will readily accept our arms and sup-

port. Perhaps too readily.”


1 0 7

“What do you mean by that?”

Donovan considered not answering. After a moment,

he replied, “Part of dancing with the devil is that we have

to recognize they’re the devil for a reason, and that the

devil has his own motives.”

“For postwar?”

“I’m getting more than a little heat here in Washing-

ton when it’s suggested that we’re supplying the Com-

munists—the devil incarnate—with arms.”

“But there is, even if only a little, Allied support for

that,” Canidy said, making it more of a question than a

statement. “ ‘If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least

a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Com-

mons.’ ”

Donovan smiled. “So sayeth Winston. Yes, there is a

reluctant Allied support. Because the success of the

Maquis is critical to the success of the American and

British and other Allied combat forces to come. And that,

Major Canidy, is why I brought you back here.”

Canidy looked off in the distance and tried to make

sense of it all. Something was not right. A piece of the

puzzle was missing. He looked at the director of the Of-

fice of Strategic Services, who he saw was watching him,

studying him.

Canidy said, “At the risk of losing what little credibil-

ity I’m afraid that I might have with you, I must admit

that I do not follow you completely. I understand going

in and supporting the French resistance—I’m fully pre-

pared to act on that right now, set up SO teams, et cetera,

et cetera—but what does not make sense to me, if you’ll

1 0 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

forgive me for saying, is why you could not have made

these orders in a Secret—Eyes Only message. I could be

on the ground in Algiers with Stan Fine right now.”

“Because you’re not going into France.”

The surprise was evident on Canidy’s face. “But I

thought that you just said—”

Donovan held up his hand. “Did you stop to wonder

why it’s just you and me here, Dick?”

“Yes, sir. I thought my ass was in a crack—”

“And after I made it clear to you that it wasn’t, did

you not wonder?”

Canidy said nothing. There was nothing to say.

Donovan continued: “The reason that I pulled you

back in the manner that I did was so that everyone would

think that your ass was in a crack. So if you disappear, it

won’t be unexpected.”

“Disappear, sir? To where?”

Donovan did not reply directly. He studied the crystal

tumbler as he rolled it in his fingers, making the single

malt rise and fall as it slowly circled. “There are, as you

know, people who do not like the OSS. People on our

side of the war, some very high up. For good or other-

wise, one of our chief supporters is the President of the

United States.”

“One could do worse,” Canidy offered.

“Perhaps,” Donovan said, agreeably. “But some-

times—maybe most times—such connections can cause

serious friction, particularly when you take your orders

directly from the President. That’s why no one under-

stood why it was so important that you flew a mission to


1 0 9

bring back bags of what was thought to be dirt. And no

one understood why it was so important to bring out

Professor Dyer. And now no one will understand why it’s

important you set up and run a resistance net in Sicily.”


“General Eisenhower, there at AFHQ in Algiers, has

made it clear that he does not want us—OSS in general

and OSS SO in particular—in Sicily before the invasion.

He thinks it will tip our hand to Mussolini and Hitler.

Especially if our Special Operations begins blowing up


“So we’re going into France from the south?”

Donovan ignored that. “The OSS Italian SI desk here

in Washington, under a very capable and very young

Army fellow by the name of Corvo, has been pulling to-

gether men to compile intel on Sicily and Italy. Their

work has been limited to interviewing anyone in the

States with an interest in the place, from tourists who vis-

ited there to Mussolini-hating natives who fled to the

States. They’re making relief maps of the islands, compil-

ing lists of assets, targets of opportunity, et cetera. Natu-

rally, this is leading to some internal jockeying as some of

the SI guys try to set themselves up as SO, but we’ve

been stalling, using Eisenhower as our excuse. Which is

why you’re going to set up a resistance net in Sicily, just

as is being done in France, one that will not be discov-

ered by the Italians, the Germans, the OSS Italian SI—

and particularly by Ike.”

“Yes, sir.”

“It won’t be easy. While the Sicilians hate the Fascists,

1 1 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

they’re not exactly fond of anyone else, either. You’re go-

ing to have to develop some leverage with them, because

we need intel and we need it right now, something to

feed Eisenhower in the event he gets wind of what we’re

up to—and particularly if we uncover something he

doesn’t know but should.”

He paused to let that soak in, and as Canidy nodded,

went on: “Your cover is the extraction of another scien-

tist, this one a Sicilian named Arturo Rossi. He also has

expertise in metallurgy. More important, he is a key

contact with scientists whose disciplines are of extremely

high value to the United States.”

“For example?”

Donovan took a sip of single malt before replying. It

was obvious that he did not want to answer the question

directly and that he was not going to.

“These disciplines,” he finally said, “and their impor-

tance will become clearer to you in time. For now, know

that Professor Dyer said that he and Rossi worked to-

gether when they both were visiting professors at the

University of Rome. So our immediate fear is that once

the Germans figure that out, and find the connection

with the missing Dyer and these other scientists, Rossi’s

life will be at risk, if it’s not already.”

“I understand.”

“It’s going to be especially difficult because we don’t

have any established pipelines, and establishing one means

getting through to the tight-lipped Sicilians—”

There came a knock, and Donovan stopped speaking

as one of the heavy wooden doors squeaked open.


1 1 1

Chief Ellis stood in the doorway with a natty man

who carried in his left hand a tan leather satchel and who

wore a dark two-piece business suit, white shirt, and navy

blue patterned tie with a matching pocket square. He

looked to be about thirty years old and was of average

height, with pale skin, dark eyes, shiny black wavy hair

that was neatly combed, and a finely trimmed black mus-


“Major Gurfein, sir,” Ellis announced. “And Antonio

says he’s prepared to serve in fifteen minutes.”

“Thank you, Chief,” Donovan said as he stood up.

“Murray, please come join us,” he added, waving him in.

Canidy stood and followed Donovan as Ellis left the

room and closed the door.

Donovan shook hands with Gurfein, then motioned

toward Canidy. “Murray Gurfein, Dick Canidy. Dick,


They shook hands.

Donovan put a hand on Gurfein’s shoulder, squeezed

it, and said, “Something to drink, Murray? Dick pours a

deadly single malt.”

Gurfein smiled. “That would be a lifesaver.”

Canidy brought the drink to where Donovan and Gur-

fein were seated.

The director of the Office of Strategic Services raised

his glass in a toast and Canidy and Gurfein followed.

“Our swords,” Donovan said.

“Our swords,” Canidy and Gurfein repeated in unison.

1 1 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

After they sipped, Donovan looked at Gurfein. “Nice

booze, no?”


Donovan turned to Canidy. “For your edification,

Dick, the most recent time that Murray and I had the op-

portunity to share a single malt was last summer at the

bar of a very nice hotel in midtown Manhattan, a den

of ill repute frequented by the usual bigwigs, including

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia himself. Our host was a

lawyer by the name of Moses Polakoff.”

Canidy drew a blank on the name, and shook his head

slightly to indicate that.

“Charles Luciano?” Donovan said.

Canidy shook his head again.

Gurfein offered, “Charlie ‘Lucky’?”

Canidy’s eyebrows rose. “The head of the mob? Isn’t

he doing time?”

Gurfein nodded. “Thirty to fifty, courtesy of my for-

mer employer.”

“Before Murray joined the OSS,” Donovan ex-

plained, “he was head of the Rackets Bureau of the New

York County District Attorney’s Office. Tom Dewey, as

D.A. for New York County and as the U.S. Attorney for

the Southern District of New York, did an incredible job

of cleaning out the underworld—Dutch Schultz, Waxey

Gordon, Legs Diamond.”

“Luciano went down in ’36,” Gurfein added, “for

compulsory prostitution of women. Moses Polakoff is his

lawyer. Luciano was in Dannemora Prison till last May,

when we had him transferred to Great Meadow.”


1 1 3

“Why the move?” Canidy said.

“That’s why Murray is here,” Donovan said. “When

he was running the Rackets Bureau, an unusual situation

arose with ONI. One that might help you.”

Canidy looked incredulous. “I’m going to ask a

Guinea gangster for help?”

Donovan looked at him a long moment. “Time to

dance with a new devil, Dick.” He glanced at his watch,

then at Gurfein. “Why don’t you start from the begin-

ning, Murray? But first, shall we eat?”

[ TWO ]

Manhattan Beach, Florida

0330 28 February 1943

Richard Koch and Rudolf Cremer helped Kurt Bayer and

Rolf Grossman dig two shallow holes beyond a line of

sand dunes fifty yards inland from the beach in order to

bury the black stainless steel containers—now each just

top and bottom shells that were nested together after be-

ing emptied of the soft bags that contained explosives,

detonators, pistols and ammunition, United States cur-

rency, and clothing.

Koch thought, but couldn’t be sure, that he heard the

angry shouting of Kapitänleutnant Hans-Günther Brosin

from just offshore. He told himself that he had to be

imagining it because of at least two things: Enough time

had passed since they had sent the young coastguards-

man, bound and gagged, out to the U-boat in the train

of rafts being retrieved, which should have put the

1 1 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

vessel—and its captain—far out of earshot. And the U-boat

commander would not be so careless as to draw undue

attention to himself while in the process of trying to get

his ship to deeper water before being discovered.

Still, Koch smiled in the darkness at what he imagined

as the U-boat captain’s furious reaction to his little sur-


The men filled in the greater part of the holes using

their short-handled shovels, then tossed the shovels in on

top, too, and filled in the last foot or so of sand by hand.

They smoothed out the top of the disturbed sand as best

they could, then left it, relying on the rain and wind to

blend it all back together.

They stood, and each slung one of the heavy soft bags

over their shoulder, adjusted its strap, then started mov-

ing southward along the sand-dune line, the team of

Richard Koch and Kurt Bayer in the lead and, some ten

paces or so back, Rudolf Cremer and Rolf Grossman

bringing up the rear.

The plan now called for the two teams to separate

as soon as possible. That meant after they had secured

transportation—a 1935 Ford sedan, big enough to fit

them all for the short time necessary—which Koch told

them he had arranged for through an old contact.

On the surface, the car seemed only a convenience,

not a necessity—each team member had been thor-

oughly briefed on the terrain and alternate transporta-

tion options by Koch and could find their way alone if

necessary—but beyond that, it held other value to Koch.


1 1 5

Richard Koch had lived for three years—between

stints as a part-time engineering student at the University

of Florida at Gainesville—in Jacksonville, where he worked

for the local company that distributed Budweiser beer.

He had driven a truck and delivered cases and kegs of

Auggie Busch’s best brewed hops and barley to Duval

County bars in the seaside towns that lined its shore—

Manhattan Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and on down U.S.

Highway 1 to the St. Johns County line.

Over the course of his regular three-times-a-week

route, he had become friendly with many of the bartenders

and restaurant managers with whom he had come in con-

tact, but none so well as J. Whit Stevens. “Jay,” as he was

called, was a stocky, middle-aged blue blood from

Philadelphia who had inherited from his eccentric grand-

mother a popular hole-in-the-wall at Neptune Beach

called Pete’s Bar.

It was because of his grandmother that generations of

the Stevens family had spent their winter breaks at Jack-

sonville Beach. She was a free spirit in the world of

the upper crust, and believed that the Palm Beach–type

crowds wintering to the south of Jax were snooty and

terribly overrated. She had spent nearly a lifetime trying

to take some of the stiffness out of her own husband—

Stevens’s grandfather—and her son—Stevens’s father—

but with little success.

And so it surprised no one when, after old man

Stevens died of a heart attack at his senior vice president

desk in the trust department of Mellon Bank, Grandma

1 1 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Stevens up and moved permanently to Jacksonville

Beach, where, in another free-spirited act, she opened

Pete’s to help her pass the time.

Stevens’s father was also at Mellon, as president of the

corporate banking department there, and it had made

sense to everyone that Stevens would follow his father

and grandfather into banking.

And he did. He graduated from the business school at

the University of Pennsylvania and soon became a Mellon

junior executive on the fast track. But it was not to last.

Stevens never was comfortable as a button-down type.

And all the business of being a blue blood bored him;

he’d just as soon push away from a gourmet meal at a

gala at the Union League of Philadelphia, loosen his tie

as he walked across Broad Street, and go eat a Philly

cheesesteak in the 12th Street Market.

The undisputable fact was that genes had indeed

jumped a generation—and the genes he had gotten were

those of his grandmother.

Clearly, she had recognized that and, accordingly,

willed to him the bar—her last defiant act in trying to

loosen up the Stevens clan.

This time, she had been successful beyond her great-

est hope.

It had been years since her funeral, and that had been

the last time that Stevens had put on a suit and tie. He

now was prone to well-worn khakis, a faded captain’s shirt

with epaulets, and a crushed navy blue Greek sailor’s cap

that was always askew on his unruly sandy hair.

As his grandmother had been, Stevens was also well


1 1 7

liked. This was in part because of his engaging habit of

greeting everyone with a pat on the back—a hug for cer-

tain regulars—but he knew it also was due to the fact that

he had a habit of letting the bartenders at Pete’s pour

penny draft beer when the happy mood struck him.

From most appearances, Stevens did not take the bar

business too seriously. It seemed that the steady cus-

tomers provided him an easy and reasonable cash flow

most of the year and a very good income during the height

of seasons, June through August and mid-November to

early January. And he had that rent-free two-bedroom

apartment above the bar, a bit ratty-looking from the

outside but with what had to be an incredible view of the

beach and Atlantic Ocean. Why work hard?

But the exact opposite was true.

The proprietor, with his master’s of business adminis-

tration from Wharton, quietly tracked every nickel, knew

what a keg cost him wholesale, knew what he lost in re-

tail income when he just about gave away each keg dur-

ing a “happy mood,” and knew by what percentage

customer traffic—and revenue—then increased after word

got around that Pete’s had been giving away beer again.

Most important, he knew that not all of the income

found its way onto the cash receipts reported to the Bu-

reau of Internal Revenue. Consequently, Stevens had a

hefty fund tucked away for a rainy day—a very rainy

day—or for whatever else he decided was the best use of

his money.

In addition to the income from the bar, Stevens also

dabbled in a number of other cash-generating ventures.

1 1 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He owned a couple of rental cottages—shacks, really, just

bare bone and basic but with great beach access—and

these he let in spring and summer (no one ever wanted to

rent them in winter, when a cold wet wind blew in

steadily off the ocean, and the only heat source in the

cottages was the rarely used wood-burning stoves). And

he traded cars, some by choice, some by necessity.

It was common—maybe too common—in a beach

town environment for jobs to come and go almost as easy

as the wind, leaving carpenters and painters and other

such tradesmen to wait out the dry spells.

And it only made sense, at least to them, to spend

time between jobs where they spent time after work

when they had jobs: at Pete’s. But drinking when there’s

no income, and no hope of income anytime soon, made

for a bad formula.

Thus, quietly, because he did not want to become

known as the Bank of Booze, Stevens allowed a select

group to run bar tabs. While those who found them-

selves in that group thought it was a damned decent

service for Stevens to offer to Pete’s regulars who were

temporarily down on their luck, it was far from a mag-

nanimous act on Stevens’s part.

He knew his customers, and which ones were loan

worthy and which were ne’er-do-wells. And for the wor-

thy, he charged a somewhat healthy interest rate, and se-

cured it by holding the legal title to the car or truck of

the borrower.

When the owner got work, he bought back his title by

paying off—in cash—his tab and the interest incurred. If


1 1 9

the owner did not get work and the tab reached a point

short of the value of the vehicle, it was pay up or default


Consequently, Stevens had one, two—on occasion, as

many as four—vehicles to his name.

When he could, he kept a couple of them parked out-

side the bar—it was always good for the place to look as

though someone were there, to draw in patrons during

business hours and, after hours, to deter others who

might not have the best of intentions—and any extras he

kept parked out at the rental cottages.

Richard Koch did not have the benefit of being edu-

cated at a school of finance—he had been strictly reared

in a home of modest means, his father a hardworking

diesel-engine mechanic who had brought the family to

America but then decided to return home to Germany

when Richard was nineteen and old enough to fend for

himself—but Koch was frugal-minded, too.

He had managed his personal affairs well by keeping

steady employment and spending within his means. He

even socked away cash on a regular basis—a little some

times, more others, till he had just over three thousand


Koch never needed to use Stevens’s loan system, but

he was aware of it, and aware that Stevens seemed to be

always doing something with cars, and so when, in No-

vember 1941, Koch made plans to visit his family in Ger-

many, he spoke with Stevens about leaving his car with

him. Stevens was of course agreeable—for a small fee.

That left only one thing to take care of: what to do

1 2 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

with the brick of cash that Koch had saved. He did not

want to leave it in a bank—not being a U.S. citizen made

him concerned that the money could be confiscated for

whatever reason—and he thought long and hard about

what to do with it, from burying it to having someone

hold it for him.

He finally realized that he already was having Stevens

hold his car; why not just have him hold it, too—but not

know that he was doing so? He could hide it in the car.

After first taking brown butcher paper and wrapping

the cash in two small bundles, then covering the paper

with heavy black tape, he went through the Ford looking

for a spot that was both safe and not at all obvious. He

looked and looked and finally decided on the backseat.

He unbolted the seat from the floorboard, taped the

bundles to the wire frame underneath, and then bolted

the seat back in place.

Then he drove the car to Pete’s Bar, parked it out

front, locked it, and went inside and handed the keys to

Stevens—never for a moment realizing that in a month’s

time Germany would be declaring war on the United

States and in two months’ time he would be enlisted in

the German army.

In December 1942, Richard Koch had a letter-sized en-

velope added to a pouch containing other correspon-

dence from the Abwehr. This pouch was then hand-carried

to Spain, where it found its way to a Spanish diplomatic

courier en route to Spain’s consulate office in New York


1 2 1

City. There the envelope was sent by messenger to Eva

Carr, one of Fritz Kuhn’s faithful in the German-American

Bund living on the Lower East Side.

When Eva Carr, a rugged-looking brunette of thirty-

five, opened the plain envelope, she found another, note-

card-sized envelope.

It carried the return address:

Richard Koch

Gen Delivery


And it was addressed to:

Mr. J. W. Stevens

c/o Pete’s Bar

117 1st St

Neptune Beach Florida

Attached to the inner envelope was a handwritten

note that instructed the recipient to affix the proper

three-cent postage to the inner envelope and mail it from

a box in New York.

Had Eva Carr opened the smaller envelope, she would

have seen the letter therein, written by hand by Koch,

that began “My Dear Jay,” then opened with a line in-

quiring as to Stevens’s health and well-being, and abruptly

segued to announce that Koch would be coming back to

collect his car, within the next thirty to forty-five days,

and if Koch could so impose on Stevens he enclosed a

twenty-dollar bill (in U.S. currency, of course, which had

come from German counterintelligence) in order to have

1 2 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

someone check out the car to ensure that it was in sound

operating order, that it didn’t need a new battery or tire

or other, that it had a full tank of fresh gasoline, et cetera,

et cetera.

The letter closed by wishing Stevens—and Pete’s—a

successful new year.


Wordlessly, the teams made their way southward in the

rain at a half trot, following along the dune line. They

came to an occasional footpath—beach access points that

connected parking lots to the shore—and stopped, care-

fully looking for the lone, love-struck couple out for a

middle-of-the-night stroll or the drunk who may not

have quite made it home, before crossing the path and

continuing south.

At one point, they came to a halt at a four-foot-high

fence that blocked their way—Kurt Bayer actually ran

right into the wall of vertical wooden slats wired together

and was grateful that it had flexed at impact—and,

breathing heavily, the four had to take time to debate

whether it was faster to scale the fence or to run toward

the ocean in order to circumvent it.

They chose, after a brief and animated discussion, to

scale it and soon were running at a measured pace back

toward the south, the path clear of everything but sand

and more sand for the next forty-five minutes.

Then they came to another beach access path, and


1 2 3

there in the dark the faded signage announced, unneces-


no lifeguard

on duty!

swim at your own risk!

town of atlantic beach

It was the last part that Richard Koch had found

the most interesting, for it confirmed for him what he

thought he both remembered and recognized in the dark

and rain of the landmarks through this area.

Kurt Bayer stood there beside him, catching his

breath, and they waited for Rudolf Cremer and Rolf

Grossman to catch up to them. After a moment, they

could hear them—feet squeaking in the sand as they

ran—and shortly thereafter their vague shapes came into

view through the mist.

Koch could hear their labored breaths. Then he heard

Cremer manage to say, “Is—is this—this it?”

Koch whispered, “This should be the path leading to

Sixteenth Street, and, if so, just over there about five

hundred meters”—he pointed south and slightly inland,

past some scrub pine trees and palmettos—“are the cot-


“Let’s go, then,” Grossman said, already moving and

trying not to sound as if he were breathing as hard as

he was.

1 2 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

They passed the pines and palmettos and came to a pair

of darkened cottages, two hexagonal designs built side by

side on pilings six feet above the sand and overlooking

the ocean. Koch knew that these belonged to J. Whit

Stevens because he had twice rented one of them himself.

They were identical, with weather-beaten wooden sid-

ing, wooden decks and railings—some sections warped—

and rusty tin roofs. The windows were shuttered for the

season. Even in the dark it was clear that these were sum-

mer rentals, absently looked after with the kind of neglect

where one fixes things only when they break—and maybe

then not even right away—as opposed to performing some

semblance of preventative maintenance.

Koch, after pulling his Walther P38 9mm semiauto-

matic pistol from the leather holster on his hip, then

hearing the others doing the same, led the men toward

the nearest cottage.

He could feel the sand under his feet becoming more

packed, and then becoming almost solid, as he reached

the point where grass grew at the foot of the wooden

steps leading up to the deck.

Looking around, Koch had hoped—and even half-

expected—that he would get lucky and find his 1935 Ford

sedan, probably coated white with salt spray and sand par-

ticles, parked on one of the crushed oyster shell pads under

the cottages, where Stevens often left cars for long-term

storage out of direct sunlight.

He was more than a little disappointed, if not some-

what pissed, that it wasn’t there—in fact, that there were


1 2 5

no cars around—because it meant that he would have to

walk to Pete’s Bar and deal with Stevens at his apartment.

They went up the flight of steps, and, at the top, Koch

found the key that he remembered was kept hidden be-

hind a light fixture beside the main door.

He put it in the rusted padlock, opened the stiff lock

with some effort, and threw back the clasp. He grabbed

the knob, turned it, and pushed.

Nothing happened. The door was stuck.

Damned thing is either swollen or warped, Koch

thought, or the whole worthless house is leaning, causing

the door to bind in its frame. If I open it, the whole damned

place is liable to collapse. Oh, what the hell . . .

Koch turned the knob and hit the door hard with his

shoulder once, then twice, and the door finally swung in-

ward on very noisy hinges.

It was even darker inside the cottage.

Koch flipped the light switch by the door but nothing

happened. He realized that it was like Stevens to have

had the electrical service turned off to save even a cent;

probably the water, too.

He felt someone suddenly standing beside him, and

when he looked Grossman switched on his flashlight and

swept the room with its beam. The light initially hurt

Koch’s eyes, but he adjusted quickly and could see, with

all the dust and spiderwebs, that it had been some time

since anyone had lived in or even visited the cottage.

1 2 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

They had entered next to the kitchen, which opened

onto a main living area that—when the shutters were re-

moved—looked out over the Atlantic. There was a short

hallway connecting to two bedrooms and a single bath.

They fanned out, checking that the rest of the cottage

was clear, then went into the main living area and put

their bags down on the wooden floor.

Koch took his flashlight and went to the kitchen and

started going through the cabinets.

They were mostly empty, save for containers of salt

and such, but he finally found the candles he remem-

bered being there. He put one on the table and lit it.

Then he took from his pocket a pack of Derby cigarettes.

Now that they were inside, it was safe to light one up

without being seen, and he did.

“First thing after daylight, I’ll go get the car,” Koch

said, walking over to the couch. “For now, take your pick

of the beds in back. I’ll stand watch first—”

“Sir,” Kurt Bayer said, sitting at the table lit by the

candle, “you rest and I’ll take watch.”

He sat down on the couch, positioning his bag right

next to him. “No—”

“With respect, sir,” Bayer pursued, “I can rest when

you go for the car. Right now, you’re tired, and we all

need to be rested.”

Everyone heard Grossman grunt. It sounded derisive,

as if Grossman thought the other junior agent was kiss-

ing up to his superior.

That attitude bothered Koch, but he found himself

smiling in the dark. He was actually grateful he was


1 2 7

teamed with someone like Bayer, not Grossman, because

the Oberschutz, or chief rifleman, was the coldly ruthless

one, a little too quick to cut a throat, or, as he’d done to

the young coastguardsman, pistol-whip someone.

“You’re right, Kurt,” Koch said. “Thank you.”

Richard Koch finished his cigarette, stubbed it out,

then repositioned a couple of the pillows on the couch,

swung his feet up, and shortly, with his pistol in hand and

resting on his belly, was snoring.

[ FOUR ]

Neptune Beach, Florida

0810 28 February 1943

Richard Koch, walking at a fast clip down Ocean Drive,

pushed the hood of his sweatshirt off his head. He had

pulled it up against the morning chill when he had

started out from the cottage about an hour ago, but now

that he had worked up a light sweat it wasn’t needed. He

wore the hooded sweatshirt—a heavy, gray cotton one

with the faded orange uf logo—tennis shoes, and black


Just another local out for his morning walk, he thought,

his hands in the sweatshirt pouch below the uf. One

packing a Walther P38.

At the next corner, Koch cut across the intersection

and started walking south on First Street. He could see

the sign for Pete’s Bar and looked at the parking spaces in

front of the saloon—and began to worry.

Of the two vehicles parked there, neither was the 1935

1 2 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Ford touring sedan. One was a pickup—a 1930 Chevy—

with garish yellow doors lettered stan’s plumbing and

black fenders (the left front one dented) and a rusted

metal framework mounted above the cargo area for the

carrying of oversized lengths of pipes.

For whatever reason—probably the need for a

plumber—it reminded Koch of a drunk he’d once seen in

the men’s room at Pete’s, throwing up in a toilet over-

flowing with a nasty mix of vomitus and other solids.

Koch had grown fond of the Ford. He liked the de-

sign, especially its nose—the tall, sleek chrome grille that

was raked backward with bullet headlamps mounted on

either side, just above the twin horns, and then crowned

with the stylized V-8 emblem that was repeated inside on

the dash.

It wasn’t Cadillac fancy, but in Koch’s mind it was

very nice just the same.

And it has a backseat full of fucking cash.

Koch went around to the back of 117 First Street, to

the flight of rusted steel steps that led to the roof and the

apartment there. He started up the steps, his shoes mak-

ing an enormous racket on the steel as he ascended.

If J. Whit Stevens wasn’t awake before, he is now.

The sun-faded black, stamped-tin address numbers

nailed to the left of the doorframe read 117-a, although

nails at the top and bottom of the a had rusted off and

the letter was now nearly upside down, hanging by the

remaining nail in its left foot.

No surprise. Looks like he takes the same care of his

apartment as he does his rentals.


1 2 9

Koch knocked, and the a rocked on its nail.

He heard movement inside the apartment, then foot-

steps approaching the door.

“Yes?” an unseen Stevens said from behind the closed


“Jay, it’s me, Richard Koch. Look, I apologize for

bothering you at this hour on a Sunday. Can we talk?”

After a long moment, there was the sound of the

deadbolt lock turning, then the doorknob. The door

opened about halfway, and there stood J. Whit Stevens in

pajamas and holding a steaming cup of coffee.

“Richard Koch?” he repeated, as he studied him.

“I worked for the Bud distributor,” Koch said. “Re-

member? And I left my Ford with you.”

Stevens did not seem to register that for a moment,

but then his eyes suddenly went wide.

“Oh, that Richard Koch,” he said.

“I’m actually here about the car,” Koch said. He

smiled, glad to be remembered finally.

“Come in, come in,” Stevens said in a now-friendly

tone while opening the door wide.

As Koch stepped inside, Stevens patted him on the

back. “Nice to see you, Richard.”

Koch had never been in Stevens’s apartment. He was


It was the exact opposite of the bar and the cottages.

Clean—spotless, even—and nicely furnished with a big

couch, two reclining armchairs, and assorted tables and

lamps and nicely framed art. There was an expensive-

looking India rug, easily ten by twelve, woven with an

1 3 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

intricate patterned design in red, gold, and black. Against

the near wall, a cabinet with beveled, cut-glass doors held

expensive china and glassware. Next to it, by the kitchen

area, was a beautifully finished wooden table. And on the

table were a radio softly playing classical music—Vivaldi’s

Four Seasons, Koch recognized—and a coffeepot next to

the morning Florida Times-Union paper, which Stevens

obviously had been reading when Koch had knocked. He

noticed that one headline read: u-boat attacks drop

but still high—300,000 tons sunk in last 30 days.

Stevens walked over to the curtain that covered the

eastern wall and pulled on the cord system that opened it,

revealing a breathtaking view of the ocean and beach, the

sun rising low on the horizon, its golden rays fingering

through the gaps of the clouds beginning to break up.

Stevens took in the view a moment, then turned and

asked, “Can I get you some coffee?”

“I don’t want to impose. This shouldn’t take long.”

“Very well,” Stevens said, nodding. “Have a seat,


“Did you get my letter?” Koch said. He remained


Stevens looked as if he were trying to pick his words

with care.

“The one with that interesting twenty-dollar bill?” he

said conversationally. “Yes, I did.” He paused. “But—”


“But after the fact.”

“What fact? Is it wrecked? Stolen? What?”


1 3 1

Stevens looked at Koch a moment, then said, “If

you’ll excuse me a moment, I’ve got something for you.”

He put down his coffee cup on a table next to one of

the armchairs, then went across the apartment, back to a

door that was on the far side of the kitchen, opened it,

and went through it. The door was left ajar, and Koch

could see the foot of a bed inside.

What the hell did he mean by “after the fact”?

He shook his head as he walked over to the window.

He looked out over the ocean, idly wondering where

out there his U-boat was. Koch heard Stevens’s footsteps

again, then his voice, now chipper, saying, “Here it is.”

He turned and saw that Stevens held a brown accor-

dion folder and was pulling out an eight-by-ten envelope

with r koch handwritten on it in black ink.

Stevens extended the envelope to Koch. He took it,

squeezed upright the brass clasp holding the flap, opened

the envelope, then peered inside. He saw papers—the

letter he had sent (it still had the twenty-dollar bill in it),

some sort of accounting sheet, and a stack of bills, mostly

fifties, bound by rubber band—and pulled them out.

“Eight hundred forty-five dollars, less my commis-

sion,” Stevens said proudly as Koch fanned through the

money. “More than the blue book’s retail value, even af-

ter deducting my fees.”

Koch was now reading the accounting sheet that ac-

companied the cash.

“You sold my car?” he said, incredulous.

“For a mint!” Stevens replied.

1 3 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Who said you could sell my goddamned car?” Koch

said. “And what am I going to do now?”

“I didn’t need your permission,” Stevens said some-

what piously. “The law allows for the placing of a lien

after failure to make payment on the storage and mainte-

nance of a vehicle—”

“But I paid you in advance!” Koch said, his temper

building. He was about to pull out his Walther but

stopped himself.

“Not for the full period,” Stevens replied. “Regard-

less, that’s a mere technicality. I got you a very good deal.

You should thank me.”

“I should fucking shoot you,” Koch snapped, then was

immediately sorry that he did.

Stevens, his face showing fear, took a step back.

Don’t be stupid, Koch told himself. Think!

Stevens watched with real interest as Koch, nervous as

well as agitated, pulled a wrinkled pack of cigarettes from

a pocket of his shorts and lit one. The pack had a draw-

ing of a black horse head and the brand name Derby.

Koch ignored the interest, and, after taking a long

drag and exhaling, looked again at the accounting form.

Stevens said, “It’s all accounted for there on the sheet.

There’s no need to be this way. You were gone quite a

long time, longer than you said—”

Koch looked up at him. “Where’s my car?” he said

forcefully. “I mean, who bought it?”

Stevens opened his mouth to speak but then closed it

without uttering a sound. He thought something over,


1 3 3

then shrugged and finally said, “I can get that informa-

tion—I’m not required to share it—but I’ll have to check

my files for it.”

“How long will that take?”

“An hour, maybe less. It’s been sold for at least six

months. Getting to the paper could take some digging.

Do you have to have it now?”

He’s right. I don’t. Even if I had the information on

who bought it, I’d still need to find the guy. Right now, I

need wheels.

“I need wheels,” Koch said. “Where can I get another

car—and I mean now!”

“I understand,” Stevens said, thinking about it, “but

I’m afraid that I don’t have any cars right now.”


“I’m sorry, Richard—”

Koch then remembered the car that he had seen when

he walked up to Pete’s looking for his Ford. “What about

what’s parked in front of the bar?”

Stevens thought for a moment. “No car that I own.

Must belong to someone who got too drunk last night

and left it.” He paused. “How desperate are you?”

Koch didn’t respond. He thought, I could just steal the

goddamned car.

“How about a truck?” Stevens said and smiled. “I do

have a truck.”

Koch considered that a short moment. “Get me the

keys to it.”

“Now, I have to warn you—”

1 3 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Just get me the goddamned keys!”

Stevens looked at him a moment.

“Okay. And so there’s no bad feelings about this situ-

ation with your car, I’ll give you a deal on the truck.”

“You sure as hell will,” Koch said, and thought, You

don’t know how good of one.

“It’s in the safe,” Stevens said, turning for the bedroom.

“I’ll be just a moment.”

A moment later when he returned, Stevens held a

chrome-plated Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver and

had it aimed at Koch.

When Koch entered the cottage—passing Rudolf Cre-

mer, who had gone to the door with pistol in hand when

he heard the footsteps coming up the stairs—he found

that one of the shutters over a window facing east had

been pulled back and morning light flooded the main liv-

ing area.

Rolf Grossman sat at the kitchen table, finishing the

field cleaning of his Walther; he had lubricated and re-

assembled it after getting out the sand that seemed to

have collected in its every crack and crevice.

The agents had changed out of their black clothing

and now wore the light-colored, casual American-style

clothing that they had brought.

Spread out on the floor were the contents of the soft

bags: electric blasting caps, two-by-three-inch mechani-

cal time-delay devices (their mechanisms built like a wrist-


1 3 5

watch’s, with gears and springs), other slow-fuse devices

disguised as pen-and-pencil sets, ampoules of sulfuric acid,

boxes of 9mm ammo, bundles of currency, and more.

The men had taken it all out to ensure that it was di-

vided up evenly between teams, then repacked the gear

into olive drab canvas duffels that they had packed.

Kurt Bayer was repacking his green duffel when he

glanced over at Koch and saw the bloody cloth tied

around his left thigh.

“Ach!” Bayer exclaimed. “What the hell happened?”

Koch walked with scarcely a limp toward the couch

and sat heavily on it.

“It’s nothing,” he said. He looked at the gear spread

out. “How soon before everyone is ready to go?”

Cremer and Grossman were now moving quickly

toward Koch.

“Do we need to go immediately?” Cremer said excit-

edly. He looked toward the cottage door. “Is anyone

chasing you?”

Koch shook his head. “Relax. Everything is okay. But

we should get going as soon as possible.”

Grossman pointed at the leg and, in an accusatory

tone, said, “What the hell did you do?”

Koch looked at him a moment. “Fuck you. I said

everything is okay.”

He untied the cloth—what Bayer now recognized had

been a white T-shirt—and inspected the wound, a small,

oozing red pulp hole on the outside of the thigh that re-

minded Bayer of a very wet, chewed-up pencil eraser.

1 3 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“It went in,” Koch said matter-of-factly, “and it went

out. No serious tissue damage. Bleeding is done. Just

need to clean it up.”

Grossman took a close look and repeated, “What the

hell did you do?”

When Koch didn’t reply again, Grossman said coldly,

“We need to know how this affects what we do after the

teams separate.”

“He’s right,” Cremer added. “Who’s going to be

looking for us?”

Koch nodded. “All right. Fine. I went to the man who

had my car . . .”

J. Whit Stevens had held the Banker’s Special five-shot

revolver in his right hand.

“I had no reservations about selling your car after

your letter came with that twenty-dollar bill,” he had

said. “I knew then that you were up to something shifty,

not just somewhere having fun, overstaying the length of

time you said you’d be gone.”

Koch, hands in his sweatshirt pouch, the right one

holding the 9mm Walther, looked at Stevens and waited

for an opportunity.

Stevens misinterpreted the silence. “You don’t know

what I’m talking about, do you?”

Koch shook his head. “No, I don’t. Look, can you put

down the gun?”

“I had my suspicions before I saw the twenty you sent.

It’s a Series 1928 Gold Certificate. They’ve been out of


1 3 7

circulation for years. The size of it—about a third bigger

than today’s paper money—is a dead giveaway.”

Koch thought, The fucking Abwehr gave us the wrong

money? Christ!

He said, “I don’t know what you’re taking about.”

“Of course not,” Stevens said, coming closer. “But

I do.”

He pointed the pistol at Koch’s pants pocket. “Mind

if I have a smoke?”

Koch shrugged, then reached into his pants pocket

with his left hand and brought out the pack of Derby cig-


Stevens nervously waved the pistol at the pack.

“Nice Kraut brand, Herr Koch.”

Richard Koch stared back but did not respond as he

held out the pack.

“I traveled extensively in Europe before the war,”

Stevens went on, smugly. “England, France, Austria, Ger-

many. I know a few things about your country, including

its brands.”

Koch said nothing, just jerked the pack upward so that

a single cigarette appeared in the small hole torn in

the top of the pack. Stevens reached for it with his left

hand—and Koch tossed the pack hard into his face.

There was a sharp crack as Stevens’s .38 fired. Koch

felt a burning sensation in his left thigh but ignored it as

he grabbed the revolver while thrusting his right knee

into Stevens’s groin. Stevens groaned and doubled over,

and Koch forced the muzzle of the revolver behind

Stevens’s left ear—and squeezed the trigger.

1 3 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Instantly, a small geyser of blood and gray matter

erupted from the exit wound atop Stevens’s skull and he

collapsed to the floor, blood from the wound pooling on

the India rug.

“. . . And I grabbed the keys to the truck, and came right

here,” Koch said to Cremer, Grossman, and Bayer at the


He chose not to mention the three bricks of cash col-

lected from the bedroom safe when he went for the truck

key—twelve thousand dollars of J. Whit Stevens’s rainy-

day fund kept separate from the rest that was kept in the

safe embedded in the concrete floor of the bar.

“Scheist!” Cremer said. “We have not been ashore a

full day and already we have a trail of a missing coast-

guardsman and a dead pub owner!”

“We have to move!” Grossman said excitedly, and got

down on his knees and started repacking one of the soft

black bags.

Koch shrugged.

“No argument,” he said. “Give me a minute to clean

this scratch and we go.”

Ten minutes later, after carefully packing all the bags and

making sure that they had left no sign of their presence in

the cottage, the four men went down the wooden steps

and headed toward the parking pad of crushed oyster

shells beneath the cottage.


1 3 9

“What the hell?” Cremer said when he saw the horrid

yellow-and-black plumber’s pickup. “When you said

‘truck’ . . .” His voice trailed off.

Koch shrugged, then wordlessly put his bag in the

back and got behind the wheel.

Cremer exchanged glances of disgust with Grossman,

then they put their bags in the back and climbed in with

them, trying to arrange themselves so that they would be

inconspicuous to passersby.

As the truck starter ground and the engine caught

with a cough, Bayer came running up, tossed his bag in

the back—hitting Grossman in the head in the process—

then got in the passenger’s seat and slammed the yellow

door shut.

The truck’s tires began to crunch on the shells.


[ ONE ]

Q Street, NW

Washington, D.C.

1850 5 March 1943

“Luciano is a curious study in contrasts,” Gurfein said

right before slicing more beef tenderloin and putting it in

his mouth.

Canidy, Gurfein, and Donovan, well into their meal,

were seated in the small private breakfast area that was off

of the mansion’s main kitchen.

The huge table in the main dining room was for some

reason being used as a conference table—with papers and

maps spread all over it—and therefore unavailable.

The private breakfast area’s outer wall was a large bay

window that overlooked a moonlit open area of the es-

tate that went back an acre or so to where a row of tall

evergreen trees heavy with snow masked a section of the

stone wall that ringed the property and was patrolled at

irregular times by armed guards.

Covered with a cloth of white linen, the rectangular

table was somewhat small, about three by four, and in-

tended to comfortably seat two. It was now set for three,

using what was considered to be the “everyday” china,


1 4 1

leaving little empty space between the nice but simple

heavy white plates and the water and wine glasses.

Donovan sat at one end of the table, Canidy at the

other, and Gurfein was seated between them, opposite

the bay window.

Behind Gurfein—very close behind him—was a nar-

row ten-foot-long shelf running the length of the wall. It

now held half-empty platters of sliced beef tenderloin,

garlic-roasted red potatoes, steamed asparagus with a

lemon-cream sauce, as well as a glass pitcher of ice water

and a half-dozen bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, one of

them empty and another open and “breathing.”

At the start, Donovan had excused the staff, saying

that he felt sure that he and his guests could serve them-

selves without risk of starving or other calamity, but if

anything should arise to prove him wrong—“And I have

been wrong before,” he said. “I believe it was a summer

day in 1888 . . . when I was five”—he would immedi-

ately summon them by pressing the floor-mounted ser-

vice call button beneath him.

“Contrasts?” Canidy repeated, carefully cutting his

last stalk of asparagus. “How so?”

Gurfein hurried the chewing of his beef, and swal-

lowed quickly with some effort.

He said, “Although he’s rough and squat and

dumpy—looks like a dumb Guinea thug, especially with

that droopy eyelid and the neck scar he got from knife

cuts—he is actually a cool operator who could run a cor-

poration, if he wanted. A legal one, I mean, because he’s

clearly running an illicit one. Another example is that

1 4 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

there is absolutely no doubt that he is a ruthless killer,

more than comfortable with getting his hands dirty, yet

he has been a model prisoner. Not one problem since he

went in the slam this time. And he’s not eligible for pa-

role for another thirteen or so years—1956.”

“Will he get it?” Canidy asked.

“Not even likely,” Gurfein said. “Not with his history.

When he first went up—he was sent to Sing Sing—the

prison psychiatrist there diagnosed him as dangerous,

and added that, due to his drug addiction, Luciano

should be transferred to Dannemora. And he was. He

was confined to his cell for sixteen hours a day, the re-

mainder of the time spent working in the laundry, with

an hour every other day allowed for some type of exer-


The state prison Sing Sing was at Ossining, near New

York City. Dannemora, the state’s third-oldest prison and

maximum-security facility—and, accordingly, a cold, mis-

erable place to spend a night, let alone to languish a

lifetime—was in upstate New York, about sixty miles

from Albany.

Canidy reached for the open bottle of Cabernet.

When he held it up, Donovan said, “Please,” and Gur-

fein nodded enthusiastically. Canidy poured a little more

wine into their glasses, then into his.

“If I may,” Gurfein said to Donovan, “let me begin

with a quick history of Luciano, then we can get into re-

cent events. Because of the latter, I had to deeply invest

myself in the former, and that in and of itself was a for-

midable task.”


1 4 3

“Of course,” Donovan said.

Gurfein looked to Canidy.

“Please,” Canidy added.

Gurfein cut a piece of meat and put it in his mouth,

clearly gathering his thoughts as he chewed and looked

out the window. After he swallowed, he took two healthy

sips of wine, then dabbed at his lips with his linen napkin.

“First off,” the former assistant district attorney for

New York County began, “he is not a citizen of the

United States, which is what most assume he is. He was

born Salvatore Lucania on November 24, 1897, in Sicily,

the third son of five children. When Salvatore was seven,

his father, a steam-boiler mechanic by the name of An-

thony Lucania, immigrated to the United States and

found work in Brooklyn at a brass-bed factory. The fol-

lowing year, Luciano came to the U.S. with his mother

and siblings. The family worked hard, stayed out of

trouble—everyone except Luciano. He was a tough guy

from the start. Before he dropped out of school, in fifth

grade, he was already roughing up the little Jewish kids,

saying he would protect them from being beaten up in the

neighborhood, at school—wherever—if they paid him—”

“And if they didn’t,” Canidy put in, “then he beat

them up until they did?”

Gurfein nodded.

“Classic thuggery,” Canidy said.

“Interestingly,” Gurfein said between sips of wine,

“one skinny Polish Jew fought back. His name was Maier


“Later, one Meyer Lansky?” Canidy said.

1 4 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“One and the same,” Donovan acknowledged.

Gurfein stared at his wineglass a moment, collecting

his next thoughts as he methodically worked his thumb

and forefinger on the stem, slowly spinning the wine. He


“Even though Meyer ‘Little Man’ Lansky was five

years younger than Luciano, Luciano liked him, re-

spected him, learned to listen to him. They were running

rackets in no time. Luciano got busted dealing drugs in

his late teens, and spent months in the slam at Blackwell’s

Island. Despite all that—or, rather, perhaps because of

it—Luciano rose quickly in the underworld. He joined

gangs, then ran them, running with some important Ital-

ian mob guys. Quote Italian unquote is key, because

when Luciano wound up working with Joe ‘The Boss’

Masseria, it wasn’t long before it got bloody.”

Gurfein noticed that Canidy and Donovan had

pushed back from their empty plates and so he turned his

attention to what little remained of his meal. After a long

moment, his plate clean, he picked up his wineglass and

went on:

“As capo di tutti capi—boss of all bosses—Masseria

made a lot of money, and Luciano, now his number two,

made him even more. At one point, thinking he was do-

ing what his boss expected him to do, Luciano suggested

that they diversify—get bigger and more powerful be-

yond their already formidable wealth and influence—by

doing business with gangs that weren’t Italian.”

“Why not?” Canidy said. “Lansky, Luciano’s most

trusted friend, was a Polish Jew.”


1 4 5

“True. No doubt that’s what Luciano was thinking.

But Luciano’s idea was to expand not only with gangs

that weren’t just Italian—but with gangs that weren’t

just in New York. He was already envisioning a nation-

wide syndicate. Whether he shared all of this with Masse-

ria is unclear. But Masseria would have nothing of the

idea of working with non-Italians. Luciano was persistent

but ultimately frustrated. He got nowhere.”

Gurfein drained his glass, then slid it toward Canidy’s

wine bottle. “If you would, please?”

As Canidy poured, Gurfein said, “Masseria, however,

was beginning to fear Luciano—as any wise boss would

with nowhere to go but down. So one night in October

of ’29 a car pulled up to the curb where Luciano stood

on the sidewalk on Broadway and Fifth Avenue, right

there in front of the Flatiron Building, which he’d just

come out of, and some guys jumped out and forced

him into the backseat. They bound and gagged him and

drove him out to Staten Island. They beat the living shit

out of him, pistol-whipping and stabbing him, then strung

him up in a warehouse by his wrists. Before they left him

to hang there till dead, they also cut his throat.”

“Apparently, not good enough,” Canidy said with a

grin. He knew how easy it was for someone not properly

trained to try to slit a throat—and fail. It was harder, and

a helluva lot messier, than the movies made it look.

Gurfein nodded. “That’s what makes him one tough

Guinea sonofabitch. Beaten and bloody, he still some-

how managed to work free of the rope that tied his

hands, then he crawled out of the warehouse and wound

1 4 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

up getting picked up by NYPD’s 123rd Precinct. The

cops grilled him, but Luciano, true to omertà, said noth-

ing, and they ran him to the hospital, where the cops had

no choice but to let him go.”

“It’s easy not to snitch if you don’t know who tried to

kill you. Did he?”

“Keep quiet? Yeah, he was faithful to the code—wise-

guys don’t speak out, especially to cops, about the mob.

Did he know who did it? No. Not at first. But over time,

his counsel—Lansky—figured it out for him.”


Gurfein nodded. “And Lansky helped his pal plot re-

venge. So one day Luciano secretly approached Salvatore

‘Little Caesar’ Maranzano—”

“This is where it turned really bloody,” Donovan in-

terrupted. “Masseria and Maranzano were bitter com-

petitors and even more bitter enemies. And so began

what became called the Castellammarese War. Many of

the immigrants fighting this mob war, including Maran-

zano, had come from the western Sicilian town of Castel-

lammare del Golf, hence the name.” He looked at Gurfein.

“Sorry. Please continue.”

“Over the next couple of years,” Gurfein went on, “it

was a real underworld bloodbath. Countless gangsters

got gunned down. Masseria had been right to be fearful,

because everyone was fearful. And it was in this crazed

environment that Luciano set him up. He arranged to

meet him at a restaurant in Coney Island, and the hit

men were waiting.”

He sipped from his wine, then grinned. “So Luciano


1 4 7

got revenge on Masseria for his attempted whacking.

And Maranzano, who now called himself capo di tutti

capi, rewarded Luciano by making him his number two.”

“Jesus Christ!” Canidy said. “Same song, different


“Yes and no. As with Masseria, you had Luciano play-

ing second fiddle to the ruthless big boss. But with one

difference: Maranzano embraced Luciano’s idea of a na-

tionwide syndicate. He wanted to be capo di tutti capi

of the United States. And in order to accomplish this,

he felt he had to take out two obstacles: a gangster in

Chicago named Al Capone—”

Canidy finished it: “—and a gangster in New York

named Charlie Lucky.”

“As you say, ‘same song.’ And Luciano had played this

tune before. So, with Meyer ‘Little Man’ Lansky’s help,

he got Maranzano before Maranzano got him.”

Canidy sighed. “Is there any end to all this?”

Donovan said, “Oh, it just gets better.” He looked at

Gurfein. “Pick up with Dewey.”

Gurfein nodded, then raised an eyebrow. “Colonel,

you know it—and him—better than I do, sir. I suggest

you pick up that part.”

It was no secret that Donovan had close connections

in New York—he had been a United States Attorney in

New York, a very successful one in seeing to the enforce-

ment of Prohibition laws, before settling into a highly lu-

crative private practice on Wall Street.

“There’s an interesting twist here,” Donovan said to

Canidy, rising to the story, but then had second thoughts

1 4 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

and turned to Gurfein. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to

hear your take on it again, Murray.”

Gurfein nodded.

“Very well, sir.” He looked at Canidy. “You’re familiar

with Tom Dewey?”

“Just what I read in the papers,” Canidy said. “Good-

looking, bright guy, fearless. Ran for governor of New

York—and lost—in ’38 at age thirty-five, thirty-six, pros-

ecuted big-time mobsters and other high-profile bad guys,

like the leader of the American Nazis, whatshisname—”

“Fritz Kuhn,” Gurfein supplied.

“—Fritz Kuhn,” Canidy repeated. “Dewey is running

for governor again, and will probably go from there to

run for President.”

“Simply put, in a short time he’s cut a very wide path

that’s shut down a lot of people,” Gurfein said. “You’d

think the mob would want to rub him out—”

“Sure,” Canidy said.

“—and you’d be right.”

“And therein lies the twist,” Donovan said.

Gurfein nodded slowly. “With Joe ‘The Boss’ Masse-

ria and Salvatore ‘Little Caesar’ Maranzano dead and

gone, Luciano and Lansky knew this was their chance to

pull together the various factions of the underworld. If

they didn’t, well, what goes around comes around, right?

So with some great dealing and convincing they man-

aged to set up what was called ‘the Commission.’ ”

The director of the Office of Strategic Services said:

“Dutch Schultz, Lansky, Frank Costello, Joe Adonis, and


1 4 9

of course Luciano as its chairman.” He looked at Gur-

fein. “You tell it.”

“It was, I think, 1935—”

“Right,” Donovan said. “ ’Thirty-five.”

“—and Dewey was investigating Dutch Schultz. When

Dutch went into hiding, Mayor La Guardia started to

really put the screws to Schultz’s slot-machine racket.

Needless to say, Dutch didn’t like it, and proposed to the

Commission that Dewey be taken out. Jonnie Torrio told

him, ‘You don’t go whacking guys that high,’ or words

to that effect—”

“That’s right,” Donovan said. “I’d forgotten Torrio

was also on the Commission. And no wonder. It was his

gang that a young Luciano first joined.”

Gurfein waited to see if Donovan was finished, and

when the head of the OSS waved his hand in a Go ahead

gesture, Gurfein continued:

“See, the Commission was really afraid of their own

rackets taking heat—even getting shut down—after the

public reacted badly to the news of the immensely popu-

lar D.A. being killed by the same scum he was trying to

clean up. So when Dutch was told no, he was, shall we

say, less than thrilled about not getting his way, and be-

came so pissed that he decided that he was going to do

the job himself. That is, have his goons kill Dewey. Word

spread among the gangs, and when Luciano and his

buddy Lansky got wind of it they knew that they had to

stop Dutch Schultz.”

“And the only way to do that,” Canidy said,

1 5 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

remembering the news stories, “was for Schultz to get


Gurfein took a sip of water and nodded at the same

time, spilling water on the table and in his lap.

“Shit!” he said softly, then “Excuse me,” and quickly

patted at the wet spots with his napkin.

“So, Schultz,” he went on, “real name Arthur Simon

Flegenheimer, aka the notorious Beer Baron, age thirty-

three, got shot in the Palace Chop House in Newark and

days later died of wounds suffered.”

“And Dewey lived to see another day,” Donovan said,

“saved, oddly enough, by the mob.”

“Fascinating,” Canidy said. “But what—”

“Not that that made any difference to Dewey,” Gur-

fein interrupted, adding, “because while Luciano may

have directly or indirectly kept Dewey from being killed,

Luciano was far from being home free. In fact, quite the

opposite. The relentless prosecutor got him good: His

team of racket busters raided scores of brothels and

brought in some one hundred hookers and madams. Af-

ter a couple weeks in the city’s Women’s House of De-

tention, enough of them talked so that Dewey could

bring charges that would stick. And, in the end, Luciano

was found guilty of running prostitution rings and sen-

tenced to a record term of thirty to fifty.”

“Sounds like Dewey essentially had him tossed in the

slam for life and thrown away the key,” Canidy said.

“That’s what everyone thought,” Donovan said. “But

then the ONI came calling. They were desperate— are

desperate—for information on spies, saboteurs.”


1 5 1

“Navy intelligence in New York,” Gurfein said, pick-

ing up the next part of the story, “was having trouble—”

Canidy held up his hand to stop him. “Excuse me,

Murray. Hold that thought, please, and pardon me for a

moment. I’m going to make a quick visit to the gentle-

men’s facilities.”

“Good idea,” Donovan said.

He surveyed the table, now little more than a collec-

tion of dirty dishes and glasses, and there followed the

sound of his foot tapping the floor. After a moment,

Canidy realized that Donovan was pressing the service

call button.

“We can have our coffee in the library,” Donovan

said. “Say, ten minutes?”

[ TWO ]

A silver coffee service tray was on the coffee table be-

tween the couches nearest the fireplace. Three china

cups, each emptied of coffee at a different level, were on

the table, as was a heavy wooden humidor.

Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donovan was seated on

one couch and had leaned forward to open the lid of the

humidor and dig out a cigar. His fingers found one, and,

after he pulled it out, the heavy wooden lid fell shut with

a resounding bang that carried well through the large


As Donovan went through the ritual of unwrapping

the cigar, sniffing its length, then snipping the closed end

and putting flame to the other end with an engraved,

1 5 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

gold-plated lighter, Major Richard Canidy and Major

Murray Gurfein stood at the rollaway cart of liquor.

Gurfein held fat snifters in each hand while Canidy

poured into them from one of the VSOP cognac bottles,

the brand of which he earlier had not recognized.

A third snifter was on the cart, and Canidy poured

into it as Gurfein went to the couches, where he handed

one glass of cognac to Colonel Donovan.

“You’re saying that Navy intel in New York was get-

ting reports of U-boats in the Upper Bay?” Canidy asked,


“Yeah,” Gurfein said, opening the lid of the humidor

and digging out a cigar for himself. “But only reports.

No sightings. Considering all the ships getting sunk not

far offshore, and those saboteurs we caught last June

who had come in at Long Island by U-boat, it’s under-

standable that people would make that leap of logic. Es-

pecially after the Normandie went down in the Hudson,

moored there at Pier 88.”

“The Normandy?” Canidy said.

Gurfein, puffing deeply on his cigar as he held a match

to it, nodded.

“The French luxury ocean liner SS Normandie, ” he

explained, “was the world’s largest ship when launched at

St. Nazaire in 1932. She had crossed the Atlantic a hun-

dred or so times when, after arriving in New York, the

Coast Guard took her into custody.”

“How could they do that?”

“Rather easily. France had been occupied, and they

were not about to let the Krauts have her back. So, in-


1 5 3

stead, the U.S. War Department then seized the ship, re-

named it the USS Lafayette, and began converting it into

a troop carrier. That process was nearly completed when,

on February 9, 1942, she began to burn. The fire quickly

spread, there were explosions and more flames, and the

great ship turned on her side and without ceremony


“Jesus Christ,” Canidy said. “Incredible.”

“Yeah,” Gurfein said, sipping cognac. “After that, you

would not believe what kinds of reports came in from the

public. Everyone who looked even mildly suspicious

suddenly was considered a spy or saboteur. One guy was

convinced he’d seen der Führer’s personal Mercedes—

but the FBI, ever quick on their toes, discounted that

one when two of their agents arrived to question him at

the bar, on East Seventh.”

Canidy chuckled. “McSorley’s?”

“McSorley’s Ale House indeed. They couldn’t do

anything with him, though. He was dusty as everything

else in that hole, half in the bag, and adamant that he’d

seen what he’d said he’d seen. He’d slurred, ‘Why the

hell can’t you guys just do your jobs. The goddamned

Krauts are right under your noses!’ ”

Now all three men chuckled.

“Have you seen her?” Gurfein said, his tone now seri-

ous. “The Lafayette, I mean. She’s still there. It’s an in-

credible sight. Bigger than the Queen Mary, but now just

a burned abandoned hulk. That’s a real signal for some-

one to send.”

Canidy shook his head.

1 5 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Donovan said, “I have, and you’re right. It’s sad. A

magnificent ship burned right before it was ready to sail.

You can see why rumors circulated about how it hap-


“Rumors?” Canidy repeated.

“ONI’s Third Naval District,” Gurfein said, “is re-

sponsible for securing the waterfront in New York, Con-

necticut, and part of New Jersey—”

“And,” Canidy interrupted, “it reports to . . . ?”

“The Office of Naval Intelligence here in Washing-

ton,” Donovan offered, “which means just about directly

to Frank Knox.”

Colonel Frank Knox was secretary of the Navy.

Gurfein went on: “—their key job being to see that

nothing interferes with troop shipments and with ship-

ments of supplies and ammunition. In that capacity, and

in the capacity of ensuring the general safety of the wa-

terfront, they’re looking for subversive activities both in

the harbor and on the coast.”

“Okay,” Canidy said.

“And because of that, they received all sorts of sug-

gestions as to what happened to the Lafayette.

“Such as?”

“Such as the ship was sabotaged by the mob as a very

clear way of saying they controlled the waterfront and

could do the same to any other ship—or ships—if Lu-

ciano wasn’t looked upon favorably for early release.”

“Any truth to that?”

“None whatsoever,” Gurfein said, somewhat defen-



1 5 5

Canidy wondered what that was about.

Gurfein went on: “There have been suggestions that

those with sympathy toward the Axis, particularly Fritz

Kuhn’s followers in the German-American Bund, set it

afire to keep it—and the troops and matériel it would

carry—out of the war.”

“That’s plausible,” Canidy said.

“Yeah, it is. But so far, no one has turned up any

proof. Just a lot of tips that go nowhere. Since she sank,

it seems that every time someone sees a bluefish break

the surface of the Hudson or East River he’s convinced

it’s a U-boat periscope and the phones ring off the


Canidy said, “And when the guys from ONI check it

all out—”

“They come up with next to nothing,” Gurfein said

matter-of-factly, then chuckled. “Except maybe the occa-

sional FBI agent lurking in the shadows quote under-

cover unquote.”

“Part of why no one was getting any information,”

Donovan put in, “was because the mob does control the

waterfront. You could put Navy guys everywhere—and

they pretty much did—but then nobody talks, nobody

answers questions, never mind provides leads, good or


Gurfein took a puff of his cigar and let out a big blue


“It’s like this,” he said. “You could be standing in the

middle of Fulton Fish Market and pointing to a table

stacked high with tuna and asking one of the union boys,

1 5 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

‘What kind of fish is that?’ Now, if he suspected you were

a Navy guy, or working for one, he’d look you square in

the eye and say, ‘Fish? What fish? I don’t see no fuckin’

fish,’ then grin like he knew he had you.”

“Meanwhile,” Donovan said, “ships were going down

in record numbers. In March ’42, fifty were sunk, an-

other fifty in April, more than a hundred in May, and on

and on.”

Gurfein was nodding knowingly.

“Which suggested,” Donovan continued, “at least two

grave situations: One, somehow information about when

and where ships sailed was apparently reaching U-boats

waiting, like sharks before a feeding frenzy, just offshore.

Two, these U-boats seemed to have unlimited fuel; that

is, they somehow were being refueled to stay on station.

There simply were too many being too successful.”

“So,” Gurfein said, putting his cigar in an ashtray and

picking up his cognac, “ONI, being in charge of the wa-

terfront, was under great pressure to get information.

And because they were in charge of the waterfront, they

knew that the mob ran it and that the mob controlled the

fishing boats—if not directly, then had considerable in-

fluence indirectly, because the mob controlled the Fulton

Fish Market, where catches from Maine to Florida—the

entire eastern seaboard—were sold. And the fellow who

controlled the fish market was— is —Joe ‘Socks’ Lanza.”

Canidy sat back in his seat. “So ONI approached this

guy Lanza?”

Gurfein shook his head.

“Not directly. No way he’d talk,” he said, then took


1 5 7

a sip from the glass before going on: “Joseph ‘Socks’

Lanza, age forty-one, a real brawler, an in-your-face kind

of guy from the Lower East Side—oldest of nine kids—

fought his way to be what’s called the business agent of

local 124, United Seafood Workers union. A long history

of charges—theft, homicide, coercion—that never stuck.

No witnesses, no worries. Go figger, right?”

Canidy chuckled.

“It would be funny if it weren’t so true,” the former

assistant district attorney said. “But it’s also funny—

funny coincidental, not funny ha-ha—that when the

D.A.’s phone rang with ONI at the other end of the line

asking about a dock boss named Joe Socks, we had the

guy under indictment for alleged extortion on the water-

front—your basic kickbacks from workers, and beatings if

they didn’t pay.”

“Back to your basic thuggery,” Canidy said. “Wise-

guy 101.”

“So we set up a meeting with a couple of the Navy

boys and Lanza’s lawyer. We explained that we needed

access, we needed answers, we needed tips, we needed

anything, and would Lanza be willing to help?”

“What did you offer them?” Canidy said. “Some pos-

sibility of a deal on the extortion?”

Gurfein shook his head vigorously. “Not one damned



“Absolutely nothing,” Gurfein repeated. “We simply

appealed to their sense of patriotism.”

He puffed on his cigar two times, heavily, exhaled

1 5 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

audibly, then took the cigar into his hand and gestured

toward Canidy with it as he made his point.

“You have to keep in mind that these Italians and Si-

cilians came to the United States for a better life and that

many have family back in the old country, where Mus-

solini and the Fascists are making life a living hell. And

keep in mind that Il Duce went after the mafioso in a vi-

cious manner, appointing a special prefect with extraor-

dinary powers to wipe them out; many wound up in

penal colonies on those volcanic islands north of Sicily—

the Liparis, in the Tyrrhenian Sea—while some of their

bosses had to find refuge in Canada and elsewhere. So

patriotism, on the surface—it’s not that hard a sell.”

He put the cigar back in his mouth and puffed.

Donovan said, “That’s not to say that they did not

think there might be some consideration paid at a later

time, especially if their help made a real difference—”

“But,” Gurfein, sitting up stiffly, shot back, “we of-

fered nothing.”

Donovan smiled.

“Yes, Murray, I’m not disputing that. I’m putting my-

self in their shoes, considering how they might have per-

ceived the situation.”

Gurfein looked at the director of the OSS a moment

and realized he’d been overly defensive.

“Of course,” he finally said softly. “My apologies, sir.”

He slumped back in the couch.

“Not necessary but accepted,” Donovan said very

agreeably. “There is also the very real possibility,” the di-

rector of the OSS went on, looking at Canidy, “that they


1 5 9

were open to the idea because the more information col-

lected meant the more they knew about the waterfront.

It really was to their benefit.”

“And then there’s that patriotism thing,” Canidy said

and beamed at Gurfein.

Gurfein looked at Canidy intensely, then realized he

was having his chain pulled. He smiled.

“Okay, okay, I’m not that naïve. So there were possible

plusses for both sides. Bottom line is, it worked. Slowly at

first. Not every guy on the waterfront opened up imme-

diately . . . or at all. Then someone—Lanza, I think—got

the idea that with the right words said by the right

people—the bosses—word would get out for everyone

to cooperate. It’d grease the skids. And what better way

to get the bosses to agree than to have the boss of bosses


“And it was off to see Luciano,” Canidy said.

“Polakoff first,” Donovan said, correcting him. “In the

hotel bar, remember?”

Canidy’s eyebrows went up. “Right.”

“We got Luciano, without him knowing how or why,

moved from Dannemora to Great Meadow,” Gurfein

said, “after selling it to Louis Lyons, New York’s com-

missioner of corrections. His line was, ‘If it saves the life

of one American sailor, I’m all for it.’ ” He looked at

Canidy. “That patriotism thing.”

Canidy smiled. “Sure, but he’s supposed to be on our


“A lot of people are supposed to be on our side but

don’t always seem to be,” Gurfein replied.

1 6 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Some of my biggest enemies,” Donovan added

solemnly, “are here in Washington, not in Europe.”

Canidy and Gurfein exchanged glances.

While exceedingly rare, it wasn’t the first time that

Canidy had heard the OSS chief complain about having

to fight more bureaucratic battles than real ones with

bullets. But from the look on Gurfein’s face, it apparently

was a first for him to hear such blasphemy.

“So,” Gurfein went on, “they swapped eight prisoners

from each prison—”

“Wonder what the seven who moved with Luciano

thought they’d done right to deserve better conditions,”

Canidy thought aloud. “Or what the eight moved to

Dannemora thought they’d done wrong.”

Gurfein looked at him a moment, then corrected him.

“Eight—because Luciano didn’t know, either. Polakoff

and Lansky had made the move as a condition of their

getting Luciano to agree. Their reasoning was to have

him closer so their commute to and from New York

would be short, but ultimately it was, I think, a test to see

how serious we were, to see if we could and would affect

the transfer.”

“And did he?” Canidy said.

“Agree? Not at first. Ever careful, Luciano said he was

not sure who was going to win the war, and he did not

want anyone knowing he cooperated. He was also afraid

of being deported back to Sicily and having to suffer the

wrath of Mussolini or Hitler or—maybe worse—the

mafia there. It was only after Luciano considered that

he’d been moved to a better place, and there he would be


1 6 1

allowed to meet with Lansky and his lawyer whenever he


“In the interest of providing information for the war

effort,” Canidy said, “and not running any rackets.”

“Certainly the former,” Gurfein said. “As to the lat-

ter?” He shrugged. “Regardless, in no time word worked

its way down through the ranks that Luciano said to co-

operate and they did. They even went so far as to issue

union cards to ONI guys to work everywhere from on

the fishing boats themselves to behind the counter of the

hatcheck rooms in nightclubs.”

Donovan said, “And, Dick, that’s the kind of access

you’re going to need in Sicily.”

“From Luciano?” Canidy said. “Do you think patriot-

ism is going to cut it again? It’s a different dynamic.”

“Not necessarily,” Donovan said. “What makes you

think Luciano would not want to expand into his home


Canidy considered that. Before he could reply, Gur-

fein spoke up.

“You can ask him for yourself, Dick,” Gurfein said.

“About the patriotism part, that is. I’ve got it set up for

you to meet Lanza, then maybe Luciano.”

1 6 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N


Jacksonville, Florida

1130 28 February 1943

As Richard Koch turned the yellow-and-black 1930 Chev-

rolet pickup truck onto U.S. 1 and drove toward the St.

Johns River, he studied the instruments on the dash-


He saw that the speedometer did not register—its

needle rested below the zero on the dial face—and that

the mileage shown on the odometer, which was not turn-

ing, was 40,348. With the odometer displaying only five

digits, he knew that the numbers had to have rolled

all zeros, and that meant that the truck really had, at

the very least—who knew when the odometer had last

worked—140,348 miles, if not 240,348.

He noticed, too, that the oil pressure and ammeter

gauges seemed to be registering properly and in a

good range. The needle on the gauge labeled oil/p.s.i.

pointed to 50 and the ammeter needle bounced between

8 and 10.

He glanced at the gauge labeled fuel. Its needle was

flat against the e.

Does that mean it’s broken, too, or we’re out of gas? he

wondered. Either way, I have no idea how much gas is in

the tank.

He tapped the gauge glass with his right index finger.

The needle didn’t respond.

“Damn!” he said.


1 6 3

“What?” Kurt Bayer said.

“We need gas,” Koch replied.

After a moment’s thought, Bayer said, “They didn’t

issue us any ration coupons.”

Even if the Abwehr had, Koch thought, they’d probably

be the wrong ones. Like that damned twenty they gave me.

Bayer glanced around the truck, then through the

back window to the cargo area where Rolf Grossman and

Rudolf Cremer were riding, leaning against built-in

boxes used for carrying tools and plumbing parts.

“There’s probably a rubber hose back there,” Bayer

said. “We could siphon some from another vehicle.”

Koch nodded. “Yeah, good idea.” He looked at the

glove box. “Just for the hell of it, check in there.”

Bayer opened the glove box door and wads of discol-

ored papers that had been crammed inside came pouring


“What the . . . ?” Bayer said as they fell in his lap and

down to the filthy floorboard.

He began picking through the mess. There were

handwritten receipts on standard forms from plumbing

supply shops and blank invoices imprinted in black ink

with stan’s plumbing, manhattan bch, fla.

After a moment, Bayer’s voice sounded excited.

“Well, would you look at this . . .”

Koch downshifted the transmission to slow for a traf-

fic light that was turning red—the wound in his left leg

hurting when he depressed the clutch—and then looked


1 6 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

A grinning Bayer held up a small form.

On it, next to a tiny shield design that encouraged the

buying of war bonds and stamps, it had united states

of america office of price administration gaso-

line ration card at the top, a seven-digit serial num-

ber, and, twice the point size of the number, a big letter

t. Under that was the handwritten information of the

holder—Stanley Smith, who, the form stated, had agreed

to “observe the rules and regulations governing ra-

tioning as issued by the Office of Price Administra-

tion”—his address, and the truck’s make and model and

license plate number.

Koch grinned at the rules and regulations part— What

a joke— then his eye went to the t.

“That’s good for five gallons,” he said. “All we need.”

He looked at Bayer.

“But when we stop,” he added, “check for that rubber

hose. We may need it later.”

Koch, after they had finally found a gas station open and

pumped fuel in what had been a dry tank, took the U.S.

1 bridge across the St. Johns River into downtown Jack-

sonville. He drove up Main Street, looking intently in

each direction as he went through the intersections at

Monroe, Duval, then Church Streets.

“Something wrong?” Bayer asked.

There now was a short coil of half-inch-diameter wa-

ter hose at his feet, on top of the scattered receipts from

the glove box.


1 6 5

Koch didn’t answer right away.

A minute later, when they came to State Street, he

said, “Damn, went too far. I knew this didn’t look right,”

and turned left, drove six blocks to Broad Street, made

another left, and then a right onto Water Street.

There, Bayer pointed out the train tracks.

Koch smiled and nodded, then pointed to a lamppost

on the corner with a street sign that had the representa-

tion of a train track on it— Looks like a stepladder, Koch

thought—an arrow, and jacksonville terminal.

Down the street, a row of two dozen palm trees, each

easily thirty feet tall, separated Water Street from the park-

ing lot of the terminal building.

The building itself was quite grand.

“Impressive,” Bayer said, marveling at its massive

stone façade.

The wide entrance featured a row of fourteen Doric

columns towering four stories high. The main building

itself rose even higher, topped by a peaked roof.

“Typical American overkill,” Koch said, unimpressed.

“They say the design is a smaller version of New York’s

Penn Station, which, of course, was designed to copy the

Roman baths.” He looked at it a moment before pulling

into a parking spot. “Disgusting, if you ask me.”

As he pressed down on the clutch with his left leg, the

wound in his leg triggered a spasm of pain and he invol-

untarily jerked the leg. That caused him to dump the

clutch—killing the engine and banging Grossman’s head

on the back window.

Koch turned at the thump, saw the big oberschutz

1 6 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

vigorously rubbing his skull like a little boy with a boo-

boo, and called back, “Sorry!”

Grossman glared back through the window.

Bayer and Koch got out of the truck.

“We’ll be back shortly,” Koch told the pair in the back

of the truck.

“Be quick,” Grossman called out as they started to

walk across the parking lot toward the giant columns. “I

have to piss.”

Inside, Bayer thought that the terminal was even more

elaborate and massive—if that was possible.

The main waiting room, light and bright, held grand

arched windows that towered upward six stories to an or-

nate vaulted ceiling. The floor itself—the first thing he

had noticed—was marble polished to an incredible gleam,

which seemed to hold its shine well despite the heavy

foot traffic.

And there was a mass moving through. The place was

packed with hundreds of civilians and soldiers, some trav-

eling, others there to see off or greet those traveling. They

milled about the room or waited on the long wooden

benches, talking, reading, couples holding hands. Many

lingered in the huge restaurant and in the snack bars and

newsstands. A few were even getting trims at the barber-


Bayer looked around the great room and saw signage

indicating main concourse and, just before the orna-


1 6 7

mental iron gates that led to the trains themselves, tick-


He lost sight of Koch in the crowd, then saw him

walking toward the semicircle of ticketing windows in

the marble wall at the right side of the main room.

The idea was for each agent to buy two round-trip

tickets to different destinations. They would give these—

one for each destination—to Grossman and Cremer,

who would travel on one and keep the other as an alter-

nate route, a backup.

The reason Koch and Bayer and not Grossman and

Cremer were buying the tickets was so that if someone

should later try to retrace their path, there would be no

one able to recall either agent having ever purchased a

ticket or the destination of those tickets.

And there was enough speculation between them that

they had already left a very clear trail.

Bayer navigated through the crowd. He noticed that

Koch had gone to a line for a ticket window at one end

of the semicircle. Bayer, accordingly, headed to a line at

the opposite end.

Bayer’s line was shorter. He had only three people in

front of him, including a young mother holding on her

hip a toddler who didn’t want to be held.

Surprisingly, the line moved quickly, though, and after

only ten or so minutes of Bayer being annoyed by the

toddler at his feet he was at the window.

“Destination, sugar?” the young blonde woman be-

hind the window asked pleasantly.

1 6 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Bayer was caught off guard for a moment, surprised at

how attractive she was. And that Southern accent seemed

to drip with sweetness.

He smiled, but didn’t reply.

“Where you going?” she said.

“Birmingham,” he said, then remembered to add,


“Atlanta or Mobile?”

He looked blankly at her. “No,” he said after a mo-

ment. “Birmingham, please.”

“Atlanta or Mobile?” she repeated.

Bayer, staring, wondered if he couldn’t be heard over

the din of the room.

The blonde rolled her eyes.

She said, “You have to connect to get to Birmingham,

sugar. You can go to Mobile, then go north. Or you can

go to Atlanta, then go west.”

Shit! Bayer thought. We went over this!

“Atlanta, please,” he said, trying not to appear ner-


“That one departs in fifteen minutes or four hours. Is

fifteen minutes a problem?”

He thought for a moment, then shook his head.

“Six dollars.”

“Six!” he said.

She gave him a big smile, a flash of bright white teeth.

“It’s the Orange Blossom Special, sugar. Real luxury.

Air-conditioning and diesel power. You want cheaper,

take the coal-fired train to Mobile.” She paused. “It de-

parts in two hours.”


1 6 9

“No, no,” he said, “that’s fine.”

He pulled out his wallet and removed a ten and two


“Two, please,” he said, putting the cash on the marble.

“I’m with, uh, a friend.”

Her eyebrows went up for a second, then she reached

into a drawer, came out with eight tickets—two for each

of the round-trip’s four legs—then put four tickets each

into two sleeves decorated with oranges and slid the

sleeves toward him.

“Track 20. Y’all have a nice trip.”

Bayer nodded Thank you, left the window, and walked

toward the front door, making what he hoped was an in-

conspicuous glance over at Koch. He saw that Koch was

still in line, with two people between him and the window.

“It’s that way!” Bayer heard his ticket woman say.

He turned to look at her.

“The passenger boarding ramp is that way,” she

called, helpfully, pointing toward the ornamental iron

gates. “Track 20.”

Bayer waved and nodded, mouthing Thank you.

He went out the front door.

When he got to the truck, Cremer and Grossman

were standing on either side of the cargo area, looking

anxious. Grossman was closing up his duffel.

“Where’s Koch?” Cremer said.

“Still in line getting the backup tickets.” He discreetly

set the two orange sleeves with their tickets in the cargo

area. “These are the ones to Atlanta and on to Birming-

ham. It leaves in fifteen minutes.”

1 7 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fifteen minutes?” Grossman repeated.

He snatched up a sleeve, stuffed it into his coat

pocket, then pulled his duffel out of the truck and swung

it onto his shoulder.

“Forget the backup tickets,” Grossman said, adjusting

his fedora and walking toward the building.

Bayer said, “Where are you going?”

“To take a leak and catch a train.”

Cremer looked at Grossman, then at Bayer, and

shrugged. He grabbed his tickets and a duffel.

“Tell Koch thanks.” He offered his hand, and as they

shook he said, “Take care of yourself, Kurt.”

“And you, Rudolf.” He looked toward Grossman.

“Watch yourself with him.”

Cremer smiled. He waited a moment until Grossman

blended in with the crowd that was entering the build-

ing, then followed.

Grossman entered the main waiting area of the terminal

building. As he scanned the room, looking for a restroom

sign, he saw Richard Koch walking away from the ticket

windows. They locked eyes a moment, and Grossman

shook his head, then immediately turned and walked in a

direction away from Koch.

Just before the iron gates leading to the trains, Gross-

man saw a sign reading men. He entered and found a

stall at the far end empty, then squeezed into it with his

duffel and closed the door, sliding the latch to lock it.


1 7 1

Two minutes later, his bladder and his duffel both

somewhat lighter, he exited the stall.

An anxious young man started for it, but Grossman,

wrinkling his face, waved the young man off as he spiked

a piece of paper on the coat hook attached to the outside

of the door.

The paper, scrawled in heavy pencil, read: “Out of


Koch went out the front entrance of the terminal about

the time Cremer entered it, but neither saw the other in

the crowd.

Bayer was at the truck, waiting in the passenger’s seat,

when Koch got there. Koch got in behind the wheel.

When Bayer had explained what had happened to the

other two agents, Koch did not seem surprised or upset.

“Good riddance,” Koch said.

Koch shifted the truck’s gearbox into neutral, then de-

pressed the starter pedal on the floorboard. Nothing hap-

pened. He pressed it again and again nothing.

“Dead battery?” Bayer said.

“Hell if I know,” Koch replied, opening the door.

They got out and went to the front of the truck. Koch

raised the hood. The engine had oil seeping at nearly

every seam, and the oil itself had mixed with dirt to cre-

ate a thin coat of oily, black cake.

Koch located the battery. It appeared to have the same

oily dirt coating—how oil got on it, he had no idea—and

1 7 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

there was a plume of gray-white corrosive growth on the

battery’s positive lead post.

“Nice,” Bayer said. “More than enough corrosion to

make it lose contact. I thought I saw a wrench in the

toolbox. I’ll get it.”

Cremer had made his way with the flow of the crowd

along the passenger boarding ramp. He saw that the end

of each track had its own white stone train bumper—a

big block about four by four by four—with the bold,

black track number painted on it. In keeping with the

landscape design scheme of rows of palm trees outside

the station, each bumper was topped with a potted, four-

foot-tall palm, creating a similar row inside.

Cremer came to the palm-topped, white stone train

bumper with its black-painted 20. The passenger train

there—its cars had orange blossom special lettered

on them—appeared to be a very nice one.

He got in line to board behind a well-dressed older

man in a dark two-piece suit and hat.

The man looked back at him, smiled, then stepped to

the side.

“After you, soldier,” the man said to Cremer, appear-

ing pleased to offer Cremer the courtesy of going ahead

of him.

Cremer thought he must have looked confused to the

man because the man attempted to clarify by nodding at

the olive drab duffel on Cremer’s shoulder.

Now Cremer understood.


1 7 3

“Thank you, sir,” he replied. “But I insist, you first.”

That seemed to please the older man even more. He

nodded and went ahead.

As Cremer boarded behind the man, he saw Gross-

man farther down the ramp, looking like another soldier

boarding at another doorway.

It took Kurt Bayer longer than he expected to find the

right-sized wrench in the toolbox, then more than a lit-

tle effort to loosen the nut on the clamp that attached

the electrical cable to the battery. He took his time,

knowing that the corrosion had weakened metal and that

if he broke the clamp they were really screwed.

A train whistle blew and Bayer checked his watch. Sev-

enteen minutes had passed since he bought the tickets to


“Must be their train leaving,” Koch said.

Bayer nodded and went back to working on the clamp.

After a few minutes of painstakingly unscrewing the clamp

nut, he finally had it loose of the lead post.

Richard Koch reached in and grabbed the cable. As he

began tapping the clamp against the truck’s framework,

dislodging some corrosion in the process, there came a

horrific explosion from behind the terminal building.

The sound from the concussion was such that it

caused Bayer and Koch to jump. Richard hit his head on

the underside of the truck hood.

They exchanged wide-eyed glances, then looked

toward the building.

1 7 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

A black cloud of smoke was rising above the terminal,

where the passenger-boarding-ramp area met the main


People came running and screaming out of the build-

ing. Some were bleeding. A few—all of them men—had

their clothes on fire.

“Whatever that is,” Koch said, “it’s not good for us.”

Bayer quickly put the clamp back on the battery post,

then tightened it as best he could with the wrench.

The parking lot was becoming chaotic as people raced

to their cars to get away from the explosion while others

ran from their cars to try to find loved ones inside the ter-


Bayer wasn’t sure but he thought he’d just seen one

woman, hysterical, bolt from her car and run to the ter-

minal, leaving the car there with its door wide open and

its engine still running.

Koch got behind the wheel of the pickup and tried to

start it.


“Dammit!” he said, slamming his fist on the dash.

He mashed the starter pedal again.

Still nothing.

He stuck his head out of the window, looking around

the open hood, but he couldn’t see Bayer.

“Now, what the hell?” Koch muttered.

As he got out of the truck, he heard Bayer call,


He turned and saw Bayer putting their two duffel


1 7 5

bags into the backseat of a 1940 Ford sedan, then getting

behind the wheel.

Koch went to the passenger’s door, got in, and Bayer

calmly eased away as police cars and fire trucks, sirens

wailing, began arriving.

Koch gave Bayer directions on how to take Bay Street

east, back to Main, where he could make a left turn to

drive north on U.S. 1.

[ FOUR ]

Penn Station

New York City, New York

1130 6 March 1943

As the Washington–Baltimore–New York commuter

train rolled into Pennsylvania Station in midtown Man-

hattan, its brakes making a long, high-pitched squeal,

Major Richard Canidy, United States Army Air Forces,

prepared to put the sheet of paper that he had been read-

ing back in its brown accordion folder. Murray Gurfein

had given the folder to him when Gurfein had dropped

him off earlier that morning at Union Station in Wash-

ington, D.C.

The folder was fat, packed with a three-inch-thick

stack of research that represented the highlights of Gur-

fein’s background check of Charles “Lucky” Luciano. As

Canidy glanced at the last sheet of paper, he found its

contents curious though not necessarily surprising:

1 7 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

New York Department of Corrections

Great Meadow Prison

Comstock (Washington County), New York

Medical Evaluation of:


Inmate #92168

The inmate noted above, a White Male, Age

44, has been examined by this physician

and the following conditions have been


HEAD: Normal. Scalp clean.

EYES: Normal, corrected. Vision, right, 90

percent. Vision, left, 90 percent.

NOSE: Clear.

MOUTH: Teeth good, tonsils not visible.

NECK: Normal, with notable scar. Thyroid


EARS: Hearing 36/36 both ears.

CHEST: Normal. Lungs clear.

HEART: Strong, with occasional murmurs.

GENITALIA: Negative for penile scars, dis -


RECTUM: Negative for hemorrhoids.

PULSE: 75 resting, 95 after mild exercise,

77 after 2 minutes rest.



1 7 7

HEIGHT: 5-8.

WEIGHT: 158.


NOTE: Due to the existence of heart mur -

murs, it is this physician’s opinion that

the inmate NOT be assigned duties that are

arduous (i.e., laundry work).

Signed this 12th Day of May 1942

L A Thume MD

Leo A. Thume, M.D.

Canidy’s eye paused on the line noting the results of

the Wassermann test—the German bacteriologist August

von Wassermann in 1906 designed it as the definitive di-

agnosis for the sexually transmitted disease of syphilis—

and it brought to mind the other wild information on the

mobster that Murray Gurfein had supplied in detail at

dinner the previous night, including that in the course of

running prostitution rackets Luciano had sampled his own

product—just as he’d sampled the heroin he ran—enough

to contract syphilis once and gonorrhea eight times.

The train came to a complete stop, and Canidy slipped

the page back into the folder and then the folder into his

leather attaché case—being careful to keep it clear of the

Colt Model 1911 .45 ACP semiautomatic—as he and

the other passengers on the packed train gathered their

belongings to disembark.

1 7 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The door at the end of the car opened and two New

York City transit cops came through. Canidy noted that

the policemen were making a fairly thorough visual in-

spection of the passengers as they passed.

He didn’t think anything more of it until he was

walking through Penn Station, en route to the cabstand,

when he noticed what appeared to be a heavier-than-

normal presence of cops. Then he seemed to remember

that there had been quite a few D.C. cops in Union Station.

It struck him as odd that he was just now noticing it—

I’m supposed to be more situationally aware than most

people— but then he recalled that that famous sociologist,

Dr. Whatshisface, found that everyone allowed people in

uniform to be invisible to them.

It was a fact not lost on criminals, who commonly put

on, say, a postman’s uniform to get an edge when com-

mitting a crime. When it came time for witnesses to be

interviewed by police investigators, the witnesses would

not remember seeing a face—“Just a mailman.”

Still, I need to pay better attention, Canidy thought.

The cabstand had a long line of people waiting.

Canidy walked past it, headed east on Thirty-second

Street. Two blocks later, he was able to hail a cab from

the corner of Broadway.

He got in the backseat, gave the driver the address—

117 South Street—and the car shot south down Broad-


Someone had left a copy of the New York World-

Telegram on the seat and he picked it up and scanned the

headlines. One was about FDR—what had become the


1 7 9

World’s usual daily headline taking the President to task

on what he had said—or not said—the previous day

about the war, or the economy . . . or the price of blue


Another headline announced a story on Lieutenant

General George Kenney’s Fifth Air Force attack on a

Japanese convoy in the Bismarck Sea that sank four of its

destroyers and all eight of its transports—with half of the

seven thousand Japanese troops lost.

And yet another led into an article that carried newly

released details on the Allied convoy ON-166, which had

fourteen ships sunk by U-boats in the Atlantic in late


Then there was one, and the short piece beneath it, that

caught his attention:



10 Dead After Explosions in Train Stations

Official: “No Connection Between Blasts”

By Jeffrey Csatari/

New York World-Telegram

ATLANTA, Mar. 5th — Two more people died to -

day from injuries suffered in an explosion

Sunday night at the Atlanta Terminal Sta -

tion here and in another explosion earlier

at Florida’s Jacksonville Terminal.

1 8 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Today’s deaths bring the total dead

from both blasts to 10. Another 32 people

were injured; 4 remain hospitalized.

While some witnesses have called the

two explosions at the train stations

“highly suspicious,” local and federal of -

ficials investigating the incidents say

that there is nothing to link them except

simple coincidence.

“There is no connection between the

blasts,” said Christopher Gilman, Special

Agent in Charge of the Atlanta office of

the F.B.I. “End of story.”

An official close to the investigation

in Jacksonville, who asked not to be iden -

tified, said: “It’s looking like a faulty

gas line to a heater in the men’s room was

responsible, but we’re unable to confirm

that at this time.”

When asked about the report of a Ger -

man pistol being found at the scene of

the Atlanta Terminal Station explosion,

Gilman said, “We have no other comment.”

The cabbie accelerated heavily down Broadway, honk-

ing the horn steadily, and Canidy looked up from the pa-

per to find that the driver was trying to make it through

the light at Seventeenth Street before it turned red.


1 8 1

After another ten minutes of such mindless driving—

and countless near collisions along the meandering route—

the driver turned off of Fulton onto South Street, passed

the fish market, and came to a sudden stop with a squeal

of brakes and screech of tires.

A New York City traffic cop had South Street blocked

off, his patrol car parked at an angle, the fender-mounted

emergency lights flashing red.

“What is it?” Canidy asked the cabbie.

“Dunno,” he said, his head out the window, straining

to see past the cop.

Canidy could see only traffic backed up and some cops

getting out wooden barricades with orange and black

stripes and starting to assemble them.

He looked at the street addresses just out of his win-

dow and realized he was only a half block shy of the ad-

dress Gurfein had given him for Meyer’s Hotel, where

Joe “Socks” Lanza kept a regular room to conduct busi-

ness away from the fish market nearby.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a bill to pay the

fare, said, “Here you go,” and grabbed his attaché case,

then slid out of the backseat.

He made his way along the sidewalk, past the line of

cars stopped by the police car and around one of the cops

who was just now erecting a barricade on the sidewalk.

“Hey, buddy!” the cop called. “You can’t—”

Pretending he didn’t hear him, Canidy kept walking

toward 117 South Street.

A moment later, he heard the cop mutter, “Awfuckit.”

1 8 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Ahead, at Meyer’s Hotel—a shabby establishment

four stories high with maybe thirty rooms, half of which

were at any one time being used by the mob—Canidy

saw a small half circle of cops gathered at the entrance of

the building. They were looking at something slumped

against the building.

Canidy looked closer.

Not some thing. Some one.

He knew what the body of a dead man looked like.

As Canidy approached the building, he saw that a

burly guy in a leather cap and wearing the outfit of a fish-

monger—flannel shirt, greasy overalls, knee-high rubber

boots—was leaning against the wall.

The fishmonger stepped forward and blocked his


“Nobody goes in,” the huge guy said.

He was six-two, two-fifty—at least—and Canidy

found himself having to look up at him.

“I’ve got a meeting,” Canidy replied, undeterred.

“You a cop or what?”

The guy eyed him. “Your name Kennedy?”

When Canidy studied his eyes, he saw a no-nonsense

look. “Canidy,” he said.

“Yeah. He told me to take you to meet him.” The guy

looked over his shoulder at the crime scene. “Something

came up.”

“Apparently,” Canidy said.


[ ONE ]

Nick’s Café

Pearl at Fletcher Street

New York City, New York

1240 6 March 1943

Major Richard Canidy, in the uniform of the United

States Army Air Forces, carried his leather attaché as he

followed the monster of a fishmonger two blocks south,

then, turning onto Fletcher Street, another two blocks


We must make a curious-looking pair, Canidy mused.

“In here,” the guy said when they got to a twenty-

four-hour restaurant on the corner where Fletcher met

Pearl. It was all he had said the entire four-block walk

from Meyer’s Hotel.

They entered, and Canidy saw that the restaurant—a

diner, really, small and not brightly lit—was mostly full,

with a working-class lunch crowd of truck drivers, heavy-

construction workers, postmen, even a couple of street-

beat cops.

There was the murmur of conversation mixed with

the clanking of forks and knives on plates and, just now,

the breaking of a water glass accidentally dropped on the

1 8 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

black-and-white mosaic tile floor by the lone busboy hus-

tling to clear a table. The smell of garlic and onion was

heavy in the air.

The layout of the rectangular room was long and nar-

row. On the left, at the front by the plate-glass window

looking out onto Pearl Street, was a wooden counter with

a dozen vinyl-cushion-topped swivel stools on three-foot-

high chrome pedestals. Along the right wall, a series of

wooden booths and tables ran from the front window to

the back wall, each table set for four customers, and each

with a black-framed photograph of a Greek island scene

nailed to the wall beside it. At the very back, through a

single swinging metal door with a window, was the busy


A waiter, having kicked open the swinging door, came

out of the kitchen balancing on his shoulder a huge,

round serving tray piled high with plates of sandwiches

and potato chips and bowls of soups. The light from the

kitchen briefly illuminated the darkened booths near the

back wall. Then the door swung shut, making a flap-flap-

flap sound before finally becoming still.

For a moment, Canidy could better see, sitting in the

farthest booth and facing the front door, a rough-looking

Guinea about the age of fifty, with a cup of coffee in his

hand and talking to someone seated across the table and

out of Canidy’s view.

“Back here,” the fishmonger said.

As the guy made his way toward the rear of the restau-

rant, some of the workers looked up from their meals and

nodded and he wordlessly acknowledged the greetings.


1 8 5

They reached the booth, and Canidy saw that the

man was dressed like the fishmonger he had followed—

long-sleeved flannel shirt, dirty overalls, rubber boots.

And Canidy saw that the man seated across from him,

in a cheap black suit, was about five-eight and one-fifty,

midthirties, with slight features and pale skin. He also

was drinking coffee—but an espresso—and next to his

tiny cup there was a copy of Il Nuovo Mondo, the anti-

Fascist newspaper published in New York, with a photo-

graph of Benito Mussolini on the front page.

“This is the guy,” the fishmonger said to the two at

the table by way of greeting.

The man in the cheap suit looked up.

“I’m Joe Guerin,” he said, moving so that he was half

standing with his hand out.

The lawyer, Canidy thought, remembering Murray

Gurfein’s description.

He shook the offered hand and replied, “Dick

Canidy. Nice to meet you.”

“This is Mr. Lanza,” Guerin added, “my client.”

Joe Socks—short and pudgy, with a pockmarked face

and a bad haircut—looked at Canidy with cold, hard

eyes. Canidy knew from Gurfein’s background informa-

tion that Lanza was forty-one years old, but he sure

didn’t look it. The hard living showed.

Canidy offered his hand and Lanza shook it with a

very firm grip.

“Pleased to meet you,” Canidy said, impressed by the

mobster’s heavily callused hand.

Lanza, stone-faced, replied only with a nod.

1 8 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Have a seat,” Guerin said, motioning to a place be-

side himself and opposite Lanza.

As Canidy sat down, putting his attaché case at his

feet, the monster fishmonger stepped away from the

table and positioned himself in the back corner of the

restaurant, out of the kitchen traffic, with a clear view of

both the front door and the booth with Canidy, Lanza,

and Guerin.

“Our friend contacted me,” Guerin began, “and I in

turned asked Mr. Lanza if he would be open to this


“Thank you,” Canidy said to Guerin, then looked at

Lanza and said, “Thank you.”

Lanza made a slow blink of acknowledgment.

Guerin took a sip of coffee, then said, “Oh, excuse

me. Would you care for something to eat? The food is

very good here.”

“Thank you, but nothing right now,” Canidy replied.

He looked at the cup. “Coffee would be nice.”

Guerin got the fishmonger’s attention, held up his

cup and pointed to it, then to Canidy. The guy walked

over to where a waiter was putting cups of coffee and

espressos onto a tray, took from it one of the espressos—

earning him a sharp look from the waiter—and a mo-

ment later slid the steaming cup in front of Canidy.

“Thanks,” Canidy said.

The fishmonger wordlessly returned to his post.

Guerin said, “Now, what is it that you need, Mr.


Canidy looked at him a moment, and thought, What


1 8 7

the hell am I supposed to do? Come out right here in public

and tell a Guinea gangster that I want the Boss to set me up

with the mafia in Sicily? This is unbelievably surreal, even

for me.

“Did Mur—” Canidy began, then caught himself.

“Did our friend give you any indication as to the sub-


Guerin shook his head. “Only that it is of the utmost

importance,” he said.

Well, that’s just great.

Canidy glanced at the fishmonger, who was staring at

the front door. He wanted to look that way, too, to at

least see if anyone would be able to overhear what he was

about to say. But that did not seem the proper thing to

do at this point.

“I’m not sure here is the best place to discuss this,”

Canidy said finally.

Guerin looked around casually. “Here is fine. Nothing

happens without my client’s say. Nick, the owner, is pro-


Canidy wanted to reply, Like nothing happens at your


He instead said, “With respect, this is not the place.


“Things what?” Guerin said impatiently.

Canidy picked up on that.

Oh, to hell with it.

“—Things happen, like the surprise at the hotel.”

“That,” Lanza said, suddenly and coldly, “was a mis-

understanding and it is being dealt with.”

1 8 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“It is not what I want to happen here,” Canidy said

evenly. “A misunderstanding.” Now he looked around the

room, then back at Lanza. “A misunderstanding after

someone overhears something that they shouldn’t.”

They stared at each other a moment, then Lanza said

quietly, “After some guys at Brooklyn Terminal thought

they could slow down the ship loading, we had them

kicked in the ass. That led to this other thing just now. All

a misunderstanding.” He shrugged. “These things, they

happen. Then they’re dealt with.”

“Dealt with”? Canidy thought, looking at the emo-

tionless eyes. As in, made to go away?

Lanza went on, his manner conversational: “Let’s get

back to why we’re here. You came to us because of our

mutual friend. We have an understanding—an honorable

one—with our friend, as you clearly do. That makes you

gli amici, friend of friend. Capiche?

He paused, glanced at his coffee, looking bored.

“So,” he went on, “tell us what it is that you need.”

Canidy raised his eyebrows.

“Yessir, Colonel Donovan, mission accomplished. I se-

cured an ‘honorable understanding’ with the murderous


Jesus, this is incredibly surreal.

But, okay . . .

“Okay,” he said. “I need to speak with Charlie about

getting some help like our friend got.”

Lanza looked at him with renewed interest. “ ‘Charlie’?”

Canidy nodded.

“And what more could you want?” Lanza said. “We


1 8 9

are already giving every kind of help possible. Here, and

all up and down the coast.”

Canidy leaned forward and quietly said, “Charlie’s


“We got Brooklyn covered,” Lanza said.

Canidy shook his head. “His real home.”

“Yeah, and we got it—” he said, then stopped, and his

right eyebrow went up. “You mean . . . ?”

“Yeah,” Canidy said.

Lanza’s eyes darted to Guerin, who looked back and


“What would you be needing in his . . . home?”

Lanza said to Canidy.

“Contacts,” Canidy said. “Locals with connections,

with information, who would be willing to build an un-

derground resistance against”—he put his right index

finger on Mussolini’s photograph on the front page of Il

Nuovo Mondo—“certain individuals.”

Lanza, showing no emotion, considered that. He said,

“Why didn’t you go straight to him with your request?

Why me?”

Canidy nodded; he had expected Lanza might ask


“Respect,” Canidy said.

When he said it, he saw Lanza’s eyes light up a little.

Murray Gurfein, the onetime New York assistant dis-

trict attorney, had explained to Canidy that, despite the

general perception of the underworld as ruthless and

cold-blooded, the mafia prided itself on respect—or at

least the appearance of respect. They considered it a vital

1 9 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

component in keeping their social order intact. Without

respect for the bosses, respect for the organizations, their

society would devolve into nothing more than bitter

bloody turf battles—conflicts no one would ultimately win.

“When I discussed it with our friend,” Canidy went

on, “I said I wanted first to develop a relationship with

those who I’d be working with, then with their blessing

take it higher.”

Lanza studied Canidy without saying anything.

“We could have just as easily called Mr. Polakoff as

Mr. Guerin here,” Canidy said, mentioning Luciano’s at-

torney as a matter of fact. “But it would not have been

respectful to the people I also would be asking for help.”

Lanza did not respond to that. He said, “And what

would Charlie be getting in return?”

Canidy thought of Murray Gurfein being defensive at

dinner, and grinned.

“Something funny?” Lanza said.

Canidy heard a Lower East Side tough-guy tone of

voice that he figured had to be close to what Lanza used

when he was about to put the screws to someone who

had not paid his protection money or his kickback.

“No, not at all,” Canidy said, earnest but unnerved.

He took a sip of his espresso, then looked Lanza in the

eye. “To answer your question, he would be getting what

he is getting now, a deep sense of patriotism for his part

in helping to win the war.”

Lanza held the eye contact for a long moment, then

looked away deep in thought. He drained his coffee cup,

set it down in its saucer with a clank, and nodded.


1 9 1

“E cosa mia,” he said finally.

Canidy’s face showed that he did not comprehend.

“It is my thing,” Lanza said with some semblance of a

faint smile. “Leave it to me.”

[ TWO ]

When Dick Canidy stepped out of Nick’s Café onto the

busy sidewalk, after Joe “Socks” Lanza had told him that

he was sure he could pull together something for that

night and to call Meyer’s Hotel in two hours for an up-

date, he decided that he needed to clear his head and

think all this through.

And one of the best ways Canidy knew to do that was

to take a walk.

First, though, he realized that his original plan for the

day—to take the late train back to Washington, which

was why he had not brought a suitcase—was now changed

and that he needed a place to spend the night.

And he also needed a destination to walk.

May as well be one and the same, he thought.

He went to the street corner, to the bank of three pay-

telephones there, picked up the handset of the only phone

not being used, dropped in a coin, and asked for the

Gramercy Park Hotel.

When he was connected by the operator with the

front desk clerk, she said that they had a few rooms

available, but since it was getting to be afternoon he

would do well to come directly to the hotel in order to

secure one.

1 9 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He said that he’d be there in about an hour—maybe

sooner—and hung up the phone.

He started walking north on Pearl and noticed that

while the air still was crisp and cold, the sky had cleared

and the sun, now shining brightly on his side of the

street, felt warm and refreshing.

And after that encounter with a cold-blooded mobster,

Canidy thought as he crossed to go west on Fulton, I

could use something—anything—to break the chill.

Canidy walked along, trying to put his finger on what

bothered him—and something did indeed deeply disturb

him—about Lanza.

Is it the corruption? His background of coercion, beat-

ings, killings—the basic thuggery? Sure, some of that.

Hell, it was all of that.

But don’t be naïve, Dick, because the fact is that in all

of history there has been corruption, and with corruption

comes the violence of coercion, beatings, killings, and more.

After a few blocks, he made a right at the corner of

Broadway. City Hall came into view.

And here’s proof that there always will be corruption—


What makes a coat-and-tie pol getting a kickback for

awarding a city public works contract any better than a

Guinea goon in rubber boots getting one for “protecting” a

café owner or the hookers in his hotel?

It’s not the absence of violence. Don’t kid yourself. Many

a politician has met an ugly end for failing to do as

agreed—particularly when in bed with the mob.

Canidy walked past the grand City Hall grounds, ad-


1 9 3

miring the building and marveling at the memory of just

how much—and how blatantly—Boss Tweed, as New

York City’s commissioner of public works, and the polit-

ical machine known as Tammany Hall had stolen in the

1860s and ’70s.

What was it, some two hundred million dollars? Cor-

ruption of unbelievable proportions.

And who the hell knew how much the Honorable La

Guardia had to pay—or still was paying—Tammany Hall

for his election as mayor?

And with that kind of money involved, only a fool would

believe that no one got hurt—that a kneecap or two didn’t

get popped, that someone wasn’t forced to take a long walk

on a short pier—in the process.

So Canidy told himself that it wasn’t the ugly under-

belly of the mob that really disturbed him.

It was more the fact that he innately, and perhaps too

easily, understood how and why the mafia worked.

And he understood that he now had to work with it—

“to dance with the devil,” as Colonel Donovan had said.

What the mob does is not a good thing. But it is better

than anything that Hitler and Mussolini have in mind.

Just shy of crossing Canal Street, Canidy passed a series

of storefronts and noticed the window of one in particu-

lar that advertised a sale on religious books.

It caused him to wonder, as he continued north, how

much of an impact the news of his association with the un-

derworld would make on his father. That is, if he told

him—and he had absolutely no intention of even suggest-

ing it to him.

1 9 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The Reverend George Crater Canidy, Ph.D., D.D.,

was the headmaster of St. Paul’s School in Cedar Rapids,

Iowa. He was a kind and good man—a true gentle

man—whose faith in the Lord Jesus Christ was sur-

passed—if that was at all possible—by his dedication to

the education and well-being of the students put under

his care.

The Reverend Dr. Canidy lived in the Episcopal

school’s dormitory, in a small, separate apartment there,

and had his office nearby, which allowed him to spend

every possible minute on the mission that he devoutly

believed to be one of the highest and most noble callings

a man could have.

Dick Canidy loved his father. He respected him—

genuinely, in the truest definition of the word, not the

bastardized version that he had used with that Guinea

sonofabitch just now.

The Reverend Dr. Canidy had had his share of disap-

pointments in life, yet he always had stayed strong while

he suffered them silently.

He had long been a widower; Dick had no real mem-

ory of his mother—other than a vague recollection of

visits to a hospital room with a bad odor in her final

months—but knew that her illness had not been a short

one and that his father had shouldered the responsibility

of her care with remarkable strength and quiet courage.

Afterward, he also had delicately handled the new role

of single parent and teacher.

That might have been his toughest challenge, Canidy


1 9 5

thought now, and grinned mischievously as he ap-

proached Houston Street.

Young Dick had been somewhat difficult, and the

troubles really reached a head when a young man name

Eric Fulmar was enrolled a grade behind him in the lower


Eric had arrived at St. Paul’s with a bad attitude—he

knew that he was being stuck somewhere safe for the

convenience of his mother, Monica Carlisle, the vivacious

and—if you believed the studio publicity people—young

actress prone to playing coed roles.

It absolutely was not good PR for Miss Carlisle to

have a son—and one so old!—and, even worse, if the

truth got out, a child who was unwanted, whose father

was a German industrialist close to Hitler.

So off Eric was shipped to Iowa.

There, he and Canidy made fast friends, and in no

time they were boys being boys—the pinnacle of which

was misbehavior that resulted in piles of fall leaves being

set afire . . . and their flames accidentally following a path

to the fuel tank of a Studebaker President.

The explosion was spectacular, as was the reaction of

everyone to it.

To smooth things over, Miss Carlisle’s studio sent a

sharp young lawyer—one by the name of Stanley Fine—

and with the miracle of a calm demeanor and a check-

book, all was made right.

Everything except the disappointment young Dick

saw in his father’s eyes.

1 9 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

It was much the same look that, not much later, when

Dick was determined to learn to fly at the local airfield,

he had seen in his father’s eyes when it became clear that

the son had no desire to follow the path that the father

had hoped—into either the church or academia.

Canidy, dodging a cab as he crossed Tenth Street,

knew that it would be quite the same look if the Rev-

erend Dr. Canidy were to learn of his most recent deal-

ings with the murderous and the corrupt.

Dad would not care for it one bit. He’s like most people.

He wants to believe in the good, and only the good—and

that’s okay.

It just leaves dealing with the bad to guys like me, and

that’s okay, too.

Except . . . except maybe that’s what’s so troubling to me.

How can a father and son be so different?

Then again, maybe we’re not.

It’s not as though I’m dealing with these goddamned

Guinea gangsters because I want to; in fact, I don’t want to.

I’m doing it because it’s necessary.

A block south of Union Square, Canidy came to the

storefront of an expensive lingerie shop and Ann Cham-

bers came immediately to mind.

But Dad would like Ann.

He looked in the window, at the display, and had

graphic thoughts about the lingerie and Ann.

And what about Ann?

That is one incredible woman—and a long way, in

many ways, from the young coed I first met two years ago at

her family’s Alabama plantation.


1 9 7

Beautiful, smart . . . and determined. Her capacity for

affection and care is off the chart.

And it’s not as if I have none of those feelings for her.

I’m just not accustomed to having feelings for only one

woman for any length of time. Fifteen, twenty minutes max,

making me one sorry sonofabitch.

So then . . . where is this going, this “relationship”?

The war is not going to end tomorrow, or next week, and

I can’t keep promising her that I won’t go away—then im-

mediately break that promise.

This is what I do.

And now I’m off to Sicily?

I’m going to need some help with that, help handling

these mob guys.

Maybe I can get Fulmar. Or Stan Fine. Screw David


Sicily! Jesus!

Ann won’t like that . . . me gone again to parts un-


Canidy noticed a display of silk hosiery.

I’d be smart to bring back some of those for her. And

some soaps and fragrances. Yeah, after I hit the hotel I’ll

head back here, then over to Kiehl’s, over on Third Avenue


He looked at the street sign—it read 13th.

That’s it. Third and Thirteenth. Come to think of it,

without my Dopp kit I need deodorant and stuff, too. But

first, the room.

1 9 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N


Gramercy Park Hotel

2 Lexington Avenue

New York City, New York

1415 6 March 1943

Dick Canidy pushed hard on the gleaming brass bar of

the heavy revolving door of what he considered to be one

of the city’s best-kept secrets.

The Gramercy, built in the 1920s of brick in a renais-

sance revival style, had a simple elegance that was in

keeping with its quiet but very nice neighborhood. It

even had a private park across the street.

It was, Canidy believed, every bit as elegant as, say,

the Roosevelt up on Madison at Forty-fifth—only some

twenty or so blocks north—but a world away from the

feel of a crazed city outside your door.

So without really trying, the hotel drew a wide spec-

trum of guests, including high-level politicians and a slew

of celebrities on the way up—or down. There were all

kinds of stories about the stars, including, Canidy re-

called hearing, that Humphrey Bogart had been married

to his first or second wife—or maybe it was both of

them—in the rooftop garden.

Some of the well-heeled kept apartments here, and it

was not unheard of for one of the elevators to open on

the ground floor and have, say, a couple of Old English

sheepdogs come bounding out, pulling a resident off

of the elevator—clearing a path between the regular

guests—on their way to the private neighborhood park.


1 9 9

All of this served to give the place the comfortable

feeling of home—a very nice home—and Canidy tried to

stay here every opportunity he could.

As he entered the hotel lobby, he could see people

seated in the oversized armchairs beneath the under-

stated chandelier. There were others moving to catch one

of the elevators to the left of the room. And directly

ahead of him was the front desk with, to his great disap-

pointment, a line of three people.

He joined them—two young men and a woman a bit

older—and began to worry that he had taken too long to

get to the hotel. The woman he had spoken to on the

telephone had said that there had been only a few rooms

left. Now, clearly, there were a few people in front of him,

and there was no telling how many had come and gone

in the time since he called about an hour ago.

The front desk was actually a massive slab of dark pol-

ished stone, some eight feet long, set atop finely milled

oak paneling. Filling the wall behind the two clerks work-

ing the desk was an impressive honeycomb of at least a

hundred cubbyholes, also fashioned of oak, each box

about six by six inches, with a brass number affixed to the

bottom lip. Visible inside them were room keys, mes-

sages, an occasional envelope.

At the head of the line was a young man in a business

suit. Canidy heard him give his name and room number

and ask if there had been any messages. The clerk turned

to the wall of cubbyholes, reached into one, and re-

trieved a small stack of note-sized messages. The young

man took them, thanked the clerk, and turned away as he

2 0 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

thumbed through the stack, now leaving two people

ahead of Canidy.

Next in line was a woman of about fifty, well-dressed,

and when she approached the desk the clerk smiled and

warmly greeted her by name.

Canidy overheard her ask the clerk for another key to

her room.

“Because,” she said, making a face and turning to ges-

ture at the young man behind her, “my son seems to

have locked both my key and his in his room.”

The clerk turned to the cubbyholes, reached in one

and then in another, taking a duplicate key from each,

and then gave one to the mother and one to the son.

As they left, Canidy sighed with relief.

He stepped up to the desk.

The clerk—his name tag read victor—smiled.

“How may I help you, sir?” Victor said.

“I called a short time ago about a room.”

“Welcome to the Gramercy. One moment, please. I’ll

see what we have available.”

Victor went to a wooden, open-topped box filled with

five-by-seven-inch index cards. He flipped through the

cards, wrinkled his face once, then twice. He pulled out

one card, looked at it, then shook his head as he put it

back in the box. He flipped farther back. His eyebrows

went up suddenly and he smiled.

He turned to Canidy with the card.

“We do have something,” Victor said and smiled

again. “A very nice one-bedroom suite.”



2 0 1

“Yessir,” Victor replied, producing a blank registra-

tion card and fountain pen. “It overlooks the park. Very


Canidy knew that the Gramercy’s rooms were huge,

and that the smallest of the huge were on the twelfth


“Nothing smaller? Maybe something on twelve, over-

looking Twenty-first?”

The clerk’s eyes brightened a moment, indicating that

he caught that this was not Canidy’s first visit. Then he

frowned and shook his head. “No, sir. I’m afraid not.”

Canidy did not respond.

What’s a suite going to cost?

What do I care? It’s not my money.

And the OSS has nearly limitless funds.

Still, I don’t like just throwing it away.

“Is there a problem?” Victor said.

Canidy looked at him.

Well, hell, it’s just for one night. Who knows what miser-

able place I’ll be sleeping in tomorrow night, or the next.

Canidy was about to open his mouth when Victor

leaned forward.

Quietly he said, “I do believe that for a regular guest

such as yourself I can offer one of the singles on twelve if

you’ll allow me to upgrade you to a suite for the same rate.”

Canidy’s eyebrows went up. “That would be very

nice. Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

Victor watched as Canidy began writing his name on

the registration card. The clerk turned his head, almost

2 0 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

touching his left ear to his left shoulder, as he tried to

read the card so that it was not upside down.

“ ‘Canidy’?” Victor said, looking thoughtful.

“Richard,” he confirmed, looking at him.

The clerk turned to the cubbyholes and from one with

a brass tag stamped misc he pulled out an assortment of

odd-sized pieces of paper. Canidy recognized some of

them as being message notes like the first man in line re-

ceived when Canidy joined the line.

The clerk pulled one of the message sheets from the

stack, put the bulk of the papers back in the cubbyhole,

then turned to Canidy.

“This came for you”—he glanced at the line on the

form where the time had been handwritten—“twenty

minutes ago.”

What the hell? Canidy thought, the hairs on the back of

his neck standing on end. No one knew I was coming here.

Hell, I didn’t know until an hour ago.

He looked around him, checking the lobby. He saw

nothing but the same mix of harmless-looking guests go-

ing about their business.

He quickly took the form from Victor, somewhat of-

fending the clerk with his brusqueness, and scanned it.

All that was written on it, on the appropriate lines,

was: “3/6, 2:05, Mr. Canidy, WOrth 2-7625.”

Canidy looked at Victor. “There’s no name on the

‘from’ line. Any idea who called?”

Victor reached out for the form, looked at it, then

looked at Canidy.


2 0 3

“No, sir,” he said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t take this. The

operator did.”

“Where’s WOrth?”

Victor looked again at the message. “That would be a

number for the Lower East Side, down around the fish


Canidy nodded. “Thank you. Can I get that room key


[ FOUR ]

Suite 601

Gramercy Park Hotel

2 Lexington Avenue

New York City, New York

1445 6 March 1943

Dick Canidy got on an empty elevator, pushed the 6 but-

ton, and when the doors had closed removed the Colt

.45 ACP semiautomatic from his attaché case and

slipped it in the small of his back.

Who knew I was here? And how?

Does the mob have insiders working here, too?

The elevator stopped and opened on the sixth floor.

He stuck his head out, looking down the hall to the left

and then to the right.


He glanced at the small signage on the wall opposite

the elevator. It listed a series of room numbers that in-

cluded 601, with an arrow pointing left.

2 0 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He went left down the hall, found the door, put in his

key and turned it.

He reached inside the door to the suite and flipped on

the light switch, then entered and closed the door behind

him. He went quickly through the suite, throwing light

switches and checking the bedroom, the closet, the bath-

room, under the bed.

There was nothing unusual—and certainly no one—in

any of the rooms.

It had to be one of the guys using the pay phones outside

the diner. One of them worked for Lanza and had been

waiting there to follow me, then got lucky when he over-

heard my phone conversation. He may have even seen the

number that I dialed.

But then they called ahead, left the message at the hotel

before I had a chance to call them.

Did they do that to send a bigger message—“We can find

you”—or was it them just not thinking.

Either way, it’s not good.

Dammit, Dick! Watch your back!

He looked around the suite and now noticed that it

was very nice.

It had an outer room with two large couches and two

oversized armchairs with ottomans, all upholstered in the

same fine, light-colored fabric. There was a large oval

coffee table, with copies of Time and Look and the Sat-

urday Evening Post magazines on top and a big bowl of

potpourri, which gave the room a pleasant, floral scent. A

side table between the oversized armchairs held a thin

brass lamp and a black telephone.


2 0 5

Canidy put his attaché case on the coffee table—

almost dumping the bowl of potpourri—went to the

door, locked the deadbolt, then stuck the .45 in his front

right pants pocket. The pistol butt stuck out, but that

didn’t bother him.

He walked over to the closed curtain that covered one

wall. The curtain went from the floor to the ceiling, and

when he pulled back one side he saw that Victor, the

front desk clerk, had not exaggerated about the view.

The suite did have a very nice perspective on the

whole neighborhood, and especially on the private park

across the street. The room was up just high enough to

see everything, yet not so high for details—the park’s

nicely manicured topiaries, dense bushes planted in intri-

cate checkerboard and circular patterns, and such—to be

lost in the distance. There was a woman sitting on one of

the wrought-iron benches, and he could almost distin-

guish what she was reading, while a wirehaired terrier

pawed at a ball at her feet.

He let the curtain fall closed, then went through the

door into the bedroom.

It had elegant wallpaper with vertical pinstripes in

navy and silver. The light pine headboard and footboard

of the king-sized bed matched the bedside tables on ei-

ther side and the enormous dresser with its large mirror.

What a waste for one person! Ann would love this!

Canidy went into the bathroom, took a leak, then

washed his hands and face at the white porcelain sink.

He removed one of the thick, soft white-cotton hand

towels—each one, including the fat bath towels, had

2 0 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

gramercy park hotel stitched in neat green half-inch-

high lettering—from the chrome ring affixed to the

white-tiled wall and, almost like he was praying, buried

his face in it.

What the hell am I getting myself into?

Then he looked up and at himself in the mirror above

the sink.

Make the call.

In the outer room of the suite, he went to the armchairs,

pulled the pistol from his right pocket, and put it on the

side table next to the telephone. He then reached into his

pocket for the message with the Lower East Side phone

number and sat in the armchair to the left of the phone.

He picked up the receiver, double-checked the num-

ber on the message, and asked for 962-7625.

The call was answered on the third ring.

“Dunn,” a deep male voice said.

“Is this WOrth-two-seven-six-two-five?”


“My name is Canidy. I have a message to call but no



“You didn’t leave this number?”

“What’d you say your name was?”

“Canidy. C-A-N—”

“Hang on.”

Canidy heard the clunk sound of the receiver being

put down on a hard surface, then the sound of footsteps,


2 0 7

then, faintly in the distance, the sound of the man’s voice

relating their conversation. After a moment, the foot-

steps grew louder and the receiver was picked up from

the hard surface.

“Hello?” a different voice said in Canidy’s ear.

“This is Richard—”

“Yeah, I remember,” the voice said sarcastically. “We

just met.”


“Listen,” Lanza continued, “that thing we talked

about? I got someone you want to meet. Eight o’clock

tonight, you go out of your hotel, walk to the northeast

corner of the park across the street, and a car will be there

to pick you up. Got it?”

I didn’t tell him what hotel. Clearly, he knows. And he’s

not making anything of it, just letting me twist knowing

that he knows.

“Eight,” Canidy said, “northeast corner. Got it.


“And get out of that uniform. You won’t need it. Get

in something you won’t care if it gets dirty. Or wet.”


Canidy heard the connection break.

He checked his chronometer. It was three o’clock.

Five hours. Not a lot of time.

Canidy, the .45 tucked again into the small of his back,

took the elevator back down to the first floor. At the

front desk, Victor was still there, and Canidy asked him

2 0 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

where the nearest shop was that he could buy some ca-

sual, rugged clothing.

“For any special purpose?” Victor asked.

Yeah, Canidy thought, something that can get dirty

and wet. “You know, Victor, mob kind of stuff. ”

Hell, I don’t know.

“Khakis, flannel shirt,” Canidy said, thinking about

what Lanza and the monster fishmonger had been wear-

ing. He didn’t mention the rubber boots.

“Leonwood’s,” Victor said immediately.

“What’s that?”

“The outfitter L.L. Bean?”

“Yeah, Leon Leonwood. But he’s in Maine.”

“Uh-huh. That’s the main story—with and without

the e—but there’s a small basement store on the other

side of Union Square that sells last year’s clothes and re-

turns at a deep discount.”

Canidy’s face lit up. “Perfect! Good stuff at a cheap


Victor took a slip of paper and wrote “Leonwood’s,

867 Broadway @ 17th” on it and slid it across the pol-

ished stone.

“Thank you,” Canidy said and turned to go through

the revolving door.

An hour and a half later, a grinning Canidy walked up the

basement steps of Leonwood’s and out onto Broadway.

He carried a big, nondescript brown paper bag packed

with three pairs of khakis, two in navy and one brown; a


2 0 9

pair of tobacco-colored, waxed-canvas pants; three flan-

nel shirts in dark, solid colors; a pair of black leather

boots; a dark brown field coat; three pairs of black

woolen socks; two packages of white cotton boxers and

T-shirts; a woolen knit cap; and one wooden duck call,

something that he had always wanted and Leonwood’s

was just about giving them away.

Jesus, I spent a bundle. But for what I got, I saved a

bundle, too.

And for what I saved, I can now go to that nice lingerie

store and then over to Kiehl’s.

Canidy had more trouble in the lingerie store than he

had in Leonwood’s. A lot more trouble. He had been

shopping for a half hour and had yet to pick out one nice

thing to buy for Ann.

Operative word: nice.

He kept looking at items, picking them up, then feel-

ing guilty and putting them back on the shelf.

This was a helluva lot easier at Leonwood’s. There, I

knew what I needed.

Now I don’t know if I’m shopping for Ann—or for me.

He was finally rescued by a pleasant young woman


She walked and talked him through the merchandise,

starting out with the silk hosiery.

Damn! I could have picked those out on my own, but no,

I had to go straight to the lacy stuff.

One very small but very expensive box later, he was on

2 1 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

his way to Third and Thirteenth, his brown bag only

slightly heavier and his wallet significantly lighter.

Filling a shopping basket at kiehl’s since 1851 was ac-

complished with much more ease. Canidy pretty much

went through the women’s section of the store, putting

one or two of everything in it.

How can I go wrong? This stuff’s been winning women’s

hearts for almost a hundred years.

He had various bottles of skin moisturizers, face

cleansers, bath oils, some kind of cream that softened and

removed calluses from feet—and more.

And he splurged on himself, buying a small bar of

moisturizing soap to use when he shaved and a stick of


Now, as he headed back to the hotel, he had a second

bag, one nearly the size of—and at least the weight of—

the one containing the clothing.

This day is getting more surreal by the moment.

Who would believe I’d be shopping at the same time that

I have a date with the mob?

Canidy went through the revolving door of the Gra-

mercy Park Hotel. He looked toward the front desk; if

Victor was there, he wanted to thank him for sending

him to Leonwood’s. But Victor wasn’t, so Canidy went

to the elevators and caught the next one up.


2 1 1

In his room, he put down the bags on the big bed and

went through the one containing his clothes, laying out

what he would wear that night.

He checked his watch. Six o’clock.

He realized that he had not eaten since breakfast that

morning. In Washington.

Have I really covered this much ground in just one day?

I need to catch a nap.

His stomach growled.

And . . . I need something to eat.

The Gramercy’s lounge was off of the lobby, and Canidy,

passing the polished-stone front desk, could already hear

the lively crowd before he entered.

The lounge featured a terrific massive wooden bar, small

round tables with plush, intimate seating, and a gleaming

grand piano at which a fellow was playing what Canidy

thought was a Duke Ellington piece.

He took one of the empty seats at the bar and asked

the bartender for a menu. While he scanned it, the bar-

tender put a glass of ice water and small bowl of orange

fish-shaped crackers in front of him. Canidy popped a

couple of the crackers into his mouth.

Mmmm. Cheddar-flavored. Nice.

The crackers almost immediately made him thirsty

and he looked at the small forest of spigot handles on the

draft beers, saw a good Hessian family name that he rec-

ognized as a brewery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, got

2 1 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

the bartender’s attention and pointed to it. When the

lager was delivered, he ordered something that he thought

would be quick: a steak sandwich with chips.

He sipped his beer and munched on the cheddar crack-

ers, looking in the mirror to watch the crowd in the room.

So who here has mob connections? He grunted. Besides

me, that is.

The piano player? One of the waitresses?

The bartender?

Murray Gurfein said that through the unions the mob

touched just about everything.

He also said the mob was good about getting union cards

issued to the Navy guys for undercover work at the docks, on

boats and trucks, in hotels and restaurants.

Not quite five minutes later, the bartender produced a

plate with his sandwich.

Canidy looked at him with new interest.

Bet he’s a spook with—what did Gurfein call it?—

“Local 16 of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Interna-

tional Alliance and Bartenders Union.”

“Thank you,” Canidy said, then grinned as he picked

up the sandwich.

Nah, he thought, taking a bite. On second thought, even

the mob wouldn’t let a Navy guy near the booze.

The sliced steak on a fresh, hard-crusted baguette

turned out to be not only quick but first-class. The beef

was a sirloin strip that had been lightly marinated and

perfectly grilled to medium-rare, the chips were actually

more like steak fries, and the fat pickle was crisp, ice-cold,

and almost oozed garlic.


2 1 3

Canidy finished his meal in no time— I didn’t realize

how hungry I was—and he waved for the check as he fin-

ished the last of his beer. He signed it to the room and


Back in the suite, he took a hot shower, then pulled on

his new clothes.

He folded his uniform and put it in the cleaning

bag from the closet, then called downstairs for it to be

picked up.

“I’ll need it cleaned and pressed,” he said into the

phone, “and returned by first thing—”

He yawned, long and hard, and looked at the clock on

the bedside table. It showed seven-thirty.

Fifteen minutes. That’s all I need.

“—in the morning,” he finished, then added: “And

I’d like a wake-up call for seven-fifty, please.”

“Yessir, a wake-up call for seven-fifty a.m.”

“No, p.m.”

There was a pause, then, “Yessir, seven-fifty p.m.

Canidy set the alarm on the windup clock beside the

bed as a backup, then pushed aside the rest of the clothes

that he had bought and lay down on the bed.

The next sounds he heard—the nonstop ring-ring ring-

ring of the phone and the clanging of the alarm clock—

shook him from a deep sleep.

He looked quickly at the clock. Eight o’clock.


He jumped up, collected his thoughts.

2 1 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He went to the curtain, pulled it back, and looked out

at the northeast corner of the park. No car appeared to

be waiting.

Okay. Maybe he’s late, too. Let’s go.

He took his .45 off of the bed, stuck it in the small of

his back, pulled on the new field coat, stuffed the woolen

knit cap in his pocket, then rushed out to the elevators.

He pushed the down button, but neither elevator re-

sponded. The indicators over the doors—a half circle of

numbers with an arrow, the one over the left elevator

pointing to 10 and the one over the right to 1—did not


Hell, I’m only on the sixth floor.

He ran down the hallway, pushed open the heavy

metal door, and took the bare concrete stairs of the fire

escape down two at a time.

He opened the door marked floor 1 and saw that he

was down the hall from the main lobby. He went to it,

then out through the revolving door.

When he got to the northeast corner of the park, he

looked around in the dim light. He still could see no car

that seemed to be there for him.

There was, however, a sudden movement behind him,

against the fence that circled the park. His hair stood up

on the back of his neck, and the pistol in his back seemed

a very long way away from his right hand.

Just as he started to turn toward it while reaching for

the .45, the movement surged toward him, causing him

to jump back.

A well-fed cat then flew down the sidewalk.


2 1 5

Jesus. Get it together or it’s going to be one long night.

He saw a cab circling the park. It made the turn onto

the street where he stood, began to slow, then pulled to

the curb in front of him. The back door opened.

“Get in,” a vaguely familiar voice said.

Canidy did, but there was no one else in the car, only

the driver, who was huge.

The monster fishmonger.

Canidy slid in and pulled the door closed. “Where are

we going?”

“Not far.”

He drove off with a heavy foot on the accelerator.

Canidy kept track of their route. The cabbie fishmon-

ger— What the hell else does he do? —made a number of

turns and soon was flying south down Second Avenue,

headed for the Lower East Side.

No surprise there, I guess.

After a bit of jogging down different streets, Canidy

saw a sign reading south street and he decided that

they were headed for Meyer’s Hotel.

Maybe all the dead bodies have been cleaned up by now.

Without slowing, they drove right past Meyer’s


What the hell?

Two blocks later, the fishmonger turned east and,

now driving slowly, wended his way down to dockage on

the East River.

Beyond a tall wooden piling with a sign reading pier

10 there was moored a rusty steel-hulled vessel about

seventy feet long. A cargo truck was alongside it, on the

2 1 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

wooden finger of the dock, and what looked like steve-

dores were moving something off the boat.

“This is it,” the fishmonger said.

It what?”

“The Annie, ” the fishmonger said, then looked over

his shoulder. “Get out.”

[ FIVE ]

Room 305

The Adolphus Hotel

1321 Commerce Street

Dallas, Texas

1540 5 March 1943

Rolf Grossman was anxious.

The German agent paced the spacious room of the

downtown luxury hotel where he and Rudolf Cremer

had been staying since Wednesday, when they had arrived

by train from Birmingham.

All week they had been trying to keep a low profile—

especially after Grossman’s screwup Sunday night when

he dropped his Walther PPK somewhere in the Atlanta

train station—and now that something was finally about

to happen, he was unbearable.

“How much longer?” he said.

Cremer, sitting at one end of the long couch by the

open window, looked casually over the top of the after-

noon edition of the Dallas Daily Times-Herald.

He did not like this behavior just before they carried

out an operation. Grossman always became too agitated


2 1 7

and his heightened attitude tended to make him careless.

Losing the damned pistol was an obvious example.

Both men were dressed in simple black suits, white

shirts, and black leather shoes that could stand a shine.

Cremer glanced at his Hamilton wristwatch.

“Soon,” he said. “The commuter rush begins in about

twenty minutes. Be patient.”

Grossman walked around the suitcases that they had

bought in the second-hand store in Birmingham and that

they now had placed by the door and went to the West-

inghouse radio that was on a table beside one of the

two beds. He turned the on-off/volume dial and the

speaker crackled. He tried to tune in a station by turning

the other dial, but all he got was static. He hit the side of

the radio with the open palm of his left hand.

“I’ve hated this hotel since we got here,” Grossman

said disgustedly. He almost spat out the words.

“I like it,” Cremer said in an even tone. “That beer


“A traitor to our country, if you ask me.”

Cremer shrugged. “So you keep saying. Busch began

making beer in America in the middle 1800s. I don’t

think it is fair to judge him now, almost a hundred years

later, using your standards for this war.”

Grossman grunted. “You are either German or you’re


“Remind me of your family background again?” Cre-

mer said.

Grossman had confided during the long train trip

from Birmingham to Dallas that his mother was French.

2 1 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He glowered at Cremer.

“All I know for sure,” Cremer went on, “is that he

built a very nice hotel in a place that is not very nice. It

has none of that cowboy nonsense we’ve seen every-

where else.”

Adolphus Busch, as might be expected of one so

named, saw to it that the hotel bearing his name was

heavily influenced by European design. He built a bit of

Bavaria on the north Texas prairie, creating an oasis of el-

egance in a town that was otherwise rather rough around

the edges.

The guests Grossman and Cremer had seen clearly

were wealthy, though the two noticed that their dress

was not necessarily always up to the standards of what

might be expected of, say, the German upper class at-

tending functions at the Hotel Berlin.

Granted, almost without exception the women of the

Adolphus dressed quite fashionably, and many practically

dripped in diamonds.

The clothing of the men, though, covered a wide


Some of them wore well-fitted suits with pointed-toe,

Western-style boots, their black leather skins buffed to a

deep shine. Instead of a necktie, a few had on a bolo, a

finely braided leather cord that was clasped at the shirt-

collar button by an elaborate slide fashioned by crafts-

men of silver and gems.

Most of the other men at the Adolphus, however,

were not concerned with such niceties. They had the


2 1 9

weathered look of ranchers—hardworking and honest

men—and it reflected in their clothes. If they happened

to have on suit coats, the garments were not freshly

pressed—one had even showed dirt—and their boots,

whether the toes were pointed or rounded, went unpol-


As it happened, this worked in the favor of Cremer

and Grossman.

Cremer said, “No one has looked twice at us here,

proving no one would expect to find a couple of German

nationals suspected of blowing up things hiding in an ex-

pensive hotel.”

Cremer flipped the pages of the Dallas Daily Times-

Herald, found what he was looking for, then folded the


“Especially,” he added, “when those agents appear to

be blowing up things on the East Coast.”

He held out the folded paper to Grossman.

“Here. Read this.”

Grossman walked over, took the paper, and found the



Baltimore Latest to Lose Power;

3 Cities in 3 Days Go Dark

Governor Calls for Calm

By Michael B. Goldman

Daily Times-Herald Washington Bureau Chief

2 2 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar. 5 — The mayor of Bal -

timore, MD, last night called his entire

police department on duty after more than

half of that port city’s downtown area

lost electrical power.

The outage began at 6 o’clock and lasted

for more than five hours.

Confusion struck commuters the hardest,

with busy train stations coming to a halt

and city streets gridlocked until well af -

ter midnight.

Hospital emergency rooms were reported

to be operating at peak capacity with

record numbers of injured being admitted.

A hospital representative who would not

speak officially put the figure at “hun -


“It is important to have a strong police

presence at such times,” Mayor Sean Mac -

Donald said, explaining his emergency ac -

tion. “The public expects it.”

By this morning, power and calm had re -

turned to downtown Baltimore.

But, according to some, there was any -

thing but calm among the general popula -


“People are scared,” said Maryland

state representative Silas Rippy, a Demo -


2 2 1

crat whose district includes downtown Bal -

timore. “This is exactly what happened on

Tuesday in Carolina and on Thursday in

Virginia. They’re calling it a ‘coinci -

dence.’ This is no coincidence. We want —

and we deserve — real answers.”

Downtown areas of Charlotte, NC, and

Richmond, Va., lost electrical power this

week, causing injury and panic.

According to Baltimore Power & Light,

the cause of the Maryland power failure

also was faulty equipment.

“It is an unfortunate coincidence,”

said Carl Hemple, BP&L Director of Public

Relations. “This particular power grid

happened to have the same equipment — indeed

the same series of manufacture — as the oth -

ers that went down. It appears that all of

the grids were weakened by what we all

know has been a worse than usual winter

season. It’s just that simple.”

Agents from the Federal Bureau of In -

vestigation, who had been looking into the

event in North Carolina and Virginia, and

now are reviewing this one in Maryland,


“The fact is that it is similar equip -

ment failing under similar conditions,”

2 2 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

said Special Agent Mark Davis of F.B.I.

headquarters here in Washington. “All

grids are being inspected, and any weak -

nesses found are being corrected.”

That explanation, Representative Rippy

said, was not good enough.

“Hundreds upon hundreds have been

hurt,” he said. “First it was the train

stations. Now this. Who and what is next?”

Maryland Governor Harold Clarke called

on citizens to remain calm.

“Let’s all exercise good judgment,” he

said from his office in the capitol. “And

please join me and pray for those injured

in this unfortunate event.”

Grossman handed the newspaper back to Cremer and

said, “The cover story of the government is good. But it

does not seem to be believed.”

Cremer nodded. “Possibly. But the good news is that

the public is reacting just as we had hoped. Bayer and

Koch are doing a good job. Steady, small attacks. Let the

people cause their own problems.” He looked directly at

Grossman. “That’s what we need to do, too. No more

big blasts.”

Grossman glared back.

“Okay,” he said. “Enough. I told you that it was a

mistake to use so much explosive in the Atlanta train sta-

tion lockers.”


2 2 3

He looked at the coffee table, where there were two

identical sets of explosives and primers laid out.

“These should be just enough to cause the necessary

confusion,” he said.

Cremer nodded, then looked at his watch. He put

aside the newspaper.

“Okay. It’s close enough to time. Let’s go.”

Grossman went to the table, picked up one set of the

explosives, and put it in a small black leather case.

They took one of the five massive elevators down to the

first floor, then crossed the richly carpeted lobby and

went down the steps to the entrance.

A doorman opened one of the large beveled-glass-and-

bronze doors, tipped his hat, and said, “Good day, gen-

tlemen,” as they passed onto the busy sidewalk.

They walked up Commerce Street, keeping pace with

the crowd of businessmen and secretaries who appeared

to have just left their offices.

Ahead of them, a couple of men in suits and ties went

through the revolving door of the fancy bar and grill that

was a part of the Adolphus. The bar had large, inviting

windows overlooking the sidewalk. Cremer looked inside

as they passed and watched the two men who had just

entered join an animated crowd of businessmen and

-women standing at the long, classy brass bar for Friday

happy hour.

At the street corner, after waiting for the light to

change, Cremer and Grossman crossed Akard Street—

2 2 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

dodging an automobile running the red light—and con-

tinued along Commerce.

About halfway up the block, a series of department

store windows began. The goods in the large displays

looked very much like what they had seen all week on

guests at the hotel—very fine and expensive clothing and


Almost at the end of the block, they came to a large

elaborate entrance into the department store itself.

Grossman glanced at Cremer, who nodded, and they

followed four attractive young women through the doors

under shiny metalwork that read: neiman marcus.

Inside, Cremer followed one of the women—a

blonde—to the right while Grossman continued straight,

behind two brunettes.

The store was full of customers, mostly women, but

more than a few men. An off-duty Dallas policeman, in

uniform and armed, working as store security, was riding

the escalator to the second floor, scanning the first-floor

crowd as he ascended, and then was gone.

The blonde walked slowly past one of the brightly lit

glass display cases, admired the earrings there, then con-

tinued walking. Cremer stopped and feigned interest in

the jewelry while keeping an eye on Grossman.

As planned, Grossman was approaching the counter in

the corner that displayed leather goods—wallets, purses,

belts, and more.

After he casually looked at the contents of one case, a

nicely dressed, dark-haired salesgirl behind the counter

walked up and began speaking to him.


2 2 5

Grossman nodded, pointed to something in the dis-

play, and the salesclerk took out a key, unlocked the back

of the display, and pulled out a wallet.

Grossman casually put the small leather case with the

explosives on the counter beside an open black box con-

taining leather key rings and took the wallet.

“Can I help you?” a young woman’s voice asked, star-

tling Cremer.

He turned and now saw a pretty redheaded salesclerk

standing behind the display with the earrings.

“Oh, no,” he said and smiled. “Thank you, but no. I

just got distracted.”

“These can do that,” the redhead said, looking at the


“Yes, yes they can,” Cremer said and started walking

toward the leather goods section.

When he reached it, Grossman was at the end of the

counter, shaking his head and frowning as he handed

back the wallet to the salesclerk.

Cremer heard him say, “Not quite what I need. I’ll

just keep looking.”

“Very well,” the salesclerk said, then saw Cremer and

turned to help him. When she had reached him, she

asked, “Can I help you with something?”

“Yes, please,” he said and pointed to a purse at the end

of the counter farthest from Grossman. “I’m thinking of

something for my girlfriend.”

As the salesclerk showed Cremer a large brown purse,

he saw Grossman in his peripheral vision walking away

from the display—without the small black leather case.

2 2 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fifteen minutes later, Cremer held a small brown pa-

per bag with vertical stripes and the store logotype on it.

In it was a half pound of warm salted cashews.

He put a handful in his mouth, then, chewing, went

out the doors on the opposite side of the store that he

and Grossman had entered, turned left on the sidewalk,

went down Main Street for two blocks, made another

left, onto Field, then came back to Commerce, turned,

and went through the glass-and-bronze doors of the


Grossman had his suitcase in hand when Cremer

reached the room.

Cremer looked to the coffee table; the second set of

explosive and primer was no longer there.

“Okay,” Cremer said, nodding, “you go on. I’ll see

you at the station.”

Cremer guessed that it was maybe six hundred meters

from the hotel to Union Station and so far every step of

the way he had half-expected the explosive to go off in

that fancy department store with the Jewish name.

Grossman had set the fuses too short in the train sta-

tions in both Jacksonville and Atlanta. He had almost

blown himself up in Atlanta.

Cremer had told him to set up the trigger—an am-

poule of acid that caused a slow burn until it activated the

fuse—so that it would not fire for at least an hour.

But with Grossman having again been so anxious,

Cremer knew that there was a good chance he had


2 2 7

screwed that up and so half-expected the bomb would go

off at any moment.

He came to South Houston Street and made a left


And when it does blow, it will certainly cause a curious

new twist for the Americans to consider.

First it had been train stations and power plants on the

East Coast.

And now Neiman’s—a Jude Speicher— in Texas?

How will officials explain this as a “coincidence”?

He joined the crowd making its way to and through

the front doors of Union Station.

Especially when the train station down the street from

the store gets hit, too.

Inside the terminal, half a dozen Dallas policemen

watched the people walk through.

He saw a freestanding sign that read to trains and

had an arrow with u.s.o. above it. He snugged his hat

down on his head, and as he headed for the sign he heard

the keening of fire-engine sirens down the street. Three

of the cops went running out the door.

He looked at his Hamilton and shook his head in


Only thirty minutes.


[ ONE ]

Pier 10

Fulton Fish Market

New York City, New York

2025 6 March 1943

Dick Canidy stood on the dock on the East River and

watched the taillights of the taxicab with the fishmonger

at the wheel disappear into the distance.

He sniffed, then groaned.

Jesus, that’s raw.

The massive timbers of the dock reeked of dead fish,

despite the cold temperatures, and this was on top of the

heavy odor of diesel fuel that over the years had been

spilled and then soaked into the wood. He idly wondered

how bad the assault on the senses must be in the summer


Canidy saw that the dock had piers about fifty yards

long jutting into the river, most with boats moored to

them, and longshoremen on and around the boats.

He looked at the activity out at the end of the wooden

finger with the pier 10 sign. He could make out the

shapes of the cargo truck and the big boat there but not

much detail.


2 2 9

There was light shining from across the river—from

the Brooklyn Terminal, where a line of Liberty ships was

being loaded—but there were almost no lights here on

the dock and those few that were burning had been

masked or otherwise dimmed. Even the Brooklyn Bridge

looming in the distance was mostly darkened.

There was of course a reason for this. It had been al-

most a year since the order had come—in April 1942, as

the vicious U-boat attacks off the East Coast continued

to escalate—for all unnecessary lighting on the New York

waterfront to be turned out.

The wind gusted, and Canidy buttoned up his jacket,

then pulled the woolen knit cap from his pocket and

pulled it on his head, grateful that he now was dressed for

the winter woods of Maine, or at least the New York City


As he moved toward the boat, he began to pick out

details. What from the distance had been a great bulk of

rusty black-painted steel hull rising from the river now

had rigging and winches and cables and crew—and a


annie was painted in tall, white block lettering high

on the black bow.

She was an ocean fishing vessel. Three-quarters of her

seventy-foot length, from the stern to just shy of the

white pilothouse on the bow, formed a large, flat, open

working area with heavy-duty fishing equipment for

long-lining (running out miles of baited hooks for hours

at a time) and a series of hatches above deep cargo holds.

A steel mast towered behind the pilothouse, and its

2 3 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

boom, controlled by a series of steel cables, reached from

the foot of the tower almost to the back of the boat.

Canidy stopped beside the cargo truck and watched

as a guy in a thick, dark woolen sweater and black rub-

ber overalls operated levers that were connected to the

winches that moved the boom.

The boom was in the process of lifting a crate—

Canidy could now see that it held the iced-down car-

casses of large billfish and sharks—from one of the ship

holds. Two other men were standing on the back of the

cargo truck, waiting to guide the crate onto a stack of

other crates already there.

“Watch it, there!” the taller of the two guys on the

truck called out to Canidy.

Canidy turned and looked at him.

“That crate’s gonna swing right over your head,” the

guy went on, “and you really don’t want to be there

when it does.”

Canidy looked at the crate hanging from the boom

cable and saw that a steady stream of what looked like

water flowed from its lowest corner. He then took a

closer look at the crates on the truck; they were dripping

wet, and a slimy liquid ran in rivulets from them, down

the truck bed, then drained onto the dock and through

the cracks between timber, making, he thought, as it

hit the river, a sound similar to the taking of a massive


He stepped back some twenty feet, what he thought

was a sufficient distance, and now stood next to the

gangplank that led aboard the Annie. From there, he


2 3 1

watched the crate swing right over where he had been

standing—leaving a very wet trail as it went—and then

with a different whine from the winch, be lowered to the

truck, where the two men manhandled it into place on a

stack of other crates before the cable went slack.

The cable was unhooked and the winch operator ma-

nipulated the levers. The winches made a high-pitched

whine as the cable was recovered and the boom swung

back aboard.

The taller man jumped down from the truck and

walked toward the gangplank.

“You Canidy?” he said as he approached.

The thick accent clearly was Italian—probably Sicilian,

Canidy guessed.

The man, a head taller than Canidy, looked to be

about thirty-five and solidly built. He had an olive com-

plexion, thick black hair that was cut close to the scalp, a

rather large nose, and a black mustache.

“Yeah, I’m Canidy.”

“C’mon aboard,” he said, brushing past.

As Canidy followed him to the rusty pilothouse, the

truck on the dock started its engine and with a grinding

of gears began to pull away with the crates of fish.

Canidy saw that the deckhand who had been working

the boom was now securing it and the cable, and the guy

who had been on the truck had moved down the finger

of the dock and was beginning to untie the starboard

bowline from a cleat.

The tall man went to the steel door of the pilothouse,

opened it, and went through it.

2 3 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy began to follow, but the man turned and

pointed to the bow of the boat.

“You mind tending to lines?”

Canidy looked forward. “Sure,” he said.

“Come back when we’re under way.”

Under way? Where the hell are we going?

Is this godforsaken rust bucket really seaworthy?

Canidy shrugged and went back out the door, then to

the bow.

He heard the sound of a motor struggling to start,

then a rumble of exhaust, and he felt a vibration in his

feet as a big diesel engine came to life. A moment later,

there was another slow rumble, and the vibration from

the deck was more pronounced.

The guy on the dock holding the bowline coiled it,

shouted, “Line!” then tossed it aboard.

Canidy caught it, then recoiled it and secured it to a


The guy, after having pushed the gangplank aboard,

was now at a cleat midway on the dock, untying the line


Canidy went toward him, stepping over the gang-

plank. As he got closer, the guy shouted, “Line!” and

threw it.

This time, Canidy missed the rope.

It landed on the wet deck. He picked it up, and as he

began to coil it he realized that this rope was markedly

different from the first.

It had a cold slime on it, and it smelled of fish.

Shit! It’s the same slop that leaked from the crates!


2 3 3

His hands began to ache from the cold and wet.

He saw that the guy on the deck was now at the dock

cleat at the back of the boat and very shortly would be

throwing the line aboard. If Canidy didn’t get there first,

that line was going to get slimed, too.

He quickly coiled the line in his hand, in the process

slinging slop onto his pants.

Well, that’s what Lanza meant by dirty and wet. . . .

He secured the line, then rushed toward the stern. He

hit a slippery spot, started to slide, and, for one terrifying

moment, thought that he would skid off of the deck and

into the damned river.

He regained his traction, and, in a somewhat comic

fashion, fast-walked the rest of the way.


Canidy got to the stern just as the rope came sailing


He secured it, then looked back and watched as the guy

on the dock jumped aboard at the stern, miraculously

landing solidly on the fish-slimed deck.

If I’d done that, I’d have slid all the way to New Jersey.

The guy tipped his hat to say thanks for the help, and

Canidy turned for the front of the boat.

As he walked to the pilothouse, he could see the tall

man inside, lit by small spots of light from the instrument

panel, motioning for him to come in.

He went to the steel door and entered.

It was bare-bones inside the pilothouse—a ragged

captain’s chair on a pedestal, two old wooden folding

chairs against the far wall, two wooden bunks bolted one

2 3 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

above the other on the back wall, and nothing more. A

pair of Ithaca Model 37 12-gauge pump shotguns with

battered stocks stood on their butts in a makeshift rack to

the left of the helm.

Canidy noticed that it felt slightly warmer inside but

figured that was mostly because there was no wind. The

smell of fish still was strong.

The tall man was alone, standing at the helm, facing

forward and scanning the river beyond the bank of win-


“Thanks for the hand with the lines,” he said, looking

at Canidy in the reflection of the window.

“No problem,” Canidy said, rubbing his hands.

“There’s a wipe rag by the door, if you want.”

Canidy looked and found a crusty, brown-stained

towel hanging on a small peg.

Better than nothing, I suppose.

He got the slime off his cold hands as best he could,

put the towel back, then walked toward the helm.

The tall man kept his eyes on the river, navigating the

Annie past a Liberty ship that was moving toward the

Brooklyn Terminal docks.

He extended his right hand to Canidy.

“Francesco Nola,” he said.

Canidy took it. The grip was firm, the hand rough.

“Richard Canidy, Captain.”

“Call me Frank.”

“I’m Dick.” He looked out the window. “Mind if I

ask where we’re headed?”

Canidy saw Nola grin slightly.


2 3 5

The captain said, “I was told you’re looking for infor-

mation.” He paused. “I thought you might want to go

along as we refuel a U-boat.”

Canidy stared at Nola’s face in the reflection, trying to

determine if he was serious.

After a moment, Canidy said evenly, “If that’s a joke,

it’s not funny.”

They were out of the East River now, entering Upper

New York Bay.

Nola used the open palm of his right hand to gently

bump the twin throttle controls forward. There was a

slight hesitation, as if the engines had become flooded

with fuel, then the rumble grew a little louder and the

bow came up as the boat gained speed.

“No, it’s not funny at all,” Nola finally responded.

Canidy saw in the reflection that the captain’s face had


Nola added, “It certainly wasn’t when I was accused

of it.”

He was refueling U-boats? Jesus H. Christ! I should

shoot him myself!

“Do I understand you to say—”

“Your government boys impounded my boat out at

Montauk last year, about six months after I bought it.”

“ ‘My boys’? What boys?”

“Your government bureau of investigating.”

“The FBI?”

“Yes. They said that I was using the Annie to run fuel

to the German submarines.”

“You’re here now, so I assume you weren’t?”

2 3 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“No,” he said coldly. “I was not.”

Canidy smelled something different in the air, then re-

alized that it was a warm draft coming from a floor vent.

The engines had warmed and were producing heat for

the pilothouse. A fishy-smelling heat.

“But they still impounded your boat?”

“Yes. I found out—much later—it was because I had

had the boat in the docks at Massapequa, being worked

on. When my Annie had been the Irish Lass, belonging

to someone else during Prohibition, she was a rum-

runner. And when these workers, the ship—what is the



“—these shipwrights went deep into the holds, they

discovered bulkheads that were not right. They removed

them and found the large compartments. One had four-

teen cases of vodka still in it. I was shocked. But, so what?

It is legal to have liquor now. Yes?”


“But word got back to Montauk that the Annie had

been a rumrunner, and that it had these special bulk-

heads. Then the story became that the owner of the An-

nie—who looked Italian and spoke the language like a

native—had sympathies to Mussolini and the Germans

and instead of running rum behind those bulkheads he

was running diesel fuel in bladders to the U-boats. And

as everything about the story was true except the part

about Fascist sympathies and fuel running, it all became

the truth. People believe what they want to believe, yes?

And the government took my boat.”


2 3 7

Canidy looked off to starboard and could see in the

distance the lights of the military terminal on the western

shore of the bay, at Bayonne, New Jersey. Liberty ships

were being loaded there, with more in the bay waiting their

turn, just as at the Brooklyn Terminal.

“I do not blame them; it’s their job,” Nola went on and

gestured toward the ships at Bayonne. “These U-boats are

causing great damage to our efforts to win the war.”

He stopped and chuckled to himself.

“Listen to me. ‘Our’ efforts. I am doing nothing. I am

not a U.S. citizen. I am only a Sicilian fisherman. And not

even that now.”

He turned and looked at Canidy.

“If I could,” he added, his voice rising, “I would

blow those bastards and their U-boats out of the water


Canidy saw that there was a burning intensity in

Nola’s eyes.

Is he trying to convince me of something with this little


“I will tell you something,” the captain continued, his

face softening somewhat. “I did not want to leave Sicily.

I had to, because of that bastard Mussolini.” He paused.

“It is not safe for me there. Mussolini’s men do unspeak-

able things. And they accused some of my uncles and

cousins of being mafia and took them to the prisons on

the small islands. It was only time before they accused me

of the same.”

Canidy saw that Nola had tensed, his hands gripping

the helm tighter.

2 3 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“And I had to leave for my Annie.”

The boat . . . ?

“You see, my wife is Jewish. I would not stay. We

could not.”

Is he going to cry?

He is crying.

Nola cleared his throat. “Please excuse me. This all

means so much to me. I’m not a U.S. citizen. But I want

to fight those bastards. For my wife, for my uncles and

cousins, for my country.”

Canidy didn’t say anything. When it was clear that the

captain had finished, at least for the moment, he said,

“You were talking about the Annie. How did you get

your boat back?”

The captain was looking forward again, hands a little

relaxed on the wheel.

“The Navy,” he said.

“The Navy got it back?”

Nola nodded. “Without my boat, I was out of work.

Mr. Lanza asked me why I had stopped selling my catch

at the fish market. I told him my story. He said he’d look

into it. A week later, I got a call—‘Come get your boat.’

Mr. Lanza said he had the Navy get it back.”

He had Murray Gurfein get it back for you. But no

need to split hairs.

Nola added, “Now, Mr. Lanza tells me that you need

information for the war.” He looked in the reflection at

Canidy. “I am at your service. My family of fishermen is

at your service.”

What the hell am I going to do with fishermen?


2 3 9

Unless . . . they have a boat.

Canidy said, “Does your family have a boat?”

“Nothing like the Annie, of course.”

Great! Maybe it’s actually seaworthy.

“I understand. But a boat that could get men around

the islands unnoticed?”

“Yes. Two.”

“Two boats?”

Nola nodded. “Two—what is the word?— fleets.”

[ TWO ]

Office of the President’s Physician

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C.

1815 6 March 1943

“That will be all for now, Charles,” the President of the

United States of America said, wheeling himself through

the side door into the nicely appointed office.

The valet—Charles Maples, a distinguished-looking

older black man with gray hair, wearing a stiff white shirt

and jacket, black slacks, and impeccably shined black

leather shoes—had just put a large wooden tray holding

a pitcher of ice, a selection of liquors in crystal decanters,

three crystal glasses, a carafe of coffee, and three china

mugs on the doctor’s spotless oak desk.

Seated in deep comfortable armchairs across the room

were William J. Donovan, director of the Office of

Strategic Services; and J. Edgar Hoover, director of the

2 4 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Federal Bureau of Investigation. Both wore dark suits

and ties. They stood up.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” the President said.

“Good evening, sir,” they replied almost in unison.

The valet said, “Please, let me know if I can be of fur-

ther service.”

“See that we’re not disturbed,” Roosevelt replied.

“Yes, Mr. President.”

The valet went out the main door and it quietly

clicked closed behind him.

Roosevelt—without a suit coat but in pants, white

dress shirt, and a striped bow tie, and with a cigarette

holder clenched in his teeth—rolled his wheelchair over

to where Donovan and Hoover stood.

“Please, sit,” he said.

The FBI and OSS heads shared a New Year’s Day birth-

day, a fervent sense of patriotism, and, to varying de-

grees, the ear of the President—but that was it.

There was not any sort of animosity between them—

in fact, they thought well of one another—but there was

certainly a difference in both how they perceived their

missions and how they carried them out.

The FBI head saw things in black and white, while the

OSS chief acknowledged the many shades of gray.

Hoover, forty-eight years old, had been head of the

bureau for just shy of nineteen years. He devoutly be-

lieved that the law was the law—period—and ran the FBI

with an iron fist.


2 4 1

There was no questioning his competence and his suc-

cess. The FBI under his leadership had become an ex-

tremely efficient law enforcement agency.

The most efficient one, the brash Hoover would be

first to say. And he unapologetically corrected anyone

who thought otherwise.

The FBI director had the habit of seeking out the

limelight in the interest of making himself—which was to

say the bureau, since Hoover was the FBI—look better.

In the 1930s, he had made a name for himself and the

bureau by going after the mob—“the despicable thugs

who threaten our law and order and, in turn, our very

civilization,” he declared.

He assigned special agents to spend whatever was

necessary—months, years, and who knew how much

money—to hunt down such vicious gangsters as “Pretty

Boy” Floyd and “Machine Gun” Kelly.

When the agents found a mobster, Hoover swooped

in on the night of the bust, and was there, front and cen-

ter, when the press’s camera bulbs popped.

It actually was brilliant PR—at which Hoover proved

to be a very clever player—because the better his FBI

looked in the eyes of the public, the more it helped to get

money and other considerations from his connections on

Capitol Hill and Roosevelt’s inner circle at the White


And Hoover had his ways to get what he wanted.

Among other things, he kept secret dossiers on any-

one he thought to be (a) suspicious and possibly danger-

ous—subversive or worse—to the United States, and (b)

2 4 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

possibly dangerous—now or in the future—to Hoover

and the FBI.

The head of the FBI enjoyed his high profile and

power and let nothing threaten it. If he had to go pub-

lic with information—for the good of the country of

course—he did so.

And if just the threat of going public served the same

purpose, so much the better.

Conversely, as fast as Hoover ran to the klieg lights—

in the process making grandstanding an indelible hallmark

of the FBI—Donovan went to the safety of the shadows.

Donovan, twelve years Hoover’s senior, had long

worked quietly—and extremely effectively—behind the

scenes for Roosevelt.

After Donovan had returned from the First World War

a hero and then run a successful Wall Street law firm,

Roosevelt, who was serving as assistant secretary of the

Navy, secretly attached him to the Office of Naval Intel-

ligence. Thus began Donovan’s long and secret service

of quietly gathering intel at Roosevelt’s request.

As this was happening, it came time to clean up what

had become a corrupt Bureau of Information—what in

1935 would become the Federal Bureau of Investiga-

tion—and heading the list of candidates was one William

Joseph Donovan.

But Donovan, still the soldier spy in the shadows and

wanting to stay there, quietly campaigned for a young

Justice Department lawyer named John Edgar Hoover to

get the job.


2 4 3

Donovan’s behind-the-scenes hand in Hoover land-

ing the position was not lost on Hoover. He was grateful,

and came to consider him a friend and mentor.

Which only served to make matters worse when

Hoover got word that the President was considering a

new secret organization. This agency would be above all

others, collecting intelligence worldwide, as well as con-

ducting counterintelligence operations and more. And

Wild Bill Donovan—whom Roosevelt had asked to draft

its plans—was to head it up.

Hoover knew he had to put out this potential in-

ferno—a real threat to the power of his FBI—fast.

Using every bit of his finely honed political skills, he

tried to impress upon the President that what this new

organization did was indeed exactly what the FBI already

did, simply on a larger scale, and that any such organiza-

tion should be—must be, to optimize its efficiency—

under the purview of Hoover.

Roosevelt, graciously and with masterful maneuver-

ing, let the FBI director know that he valued his counsel

and insight, but said that he had made up his mind. As a

bone, he threw Hoover the oversight of all of North,

South, and Central America.

Thus, in 1941, William J. Donovan, a civilian, was

made Roosevelt’s coordinator of information, at a pay

rate of one dollar per annum. And in 1942, when COI

evolved into the Office of Strategic Services, he was re-

called to active duty as Colonel Donovan and made its


2 4 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Donovan noticed that Roosevelt looked more tired than


Behind the frameless round spectacles clipped to the

bridge of the President’s nose, there were dark sacs under

his eyes. His thinning hair showed more gray working

its way up from his temples. And he seemed somewhat

slumped in his chair.

Not surprising, Donovan thought, not with war being

waged on damned near every continent. And he’d never

admit a weakness, but that polio is sapping his strength.

It was then that Donovan answered two unasked ques-

tions in his mind—where Roosevelt had just come from,

and why they were meeting in the physician’s office.

The President clearly had been in his secret War

Room, which was here on the ground floor of the White

House, between the Diplomatic Reception Room and

his physician’s office. He spent more time in there than

he would ever acknowledge, though records of who

came and went—and when—were, of course, meticu-

lously kept.

That answered question one.

Donovan was one of very few who knew of the War

Room’s existence. Aside from the three shifts of officers

from the Army and Navy who staffed it round the clock,

the only ones who knew about it were presidential ad-

visor Harry Hopkins, Admiral William Leahy, General

George Marshall, and British prime minister Winston



2 4 5

It had been Churchill’s visit in December 1941 that

caused it to be built. The prime minister had brought a

portable version of his own War Room that he had in un-

derground London. The traveling model was complete

with reduced maps that pinpointed key information on

the war.

Roosevelt liked the idea of his own full-sized War

Room and quietly had one drawn up.

Now fiberboard covered the walls of a onetime ladies’

cloakroom, and maps of the world, in large scale, were af-

fixed thereon. As intel came in, the officers continually

updated the maps, marking with pins, coded by color

and design, everything from the locations of ships (de-

stroyers had round red heads) to the locations of political

leaders (Stalin was a pipe, Churchill a cigar).

Donovan knew that early every morning, Roosevelt

would come to the physician’s office for his daily checkup

and massage, then slip undetected into the War Room

next door to be briefed on the overnights.

And Donovan was a member of a group that was even

smaller than the one that knew about the War Room:

those who had actually been in it.

Not even Eleanor Roosevelt was allowed inside.

Clearly, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover—who, as they

awaited FDR’s arrival, had idly wondered aloud why they

were meeting in the physician’s office—not only had not

been in the War Room but also did not know about it.

And, at least as far as tonight was concerned, would

continue to be kept in the dark.

And that answered question two.

2 4 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I appreciate you gentlemen coming on such short no-

tice,” Roosevelt said, sounding more energized than he


“Yes, Mr. President,” they said, almost in unison.

“Can I get anyone a drink or coffee?” the President

asked, motioning toward the service on the desk. “Or

perhaps one and the same?”

“Not for me, sir,” Donovan said.

“I would love a taste, sir,” Hoover said. “But, no,

thank you. I have to get back to the office tonight. And

I’ve had more than enough coffee for one day.”

“Can I get you something, Mr. President?” Donovan


Roosevelt shook his head, rubbing his eyes and mas-

saging the bridge of his nose. “I can wait, Bill. Thank

you.” He then lit the cigarette in his holder, exhaled a

blue cloud, and said, “Then let’s get on with it—Edgar,

any news?”

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover nodded as he reached

into his suit coat pocket and brought out a folded sheet

of paper. He unfolded it and scanned it.

“According to our labs,” Hoover began in an offi-

cious tone, “the residue taken from the crime scenes at

the train terminals in Florida and Georgia and from the

electrical transformer stations in North Carolina, Virginia,

and Maryland tested to be from the same family of explo-

sive: cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine.”


2 4 7

“In layman’s terms?” the President said, puffing

deeply on his cigarette.

“The Germans call it hexogen—” Donovan offered,

earning him a glare from Hoover.

He now had Roosevelt’s attention, and finished,

“—the Brits call their version Royal Demolition Explo-

sive, or RDX. Here it’s just cyclonite. Very common.

Very effective.”

Roosevelt looked back at Hoover.

“So,” the President went on, “then all of the East Coast

attacks can be linked?”

“Well, as Bill says, it is a very common compound—”

“You’re telling me that you don’t know, Edgar?” the

President interrupted.

“No, sir, not that I don’t know. I’m telling you that

it’s possible—if not likely—that some of these attacks

could be sympathetic ones.”


“Copycats,” Hoover explained. “People who either

have some ax to grind with America—or your politics,

sir—or who simply like seeing things go boom and the

public’s reaction.”

Roosevelt considered that a moment.

“What about the German pistol that was found in At-


Hoover nodded. “We do have that. And we have had

it tested for ballistics and we pulled the fingerprints.

Right now, the prints are being run, but so far there has

been no conclusive match.”

2 4 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The President looked off across the room as he

thought that over.

Hoover added, “Mr. President, if you’re wondering if

the pistol is the key clue that these are German agents re-

sponsible, know that there could be thousands of Walther

PPKs in the United States, ones imported before the war.

It is not an uncommon firearm, despite being of German

manufacture. We simply do not have enough evidence to

determine beyond any doubt that this is all the work of

German agents.”

The President looked at Hoover. “What about Dallas?

What have we found out from there?”

“We do not have those details yet, sir,” Hoover began.

“As you know, the explosions at the department store and

train station took place just last night—”

“Of course I know!” the President interrupted, his

voice rising. He pointed at a copy of the Washington Star

that was on a side table. “The whole damned country


“Yessir,” Hoover replied softly but evenly. “Mr. Presi-

dent, please understand that I have every man available

on this. We will have answers. And we will get those re-


Roosevelt suddenly made a toothy grin behind his cig-

arette holder.

“Just as you did the first ones?” he asked.

“Yes, sir,” Hoover began strongly, but then his voice

faded as he finished, “Mr. President.”

Roosevelt knew that the capture of the German agents

had absolutely nothing to do with the FBI’s ability to


2 4 9

root out foreign agents on U.S. soil and bring them to


What had happened in June 1942 was that German

U-boats in operation pastorius deposited eight

agents trained in sabotage onto the shores of the United

States, four on New York’s Long Island and four near

Jacksonville, Florida.

The ones in Florida infiltrated with no problem.

The four in New York, however, were almost immedi-

ately discovered by a coastguardsman walking the sea-

shore. They told him that they were fishermen, gave him

a cash bribe, and he left—to alert his superiors.

A manhunt for the agents began on Long Island, but

too late, and the agents were able to board the Long Is-

land Railroad and make it into the city.

That they had managed to get that far was not good

enough for one of the agents. George Dasch was having

serious doubts about his role in the mission, as well as its

overall success, and in the hotel room that he shared with

another agent, Ernest Burger, he convinced Burger that

they should give themselves up.

The two took a train to Washington, and at the May-

flower Hotel—blocks from the White House—they called

the FBI. They asked to speak with J. Edgar Hoover.

While Hoover did not personally respond—it’s not

clear if he had been given the opportunity—FBI agents

did arrive at the room at the Mayflower and Dasch and

Burger were taken to FBI headquarters.

2 5 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

They gave their statements and turned over the U.S.

currency they had brought, as well as maps of the places

that they were supposed to have bombed—power plants,

water supplies, train stations, factories, and more.

And they gave details of the other agents’ missions.

Within two weeks, all eight agents had been arrested.

When Hoover made the announcement that the man-

hunt for the German agents was over, that the FBI had

them in custody, the part about Dasch and Burger having

surrendered and then giving up the other teams was not


The reason for the omission, he had privately ex-

plained, was that he wanted the enemy to believe that

U.S. counterintelligence had rooted out their agents.

Left unsaid: And if anyone should happen to believe

that once again the FBI Super Cops have saved the day, so

be it.

“Do you remember what those German agents told us

last year?” Roosevelt said. “About Hitler sending them

because he wants to bring the war to American’s back-


“Yes, sir.”

“I would say that he’s done it,” Roosevelt said.

“Wouldn’t you?”

Hoover did not reply. He shifted in his seat, suddenly

feeling the sweat in his palms.

Roosevelt looked at Donovan, who was more or less


2 5 1

intently studying a fixed point on the finely polished

hardwood floor.

“Bill, I apologize to you and to Edgar about how this

discussion has transpired. My intention was not to put

anyone on the spot.”

Donovan looked at him and said, “No apology neces-

sary to me, Mr. President.”

“Nor to me, sir,” Hoover added. “You have every rea-

son to be concerned.”

Roosevelt shook his head. “The headlines are bad

enough, but every time a light flickers in the White

House, Eleanor thinks it’s the end of the goddamned


Hoover looked at the President, saw the toothy smile,

and found himself grinning, too.

Donovan chuckled softly.

“Mr. President, it isn’t that we’re not pursuing the

German agent angle,” Hoover offered. “For example, we

have agents reinterviewing Dasch and Burger.” He paused.

“Very simply, sir, we are checking and rechecking every-


Roosevelt nodded solemnly. “I understand. But we

have to do more. Which is why I asked you both here.

Edgar, I want you to know that Bill’s agents will be

working on this, too.”

“In my area of operations?” Hoover asked, glancing at


Hoover saw that the look on Donovan’s face could

have shown that this was the first that he had heard of

2 5 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

this plan. Or it could have shown that he was expertly

hiding the fact that he had heard of this plan a day or a

week ago.

Roosevelt went on: “They will be using their network

of agents to see if they can uncover any intel as to who is

making these attacks. Your agents will share any informa-

tion that is asked of them.”

Like hell they will, Hoover thought.

Hoover said, “Yes, Mr. President.”

“As I said, we have to do more. This cannot continue.

Especially now that it has become personal.”

Donovan and Hoover looked at the President.

“In Dallas,” Roosevelt explained, “they bombed the

USO lounge.”

“Yes, sir,” Hoover said, but it was more a question

than a statement.

“They have come into our country,” the President ex-

plained, “and now are targeting our soldiers on our land.

It is difficult enough dealing with U-boats off the coast.

We cannot have every American thinking there is a Ger-

man agent on every U.S. street corner.”

He looked for a long moment at Donovan, then at

Hoover. “Any questions?”

“No, sir,” Donovan said.

“None, Mr. President,” Hoover said. “And if that is all,

I’d like to be excused in order to get back to the office.”

“Thank you for coming, Edgar.”

Hoover stood, and Donovan followed his lead.

The FBI director shook the President’s hand, then the

OSS director’s.


2 5 3

“I’ll let you know—both of you—as soon as I hear

from the labs about the Dallas results.”

“Please,” Roosevelt said. “And anything else that Bill

should know.”

“Of course, Mr. President.”

As soon as Hoover went out the door, the President

looked at Donovan and said, “I think we can both use a

belt right now. I’m done with the room for tonight.”

“Allow me,” Donovan said and went to the wooden

tray with the crystal. The ice in the pitcher was about half


“Should I call for more ice?” Donovan asked.

Roosevelt looked. “What’s there will be fine. We’ll

just pretend we’re students roughing it at Columbia.”

“Then I’d better call for more ice,” Donovan said.

“As I recall, you never suffered one second in school.”

“You can go to hell, Colonel,” the President said,

laughing. “Pour me a damned martini. A double. I think

Eleanor is checking lightbulbs; we should be out of her

sights for a while.”

Donovan put ice in two of the crystal glasses, then

poured a healthy four ounces of gin on top. He carried

the glasses back to the couch and chairs and handed one

of the glasses to Roosevelt.

“Victory,” Donovan said, holding up his glass in a


“Victory indeed,” Roosevelt replied and touched his

glass to Donovan’s.

After they took a sip, Donovan said, “Is it just me or

does anyone else suspect that Edgar does not want to

2 5 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

believe there are German agents blowing things up in

our country?”

“He’s embarrassed, Bill. He knows they’re out there

and wants to bag them as much as anyone—probably

more than anyone. But until he can, he’s protecting his

image like that prefect in Casablanca—”

He paused, mentally groping for the character’s name.

“Captain Renault,” Donovan supplied. “Played by

Claude Rains.”

Donovan and his wife, Ruth, had been among those

whom the President had hosted in December in the

White House theater under the east terrace for a showing

of the new hit movie starring Humphrey Bogart and In-

grid Bergman.

Donovan had found the event somewhat ironic—

considering that the love story was set in war-torn, present-

day North Africa and that shell casings spent there in op-

eration torch barely a month earlier were damned

near still warm—but then decided it was in fact Roosevelt

relishing the irony.

“—Yes,” the President picked up, enjoying himself,

Captain Hoover declaring, ‘I’m shocked, shocked, to

find German agents here!’ ”

Roosevelt made his toothy grin, then took a good sip

of his martini.

“I’m damned lucky,” he went on, “in the absence of this

‘evidence beyond a doubt,’ that he hasn’t just rounded

up the usual suspects and called a press conference.”

Donovan chuckled.


2 5 5

Roosevelt, after a moment, said in a deeply serious

tone, “Unfortunately, this is a humorless situation.”

He looked at Donovan to make his point.

“This problem, it has to go away. As in, it never hap-


“Say that again, Frank,” Donovan said softly.

Roosevelt did not make a point of reminding Dono-

van that he preferred to be addressed formally as “Mr.


“Bill, this problem on our turf must disappear. I need

America’s attention and energies focused on Europe and

the Pacific. These German-agent headlines need to go


“I agree.”

“And if Hoover bags these guys, he’ll make sure that

not only are there more headlines, but that he’s pictured

on every front page.” He paused. “So it’s up to you.”

“The U.S. is not my area of operations—”

“Bill,” Roosevelt interrupted. “I don’t know how

much clearer I can be. You do what you have to do. Do

it fast. Do it quietly.”

Donovan looked him in the eyes and said, “Yes, Mr.

President,” then took a long sip on his drink.

2 5 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N


Newark, New Jersey

2010 6 March 1943

Kurt Bayer and Richard Koch had made good time get-

ting to downtown Newark in the 1940 Ford sedan that

they had taken from the parking lot of the Jacksonville

Terminal Station.

In the course of the past week, they had put far more

than a thousand miles on the car. They had also put on a

succession of different license plates, stealing ones off of

cars in South Carolina and Delaware, then carefully dis-

posing of the old ones.

The car had thus blended in well with so many other

average sedans as they made their way toward New York

City. It had served them well—far better than that hor-

rendous yellow plumber’s truck would have—and they

had been very fortunate indeed.

But with all of the news reports, Koch felt their luck

was in danger of running out.

Ever since they had blown up the electric transformer

station in Baltimore, every town that they had passed

through seemed to have a heavier and heavier police


The Reading Terminal in Philadelphia had been crawl-

ing with cops, as was Trenton’s and even little Prince-


Koch thought that it could be the result of an active

imagination, but damned near every power pole along

U.S. 1 seemed to have a cop parked next to it.


2 5 7

And it was no different here in Newark.

It was hard not to notice the squad cars lined up out-

side Penn Station and, as they drove down East Park

Street, the paddy wagons parked on the curb of the north

side of the Public Service Bus Terminal.

Koch looked away from the cops and saw something

across the street from the bus terminal that caught his in-

terest. A restaurant sign hung from a pole on the dark

brick building. Lit in bright red neon was: palace chop


A steak and a couple beers sounds really good right now.

But not there. Too damned many cops across the street.

“After we get our room at the hotel,” Koch said, “I’m

going to get rid of the car. Then we can eat.”

“Okay,” Bayer said.

They had already discussed ditching the car at great

length during the drive. They still had more missions,

but now it was time to cool it, to hide out. Especially af-

ter Rolf Grossman and Rudolf Cremer’s latest in Texas.

The radio stations—every one since Wilmington, Dela-

ware, that morning, till they got tired of it and turned it

off after noon—had had some news about the explosions

in the Dallas train station and that expensive department


After making it though the heavy traffic at the inter-

section of Market and Broad, Bayer drove a number of

blocks, made a couple of turns, and finally came to Park


“There,” Koch said, pointing.

The Robert Treat Hotel was just down the block.

2 5 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I see it.”

“Drop me here,” Koch said, “then go all the way

down and park around the corner. I’ll get the room key,

then come find you and we’ll walk in. That way the car’s

out of sight and not linked with us.”

Fifteen minutes later, Bayer and Koch carried the suit-

cases that contained their duffel bags through the front

doors of the hotel.

Bayer saw that it was a nice hotel, not anything like

the motor hotels that they had been staying in all week.

The lobby featured impressive large columns, and there

was marble and polished tile everywhere.

They walked to the elevators, passing two young

women, a well-built blonde and a petite redhead, both

about twenty, relaxing in richly upholstered chairs beside

a line of lush palms.

The blonde, her tight black skirt rising up on her

crossed legs, made eye contact with Bayer. She smiled.

He sheepishly grinned back.

Koch and Bayer got on the elevator, and as the doors

closed Bayer met the blonde’s eyes again. She winked.

“Now, those,” he said as the car began to rise, “were

some good-looking women. Wonder who they are?”

Koch was looking up and watching the floor indicator

move past 3.

“Prostitutes,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“Hookers?” Bayer felt as if he’d been punched. “No!”



2 5 9


The elevator stopped at the fourth floor and the doors


“Really,” Koch said, then looked at Bayer and added,

“Don’t do anything stupid.”

Richard Koch had been gone for more than an hour. He

had said it was going to take him no more than a half

hour to get rid of the car.

The time was not a problem for Kurt Bayer. It was, in-

stead, that from almost the moment that Koch had left,

Bayer’s stomach had started to growl.

Bayer had dug through his luggage, hoping to find a

stick of the chewing gum from the pack that he had

spilled in there a few days ago. There was none.

What I really want is something salty.

Some nuts or chips would be good.

He went over to the table between the two beds, and

on the white notepad there, wrote:


In the bar


He put the whole pad in the center of the dark bed-

spread where Koch couldn’t miss it, then went out the


The bar turned out to be easy to find. An open area

off of the main lobby, it was noisy and smoky. There was

2 6 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

a twenty-foot-long bar, made of nice dark wood and with

a dozen tall seats, about half of which were being used.

The thirty or so cocktail tables were almost all taken;

some had a couple sitting and enjoying drinks at them,

others two or more couples.

Bayer saw three empty seats at the far end of the bar

and went and sat in the very last one, against the wall. He

realized that from there he could keep an eye on the

lobby and probably see when Koch came in and intercept

him. Then they could go get dinner.

He looked on top of the bar and smiled—there were

bowls of potato chips and nuts.

Bayer was reaching for a chip when the bartender

walked up. He was in his midforties, tall, with thinning

salt-and-pepper hair, a gray mustache, and somewhat

jowly cheeks. He wore a cheap black vest, a clip-on black

bow tie, and a white shirt with slightly frayed cuffs. The

gold tin name tag on the vest pocket read: sean o’neill.

’Evening,” the bartender said. “What’re you


“ ’Evening, Sean,” Bayer said. “I was thinking about a

beer, but I’ve had a long day and think I deserve a real


“You name it.”

“Martini, up.”

Yeah, that should either tame the rumbles in my stomach

or make me ravenous.

“Vodka or gin?”

“Gin. Do you have Beefeater’s?”


2 6 1

I’m supposed to be blending in. What good German

would be drinking British booze?

“You got it, pal.”

The bowl of chips was empty, and he had the nut bowl

down to half full by the time the bartender brought his

second martini. And still no sign of Koch.

“Thank you, Sean.”

“Sure thing.”

Bayer looked at the drink before taking a sip.

Better take it easy on this one, he thought. My old man

always said to stay away from gin, that it made you mean

or stupid. Or maybe both.

Now’s not a good time to learn that he was once again


He took a sip at the same time the bartender brought

bowls of fresh chips and nuts.

He put down the glass and reached for a chip from the

new bowl. Right as his hand got to the bowl, there were

slender, pale white fingers with long, red manicured nails

reaching in ahead of him.

“Excuse me,” a female’s soft voice said.

Bayer turned to the voice and was met with the same

sweet smile he had first seen earlier, just before getting

on the elevator.

“Would you like some company?” the young blonde

in the tight black skirt said, motioning at the empty chair

next to him.

2 6 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Please,” he tried to say but his throat caught.

He took a sip of his martini as she stepped up into the

seat and put a small black clutch bag on the bar.

Well, if she’s a hooker she’s not getting much business on a

Saturday night.

He glanced at her. She was trying to get the bar-

tender’s attention.

What the hell does Koch know? She’s not one. Look at her.

She’s too good-looking, too young, too innocent.

She turned and caught him looking at her. She smiled,

more widely this time, and for the first time he noticed

that her teeth were crooked.

Bayer glanced down the bar to the far end, where the

bartender was making small talk with a customer.

He raised his voice and waved his left hand. “Sean!”

The bartender turned and at first seemed to make a

face. But then he grabbed a cocktail napkin and started

coming toward them.

He put the napkin in front of the blonde.

Bayer said, “What would you like—”

“Mary,” she said.

“A Bloody Mary?” Bayer said.

“No, silly.” She giggled, and showed a bit of her

crooked teeth. “My name is Mary. Mary Callahan. I’ll

have”—she looked at his martini—“oh, I guess I’ll have

one of those.”

The bartender said, “A Beefeater’s martini coming

up,” and turned away.

“Oh?” she said excitedly to Bayer. “Is that gin?”

“Is that okay?” Bayer asked.


2 6 3

“I guess. You like yours, right?”

He nodded. “Want to try it before you get yours?”

“Do you mind?” She smiled.

He slid the glass over in front of her and she slowly

put it to her lips and took a tiny sip.

Bayer saw that when she took the glass from her lips,

there was red lipstick on the glass. He wondered how he

could “accidentally” get that to his lips and see what it

tasted like.

“Whew!” she said. “That’s strong—”

“You want to order something else?” he said and

started to wave for the bartender.

“Oh, no,” she said, looking intently at him. “That’ll

be just fine.”

Her eyes twinkle!

She put the glass back on the napkin and slid it back

to him.

She offered her right hand and said, “Thank you—”

Bayer took her hand and shook it.

She repeated, “Thank you—”

“Oh, Kurt. It’s Kurt,” he replied. “And you’re very

welcome, Mary.”

Bayer noticed how soft and warm her hand was—and

that she made no effort to immediately pull it free after

they had shaken.

Sean the bartender walked up with Mary’s martini and

put it on the napkin before her.

She then, with a smile, removed her hand from Bayer’s

and picked up the martini and gestured toward him.

“To new friends,” she said.

2 6 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He met it with his and they clinked glasses.

“New friends,” he said, grinning.

He wondered if the sudden warm feeling he had was

caused by the gin or the thoughts he was having of Mary.

They both sipped their drinks.

She took a slender chrome case from the small black

purse and pulled a cigarette from it.

Bayer quickly scanned the bar, found a nearby basket

of matches, took a pack from it and lit her cigarette.

“Thank you,” she said after delicately exhaling the

smoke over her shoulder.

He smiled, then sipped at his martini, trying to fill

what was beginning to feel like an awkward silence.

He tasted something different this sip, and, when he

looked at the glass rim, saw that he had touched the point

where Mary had sipped and left a little lipstick.

I’d like to have more of that.

But what do I say now?

“Didn’t I see you earlier?” Mary asked.

Thank God!

Bayer smiled and nodded enthusiastically. “By the ele-


“That’s right. You were coming in with another man.”

“Just a friend,” Bayer said, not worried about reveal-

ing anything about their mission.

He and Koch, when they were on the U-boat, had

come up with the simple cover story of being two friends

traveling to New York, where they would be joining in

the war effort.

As with the best of cover stories, it was close to the


2 6 5

truth. They felt somewhat like friends now. They were

traveling to New York. And they would be “joining in

the war effort”—though they found more than a little

humor in the twist on that.

“It appeared that you had a friend, too,” Bayer said.

“She’s on a date.”


Mary smiled sweetly, but he noticed her hand holding

the cigarette shook a little.

In a nervous voice, she asked, “Are you interested in a


That bastard Koch was right!

“A date?” he repeated tentatively.

She picked up her martini and, as she sipped, looked

over the rim at him and nodded.


He reached for his glass and took a sip and suddenly


She took the matchbook that was in front of him,

opened it, and on the inside cover wrote: “10/30.”

“Till midnight,” she said, her voice inviting and her

left pinky first pointing to the ten-dollar fee then to the

one for thirty dollars, “or for all night.”

He looked at the matchbook, then looked into her


Jesus. They’re still twinkling!

Well, this sure will beat hell out of hearing Koch snore all


He took the pen and circled “30.”

Mary made her crooked smile.

2 6 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ FOUR ]

New York Bay

2345 6 March 1943

Francesco Nola put down the battered black binoculars,

pulled back on the throttle controls, and made a hard

course correction, swinging the wooden wheel so that

the Annie headed in a due eastward direction and in line

with the channel markers. The dimly lit compass face re-

sponded by rocking then spinning inside its grimy glass

dome on the helm, the white number 90 finally settling

in behind the black line etched in the dome glass.

Dick Canidy could tell that they were now in the Nar-

rows, the tidal strait between Upper New York Bay and

Lower New York Bay, and that on the present course,

they were headed for shore.

Behind them was Staten Island, and ahead—directly

ahead, as Canidy could now make out the shoreline and

some docks—was the southwestern tip of the borough of

Brooklyn, on Long Island.

“So after I ice up the Annie here and deliver her to my

cousin at Montauk—he’s taking her on a four-day run—

I’ll come right back to the city and we’ll meet a little af-

ter that,” Nola said.

He reduced the throttle more, causing the boat to set-

tle in the water.

“You have my home telephone number. If I am not

there, then I am at the fish market. You can get me one

place or the other.”


2 6 7

“Okay,” Canidy said.

Outside the pilothouse windows, he saw the man who

had thrown him the lines at the fish-market dock. The

man was walking toward the bow, preparing the lines for


Canidy wondered if he should offer to help, then saw

on the dock a man coming out onto the pier finger. The

building behind him had a faded sign reading: island

ice & supplies brklyn. A metal chute projected out of

the top floor and reached down and out to the pier

where the Annie was about to be moored.

Canidy watched quietly as Nola, with a mix of grace

and skill, spun the boat in its own length, working the

engines against themselves—starboard in forward, port

in reverse—then both in concert, to back the boat in so

that the ice chute could easily reach and fill the fish holds.

After a couple minutes of bumping the levers in and

out of gear, the Annie gently nudged to a stop against

the pier. Nola put the twin gear levers in the neutral po-

sition, then went out the steel door of the pilothouse to

get a better view of the work on the deck.

He saw that the fore and aft lines were being tied to

pilings, and nodded to his crewman.

He turned with his hand out to Canidy.

“See you soon,” he said.

“Thank you,” Canidy replied, shaking the offered


“Just in time,” Nola then said and nodded toward the


2 6 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy looked toward the building and noticed noth-

ing special. Then, just beyond the building, he saw a taxi-

cab pull up to the curb.


Nola nodded.

“That’s some service. Especially out here at this hour.”

Nola smiled and squeezed his arm.

Canidy went to the car. When he got close, he realized it

wasn’t just any cab.

He got in the backseat and closed the door quickly,

appreciative of the warmth inside.

“Small world,” Canidy said to the monster fishmon-

ger cabbie.

The fishmonger did not reply. He put the car in

gear . . . then sniffed audibly and slightly cocked his


Canidy heard him grunt, and watched as he quickly

rolled down the driver’s window and then the front pas-

senger’s window— He’d do the back ones, too, Canidy

thought, if he could reach them— before driving off.

It was almost two o’clock when the cab pulled up at 2

Lexington Avenue. Other than a couple walking up the

sidewalk to the Gramercy Park Hotel—a man and a

woman coming in late from some formal event, judging

by their attire—there was no one else around.


2 6 9

Nor was there anyone in the lobby as he went

through, nor at the front desk.

When he got to the elevator bank, the indicators

showed the cars were all stopped on upper floors.

He pushed the call button, then considered taking the

steps up. About the time he decided he was just too ex-

hausted to do that, an empty car arrived and opened its


In his suite, he found his uniform lying on his bed,

cleaned and pressed.

He pulled the .45 from the small of his back and put

it under a pillow on the bed.

Then he peeled off his fish-slimed clothes, stuck them

in a bag, and considered what to do with them.

Nobody’s going to steal anything smelling this bad.

He went to the suite door, opened it, and put the bag

in the hallway, looping its drawstring closure over the

doorknob. Then he phoned the hotel operator and gave

instructions that he needed the clothes he’d left outside

his door back from the laundry service by eight o’clock,

and he asked for a wake-up call.

I’ll put in a call to Donovan first thing. With any luck,

I can have Eric Fulmar here by tomorrow afternoon, or at

least before I meet with Nola on Monday.

He then took a hot shower, pulled on fresh boxers and

a T-shirt, and crawled into the soft, king-sized bed.

Ann would like this bed, he thought, yawning and

rolling onto his back. And I would like Ann in it. . . .


[ ONE ]

Aboard the Red Rocket

Rock Island Train Number 507

Davis, Oklahoma

1215 6 March 1943

“We should be going to Amarillo instead,” Rolf Gross-

man said as he placed what looked like a very fat black ci-

gar on the folding table of the Pullman compartment.

“Strike while the iron is hot.”

The “cigar” was a five-hundred-gram stick of explo-

sive wrapped tightly in a thin skin of black paper.

“Is that a good idea?” Rudolf Cremer said, watching

him compulsively put together another pouch bomb.

“On a moving train?”

Grossman glared at him.

“I know what I’m doing,” he said, then turned back

to the table.

He put one of the acid-timed fuses—disguised to look

like an ink pen—beside the explosive and its detonator,

then pulled from his suitcase a small black leather pouch.

He attached the fuse and detonator to the explosive, tin-

kered with the pen timer, then carefully slipped the as-

sembly into the pouch.


2 7 1

“Now we have a half kilo with a short fuse,” he said,

clearly pleased with his work, “and another with a long


With his history, Cremer thought, how the hell can he

tell the difference?

“We have no need for either until we get to Kansas

City,” Cremer said.

“We would in Amarillo.”

The year-old Army ordnance Pantex facility, on six-

teen thousand acres of Texas Panhandle seventeen miles

outside of Amarillo, was producing explosive-filled pro-

jectiles—bombs and shells—round the clock.

Cremer shook his head. Grossman’s appetite for blow-

ing up things was insatiable—which of course made the

Oberschutz more or less perfect for their mission—and

taking out such an enormous target probably would

make him happy only until he could explode something


“Why must I keep reminding you that Skorzeny’s or-

ders are that we do not go after big targets?” he said. “We

are successful in what we were trained to do.”

Otto Skorzeny, thirty-four, was a legendary Nazi lieu-

tenant colonel. He had won the Iron Cross fighting with

the Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler against the Soviets and

afterward had been handpicked by the Führer to lead

the German commandos. With dark hair and deep, dark

eyes, he had strong good looks that were crudely ac-

cented by a scar that went from the tip of his chin, arced

across his left check, and ended at his ear—a wound he

received dueling with sabers as a student in Vienna.

2 7 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The radio mounted in the wall of the Pullman com-

partment was tuned to a news broadcast—heavy on the

Dallas explosions—but the station’s signal was getting

weak and the sound had deteriorated to mostly static.

Grossman got up and walked over to it.

“But taking out a bomb-building plant would be

incredible,” he said. “Imagine the secondary explo-

sions. . . .”

Cremer could indeed imagine the incredible destruc-

tion of massive stockpiles of explosives erupting. Not to

mention the setback it no doubt would cause the Ameri-

cans in their war effort. But a task on that scale—if it was

even possible—was best left to the Luftwaffe, not a lone

pair of agents, and thus he had to constantly discourage

Grossman and that had become a source of more than a

little friction between them.

Cremer was convinced that taking this sleek, bright

red train, with its routing from Dallas–Fort Worth to Ok-

lahoma City to Kansas City, was the best way to put some

distance between them and the blasts . . . and the crowds

of cops who no doubt were swarming the area . . . and

position them well for more sabotage opportunities.

During their week in Dallas, after having walked down

to Union Station and collected pamphlets with each rail

line’s schedule, he had gone over them and determined

that from Kansas City they could get anywhere they

needed to be in the middle and western U.S. The Rocky

Mountain Rocket, train number 107-7, ran from Kansas

to Denver; train number 43, the Californian, went from

Kansas City to Chicago to Los Angeles; the Mid-Continent


2 7 3

Special, train number 17, had sleepers to Minneapolis

and Des Moines.

And so he had bought them tickets on the Red Rocket

and secured for the duration of the trip a Pullman “mas-

ter room” compartment.

He looked around the master room and was reminded

of the railway brochure that had said it offered “the ulti-

mate in refined comfort.” So far, he could not dispute


This one—on the left side of the train—had a big

main room, about seven by ten, with four comfortable,

cloth-upholstered, chrome-frame armchairs that could

be put wherever a passenger pleased. (The smaller ac-

commodations came with fixed bench seating.) When

the chairs were slid to the side, there was room to fold

down the two twin-sized beds from the walls. The com-

partment also had a large wardrobe, plus full-length

dressing mirrors. And, off the main room, an attached

private bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower.

Cremer had an armchair pulled up to one of the two

large windows and was looking out to the west. He no-

ticed that the Oklahoma countryside was changing. For

the last hour or so, since at least the Texas border, it had

been fairly flat, barren land, with occasional clumps of

trees. Now it was turning dramatically hilly, with exposed

uplifts of rock—what looked like the foothills of some

small mountains.

Grossman was quickly adjusting the tuning knob of

the radio, anxious to hear more of the news bulletins on

the Dallas explosions. After a moment, some cowboy

2 7 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

music came in clearly. It was the tail end of a tune by Bob

Wills and His Texas Playboys. Cremer had heard quite a

bit of them on the radio while in Dallas and actually was

beginning to like this Texas swing music.

Grossman, however, would have none of it, and after

hearing a bartender in the Adolphus Hotel alternately re-

fer to it as “Western” or “shitkicker” music had used only

the latter description whenever he heard it.

Cremer was surprised that he did not call it that now

but decided it was probably because the radio announcer

was promising that the news was coming up next, with

updates on the terror in Dallas, and Grossman would

rather suffer the music than miss a report.

Grossman went back to the table and continued work-

ing with the explosives as the Red Rocket swayed and

clack-clack-clacked its way north toward Oklahoma City.

Considering all the time and attention he gives those,

Cremer thought with mild disgust, one would think he

could have properly set the goddamned fuses in Dallas.

A half hour later, Cremer felt the train begin to slow. He

looked out the window and saw that the countryside was

becoming more developed. Houses dotted the land, and

there were more roads that were improved—ones paved

with blacktop as opposed to all the bare dirt ones he’d seen.

He wondered if they already were approaching Okla-

homa City.

The train slowed even further as it came closer to

town. First there were nice wooden houses in tidy neigh-


2 7 5

borhoods, then the two- and three-story brick buildings

of downtown proper.

Cremer strained to peer forward, and, following the

tracks, could just see the train depot to the left side of the

tracks. It was a small one, about half a block long, of dark

red brick with a black tile roof and a narrow wooden

boarding platform—all clearly too small to be that of

Oklahoma City.

Then, just as he noticed the standardized signage

reading norman on the station’s southern wall, he heard

the porter passing outside the compartment door.

“Norman!” the deep, black voice announced, “Nor-

man, Oklahoma! No stops, no disembarking! No stops,

no disembarking!”

The porter’s voice grew fainter as he moved up the car

repeating the station information.

Cremer and Grossman exchanged glances.

“I don’t like this,” Grossman said and quickly put the

last of the explosives back in the suitcase. The only thing

remaining on the table was one of the small black leather


“Don’t overreact,” Cremer said. “We may just be tak-

ing on mail or something.”

The train’s brakes began to squeal and Cremer again

looked out the window. He could see a few men standing

on the platform, two in dark gray suits and black fedoras,

one in the blue uniform and cap of a railway employee.

The train, with the locomotive coming even with the

station, was now barely rolling along. There were no

more brake squeals.

2 7 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

As the first of the passenger cars reached the station,

the two men in dark suits began running alongside. In no

time, they were outside Cremer’s window—Grossman

now saw them, too—and he pulled the curtains closed

for a moment. The car rolled past them, and when he

cracked open the curtains again and looked back he saw

that the men had matched the speed of the train and

were now, one at a time and with some difficulty, jump-

ing onto the metal platform where the last two cars were


Cremer’s stomach knotted.

Those aren’t postal clerks, he thought.

“They just jumped on the train,” he said.

Grossman got to his feet, picked up the leather pouch

from the table, slipped it into his suit coat pocket, and

went to the door. He put his ear to the door but heard

nothing unusual.

The train began to pick up speed, and when Cremer

looked out the window this time he could see that they

were leaving downtown.

He stood up, too, and when he instinctively reached

in his pants pocket, making sure the Walther pistol was

still there—it was—he noticed that his palms were start-

ing to sweat.

Grossman opened the door a crack and looked out.

Then he pulled it open more, looked toward the car be-

hind them, then to the one ahead, and then stepped out

into the hall. He glanced at Cremer before walking to the

back of the car.

Cremer watched as Grossman positioned himself to


2 7 7

the left of the rear door’s window, out of sight of anyone

in the other cars, and peered back into them.

Grossman saw that the two men—one taller and

clean-shaven, the other with a mustache—were going

through the farthest car, systematically knocking on the

door of every compartment.

Each time, the man with the mustache would stand

outside the door, covering the taller man as he went in.

After about a minute, the taller man would then come

out and they would move to the next compartment and

repeat the process.

At the fourth compartment, one of the passengers, a

slender male of about thirty, came out into the hallway.

He gave his wallet to the man with the mustache, who

then appeared to ask a few questions as he inspected what

looked like identification papers.

The man with the mustache gave back the wallet,

nodded curtly, then went with his partner to the next


Grossman had seen enough. He carefully and quickly

made his way back to the compartment.

Cremer closed the door once Grossman was inside.

“What did you see?”

“Two men, maybe local police but probably state or

FBI, clearing the train compartment by compartment.

They’re checking passengers’ papers.”

“Well, our papers are not a problem,” Cremer said

evenly. “My driver’s license is the same as I had when I

lived in New Jersey.”

“Mine also.” Grossman’s eyes darted around the

2 7 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

compartment. “But I do not like how this is happening.

This is no routine investigation. There probably are more

police waiting in Oklahoma City.”

He went to the suitcase and pulled out the other black


“What the hell do you intend to do with that?” Cre-

mer said.

“How far from Oklahoma City are we?”

Cremer looked at him, made the mental calculations,

then said, “Fifteen minutes . . . maybe less.”

Grossman held up the pouch he had taken from the


“This is the one with the ten-minute fuse. I am going

to place it in the passenger car behind us. It will take

them no more than ten minutes to work their way up to

it. Meanwhile, we will go forward, and when it blows,

and the train stops, we will get out. By that time, the

train will be in the city and we can slip away in the


Cremer, thinking, stared at him.

I don’t want to believe it, but he may be right.

Hell, he is right.

Why else would a couple of cops suddenly jump on a

train, if they weren’t looking for us? The damned radio has

been nothing but nonstop reports about Dallas.

And lucky Grossman—now he gets to blow up some-

thing else.

He went to the door, opened it, and looked down the

car and through the door windows. He could see the two

men in gray suits and black fedoras, not in detail but


2 7 9

clearly enough to tell that they were now about halfway

through the first car. He closed the door.

“I don’t like the idea . . . but, frankly, I do not have a

better one.”

“Okay, then,” Grossman said and unzipped the pouch.

“I’ll start the acid fuse.”

He pulled out the pen, looked at it, then quickly

looked at it more closely, and whispered, “Scheist.”

Cremer saw Grossman’s face lose all color.


“The fuse . . .”

The initial explosion of the half-kilo bomb blew out the

side of the train seconds later. Grossman and Cremer had

only a heartbeat to begin to comprehend what the ab-

solutely brilliant flash and vicious concussion meant.

Within a split second, secondary explosions were trig-

gered when the twenty or so kilograms of plastic explo-

sive that had been packed in the suitcases—and the half

kilo in Grossman’s coat pocket—suddenly cooked off.

The massive blasts rocked the whole train and tore the

last three Pullman passenger cars from the track, scatter-

ing the Red Rocket and its contents across the peaceful

Oklahoma countryside.

2 8 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ TWO ]

Office of Strategic Services

The National Institutes of Health Building

Washington, D.C.

0630 7 March 1943

When President Roosevelt had informed Wild Bill Don-

ovan in August of 1941 that he had made a few calls

and found, in a town where office and living accommo-

dations were impossibly tight, space from which Dono-

van could execute the duties associated with his new

position as director of the Office of Coordinator of In-

formation, Donovan at first was somewhat under-


The National Institutes of Health? he had wondered.

In no time, however, it became clear that housing—

or, more to the point, hiding—the supersecret OCOI

(and then its successor, the Office of Strategic Services)

in the nondescript NIH building with its innocuous name

came as close to perfect as the parameters of wartime al-


The office of the director of the OSS was nicely fur-

nished with a large, glistening desk, a red leather couch,

and two red leather chairs. The director himself was sit-

ting in one of the chairs, his feet up and crossed on a low

glass-top table, and reading from a fat folder in his lap.

“From the looks of it, Professor Dyer has already

earned his keep,” Donovan said to his deputy director.

“Yes, sir,” Captain Peter Stuart Douglass Sr., USN,


2 8 1

said. “The list of scientists he thinks will follow him is im-


Douglass was slender and fit, a pleasant-looking forty-

four-year-old with sandy hair and a freckled face. His career

in the Navy had been spent aboard deepwater vessels—

most recently as the commanding officer of a destroyer

squadron—and in intelligence. When FDR had given

Donovan the OCOI, he said it was only just that he start

his staffing, too, and—with Donovan’s blessing—asked

the secretary of the Navy to put Douglass on indefinite

duty as Donovan’s number two.

Douglass, who believed he had little hope of making

admiral—and was not sure he in fact wanted such duty,

especially if it meant sailing a desk in Washington—

embraced the OCOI assignment because it promised to

put him, as it now delivered, in the middle of some very

exciting and important work.

“Question is,” Donovan went on, “can we get them

out before the Germans (a) find out we grabbed Dyer

and that he’s not simply ‘missing,’ and (b) decide that

the loyalty of these remaining scientists is not with Hitler

but soon with Leslie Groves.”

Until recently—as in two weeks before—Professor Fred-

erick Dyer, a rumpled academic in patched tweed in his

fifties, had been at the University of Marburg, working

under duress on the molecular structure of metals in the

pursuit of turbine engine technology for the propulsion

2 8 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

of aircraft, among other projects critical to ensuring the

Tausendjahriges Reich—the Nazis’ thousand-year empire.

The OSS—with Eric Fulmar as the mission operative

and Dick Canidy as his control—had smuggled Dyer

and his daughter, twenty-nine-year-old Gisella, out via an

OSS pipeline. The difficult escape through German-

occupied Hungary very nearly cost all of them their lives.

In the end—as in two days ago—the Dyers were es-

corted to the University of Chicago, where the professor

joined the dozen or so scientists—including Enrico Fermi,

Dyer’s friend and colleague from the University of Rome—

working on a highly classified project led by Brigadier

General Leslie Groves, Army of the United States.

Code-named the Manhattan Project, it traced its roots

to when the brilliant Fermi had fled Mussolini’s fascism

for the United States.

Once in the U.S., Fermi naturally had become in-

volved with a number of other eminent scientists, many

of them also Europeans who had sought freedom in

America. There was the great Danish physicist Niels

Bohr, the master German mathematician Albert Einstein,

the Hungarians Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Eugene

Wigner, and others of remarkable scientific talent.

And among them there was talk of the very real possi-

bility of splitting the uranium atom in a chain reaction—

“fission,” they called it—that would create energy on a

scale bordering on the incomprehensible.

They theorized that the energy released from such a

chain reaction, or continuous disintegration, of one hun-


2 8 3

dred pounds of the uranium 235 isotope was the equiva-

lent of the energy from twenty thousand tons of the high

explosive TNT (trinitrotoluene).

The scale of effort to achieve this fission and then har-

ness it in a usable manner—if, in fact, it was entirely

possible, and the scientists had some disagreement over

that—also bordered on the incomprehensible.

What was not disputed among these great minds was

the fact that others in the world’s scientific and political

communities were aware of the possibilities of atomic fis-

sion and its military applications—and these others in-

cluded Adolf Hitler.

Thus, the scientists in America—particularly the Hun-

garians Szilard, Teller, and Wigner, who vividly knew the

reach of Hitler’s cruel hand and the inconceivable atroc-

ities that would follow were he to gain control of such a

weapon—had to make this information known to the

President of the United States.

They did so by drafting a letter, under Einstein’s

signature and dated August 2, 1939, that was then deliv-

ered to the White House by Alexander Sachs, an econo-

mist who enjoyed Roosevelt’s close friendship.

The letter laid out everything the scientists knew

about the big picture of turning uranium into an atomic

bomb—what the potential uses were, where the rare us-

able uranium could be found, the limits of current aca-

demic funding, et cetera, et cetera. It ended by stating

that it was understood that Germany had stopped the

sale of uranium from Czech mines it had taken control

2 8 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

of, and that the uranium work being done in America was

being repeated at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin,

where physicist Carl von Weizsacker—son of Nazi under-

secretary of state Ernst von Weizsacker—was attached.

FDR instantly read between the lines. And he saw that

this situation set up a pair of particularly difficult obsta-

cles for the United States—not officially in the war—and

the Allies:

1. They had to beat the Germans in the actual de-

velopment of such an atomic bomb while not

letting the enemy know that they were in fact

working on one; and

2. They had to stop the Germans from accomplish-

ing the same.

To the first problem, FDR put into play the Manhat-

tan Project, a secret so great that only a very small circle

of people—the scientists and FDR, of course, Churchill,

Donovan, Hoover, the chief of Naval intelligence, an

Army general named Leslie Groves—knew about it. Vice

President Henry Wallace was not in that circle.

And to aid with the second problem, he established

the Office of Coordinator of Information, which, as part

of its agents’ secret work in intelligence, counterintelli-

gence, sabotage, and other shadowy operations, would be

deeply involved both in the snatching of scientists from

the Axis and in the blowing up of their assets that could

be used in the development of an atomic bomb.


2 8 5

Donovan flipped through the Dyer file and came to a

sheet that caught his interest. “ ‘Known alloy machining,

milling, and extrusion shops in and near Frankfurt’?”

“Another nice list from the professor,” Douglass said.

“We were aware of a couple of the major ones, but not

that many, and not the scope of their production. There

has to be a lot of machinery that the Germans looted and

shipped back to put on line.”

“Maybe Doug can take out these facilities with the

drones,” Donovan said with raised eyebrows.

Captain Douglass smiled warmly at the thought of

his son.

While Peter Stuart “Doug” Douglass Jr. was Captain

Douglass’s namesake, the twenty-six-year-old West Point

graduate was quite something more. Starting with the

fact that he was a triple ace and a newly minted lieutenant

colonel in the Army Air Forces.

He also was in England, and caught up with the OSS

team involved in the Aphrodite Project, which was try-

ing—key word trying, because so far they had had little

luck—to convert B-17s into Torpex-filled drones that,

controlled remotely, would attack and blow up German

submarine pens and other targets considered highly valu-

able to the military, such as plants fabricating parts for

tanks, attack aircraft, et cetera.

Lieutenant Colonel Douglass believed the drone to be

a good idea—anything with the potential to save lives

was a good idea—and he had good reason to, profes-

sionally and emotionally.

2 8 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

As the commanding officer of the 344th Fighter

Group, Eighth United States Air Force, then-Major

Douglass had lost 40 percent of his pilots to enemy fire

during a bombing mission of German sub pens at St.

Lazare. He vowed to do anything he could, when he

could, to never allow the risking of the lives of his men in

such a reckless way.

That included, one version of the story went, a furious

Douglass having gone directly from his shot-up P-38F

on the field at Atcham to the Eighth Air Force Head-

quarters building there, finding the planning and train-

ing officer who had laid out the mission—and giving the

REMF a bloody nose to make his point known, not to

mention remembered.

It wasn’t the smartest of moves, Major Douglass had

been the first to admit, but what the hell were they going

to do to a graduate of Hudson High who had against all

odds managed to actually take out a sub on the mission

and bring back 60 percent of his force?

Worst case?

Send the poor bastard back out in his Lockheed


The one with its nose painted with ten small Japanese

flags (or “meatballs,” each representing the downing of a

Japanese airplane), six swastikas (signifying six German

aircraft kills), and now a submarine of equal size?

Even the Army’s slow-grinding bureaucratic machin-

ery on rare occasion was capable of exhibiting some wis-

dom and in this case saw fit to recognize Douglass’s


2 8 7

heroism and leadership on the St. Lazare mission by pro-

moting him to lieutenant colonel.

“I know that Doug would certainly welcome the

chance to bomb them all,” the deputy director of the

OSS replied. “There’s more than a little professional

competition with our cousins in the SOE, especially after

their saboteurs blew the nitrates plant in Norway last


Norway was a leading producer of deuterium oxide—

or “heavy water,” a by-product of the manufacture of

fertilizer—one of only two materials (the other being

graphite) that scientists found could control (essentially

cool) the reactors during nuclear production. The British

Special Operations Executive all-Norwegian commando

raid at Rjukan had destroyed a critical half ton of heavy

water earmarked for the Nazis’ nuclear-development


Donovan nodded. “That was such an important facil-

ity, they’re rapidly rebuilding it.”

“Then Doug won’t have to wait long for his turn at

taking it out.”

Donovan chuckled appreciatively.

“With any luck, he can do it safely from the controls

of an Aphrodite drone,” the OSS director said. “But

if the Pope keeps up the pace, Doug may not get a


“The Pope?”

“Fermi,” Donovan explained. “Oppenheimer picked

up on the nickname. Years ago, some Italian scientists

2 8 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

gave it to the young Fermi because they said he believed

himself to be infallible.”

Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was the distinguished

physicist from the University of California overseeing the

scientists of the Manhattan Project.

Douglass grinned. “Oh, that one. Sorry. My mind

went right to Rome. I had heard that about the nick-


Donovan went on, “Oppenheimer says that in discus-

sions with the Pope after they created the first atomic

chain reaction at the University of Chicago in December,

he, Oppenheimer, sees a completed bomb.”

Douglass stared at Donovan.

“That is remarkable,” Douglass said after a long mo-


“Yes, which is why the OSS is accelerating the pulling

out of the scientists and the sabotaging of assets.”

“Sounds like Doug is going to be busy.”

“We’re all going to be very busy.”


The National Institutes of Health Building

Washington, D.C.

0655 7 March 1943

The young woman at the tall reception desk in the NIH

lobby watched as the lithe, good-looking guy in his mid-

twenties walked toward her. He wore a U.S. Army uniform

with first lieutenant bars and had blond hair and blue

eyes. He moved with enormous energy and confidence.


2 8 9

Seated at a small desk to the right of the receptionist

station was a uniformed policeman—half-listening to a

radio news bulletin about what was being described as

a train derailment in Oklahoma earlier in the day—and

two other cops standing guard by the elevators. They

watched the soldier, too.

“My name is Fulmar,” the Army lieutenant said to the

receptionist. “Captain Douglass is expecting me.”

She consulted a typewritten list.

“May I see some identification, please?”

Fulmar produced the identity card issued by the Ad-

jutant General’s Office, U.S. Army, that said he was

“FULMAR, Eric, 1st Lt., Infantry, Army of the United


After she carefully studied it and studied him and

smiled, she produced a cardboard visitor badge. Ful-

mar thought that that was curious; he was in the OSS,

not just a regular visitor to the Washington office, and

thought that the list she had checked would have some-

how reflected his status.

Then he noticed there was no signage—no indication

whatsoever—of the OSS and decided the standardized

badge was part of the anonymity, and thus nothing more

than some standard operating procedure, and attached it

to his tunic using the alligator clip on the back.

One of the guards at the elevators approached the


“Please show the lieutenant to Captain Douglass’s of-

fice,” the receptionist said to the guard.

“This way, sir,” the guard said.

2 9 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

They took the elevator up three floors, then walked all

the way down a long hallway. At the end was a doorway

with a little sign labeled director. A police guard was

posted outside. He was sitting in a folding metal chair

reading the Washington Star.

The two policemen acknowledged one another, and

Fulmar followed the first through the door and into an

outer office that had a small army of female clerks. One

was older and gray-haired, at a basic wooden desk with a

black phone and a nameplate that read a. fishburne,

and was apparently in charge. Two younger women were

standing at a pushcart stacked with papers and file folders

and working with quiet efficiency to feed a huge bank of

file cabinets. Three other young women noisily clacked

away at typewriters, presumably generating more work

for the women at the file cabinets.

“Good morning, Lieutenant,” the gray-haired woman

said with a smile. “The captain expects you.”

There were two inner doors, one labeled director

and one deputy director.

The cop started to lead Fulmar to the latter, but the

gray-haired woman said, “They’re in the boss’s office.”

The cop looked at her and nodded. He walked to the

door with director on it, knocked on the doorframe,

and when he heard a man’s voice from behind the door

call out, “Come!” he opened it and announced, “Good

morning, sir. Lieutenant Fulmar is here.”

Fulmar heard the voice say, “Send him in, please.”

The cop stepped back from the door, gestured with


2 9 1

his hand for Fulmar to enter the office, then went out the

main door and down the corridor toward the elevator.

Fulmar stepped through the doorway and saw two of-

ficers in uniform, one a silver-haired Army colonel and

one a sandy-haired Navy captain, sitting in opposing red

leather chairs that were separated by a glass-top table and

a red leather couch.

Fulmar came to attention and saluted stiffly.

“Reporting as ordered, sir.”

The officers stood and returned the salute.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant,” the Navy

captain said, offering his hand. “I’m Captain Douglass. I

think you may know my son.”

Fulmar shook his hand. “An honor, sir. To meet you,

and to be acquainted with Doug—with Colonel Doug-


“That’s very kind of you to say,” Douglass replied,

then took a step back and motioned to the Army colonel.

“It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Colonel Dono-

van.” He looked at Donovan. “Colonel, may I present

Lieutenant Fulmar?”

Fulmar already had his hand out, and when the Irish-

man took it in his mitt of a hand, Fulmar could not help

but notice the very firm squeeze as they shook.

“I’ve heard a great deal about you, Lieutenant,”

Donovan said.

“Yes, sir?”

Donovan grinned. “Relax. It’s very good. Otherwise

we would not have asked you here.”

2 9 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Yes, sir.”

“Let’s get on with it,” Donovan said, his face somber.

“It’s a matter that seems to be getting more urgent by

the hour.”

He motioned toward the couch and chairs.

“Have a seat, please.”

“Thank you,” Fulmar said and moved toward the red


As Donovan went to his red armchair near the fat

manila folder on the glass-top table, he said, “I don’t

know about the lieutenant, Captain Douglass, but I

would be eternally grateful for a cup of coffee.”

Douglass looked at Fulmar. “How about it?”


Douglass went to the door and opened it just enough

to call out. The sound of typewriters filtered in.

“Mrs. Fishburne,” he said, “coffee for three, please,

and anything else you can scrounge up that we might

find of interest. Thank you.”

Douglass closed the door, shutting off the clacking,

and returned to the red chair opposite Donovan and sat


Donovan, seated toward the front edge of the chair

cushion, leaned forward. Elbows on his knees, he held

his hands together—almost in a manner of praying—and

tapped his fingertips together twice, then touched index

fingers to his nose and thumbs to his chin as he consid-

ered his thoughts.

He looked directly into Fulmar’s eyes.

It was a penetrating gaze, and as Fulmar looked back


2 9 3

into the steely gray-green eyes he felt himself automati-

cally sit more rigidly.

“What I am about to tell you,” Donovan began in a

tone deeply serious, “is known by only a few people in

the OSS.”

“Yes, sir,” Fulmar said, but it was more a question.

“The President has directed the OSS to quote quietly

and quickly unquote put an end to the acts of German

sabotage on American soil.”


“Do I need to repeat myself?” Donovan said softly.

Fulmar glanced at Douglass, who was expressionless,

then back to Donovan.

“No, sir,” Fulmar said. “It’s just that it was my under-

standing that that was the FBI’s territory.”

“It is. Which is why what I am asking of you requires

the utmost secrecy.”

After a moment, Fulmar said, “Yes, sir.”

“Do you have any questions?”

Fulmar nodded.

“A few, sir. The first being: ‘Why me?’ ”

“You are the proverbial round peg for the round

hole,” Donovan said, sliding back in his chair to a more

relaxed position and crossing his legs. “You understand

the mind of a spy and the mind of a German—you speak

German fluently, yes—?”

“Yes, sir.”

“—And how many other languages?”

Fulmar shrugged. “Three fluently, maybe four, five pass-

ably. Living in so many places, they came to me easily. . . .”

2 9 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The director nodded. “And that—and I mean your

ability to blend in ‘so many places,’ as you put it—

coupled with your actions in the rescue of the Dyers

makes you our round peg.”

He paused.

“You perform exceptionally under pressure . . . and

we’re under a great deal of pressure.”

There was a long silence before Douglass broke it.

“The President—and our country—simply cannot

have these agents taking the focus off of the war abroad,”

the deputy director said.

“Yes, sir. What would you have me do?”

“Whatever is necessary,” Donovan said.

“And, sir, that would be—?”

“Whatever is necessary,” Donovan repeated evenly.

The director let that sink in, and when Fulmar slowly

nodded that he understood, Donovan went on:

“The FBI has been directed to share with us every-

thing they have on all the bombings. On the surface, that

sounds great. But I find at least two fundamental flaws in

it, the first being that Director Hoover is not going to

willingly turn over all of the information if there’s a

chance that he can hold something back in order for the

FBI to collar these German agents and get the credit—”

“We know for a fact they’re German?” Fulmar said.

Donovan showed his mild displeasure at being inter-

rupted. “May I finish?”

“Certainly, sir. My apologies.”

“To answer your question, we have reason to believe

that they are agents of Germany—if not precisely Ger-


2 9 5

man nationals—because of the pattern of evidence that

they’re leaving, from weapons to witnesses. There’s a


Douglass stood up. “I’ll get it,” he said and went to

the big desk.

“—and in it,” Donovan went on, “is everything the

FBI believes we should have. It’s enough to establish that

in all likelihood we are dealing with German agents—

soldiers trained by Skorzeny. You’re familiar with Ober-

sturmbannführer Skorzeny?”

“Yes, sir. Of course.”

Fulmar’s tone suggested that it was inconceivable that

anyone could not be familiar with such a storied warrior,

enemy or not.

Douglass brought back a folder thick with papers. He

put it on the glass-top table. Fulmar glanced at it, then

back at Donovan.

“And that brings me to the other flaw,” Donovan

went on. “The OSS at its core is military and thus plays

by different rules than does the FBI. While Director

Hoover has been known to stretch the rules of law en-

forcement to suit his needs, by and large he keeps the

bureau on the straight and narrow—his intolerance of

crooked cops, for example—and this rigid mind-set, hav-

ing trickled down to how the rank and file fundamentally

operates, limits what the bureau is capable of accom-

plishing. You follow me so far?”

“I believe so, sir. No risk, no reward.”

“Yes. The President understands these limitations, as

he does the parameters of the OSS, and thus has decided

2 9 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

that the situation requires something more than the FBI

offers. . . .”

He paused to gather his thoughts.

“These attacks,” he went on, “spotlight some of our

country’s biggest weaknesses. The United States cannot

secure its vast borders—that’s a statement of fact, not a

political ploy—and our infrastructure is vulnerable to sub-

versive acts. We simply cannot protect every electrical

substation, every train station, every town reservoir from

attack. There are too many, and the manpower available—

that is to say, everyone we are not sending to fight

abroad—is far too few.”

“So one clever saboteur can with little effort cause re-

markable chaos,” Fulmar said.

“Correction,” Douglass said, “is causing remarkable


“And with more than one on the ground,” Donovan

added, “there is a force multiplier effect. Follow?”

“If the public hears of two,” Fulmar offered, “they

speculate that there could be two—or two dozen—


“It’s already happening in the press reports,” Doug-

lass said. “Reckless speculation. And soon the press will

draw the obvious conclusion that the Texas and Okla-

homa explosions show that the size of the attacks are be-

coming larger by the day.”

Donovan added: “Given time—and the Hoover

Maxim on Criminality—the FBI would get these guys.

But we don’t have the luxury of time.”


2 9 7

“ ‘The Hoover Maxim on Criminality’?” Fulmar said.

“I am not familiar with that.”

Donovan’s eyes twinkled as he looked at Douglass.

“You wouldn’t be expected to,” Douglass said with a

smile. “Quoting from the J. Edgar Book of Law Enforce-

ment, ‘The Hoover Maxim on Criminality stipulates that

all criminals—without exception—commit some stupid

act before, during, or after a crime that allows for their

eventual capture.’ ”

The director and deputy director of the OSS ex-

changed grins.

“Forgive us,” Donovan said. “We do not mean to

make light of the circumstance. It is just that the impor-

tant word there as far as we’re concerned is eventual.”

“Yes, sir,” Fulmar said. “We do not have time to


Donovan nodded. He liked what he just heard. Ful-

mar had said that he understood the urgency of the mis-

sion—and with “we” his acceptance of it.

Douglass said, “And that brings us back to doing

whatever is necessary—”

There was a knock at the door.

Douglass looked to Donovan, who nodded.

“Come!” Douglass called.

The door opened and Mrs. Fishburne came through

it, struggling with a tray holding three china mugs of

steaming coffee and a plate piled with sticky bun pastries.

“I’m sorry that I took so long,” she said, placing the

tray on the glass-top table. In her hand there was a sealed

2 9 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

envelope, with strictly confidential stamped in red

on the front.

“This just came for you, Colonel,” she said. “An FBI

agent hand-carried it here. He said that his orders were

to give it to you personally. It took some time for me to

convince him that the director and the deputy director

were not only unavailable now, but that it would be

hours before either was available at all. He gave that

about five seconds of thought and decided that waiting

was not high on his list of priorities.”

Donovan chuckled as he broke the seal of the enve-


“You did well, Mrs. Fishburne,” the director of the

OSS said, scanning the message. “As you’ll learn, the

FBI has a very high regard of itself, and it is a noble en-

deavor indeed—if fruitless—to try to help keep them


“Yes, sir,” she said without much conviction.

He looked up from the sheet of paper and added,

“Don’t be surprised, however, if you suddenly find your-

self the subject of a thorough FBI investigation.”

Mrs. Fishburne looked momentarily stunned.

Donovan grinned. “I’m only half kidding. If the FBI

had decided you were a threat to the domestic security of

the United States, Mrs. Fishburne, there’d already be an

ample file on you. And they’d just be waiting for the

Hoover Maxim on Criminality to work its magic.”

Fulmar glanced at Douglass and could see he was try-

ing not to grin too obviously.


2 9 9

“Yes, sir,” Mrs. Fishburne said, clearly not at all com-

fortable with the explanation.

“That’ll be all for now, Mrs. Fishburne,” Douglass

said. “Thank you.”

She turned and left the room, pulling the door closed

behind her.

“Well, this appears to be both good and bad news,”

Donovan said, leaning forward to pass the letter to

Douglass, then picking up one of the steaming china


He looked at Fulmar and nodded at the coffee. “Help


Douglass sat back in his chair and his eyes fell to the


Federal Bureau of Investigation


Office of the Deputy Director


March 7, 1943

Colonel Donovan:

As an update to the previous information

provided by the F.B.I. to your office on

the most recent acts of sabotage, Director

Hoover has asked me to inform you of the


3 0 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

1. That our F.B.I. agents in Texas believe

with a confidence factor of 90 percent that

at least two (2) German saboteurs were re -

sponsible for the Mar. 5 bombing of the

Dallas department store that killed two

(2) citizens and injured five (5) others;

2. That our F.B.I. agents in Texas believe

with a confidence factor of 90 percent that

at least one (1) German saboteur was re -

sponsible for the bombing of the Mar. 5

Dallas Union Station train depot and the

U.S.O. therein, killing five (5) soldiers

and injuring twenty (20) others;

3. That our F.B.I. agents in Texas and Ok-

lahoma believe with a confidence factor of

70 percent that at least one (1) German

saboteur was responsible for the bomb -

ing on Mar. 6 of the Red Rock Rail Line

train en route Dallas to Kansas (casual -

ties unknown at this time); and

4. That our agents in Oklahoma believe

that in the train bombing:

(a) with a confidence factor of 50 per-

cent at least one (1) German saboteur died

in the explosion, and

(b) with a confidence factor of 100 per-

cent two (2) F.B.I. agents in the defense


3 0 1

of their country lost their lives in the


On behalf of the Director,

And with warmest personal regards,


C. A. Tolson

Douglass’s eyebrows went up.

Donovan saw that and said, “Wondering why Tolson

sent that, are you?”

As deputy director of the FBI, Clyde Tolson was

nearly inseparable from Hoover. Both on and off the job.

Their relationship was so close in fact that rumors of ho-

mosexuality circled regularly, though Donovan dismissed

the dirty tales as more of the vicious undercurrent that

was Washington politics.

“A little,” Douglass said as he leaned forward and

passed the paper to Fulmar, and added, “Your mission’s

most recent intel, Lieutenant. Word to the wise: Don’t

take it at face value.”

“Yes, sir,” Fulmar said, and began reading the confi-

dential message.

Donovan explained, “While the President told the di-

rector to keep us—the OSS—informed of any and all up-

dates, he did not say that the director had to do so


3 0 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Then using Tolson is his way of following what he

considers a distasteful order,” Douglass said, “without

bringing himself to the level of a lowly field operative.”

Douglass caught Fulmar’s eyes dart at him.

“No offense, Lieutenant. No one in this room has

anything but the highest regard for field ops.”

Fulmar knew that that certainly was the case with Wild

Bill Donovan—his reputation as a first-rate battlefield

commander was above reproach, made all the more so by

his Medal of Honor from the First War—and while Doug-

lass’s history was not necessarily as well known, Fulmar

had to believe (a) that Donovan would not tolerate any-

one but a true believer as his number two, and (b) that

with Doug Douglass being one competent fearless son-

ofabitch, he had had to have learned that from someone

and that someone most likely was his father.

“None taken, sir,” Fulmar said.

“That crack about not taking Tolson’s update at face

value was not entirely facetious,” Douglass said.

He looked at Donovan. “I am somewhat suspicious as

to why they have provided that information to us so

quickly. We usually have to pry the weather report from


Donovan nodded. “Just take that into consideration

as you review the file, Lieutenant.”

“I will, sir.”

“How are you fixed for a place to stay here?” Douglass


“I need something, sir, but I don’t anticipate for long,


3 0 3

maybe a night or two. I’d like to get on the trail of these

guys as soon as possible.”

Douglass looked at Donovan, who nodded.

“We have a place on Q Street,” Douglass then said.

“I’ll have Chief Ellis make arrangements for that, as well

as anything else you’ll need.”

Douglass stood, then Donovan followed.

“Good luck,” the director of the OSS said, offering

his hand.

Fulmar quickly got to his feet and shook the director’s

hand. “Thank you, sir.”

“Grab that file,” Douglass said, “and a sticky bun, if

you like”—he nodded toward the door—“and we can be

on our way.”

[ FOUR ]

Room 909

Robert Treat Hotel

Newark, New Jersey

0115 7 March 1943

After Kurt Bayer had agreed to an all-night date with

Mary by circling the “30” that she had written on the in-

side of the matchbook cover, Kurt had said that he had to

make a couple of quick arrangements.

The first he said was that he had to go to his room and

leave another note for his traveling partner.

He asked Mary about a hotel room, and when Mary

replied that she did not have one—wasn’t allowed to

3 0 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

have one, she added—Bayer realized that meant he had

to take care of that, see if he could get one in the Robert

Treat, and, if not, then try to find one elsewhere, prefer-

ably very close by, before writing the new note.

He had considered the idea that they could have taken

a chance and used the room he already had access to. But

he instantly dismissed that, because they wanted the room

for all night, and he told himself he’d be damned if

he and Mary were going to be interrupted by Richard

Koch storming into the room at whatever late hour—

possibly drunk, and possibly suddenly interested in shar-

ing Mary.

So Bayer had gone to the front desk, found that they

had plenty of available rooms, put down a cash deposit to

secure a nice one with a view on the ninth floor for three

days to start, and then returned to the lounge with two


At the bar with Mary, he had ordered them both fresh

drinks—doubles, and in highball glasses, so on their way

upstairs they would not risk spilling liquor from the

tricky-shaped martini glasses—then paid the tab, signing

it to Koch’s room, and gave Mary her room key, saying

that he would meet her there after he went by his room

and either told Koch that he had plans for the evening or

left him a note to that effect.

Bayer had found the notepad with his first note un-

touched on top of the bedspread and no sign that Koch

had ever returned. He wondered where in hell Koch

could have gone for so long—ditching a car was not that

difficult—then decided he’d probably found his own fun.


3 0 5

He had then torn off the old note from the pad and

written a new one:


Starving. Couldn’t wait any longer.

See you in the morning.


He had grinned at that.

Starving? Absolutely. But now it’s a whole different


Mary had already been in the bed when Bayer finally

reached room 909, though in the darkened room it had

taken him a moment to notice the human form under

the covers. She had all the lights turned out, the radio

quietly playing some big band music, and the curtains on

the big window pulled back to show the sweeping view

over Newark.

As his eyes had adjusted to the dark, he noticed the

tidy stack of her clothes in a chair by the window, with

her shoes beneath on the floor. And he could see that she

had the sheets pulled up to her nose—and that her eyes


Aroused, Bayer had not been able to pull off his

clothes fast enough.


No sooner had he jumped naked between the

sheets—at the same moment noticing Mary’s wonderful

warmth and sweet scent floating out—than his first at-

tempt at coupling turned disastrous.

3 0 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Bayer had been very excited—too excited, it turned

out—and they had had to wait thirty minutes—despite

Mary’s very creative and energetic attempts to breathe

life, so to speak, back into his libido—before they could

again try making the beast with two backs.

They now lay on their backs in the bed, sweat-soaked and

exhausted, looking at the ceiling, the music from the ra-

dio softly masking the sound of them trying to catch

their breath.

After a moment, Mary inhaled deeply and let it out.

“That was worth the wait,” she said, and giggled as

she reached over to stroke his chest.

“Yeah, it was.”

“You’re very nice, you know.”

He turned to her and was amazed at how much she

glowed, her face soft and warm, her blonde hair bright in

the night.

“Thank you,” he said. “And you’re amazing.”

She looked back at the ceiling and giggled.

The music ended, and an announcer came on and said

that that had been the melodic sounds of Glenn Miller

and his orchestra and that the news was next.

Bayer instantly turned to look at the radio, then

padded naked across the room and tuned in another sta-


“Something wrong with the music?” Mary said, ad-

miring Kurt’s body.


3 0 7

“Oh, it’s not the music. I’m just tired of news. And it

doesn’t seem right for now.”

Mary giggled.

She said, “Somehow I don’t think the news is going

to slow you down.”

Bayer crawled back in bed and kissed her on the lips.

“Me, either.”

“Especially if it’s about those . . . explosions.”


“Yeah, bombings is what they’re saying in the news.

They’re scary, but at the same time they’re kind of excit-

ing—you know?”

What the hell? Bayer thought.

“How old are you?” he said all of a sudden.

“Twenty-two,” she shot back.

He reached over, cupped her breast, and squeezed

very gently as he kissed her ear.

“No, really,” he whispered.


“C’mon . . .”

“Why’s it important?”

“Just curious.”

“Okay. Twenty.”

“Mary . . .” he whispered and squeezed again.

“Eighteen, okay? Why?”

Jesus Christ. A hooker at eighteen?

“How long have you been doing . . . this?” he said.

She sat upright. “Doing what?” she said defensively.

Bayer looked up at her. “What we’re doing.”

3 0 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

She looked out the window a long moment. She snif-

fled, and Bayer saw her eyes were now glistening.

“I think I’d better go,” she said finally and threw back

the sheet.

Bayer reached out and wrapped his arms around her,

then pulled her back beside him on the bed.

“I’m sorry I asked.”

She sniffled again and nodded.

Bayer thought, I need to turn this back around. . . .

“Tell me what you find so exciting about those explo-

sions?” he said.

“Nothing, really.”

“C’mon . . .”

She shrugged loose of his arms and sat up.

“Okay, I’ll tell you,” she said, looking down at him,

her voice hard. “I see power in them.”


“Yeah, like if I could do what they’re doing I would

have power.”

“What would you do with the power?”

She looked out the window again, deciding if she

should answer . . . and answer truthfully.

“Look,” she said, her tone softened. “I like you. A

lot, you know? Like I said, you’re very nice.”

She paused, then swallowed hard.

“Not every guy is,” she went on.

“What do you mean?”

“When I was fifteen, my boyfriend—he was twenty.

And he had an older buddy who ran a club over on

Route 17 in Lodi, and they said I could make some really


3 0 9

sweet money by dancing. Just warm-up stuff. No nudity,

you know?”


“And at first that’s what it was. The money was great.

But then I began having a drink or two while dancing,

and then more, and my boyfriend said he didn’t mind if

I tried it topless—said he liked that customers knew I was

his girlfriend and how they had to pay to see what he got

for free. . . .”

She stopped and looked toward the bedside table. Her

glass from the bar was there, mostly melted ice, and she

took a sip.

“And then the money got better,” she went on, “and

the audience, you know, the rush you get from them, so

I was doing more and more. And then—I guess I’d just

turned seventeen—I started doing private dances and

couldn’t believe the money. My boyfriend said he didn’t

mind the private dances and I found out why—the bas-

tard had gotten himself a new girl. . . .”

“Jesus,” Bayer said softly, stroking her hair.

“So next thing I knew, with my boyfriend out of the

picture, his buddy said that I owed the club so much for

my drinks—which I had always paid for—and half my

tips. And he said there was a way to make up the differ-

ence. . . .”

“This way.”

There was a long silence. “I didn’t do it till they beat

me up pretty good. Lots of bruises, and I couldn’t work

for a couple months. So I still owed the money but

couldn’t pay it off. But then I healed up. . . .”

3 1 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Now Bayer took a sip of his watered-down drink.

“I can see why you’d want that power,” he said softly

as he put the glass back on the table.


There was a long silence, and then she said, “Let’s for-

get about all that and you and me just have some fun.”

She rolled over and draped her right thigh over his


He enjoyed the weight and the warm, soft feel of it,

and when she moved it and her leg brushed his groin he

liked that even more.

Bayer grinned in the dark.

Do I tell her?

He said, “Can you keep a secret?”

“Sure,” Mary whispered.

“You could not tell anyone else.”

She snuggled up to him.

“What is it?” she whispered seductively.

“I know who’s causing them.”

“Causing what?”

“The explosions.”

She inhaled deeply and audibly. “No!”

Ach! I shouldn’t have said shit.

“Who?” she pursued.

“Well . . .”

“Do you know,” she said, “or—”

She reached down with her right hand and grasped his

genitals. The warmth of her hand caused him to stir.

“—are you just full of it?”


3 1 1

She squeezed gently.

He groaned appreciatively.

“Hey,” she said, “it’s like a miracle.”

He was ready again and broke free of her grasp, and

rolled onto her as she started to giggle.


[ ONE ]

Suite 601

Gramercy Park Hotel

2 Lexington Avenue

New York City, New York

0801 7 March 1943

Lit by a full moon, Ann Chambers came in and out of Dick

Canidy’s view as he chased her up the narrow, winding

grassy drive that was lined with mature magnolia trees in

full bloom. She was wearing the silk pajamas that he had

bought for her at the boutique on Broadway, the pj top half

unbuttoned, and every now and then Dick could hear her

playful laugh float back on the cool, humid night air.

This was the Plantation, a vast tract of timberland that

the Chambers family owned in southern Alabama, and the

natural drive wound from a paved macadam country

road past the dirt airstrip—where the Beech Staggerwing

biplane was tied down—and ended a mile later, opening

onto a large hilltop clearing that highlighted the property’s

main building, a Gone with the Wind antebellum man-

sion that had been named the Lodge.

Dick saw Ann finally dart out of the shadows of the


3 1 3

magnolias, glance at him over her shoulder—her long

blonde hair catching the moonlight—and laugh as she went

to a side entrance of the Lodge.

As Dick approached, he could see that she was pulling on

the wood-frame screen door but that it would not open. The

flimsy door was being held shut from the inside by a small

hook-and-eye latch, and every time she pulled, the hook gave

only a half inch or so—and the door then slammed back

into its frame.

Dick came closer, and the bam, bam, bam became

louder with Ann repeatedly pulling at the door—and

laughing hysterically. The top of her silk pj’s slid off her

right shoulder.

Dick grinned mischievously, his heart beating rapidly as

he closed in on her.

Ann laughed, and the door slammed bam, bam, bam. . . .

And a man’s muffled voice called, “Mr. Canidy?”

Canidy shook his head, trying to shake off the fog that

clouded his thought.

Bam, bam, bam.

“Room service, Mr. Canidy.”

Canidy cracked open an eye and saw that he wasn’t at

the Plantation in Alabama but still at the Gramercy in

New York.

The clock on the bedside table showed three minutes

past eight.

Bam, bam, bam.

“Mr. Canidy?”

I didn’t call for room service.

3 1 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He slipped his right hand under his pillow, found his

.45, then got out of bed and in only his boxers and

T-shirt went to the door.

“I didn’t request room service,” he said, staying to the

side of the doorframe, away from the door itself.

Using his right thumb, he pulled back the hammer on

the pistol.

“It’s complimentary, sir.”

Canidy rubbed his eyes. He shook his head.


Wait . . . that’s right. Instead of a wake-up phone call,

they send up coffee and tea and the morning paper at the

requested time.

He took his left index finger and thumb, grasped the

hammer, squeezed the trigger, and carefully uncocked

the pistol.

“Just leave it at the foot of the door, please.”

“Are you sure, sir?”

“That’ll be fine. Your gratuity will be on the tray when

you come back for it.”

“Very well, sir,” the voice said, and then there was the

clanking of cups and saucers as the tray was placed on

the floor.

Canidy walked to the bathroom, put the pistol on the

top of the toilet tank, and took a long leak.

He flushed, glanced at himself in the mirror over the

sink— Smooth move, Casanova. The minute you fall for one

girl, you can’t even get laid in your dreams—and washed

his hands and face.

He took the white terry cloth robe from the hook on


3 1 5

the back of the bathroom door, put it on, slipped the

pistol in the right pocket, and, somewhat sure the gun

wasn’t going to fall out, went back to the door.

After he unlocked it and went to open it, he found

that there was some resistance. He got it open enough to

peek out and saw that the resistance was because his

clothes from the trip aboard the fishing boat had been

cleaned and returned and were now hanging from the


He pulled open the door completely, retrieved the

clothes, and put them on the couch, then went back and

picked up the tray and brought it in the room, pushing

the door closed with his foot.

Canidy put the tray on the coffee table in the sitting

room of his suite and looked at the New York Times as he

poured steaming coffee into one of the two cups.

The biggest headline above the fold read: u-boat at-

tacks in atlantic on rise again.

“Jesus H. Christ,” he said disgustedly.

He sat in the armchair, unfolded the paper, and

scanned the other headlines on the front page.

There was a long piece, with a large photograph

showing strewn wreckage, about a train derailment in

Oklahoma on Saturday. Beneath that, a report on the

Luftwaffe’s attack on London with twin-engine Heinkel

He 111 bombers. A short piece reported that the rate

of pregnancies among American teenagers had spiked.

And—some really good news—the rest of the page was

devoted to progress on the war fronts: the Germans

withdrawing from Tunisia, the RAF bombing the hell

3 1 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

out of Berlin, and the Australians and Americans kicking

the goddamned Japs’ asses in the Bismarck Sea.

He decided to start with the U-boat article and went

back to it.

It reported that both of the convoys that had left the

New York area in just the first week of March had been

attacked, with a loss of four ships carrying matériel and

one troopship.

“Shit,” he said and drained his coffee cup.

He moved on to the London bombing piece and that

caused him to wonder—and worry—if Ann Chambers

was right now knee-deep in rubble interviewing rescuers

for her profiles.

Jesus, I’m getting nowhere sitting here, he thought,

frustrated. I need to do something.

He poured more coffee, grabbed the newspaper, and

started for the head.

He glanced at the clock. Eight-twenty.

To hell with it. Close enough.

Canidy put down the paper and picked up the phone

receiver. He then asked the operator to connect him to a

Washington number he gave from memory.

“Switchboard oh-five,” a woman’s monotone voice


“Major Canidy for Chief Ellis. Is he available, please?”

“Major Canidy? One moment.”

Canidy took a sip of his coffee as he heard a click and

another dial tone and then ringing.

“Ellis,” came the familiar voice.

“How they hanging, Chief?” Canidy said.


3 1 7

“One lower than the other, Major. Got a heads-up for

you—I overheard the boss asking if you were having any

success and when you’d be headed over there. Sounded

like he wanted whatever done yesterday. . . .”

Shit, Canidy thought.

He said, “Any chance you’re with the boss?”

“No chance. Sorry.”

“Well, if it comes up again before I speak to him, tell

him I said, ‘Some, and very soon.’ ”

“Will do. He’s at home. The captain has me babysit-


Canidy knew that Colonel Donovan’s home was a

town house in Georgetown, just off of Wisconsin Av-

enue, and that when Ellis said he was babysitting for the

captain, that meant that Douglass had him keeping

watch over someone at the house on Q Street.

“I was going to ask him if I could get Ex-Lax to work

with me.”

Ellis knew that Canidy’s lower gastrointestinal tract

was not the subject at hand. It was, instead, Eric Fulmar.

“Ex-Lax” had been the code name that “Pharmacist”—

Canidy—had assigned him on their last mission, the one

in Hungary that almost killed them all.

When Fulmar learned of the code name, he did not

find it at all fitting—and sure as hell not humorous—

which, of course, only caused Canidy to continue refer-

ring to him by it.

Ellis didn’t answer immediately.

Canidy went on: “What do you think the chances are

of that?”

3 1 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Not good, Major.”


“Yeah, why don’t you ask him yourself ?”


“No, Ex—” Ellis began, then caught himself. “Ful-

mar. He’s right here.”

Canidy heard the phone being passed.

Fulmar’s voice came through the phone: “How about

cutting out that ‘Ex-Lax’ shit, ol’ buddy?”

“Good morning, Eric. Nice to hear your voice, too. And

you don’t have to thank me again for saving your ass.”

The line was quiet a moment, then Fulmar said, “You

know I’m grateful. But you’re not going to let me forget,

are you?”

“Never. That way, you’ll always come running when I


Fulmar chuckled. “Like now? What’s on your mind?

Everything okay?”

“So far. But I’m in New York, up to my neck, and

soon quite possibly over my head, and was hoping to

maybe get a hand from you.”

“Not possible. Sorry. The boss has me . . . let’s just

call it ‘busy.’ ”

“Anything I know about?”

“Only if you’ve listened to the radio or read a news-

paper lately. It’s hot.”

“You’re the one responsible for the spike in knocked-

up teens?”

“Very funny. All I can tell you is that I’ve been up

for what seems like hours doing nothing but wading


3 1 9

through more bullshit FBI reports. I’ve never read so

much that said so little in my life. Except maybe your En-

glish essays at St. Paul’s.”

“When do you think you could break free?”

“I can’t, I told you. I have to . . . Hang on a mo-


Canidy guessed that Fulmar had moved the receiver

away from his head, because he could faintly hear Fulmar

asking Ellis something and Ellis grunting a reply. Then

he could hear Fulmar more clearly.

“Where are you?” Fulmar asked Canidy.

“New York.”

“No, where are you staying?”



“Yeah. Plenty of room. I got a suite.”

“Look, I can read these files anywhere. And I need to

run down a lead there.”


“I can be there by—what?—after noon or so.”

“Room six-oh-one.”

“Six-oh-one. Got it.”

3 2 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ TWO ]

Robert Treat Hotel

Newark, New Jersey

0815 7 March 1943

Richard Koch was sitting among a small crowd in the

lobby. He was reading the Trenton Times and smoking a

cigarette when he noticed one of the two young hookers

from the night before come out of one of the elevators

and start across the lobby.

He smiled at the blonde as she caught a glimpse of

him, but she would not make eye contact.

Still wearing the same clothes from last night, mein

Liebchen? Business must be good.

He was admiring the sway of her hips as she went out

the main doors when another elevator opened and Kurt

Bayer got off.

Koch glared at him and thought, It’s about time you

showed up, you bastard.

He folded the newspaper, got to his feet, and started

walking toward the main doors. He nodded for Bayer to


Outside, Koch waited for Bayer to catch up.

“Good morning,” Bayer said pleasantly.

“I got your note in the room,” Koch snapped.

“Where the hell have you been?”

Bayer looked at him before replying.

“I can ask the same: Where the hell have you been?”

“Getting rid of the car. Like I told you.”


3 2 1

“You also told me that that was going to take only a

half hour to do.”

Koch started walking. “Come. There’s a coffee shop

around the corner.”

As they walked, Koch added, “I had to take extra care

with the car.”


“Because of this.”

He swung the newspaper, hitting him in the chest.

Bayer looked at him crossly, then took the paper, un-

folded it, and scanned the headlines.

He came to the picture of a train wreck, and read the


“Ach du lieber Gott!” he whispered.

“Yeah,” Koch said.

They turned the corner and came to the door of a cof-

fee shop.

“Read the story,” Koch said. “It just gets better.”

He pulled open the door and went inside. Bayer

quickly followed.

The noisy small restaurant, with its open kitchen be-

hind the counter, was quite warm, the air saturated with

the smells of toast and coffee and grease. They took one of

the two empty booths toward the back and, after the wait-

ress brought them water and coffee, placed their order.

Bayer flipped the pages of the newspaper until he came

to the article on the train derailment. It was a long one.

After a moment, he said, “It says they believe the de-

railment is connected with the explosions in Dallas.”

3 2 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I know. I read it,” Koch said, annoyed. “And of

course they do. Who wouldn’t put the two together?

They happened a day and maybe three hundred kilome-

ters apart.”

He sighed heavily.

“Those bastards are out of control.”

“I say it’s Grossman,” Bayer said, looking at him.

“It doesn’t matter which one it is. Their actions re-

quire that we really have to be careful right now. There’re

already cops everywhere.”

The waitress arrived with an armload of plates. She

took two off, placing a plate of ham and fried eggs and

toast in front of Koch and a plate with a tall stack of pan-

cakes in front of Bayer.

Bayer poured syrup on his cakes, then kept reading as

he ate. He shook his head.

“ ‘Authorities declined to speculate,’ ” he read aloud,

talking with a full mouth, “ ‘if there was any connection

between these explosions and the ones last week on the

East Coast.’ Damn!”

Mashed pancake flew out of his mouth, and he washed

down what remained with a swallow of water.

“I think,” Koch said evenly, “that we are okay here.”

Koch had noted that no one had paid him any notice

as he had waited in the hotel lobby. Now his eyes sur-

veyed the restaurant and its customers. And, again, no

one paid them any particular notice.

“We just have to not make a single mistake.”

Bayer nodded.

Koch tore into his ham slice with the knife, cut off a


3 2 3

large piece, forked it into his mouth and chewed aggres-

sively. He repeated the process, not saying a word until

the plate was empty. Then, finished, he at once tossed the

fork and knife on the plate with a loud clank.

He looked at Bayer.

“So, now you tell me where you were last night.”

Bayer turned his attention to his plate. He casually cut

more pancake and put it in his mouth and chewed slowly

as he looked at Koch, then around the restaurant, then

back at Koch.

“I had a date,” he said, his mouth half full.

“With that hooker?” Koch said, incredulous.

Bayer frowned.

“She has a name.”

“I thought I told you to be careful!”

“I was.”

“No more,” Koch said firmly. “It must not happen


“What is the harm?”

Bayer looked at him, and when Koch did not answer

Bayer grinned, then leaned forward.

“I think that I can get her friend the redhead for you

as a date.”

Koch ignored him.

“What we are going to do,” he said as a matter of fact,

“is stick with our original plan but wait at least an extra

three, four days to see what Cremer and Grossman do—

or what gets done about them and their work.”

“Fine.” He shrugged and cut another piece of pan-

cake. “I have something to fill my time.”

3 2 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Koch’s eyes narrowed. Steam practically came out of

his ears.

Koch thought, This whole time we’ve worked well to-

gether as a team—but bring in one lousy piece of ass . . .

“I’ll be in the room,” he said, sliding out of the

booth. “We will continue this conversation there.”

Bayer watched Koch’s back as he went to the door and

through it, then disappeared down the sidewalk in the di-

rection of the hotel.

He made a face, then looked back at his plate and saw

that he wasn’t nearly finished.

What the hell. I’ll take my time and eat in peace.

He held up his coffee cup for the waitress to see.

She came and refilled it, and his water, collected

Koch’s plate and cup, and left the check on the table.

Bayer cut another piece of pancake and went back to

reading the newspaper.

He did not really understand why Koch was so con-

cerned about the explosions in Texas and Oklahoma.

The other team of agents was having significant success

with blowing up things and creating general disorder.

That was what they had all been sent to do. Granted, not

with such big bombings, but nevertheless . . .

He shook his head and turned the page.

He came to a full-page advertisement for Bamberger’s

Department Store that showed new women’s spring

fashions. The light-haired young model wore a very flat-

tering formfitting blouse and it took no effort whatever

for Bayer to picture Mary in it. He smiled, and with that

warm mental image turned the page.


3 2 5

Ten minutes later, he had finished with the pancake

and washed it down with coffee.

He reached into the right pocket of his pants and dug

around for the roll of cash that he had bound with a rub-

ber band. All he came up with, though, was the rubber

band and a fistful of coins.

Damn! All my cash went to pay for the room and Mary!

After hearing about her money woes, he had advanced

her almost a week’s worth of cash so that she could

buy time with the club owner—and time that they could

spend together.

He grabbed the check, looked at the total, then

quickly counted the coins in his hand.

Just enough, but almost no tip.

As quietly as he could, he put all of the coins on top of

the ticket and slipped toward the door, avoiding the

waitress and anyone else.

Koch was sitting on his unmade bed in their room on the

fourth floor. Bayer’s bed was still the way he had left it

the night before, although now there were the two duf-

fel bags on it.

Koch had a newspaper spread out on the bed and

was field-cleaning his Walther PPK 9mm semiautomatic


“Any plans for that?” Bayer said as he locked the door

behind him.

“Just maintenance. When I’m finished, we can go

over the plans for New York.”

3 2 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Bayer walked over to the duffels and starting digging

in the nearest one.

Koch glanced up from his gun. “Need something?”

Bayer stopped digging and looked back at Koch.

“Cash. I literally spent my last dime paying the restau-

rant bill.”

“What? I gave you almost three hundred dollars two

days ago.”

“Right. And I spent it.”

“On what, for chrissake?”

“There was all that gas on the drive up,” he said. “And

on food. . . .”

And—damn, he won’t like it—on Mary.

Koch angrily jabbed his right index finger at him.

“And on that goddamned hooker!”

Bayer stared at him. “I said she has a name.” He

shook his head. “I paid her. So what? We have plenty

more money.”

Koch made a short, snide laugh.

“Not for that we don’t. I control the funds, you may


Bayer glared at him.

Damn him!

I need that cash.

But . . . not right away. At least I have a few days to fig -

ure this out.

He pulled his Walther from his pocket and Koch’s

eyes grew wide.


Oh, now that’s interesting.


3 2 7

So I scare you, do I?

Bayer looked down at his pistol. He pushed the thumb

button at the top of the grip on the left side of the frame.

That released the magazine and it dropped out of the

handle. He pulled back the slide to eject the 9mm round

that was in the throat, then spread out newspaper on his

bed and began disassembling the weapon.

“Hand me that oil, will you?” Bayer said.


New York Public Library

Fifth Avenue at Forty-second Street

New York City, New York

1142 7 March 1943

Dick Canidy stood on the sidewalk in front of a huge

stone lion that overlooked Fifth Avenue and held out his

right arm, trying to flag down a taxicab. All the ones

headed south zipped past him, and it was not until the

Forty-second Street traffic light cycled to red that a cab-

bie heading north did a U-turn and pulled up in front of

the library and Canidy.

This is all going too well, he thought as he opened the

cab’s back door and got in. The other shoe is bound to drop

at any moment.

“Gramercy Park Hotel,” he told the cabbie and put

his heavy leather attaché case on the floor as the cab shot

south toward Twenty-first Street.

What had been going well was his luck with finding

research material on Sicily.

3 2 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

After getting off the phone with Eric Fulmar, he had

moved on to taking care of the morning’s three s’s, and

in the course of covering the latter two at once—shaving

in the shower—he came up with the idea of seeing what

the New York Public Library had on the shelf.

And had was the key word, as Canidy’s bag now held

what little the NYPL had held on Sicily deep in its dusty


He hadn’t been greedy per se—where there were dupli-

cates of a title, he took only one—but his cache contained

a dozen books, including the expected Michelin Guide,

and—a genuine surprise—eighteenth-century British Ad-

miralty charts (“Produced by the Royal Hydrographic

Office”) that showed the coastlines of Sicily and Italy and

all of their islands, the details of their ports, as well as de-

tailed information on such curious things as caves and

the erosion of coastal areas.

It had taken Canidy more effort to fit all of his find

into his bag than it had to sneak the loot out of the li-

brary. He had not gone out past the front desk but

through the janitor’s door that was ajar at the back of the

building and had slipped into the stream of pedestrians

coming out of Bryant Park.

Next thing he knew, he had been in front of the lion

and then in the backseat of the cab that had stopped just

for him.

Yeah. Something is going to go to hell at any moment. . . .


3 2 9

The cab arrived at the Gramercy ten minutes later and

Canidy paid the fare. He went in the hotel and took the

elevator to the sixth floor.

In his room, he turned on the radio and tuned in to

the National Broadcasting Corporation’s Blue Network,

which was playing jazz. He opened his attaché case and,

feeling somewhat like a mischievous underclassman in

the lower school at St. Paul’s in Cedar Rapids, brought

out his “borrowed” library research and began laying it


He unfolded two of the British Admiralty charts on

the couch and made a small stack of the books on the

coffee table, putting them next to where he had left a pair

of socks and the duck call that he’d bought at Leon-


After studying the charts for a few minutes, he

thought he would have a better understanding of the is-

lands if he had Francesco Nola take him on a tour, so to

speak, explaining what was what and who was where.

He then picked up the Michelin Guide and went to

settle into the armchair. But first, he decided, he’d call

room service and ask if the kitchen could put together

for delivery one of those nice sliced-steak-on-a-hard-

crusted-baguette sandwiches that he had had the night

before at the bar and a pot of coffee.

The person answering the room service phone said

that a server would have it up to room 601 within the

half hour, twelve-thirty at the latest.

Canidy hung up the phone, wondering, Okay, was

3 3 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

that an undercover Navy guy or was it a member of the

mob’s union? And whichever one it was, how soon before my

lunch order is passed up the intel line?

Three hours later, as Canidy picked up the fat slice of gar-

lic pickle from the plate on the room service cart that had

held his sandwich, there came a knock at the door. He

took a bite of the pickle, tossed the remainder of it on the

plate, then went to the door.

“Yeah?” he said, standing beside it.

“It’s me,” Fulmar’s voice answered.

Canidy smiled and quickly unlocked, then opened,

the door.

Fulmar, blond and lithe, stood there in a nicely cut

dark gray J. Press two-piece suit, a white button-down-

collar shirt, and a blue-and-silver rep tie. He held a

brown suitcase in his right hand and a brown leather

briefcase in his left.

“Come in!” Canidy said.

Fulmar came in and put down his bags and they em-

braced warmly.

Canidy took a step back and looked him over.

“Why do I suddenly feel like there’s going to be a

meeting with the headmaster and adults?”

Fulmar grinned.

“I don’t know. We’d have to have done something sig-

nificant to require one these days. The government pays

us to do things we used to get in trouble for.”


3 3 1

Canidy smiled as he grabbed the suitcase. He carried

it to the far corner of the room.

“The couch folds out into a bed,” he said. “Have you

had lunch?”

Fulmar shook his head. “Looks like you have.”

“How about a steak sandwich? The ones they make

here are first-class.” He gestured toward the plate on the

room service cart. “That was my second one.”


“No, I had the first one in the bar last night.”

“Yeah, that’d be great. Thanks.”

Canidy nodded and went to the phone and dialed

room service.

“Hello? That sandwich you sent up to six-oh-one?—

“Yes, it was fine—

“No, really. I’d like another sent up, please. Yes. What?”

Canidy looked at Fulmar, pointed at the coffee cup

and raised an eyebrow.

Fulmar nodded.

“Yes,” Canidy said into the receiver, “and another pot

of coffee. Thank you.”

As he put the receiver back in its cradle, he saw that

Fulmar was looking over a British Admiralty chart and

the library books.

“Those,” Canidy said with a smile, “are part of what

brought back feelings of our dear ol’ boarding school


Fulmar picked up the duck call and held it up to

Canidy, who shrugged sheepishly.

3 3 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“It was on sale. . . .”

Fulmar put it to his lips and blew. The reed vibrated a

miserable quaaack sound.

“Sounds like that duck deserves to be shot,” Canidy

said, “put out of its misery.”

Fulmar chuckled, then put the duck call back on the

coffee table and picked up one of the dusty books and

opened it.

He saw that inside the front cover there was glued a

tan-colored pouch. It held a stiff card five inches tall and

three wide with new york public library printed at

the top and typewritten just below that the book’s title—

“Of Wine and Roses: A Lover’s Tour of Sicily”—and then

the author—“Sir Barry Brown”—and then a list of a

dozen or so borrowers’ names with chronological due

dates that had been made by an adjustable rubber stamp,

the most recent entry being mar 04 38. And in long-

faded red ink, stamped at least three times on the first

four pages and the inside back cover: property of the

new york public library system.

He picked up the next book in the stack, opened the

front cover, and saw that it also had a similar card still in

its tan pouch.

“Lose your library card, did you?”

Canidy shrugged.

“Like at St. Paul’s, I intend on returning them.” He

paused. “Eventually, anyway.”

“Well, now I don’t have to guess where you’re going.”

Canidy raised his eyebrows. “And now I can honestly

say that I didn’t tell you.”


3 3 3

“Sicily? What the hell, Dick?”

“Boss’s orders.”

Fulmar sighed. “Yeah, I’ve got mine, too.”

They looked at each other a long moment.

Fulmar broke the silence.

“So, you said you needed some help?”

“I wanted to ask Donovan to let you work with me.”

“I would—and maybe can—but not until I get a han -

dle on these Abwehr bombings . . . or the FBI does.”

“These bombings in the States?”

Fulmar nodded.

“Jesus. That must make Hoover happy.”

Fulmar shrugged.

“All I know,” he said, “is that Roosevelt told Donovan

to take care of it quote quickly and quietly unquote. And

here I am.”

“You said you had a lead to follow?”

“In the files the FBI gave me—the ones that Donovan

and Douglass told me quote not to take at face value

unquote because they were nothing more than what

Hoover wanted the OSS to have—”

“No surprise, with you encroaching on Hoover’s ter-


“Yeah. Anyway, in there was information suggesting

Fritz Kuhn and his American Nazi Party may be con-

nected with the agents. The FBI gave them a once-over,

came up with nothing. But I’m going to shake that tree,

too, and see what falls out. Midnight tonight I have a

date—more like a meeting—over on the Upper East

Side. Remember Ingrid Müller?”

3 3 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy’s face brightened considerably.

“Who the hell could forget her?” he said, grinning.

Ingrid Müller—tall, tanned, and white blonde—had

been a sixteen-year-old sex kitten when she appeared in

Monkeying Around, a 1933 comedy that starred Fulmar’s

mother, Monica Carlisle. Every red-blooded American

male—and certainly the boys of St. Paul’s Episcopal

Preparatory School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa—went ape-shit

over Ingrid. Fulmar and Canidy had tried every way they

thought possible to get her to visit Iowa, including send-

ing letter after letter to Fulmar’s mother that contained

everything from promises that sensible people would see

as impossible to keep to outright begging.

Months passed without a single response—not at all

unusual behavior for the “childless” Monica Carlisle—

and the boys had given up.

Then the star’s legal counsel—a young Hollywood

hotshot in his twenties by the name of Stanley S. Fine,

Esquire—showed up.

Fulmar and Canidy were convinced that Fulmar’s

mother had again sent him to put out yet another fire (if

nothing else, to make them cease and desist from writing

annoying letters to her) when they noticed a familiar fe-

male in his company.

It was indeed the teen starlet Miss Müller. She had

been scouting locations for background on her next

movie—one set at a boarding school for boys—and she

said that Mr. Fine, Esq., had suggested St. Paul’s (“sim-

ply as an idea, something to use as a reference without

having to fly all the way to the East Coast”), and, as stu-


3 3 5

dent escorts, he thought that one Dick Canidy, son of

the headmaster, and one Eric Fulmar would serve her


Fine ensured, despite the best attempts of Canidy and

Fulmar during her two-day visit, that neither had an op-

portunity to get in any trouble with Miss Ingrid Müller.

Thus, the short-term result had been that the boys

were instant heroes among their classmates. And, long

term, Fulmar had found himself exchanging an occa-

sional letter with her—his being far more frequent than


“I vowed never to forget her,” Fulmar said.

“I remember. I also remember that you vowed to bag

her. So you’re batting .500.”

“Maybe my luck changes tonight. She will be very

pleased to know that I am seriously considering joining

the American Nazi Party—”

“Of which I presume she is a member?”

Fulmar nodded.

“That’s what she tells me in her letters.” He paused.

“And she’ll be pleased I am considering joining her and

the party because I believe, as a Good German, that we

must win this war in any way possible. Oh, and how

could I go about contributing to these German agents

that the newspapers say are bombing the States?”

Canidy smiled.

“Subtle. Is this before or after you try to get in her


“Before. No, after . . . Hell, whatever it takes.”

“You wouldn’t consider trading missions, would you?”

3 3 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fulmar raised an eyebrow in question. “Certainly not

with what I know so far about yours.”

“It’s pretty straightforward. You’ve done it before.

There’s another scientist to pull out before the Germans

get him.”

“That’s it?”

“And something bigger that, according to Donovan,

I’ll find when I get there. I’m going to need help with

that and running the underground.”

“I think I’ll stick with trying to bag Ingrid and shoot


He looked at the charts.

“But that explains your looting of the library.”

Canidy nodded.

“Oh, it gets better. I’m now officially involved with the

King of the Looters.”

Fulmar looked at him, and shook his head.

“I don’t follow.”

“Charlie Lucky,” Canidy offered.

Fulmar shook his head again.

“Murder, Inc., ring a bell?” Canidy asked.

Fulmar’s eyes widened at the realization.

“No shit?” Fulmar said. “The mob?”

“No shit. The connection goes back to when Murray

Gurfein . . .”

“. . . So Luciano,” Fulmar said finally, “is serving time,

but, as boss of all bosses, is running the rackets from



3 3 7

“Exactly. And has pretty much made good on every

request we—the U.S.—has made of him.”

“Amazing. But, then again, there’s no end to what

people will do for the promise of freedom.” He paused.

“It’s what this damned war is all about, no?”

Canidy nodded. “True. For some. Can’t forget,

though, that for others it is an opportunistic time . . .”

The phone rang and Canidy reached for the receiver.


Fulmar went back to the charts and studied them.

“Frank,” Canidy said, “how are you?

“Tonight is fine—

“Okay, got it. Six o’clock at Sammy’s, at the fish mar-

ket. I’ll be bringing my partner, okay?”

He looked at Fulmar, who nodded his agreement.

Canidy said into the phone, “Okay, then. Thanks,


As he hung up the receiver, there was a knock at the


“That must be your lunch,” he said, and saw that Ful-

mar had the duck call back in his hand.

Fulmar grinned and blew a soft quaaack . . .


Canidy reached the door and raised an eyebrow that

asked, What?

Fulmar shrugged.

“You’re dealing with Murder, Inc.,” he said solemnly.

“Just wondering when the dust settles who’s going to be

the real dead ducks. . . .”

3 3 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ FOUR ]

Fulton Fish Market

New York City, New York

1750 7 March 1943

The cab carrying Dick Canidy and Eric Fulmar, both

now in casual clothes, turned south off of Beekman

Street and slowly rolled up in front of the market. The

long, two-story white building of concrete and brick had

a series of street-level doorways that served as the en-

trance to the individual fish resellers. Signs were affixed

above the wide doorways, each advertising the business

therein: fair fish co. inc., s&r seafood, manhattan

fish co., and more than a dozen others.

Heavily clothed workers were moving about busily, car-

rying boxes and pushing two-wheel dollies. Trucks, both

local delivery and over-the-road tractor trailers, were being

steadily loaded.

“There it is,” Canidy said, pointing to a doorway five

businesses down. The sign above it read: sammy’s

wholesale seafood co.

A forklift carrying a pallet with a four-foot-tall

wooden bin piled high with iced-down fish was moving

quickly into Sammy’s. The cab dodged it and pulled up

outside the doorway, its brakes squealing to a stop.

Canidy paid the fare, and they got out and started

toward the doorway. Canidy carried his attaché case with

the Sicily books and charts.

Fulmar sniffed and made a face. “Rather rank, huh?”


3 3 9

Canidy inhaled deeply—but didn’t gag, which sur-

prised Fulmar.

“This?” Canidy said. “This is nothing. You should go

around back, where the boats come in. It’s really raw


They walked through the large doorway and stepped

around the back of the forklift that now was putting down

its load beside a wooden table thirty feet long and topped

with a sheet of dented, bloodstained galvanized tin.

Behind the table stood four men with long, thin-

bladed filet knives. They began to methodically pull fish

from the just-delivered box, and, with surgical skill—

remarkable both for their spare efficient motions and for

their ability to completely remove all useful flesh—began

to separate tissue from bone.

The large filets were then slid down the tin tabletop,

where another worker put them in a twenty-gallon scoop

that hung by chain below an enormous scale suspended

from a steel ceiling beam.

When the scale’s long black needle rotated on the dial

face to the number 20, the worker then packed the fish

filets with shaved ice into smaller boxes, these made of

heavy waxed cardboard and imprinted with: perishable

fresh seafood—20 lbs.—sammy’s wholesale sea-

food co. nyc.

The full boxes were then stacked on a new pallet,

which, when full, the forklift would carry out to one of

the delivery trucks.

All around the open-air facility, workers moved fish in

3 4 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

various states of processing—from full carcasses to just

head and bones—by spiking them with handheld two-

foot-long gaffs (cold steel hooks on short shafts). Occa-

sionally, a couple of workers would wheel around dollies

carrying forty-gallon galvanized tubs of squid and octo-


The forklift driver—a fat, squat, rough-looking Italian

with coal black eyes set deep in a weathered face—put

the lift in reverse, inched it backward, and, when the

forks were clear of the pallet of fish, raced the engine and

manipulated a lever that very noisily brought the forks a

foot off the ground. Then he very quickly backed the lift

outside, where he switched off the engine and jumped

free as it slowed and then came to a stop all by itself.

He walked back inside the large doors and looked at

Canidy and Fulmar.

“Help you guys?” he asked agreeably.

“Looking for Frank Nola,” Canidy said.

The coal black eyes studied Canidy a moment.

“The name’s Canidy,” he added. “Nola knows we’re



Canidy followed the squat Italian’s eyes upward.

There he saw a bare steel framework of beams supported

by steel poles, painted red and rising from the concrete

first floor. Above the framework was a wooden tongue-

and-groove floor.

“The steps are in the back there,” the squat Italian

added, pointing to a far corner.

“Thanks,” Canidy replied.


3 4 1

Fulmar followed Canidy to the back corner, then up

the steps, which led to a narrow landing on the second

floor and a wooden door with a small metal sign reading:


Canidy knocked, and then they heard footsteps ap-

proaching the other side of the door. The knob turned

and the door flew open inward.

The office was dimly lit by a single bare bulb hanging

from the ceiling, but Canidy and Fulmar could see well

enough to tell that they were looking at the muzzle of a

high-caliber long arm—and immediately put their hands

up, waist high, palms out. Canidy’s attaché case hung

painfully on his thumb.

Behind the business end of the firearm was an Italian

fishmonger, this one somewhat slender and of medium

height, wearing a dark wool sweater and black rubber

overalls. Canidy could not be sure in the low light of the

office but he thought that this guy looked like one of

Nola’s men whom he had seen loading crates on the

truck the previous night.

I can easily grab the end of the barrel, Canidy thought.

But even if I get the muzzle pointed away, this could get

messy fast, especially if that’s what I think it is and it’s on

full auto.

Canidy saw some motion behind the fishmonger, and

then Francesco Nola’s voice called from farther inside the

office. “Mario! Put that gun away!”

Another set of footsteps quickly approached the door.

The door swung open completely and there stood Nola.

He pushed Mario to the side, forced the direction of the

3 4 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

muzzle to the ceiling, and then smacked him on the side

of the head.

As Fulmar and Canidy put down their hands, they ex-

changed glances. Fulmar’s said what Canidy was think-

ing— We’ve got to deal with dangerous goons like this?

“Nice welcoming party,” Canidy said. “I’d hate to see

how you host people you don’t expect.”

“My apologies,” Nola said. “Mario, he’s just a little

jumpy. Come in, come in.”

Canidy looked around the office once they were in-

side. There was a rusty filing cabinet against one wall, a

grimy, threadbare couch with the stuffing poking out the

cushions against another, and in the middle a big, beat-

up wooden desk that had its front right leg reinforced by a

two-by-four nailed to it.

“This is a very close friend of mine, Frank,” he said as

he gestured to Fulmar.

Nola offered his hand to Fulmar. “Francesco Nola.”

Fulmar shook the hand but made no effort to offer his


“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Nola.”

“It’s Frank, please.”

Canidy said, “Mind if I ask where Mario got that


“Why?” Nola said.

“Can I have a look at it?” Canidy pursued.

“Mario,” Nola said, “give my friend the rifle.”

Mario, in a sloppy motion, swung the barrel so that

the muzzle swept across Canidy and Fulmar. This time


3 4 3

Canidy did grab the end of the barrel and thrust it

toward the ceiling.

“No offense, Mario,” he said coldly, “but I’ve seen

people killed that way.”

Nola smacked the top of Mario’s head again. “Idiot!”

Mario looked hurt and let loose of the stock.

Canidy held up the gun to the light from the bare

bulb. He looked it over, then read the stamping on the

receiver. “Yeah, just what I thought.”

He looked at Fulmar, then handed him the gun.

“Ever see one of these?”

“A Johnny gun, no?”

Canidy nodded. “A Johnson model 1941 light ma-

chine gun, chambered for thirty-ought-six Springfield.

They’re rare.”

“And they’re a helluva weapon. They had the semi-

auto rifle version at the range in Virginia. Next to the

Thompsons. I think the range master said that the LMG

in full auto puts out four hundred and fifty rounds a

minute. Reliably. Open bolt, no jams.”

The range in Virginia was at an estate that the OSS

used as its agent training facilities. They called it “The

Farm.” It essentially was an intense boot camp—one

where all the agents in training went by their first name

and only their first name—complete with instruction in

all types of explosives and weaponry, domestic and for-

eign. The gun range had a wide range of pistols and rifles,

anything the OSS could get its hands on from the field

so that agents would have some familiarity in their use

3 4 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

should they find themselves left with only, say, a German

Mauser or British Sten to defend themselves.

“Johnny gun” was a word play on “Tommy gun,” the

nickname for the storied Thompson .45 caliber subma-

chine gun.

“They said the LMG was in short supply,” Fulmar fin-

ished, handing the gun back to Canidy.

Canidy pulled the twenty-round box magazine from

its mount in the left side of the receiver, checked the ac-

tion to ensure that a round wasn’t chambered, then

handed the gun to Mario. He inspected the magazine

and then tossed that to him.

“Do us a favor, Mario. Leave it unloaded till we leave,


Mario squinted his eyes to show his disapproval.

“Do as he says,” Nola added.

Mario nodded, then walked with the gun to the grimy

couch on the far side of the office and took a seat, laying

the weapon across his knees.

Canidy turned to Nola.

“Reason I asked where you got that,” he said evenly,

“is that they are in short supply, and the ones available

were supposed to go to the Marines.”

That’s one reason. Another is: I’d like to get my hands on

one for myself.

“No,” Nola said, “that one came from a crate that was

supposed to go to the Netherlands.”

Canidy’s eyes lit up.


He looked at Fulmar.


3 4 5

“Story I heard was that there was a real pissing match

over the Johnny gun even being considered to take the

place of the BAR,” Canidy explained.

The beloved Browning automatic rifle was the U.S.’s

primary automatic weapon, tough as nails and reliable as

hell. In many minds it had no peer, and never would, and

when Boston attorney—and Marine Corps reserve offi-

cer—Melvin Maynard Johnson Jr. designed and built the

first generation of the Johnny gun—a semiautomatic rifle

that he felt was superior to the new M1 Garand—his bat-

tle for it to be adopted was straight uphill. In the eyes of

the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, the Johnson had

all the chance of being military issue that a Red Ryder BB

gun or a slingshot did.

Johnson did get his M1941 LMG into the hands of

some Marine Raiders. And the Marine’s First Parachute

Battalion came to prefer the weapon because it weighed

only twelve pounds (the BAR was a hefty twenty), and

because its buttstock and barrel were designed to be

quickly removed and replaced, allowing for more com-

pact packing and easier servicing in the field.

“Then,” Canidy went on, “some Marines praised its

performance in the Solomons and ’Canal—more than

one swearing it beat the BAR hands down, especially

in the jungles—and the Dutch got wind of that and or-

dered a bunch for their colonial troops in the East In-


“But the Japs took the islands,” Fulmar said.

“Right. And after they did, the U.S. embargoed the

weapons that had come out of the Rhode Island factory

3 4 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

and not yet shipped. So at that point no one was getting

them, except now . . .”

Canidy looked at Nola.

“Would I be guessing wrong if I said that friends of

Socks peddled this one?”

Nola did not have to say anything. The answer was on

his face.

Canidy said, “I’m not at all happy with the idea of the

mob getting them.”

Nola shrugged. “What can I say? Better than the Japs.”

“I heard that they had to pull a whole shipment off one

of the Liberty ships.”

Nola shrugged again. “If you say. I do not know. I am


Well, this is starting out as some fine partnership,

Canidy thought.

He said, “Have you seen Lanza today?”

“Yes, he was here at the market.”

“Was or is? I’d like to see him.”

Nola walked over to the desk and picked up the phone

and asked for a number.

“This is Frank Nola,” he said after a moment. “Is Mr.

Lanza still there?” There was a pause. “At his office?

Thank you.”

He broke off the connection by pushing the receiver

hook down with his index finger, then asked for another


“Mr. Lanza? Frank Nola—

“Yes, sir, those fish were processed, packed, and



3 4 7

“Probably three days. The Annie should be out right


“Yes, sir, I will. Mr. Lanza, I have Mr. Canidy here. He

wants to see you—

“I will. Good-bye.”

He put the receiver in its hook and looked at Canidy.

“He said to come by his office. He has something for

you. He’s going to get something to eat, then he’ll be

back there till midnight.”

“In Meyer’s Hotel?”

“Room two-oh-one.”

“Okay,” Canidy said, carrying his attaché case to the

desk. “In the meantime, I hope I can find something that

you do know about. I brought some charts of Sicily and

the islands. Think we can start with a tour?”

Nola nodded. “Yes. And I may have other things that

would be of help.”

Canidy unfolded the chart that covered the southern

coast of Sicily.

“We run boats from here at Porto Empedocle,” Nola

began, pointing to a midpoint on the southern coast of

the island, “across the Strait of Sicily down to the Black

Pearl, then over to Tunisia.” He paused. “Do you have a

chart that shows Africa?”

“Hang on,” Canidy said and pulled the Michelin

Guide from his attaché.

Nola took it and flipped to a regional map that

included a sliver of the northern African coast just under

Sicily, then continued, “To here at Nabeul, then up and

around Cape Bon and into Tunis itself.”

3 4 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy pointed at the Sicilian island in the strait that

was closer to Tunisia than to Sicily. “The Black Pearl?”

Nola nodded.

“Pantelleria,” he explained. “It is volcanic rock—black

rock—about fourteen by eight or nine kilometers. It’s

known for its capers, figs, lentils, grapes. I have cousins

there. Rizzo is the family name. Many Rizzos there. They

are tonnarotti.”

Canidy shook his head.

“Tuna fisherman,” Fulmar translated.

Nola smiled and nodded. “Bluefin tuna. You would

like it. They take a number of boats and work the nets,

surrounding the big fish like cowboys herd cattle. The

nets close in and the great tuna struggle to escape, and

the water, as you can imagine, becomes a brutal swirl of

fish and blood.”

Fulmar said, “Those fish can be four hundred


Nola smiled again.

“Yes. Some as big as some cattle. And when you catch

the entire school—twenty, thirty fish or more—it is

called a mattanza.” He paused. “That is a word that also

has come to mean ‘massacre.’ ”

Canidy studied Nola, who clearly was happy with this

tale of his family heritage, then glanced at Mario on the


Maybe there is some fight to these people after all, Canidy

thought. Not blooded in human battle, but unafraid of be-

ing around blood and violence.


3 4 9

“So how far from here to here to here—Porto Empe-

docle to the Black Pearl to Tunis?”

“About one hundred and fifty kilometers,” Nola said.

“One way.”

“And how often does your family run the route?”

“Every day. There are boats traveling in both direc-

tions. They usually take two, three days—when there

are no patrols or other problems, such as mechanical

breaks—fishing as they go.”

“What if they did not fish?”

“Straight across? Less than a day, considering the


Fulmar said, “Tell us about the patrols.”

“Germans mostly. Sometimes Italians. They usually

do not stop us. But sometimes they board the boats,

make sure we are doing what we say we’re doing. Some-

times they take our fish. Confiscate it?”

Fulmar nodded. “Harassment.”

“Yes. They say it is a price of doing business.” He

paused. “One captain from another family refused to give

up his catch—he had been stopped twice that month—

and the Germans shot his boat full of holes. So he lost

the catch and the boat . . . and was lucky to live.”

Canidy said, “How many boats do you have and what


“There are—or at least there were when I was last

there—nineteen boats. Eight of them are deepwater

boats that average twelve meters in length. The others

are smaller—maybe six meters—and completely open.”

3 5 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“And the crew for the big boats?”

“Two to six. Depends on the time of year—more in

May and June, when the big tuna move through—and

who is available.”

Canidy pointed to the chart, at the southern shore of


“Let’s say I was coming into port on one of your

boats. What would I see? Who would I see?”

Nola’s eyes brightened and his narrow face spread

with a broad grin.

“Oh, you would see the most beautiful port in your

life. And the most wonderful people.”

Canidy said, “I need details, please. Specifics.”

Nola nodded agreeably.

“Not a problem.”

He went to a box across the room and took from it a

heavy leather-bound volume some two feet square and at

least three inches thick.

He brought it back to the desk and said proudly, “My

family photographs.”

He opened the cover and pointed to a somewhat

faded black-and-white photo that dominated the first page.

It showed a score of heavyset middle-aged and older men,

ten of them, sitting in straight-backed wooden chairs and

the other half standing behind them, all in dark suits and

shoes and white shirts.

“These are the padrones,” Nola said. “The leaders of

Porto Empedocle.”

Canidy thought, Jesus Christ, that is one tough unat-

tractive crowd.


3 5 1

“This was taken about five years ago. Some are still


He pointed to two of the men standing. They were a

bit taller and far more slender than most of the others.

They resembled Nola.

“This one is my father,” he said. “And next to him,

his brother, my uncle Ignazio, who was on the town


He pointed at a very fat, very gray-headed man seated

in the middle chair. “This was the mayor, Carlo Paglia. A

very wise man.”

And looking mean as hell, Canidy thought.

“The Nazis took Mayor Paglia and Uncle Ignazio off

to prison. Some of the others fled to Tunis, but most


He sighed and turned the page.

Nola went through the album, describing each photo-

graph, where it was taken, and pointing out that location

on an admiralty chart—or, if in Tunis, on the 1935

tourist map of Tunisia that he had produced—then writ-

ing down names of who was who. He set aside duplicate

loose photos for Canidy to keep.

The majority of the images showed Sicily. It clearly

was a more robust and happier time. The towns built

along the hills were busy. The people looked full of life.

They ran their businesses and raised their families. They

swam the clear turquoise waters and played on the

beaches of pebble and sand, strolled the crowded palaz-

zos and shopped the open-air markets that offered plen-

tiful meats and vegetables and fruit.

3 5 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

That likely was not the case now, not with everyone

forced to work for the war effort. The Germans also took

the majority of their food production and shipped it to

feed others elsewhere. Rationing was widespread—not to

mention discontent with Mussolini and fascism.

After two hours, Canidy and Fulmar felt that they knew

the extended family of Francisco Nola and the families

of the padrones damned near intimately. Both those in

Porto Empedocle and Tunis.

Nola folded the sheets of paper, then handed them

and the photographs to Canidy.

“Thank you,” Canidy said.

He put them in his attaché case.

“Frank, how soon do you think you will be able to


Nola looked back at him blankly.


“Yes. Leave. You are going with me, right?”

“That was not the plan,” Nola said.

“Well, then it is now.”

“No, it is not possible for me to go with you.”

Canidy exchanged glances with Fulmar, then looked

back at Nola.

“Why the hell not?”

“I cannot say.” He glanced at the folded papers.

“Once you locate my family, the letter of introduction

will do the rest. You will have many people.”


3 5 3

Canidy started stuffing the books and charts back in

his attaché case.

Dammit! I knew this was going too smoothly.

“What the hell happened to the guy who wanted to

blow up all of the Germans himself ?” Canidy said furi-

ously. “Where the hell is he now? Jesus H. Christ,


“He still stands before you,” Nola said stiffly, his voice

wavering with emotion.

Canidy shook his head, then looked him in the eyes.

“Frank, I’m going to need more than family snap-

shots. I need hard intel. How many troops and exactly

where? Who is in charge of harbor security, of town se-

curity? The locations of minefields on the beaches and

offshore, and what’s been booby-trapped. I need docu-

ments on enemy ops. And more. . . .”

“And you will have that,” Nola replied evenly.

Canidy stared at him for a long time. Then he looked

as his watch, then at Fulmar. “Let’s go see Lanza.


Fulmar nodded.

“I’ll be in touch, Frank,” Canidy said sharply.

He grabbed his attaché case and they went out the


Canidy and Fulmar crossed South Street and started

walking the block north toward Meyer’s Hotel.

“Sonofabitch!” Canidy said. “I don’t know if I’m

3 5 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

madder at Nola for saying he’s not going or at myself for

assuming he was going.”

“I would not worry about that too much,” Fulmar

said. “You have what appears to be good information to

get going now. Each bit—”

“I know, I know. Each bit of info leads to more info.

But I needed a lot yesterday.”

Canidy stopped walking.

When Fulmar stopped and looked back at him, Can-

idy said, “There’s just something about this that doesn’t

feel right.”

Fulmar laughed. He checked the immediate area

around them, then said, “Are you fucking kidding me?

Everything about this doesn’t feel right!”

Canidy shook his head.

“Thanks, pal. Thanks for making me feel better.”

The door to room 201 could have used a fresh coat of

paint. It actually could have used a complete refinishing

since it had, judging by the fat flakes of paint that were

peeling off, already been painted four or more times,

layer upon layer. But then if renovation started with the

door, there would be no end to it. The whole damned

hotel needed work.

Canidy, still fuming at Nola’s announcement that he

was not going to Sicily, knocked on the door harder than

he realized and chips of paint came flying off.

“Easy, Dick,” Fulmar said.


3 5 5

The door swung open quickly and noisily and Joe

“Socks” Lanza stood there.

“What the hell?” he said.

He looked at Fulmar.

“Who’s this?”

“A good friend,” Canidy said.

Lanza looked past them, down the hall, then said,

“Let’s not talk in the hall.”

He turned and walked back into the room. Canidy

and Fulmar followed.

The room was bare and ratty but brightly lit. It had a

desk that was a mess of magazines and newspapers, and

four mismatched chairs, one behind the desk. There was

a single window that overlooked South Street, and the

stained bedsheet that served as a curtain was pulled


“I just got the news that Frank Nola is not going to go

with me,” Canidy said.

Lanza sat down behind the desk. Canidy and Fulmar

took seats across the desk from him.

“Yeah—and?” Lanza said.

“And I thought that that was what you were going to

get for me—someone to get me into Sicily and to the lo-

cals there.”

“He didn’t give you any names?”

Canidy grunted.

“I’ve got more names than the fucking Palermo

phone book.”

“Then what is the problem? You use that list, you will

3 5 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

get what you want. That is a promise. Those names—”

Lanza reached into his coat pocket, pulled out an enve-

lope, and handed it across the desk “—those names and

this are all you need.”

Canidy took the envelope, opened it, and unfolded

the letter.

It was written in English and in what appeared to be

Sicilian. Canidy’s eyes fell to the former:

March 1943

The bearer of this letter is Mr. Richard


With this letter, the bearer brings to

you my many good wishes.

It is requested of you in turn that the

bearer be given the same respect and con -

siderations that would be given if I were

to personally appear before you.

Your friendship is appreciated and it

will not be forgotten.

Charles Luciano

(Salvatore Lucania)

It was clear that the date and the first line, slightly mis-

aligned with the other lines, were newly typed.

“You keep a stack of these around?” Canidy asked, his

tone sarcastic. “Just type in a date and a name and

you’re—what?—instantly made?”


3 5 7

“It is necessary with Charlie being away,” Lanza said,

clearly not pleased with being mocked. “He signed that

letter. It will be honored.”

Canidy raised his eyebrows dubiously.

“We’ll see. But this is one reason why I wanted Nola.”

“Look, Charlie Lucky said to give you whatever the

hell you wanted and we will. But it is not possible for

Nola to go with you.”

Canidy’s eyebrows went up again.

“Anything?” he repeated.

Lanza sighed.

“Anything but Nola—”

“For starters,” Canidy interrupted, “I want one of the

Johnson LMGs, like the one that you gave Nola.”

Lanza looked into Canidy’s eyes and frowned slightly.

Bingo, Canidy thought. It was Lanza. Why am I not


Canidy glanced at Fulmar and added, “Make that two.

We will each need one, with a full ammo box.”

Lanza considered the request for a long quiet mo-

ment, then said, “What else?”

“How many do you have?” Canidy asked.

Lanza did not respond, verbally or physically.

“You want to tell me where the hell you got them?”

Canidy pursued.

Lanza didn’t answer.

“They were supposed to go to the Marines,” Canidy

said pointedly. “I can bring a lot of goddamned heat

down on you for grabbing them.”

Lanza’s eyes narrowed. He studied both Canidy and

3 5 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fulmar, then, after a long moment, picked up the tele-

phone receiver and dialed.

“Yeah, it’s Joe. Put two of those new sticks in a box

and put them in the trunk of the car—

“Yeah, those sticks. Don’t ask questions. Just do it.

Make sure they’re complete. . . . What? Yeah, complete.

You know what I mean.”

He hung up the receiver and stared at Canidy.

“Bringing in ‘heat,’ as you say, would not be wise. The

fact is—and you can check this out—it was the military

that ordered those guns pulled off of a Liberty ship”—he

outstretched his left arm and pointed with his index finger

at the window covered with a bedsheet—“right over there

across the river. So it was your guys that did that. And

here we’re doing as you ask. So easy on the threats, huh?”

“Those pulled from the ship were ones for the


Lanza made a thin smile.

“There. You already know.”

“That doesn’t explain why you have them.”

Lanza shrugged.

“A small part of a total shipment got lost between the

ship and the warehouse,” he said simply. “Some guys

found it.”

“And didn’t turn it over?”

Lanza made the thin smile again, then said dryly,

“That’s not the way it works.”

Canidy shook his head.

“What the fuck does it matter?” Lanza said casually.


3 5 9

“So instead of, say, a hundred boxes locked down and

collecting dust, now there’s only ninety-nine. Or ninety-

eight. Whatever.”

He paused to make his point.

“And now you’re going to get yours. Ones you

wouldn’t even know about—let alone get—if they’d

been turned in to be locked up for who the hell knows

how long.”

Jesus Christ, Canidy thought , he’s beginning to make


Canidy looked to the desk, at the newspaper there,

then at Fulmar—and he had a wild idea.

What the hell? What’s to lose? This whole damned dance

with the devil is wild.

Canidy reached forward and took from the desk a

copy of the New York World-Telegram.

One of the headlines read: more bombings lead to

more questions.

“Let me ask you about something else,” he said, hold-

ing up the newspaper. “What do you know about these


“Not much. Less than you, I’d guess.”

Canidy locked eyes with him.

Lanza said, “It’s not our guys, if that’s what you’re


“Can you ask around?” Fulmar said.

Lanza shrugged.

“I’ll keep my ears open,” he said after a moment.

“Anything else?”

3 6 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Not right now,” Canidy said.

Lanza stood up.

“Then I’ll show you the way out.”

They left the office, went down the hallway to the back

of the hotel, then down a flight of wooden steps that led

to the alley.

It was almost completely dark there, but the yellow of

the taxicab made itself known. As did, Canidy noticed,

the hulking silhouette of the monster fishmonger.

“You get the sticks?” Lanza asked the driver.

“In the trunk.”

“Good. They now belong to these guys. Take them

wherever they want.”

The driver wordlessly got in behind the wheel and

slammed the door closed.

Canidy turned to thank Lanza but he had already

gone back in the hotel.

Fulmar and Canidy got in the backseat.

“Gramercy,” Canidy said to the driver. “I think you

know the way.”


[ ONE ]

Gramercy Park Hotel

2 Lexington Avenue

New York City, New York

2210 7 March 1943

The monster fishmonger opened the trunk of the cab,

and inside there were three parcels, each wrapped in

the same heavy brown paper used for packing seafood.

The two smaller packages were cubes about eight by ten

inches; the one larger parcel was flat and rectangular,

some two feet long, a foot wide, and eighteen inches high.

Fulmar reached in for one of the smaller parcels, ex-

pecting it to be lighter than the big one.

“Jesus,” he said. “That’s heavy as hell.”

“That’s because that’s a can of thirty-ought-six,” Canidy

said, standing there holding his attaché case.

Fulmar picked up the bigger box.

“Much better.”

“About twenty-five pounds?” Canidy said.


“That’d be the ‘sticks.’ I have only one free hand. I’ll

carry them while you get the cans.”

3 6 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fulmar raised an eyebrow.

“Gee, thanks, pal.”

In the suite, Canidy put the large parcel on the coffee

table in the sitting room. Fulmar entered a moment later,

somewhat struggling with the weight of the two metal

cans of .30-06 caliber ammunition, one awkwardly cra-

dled under each arm.

He pushed the door closed with his right heel, then

put the cans on the floor with a solid thump, thump. He

tore off the brown paper wrapping.

“I’m going to hit the head,” Canidy said and started

in that direction.

The ammo boxes, dark green with a stencil of yellow

lettering on the side indicating the contents, each had a

metal handle that folded flat against the lid. Fulmar

pulled up a handle as he worked the lid latch.

“It would have been far easier to carry these using the


Canidy chuckled.

“Yeah, and far easier for anyone to have recognized

them as ammo cans,” he answered from the bathroom,

then swung the door shut.

When he came back into the room a few minutes later,

Fulmar had the brown paper off of the sturdy cardboard

containers holding the Johnny guns and was opening the

lid to the one on top.

He looked inside and said, “Oh, shit. Original packing.”

Canidy pulled back the lid to get a better look.


3 6 3

“Oh, shit, indeed. I hate Cosmoline.”

The rust preventative that coated the entire gun—

metal and wood—was a petroleum jelly much like Vase-

line—but stiffer and stinkier and harder than hell to

remove completely. It had a nasty tendency, particularly

in hot weather, to ooze out of every pore of the weapon,

notably from the stock, and onto the shooter’s face,

which was the last place anyone wanted greasy oil when

they were hot and sweaty.

“How’re we going to get it off ?”

“How else? Same as usual. Make a mess. And hope we

get most of it off. . . .”

Some forty minutes later, the floor was a pile of petroleum-

fouled hotel towels. But the Johnny guns practically


“I knew it!” Fulmar said disgustedly, holding out his



“Look at me. There’s fucking Cosmoline all over me.

And I need to take a quick shower before I see Ingrid.”

Canidy began laughing.

“A shower? Good luck. You’re going to bead water bet-

ter than a goose’s ass!”

Fulmar made a face.

“I’m sorry,” Canidy said, not at all convincingly and

visibly trying to suppress more laughter. “Really. Look,

maybe I’d better go for you. I’d probably have a better

chance of bagging her, anyway.”

3 6 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I’ll go like this before I let that happen.”

Canidy, smiling and shaking his head, got up and went

to the door.

“Be right back,” he said and left.

Fulmar walked into the bathroom, turned on the sink

faucets, blending the water till the temperature was as

hot as he could stand it. He began soaping and scrubbing

the petroleum jelly from his hands and forearms.

After ten minutes, there was a knock at the door.


With no clean towels, he shook his hands to try to dry

them as he went to answer the door.

“Yeah?” he called.

“Housekeeping,” Canidy answered in a falsetto voice.

Fulmar turned the knob—getting on his hand the Cos-

moline that Canidy had smeared there when he had gone

out—and opened the door.

There stood Canidy with a Cheshire cat grin and

holding a stack of five fat bath towels.

“Midnight requisition,” Canidy said in his normal


He entered and tossed the stack on one of the arm-


Fulmar carefully pulled one from the middle, where

Canidy’s oily hands had not touched.

“Ingrid thanks you,” Fulmar said.

“I can think of plenty of ways she can do that per-


“I’m sure you can.”


3 6 5

Fulmar took the towel back into the bathroom and

started running the shower water.

Canidy walked over to the cans of ammunition, un-

latched the lid of one, and popped it open. It was packed

with shiny brass cartridges. He reached in, took a hand-

ful, then started feeding them round by round into one

of the six magazines that came in each Johnny gun card-

board container.

When Fulmar came out of the bathroom, he was wearing

his suit pants and was buttoning the top button of a clean

white dress shirt and snugging up the knot of his blue-

and-silver rep necktie.

He saw that Canidy was taking another towel—one of

the clean ones he had just procured—to a Johnny gun

and methodically rubbing off more Cosmoline. The

magazines were all now full of ammunition, lined up

neatly next to the ammo cans.

“This gun’s about as good as it’s going to get,” Can-

idy said. “That is, without sitting for a couple hours un-

der a summer sun to melt out the remainder.”

“It looks nice.”

“Any need to take it with you tonight?”

Fulmar considered that a moment.

“Thanks, but that’s not practical. And not necessary. I

have my .45”—he patted his lower back—“and”—he

patted his left forearm—“my baby Fairbairn.”

Under the shirtsleeve, in a leather scabbard, was a

3 6 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

stiletto-shaped knife that Fulmar used as the situation de-

manded—he pulled it out first if absolute silence was re-

quired or used it as a backup if making noise was not a


Fulmar subscribed to Canidy’s hand-to-hand combat

school of thought: If you were close enough to stick a

blade in someone’s brain, you damned sure were close

enough to put a bullet in it instead.

The Fairbairn had been invented by an Englishman

named William Ewart Fairbairn, who ran the Shanghai

police force. He developed the black, double-edged

blade for close combat with street thugs. Lately, he could

be found at The Farm in Virginia, teaching OSS agents

how to silently kill using his knife, or a silenced .22

caliber pistol, or a number of other highly effective

tools and methods—including a newspaper rolled into a


The “regular” version of the Fairbairn was issued to all

British commandos, its scabbard customarily sewn to the

boot or trouser leg.

Fulmar’s smaller model, which he had bought from an

English sergeant at SOE’s Station X, looked a lot like the

big one but instead featured a six-inch-long, double-

edged blade and a short handle just long enough for

fingers to be wrapped around it. It was carried, hilt

downward, in the scabbard hidden between the bottom

of his left wrist and the inside bend of his elbow.

Canidy knew that Fulmar, as he had fled Germany

with Professor Dyer and Dyer’s daughter, Gisella, had

used the baby Fairbairn quite effectively to scramble the


3 6 7

brains of a string of German SS officers who had had the

misfortune of getting between them and safety.

“Right,” Canidy said. “That should be enough to

protect you as you attempt to secure the fair maiden’s af-


“One can only hope.”

Fulmar pulled on his suit coat.

“Changing the subject,” Canidy said, “I was doing

more than cleaning your weapon while you primped in



“This has nothing to do with your qualities as a room-

mate but I decided that I may not be here when you get

back.” He paused. “Probably won’t be.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, I have, as you say, enough information to get

started . . . and the clock is ticking. I’ll take my new

friend Johnny here and get to work. Unless you think

there is anything that I can do to help you.”

Fulmar looked off in the distance in deep thought.

“Not for me, Dick,” he said finally. “But I do wish I

could go with you.”

“Get done what you have to and maybe you can.”

Fulmar nodded.

“I’ll take care of the room. Just tell them when you’re

leaving it for good.”

“Thanks, Dick.”

They stared at each other a long moment, then em-


When they finally released one another, Canidy was

3 6 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

not sure of his voice and simply nodded good-bye as Ful-

mar quietly picked up his overcoat and went out the


[ TWO ]

New York City, New York

0015 8 March 1943

The traffic at midnight had been nearly nonexistent and

the cab had flown up First Avenue. Too fast for Fulmar,

who did not want to arrive too early. He wanted a little

time to clear his head—walking in crisp, cold air always

seemed to work—and to get a good look at Yorkville be-

fore meeting Ingrid Müller.

He had the cabdriver drop him at the northeast corner

of Second Avenue and Eightieth Street, which was just

inside the southern edge of Yorkville.

This section of Manhattan’s East Side—known for its

heavy concentration of German residents and their shops

and restaurants that recalled dear ol’ Deutschland

covered an area that went from about Seventy-ninth

Street up to Ninety-sixth or so, and from the East River

on over to Third Avenue.

Ingrid Müller had told Fulmar to meet her at Wag-

ner’s Restaurant and Market, Eighty-fifth at Second, and

as the cab drove off he started walking slowly in that di-


He was surprised—though he wasn’t sure why—that

there were still quite a few people out and about in the

cold at this late hour.


3 6 9

As he passed a dimly lit bakery and coffee shop—the

sign read: konditorei kaffeehaus—he looked inside

and saw that it was about a quarter full of patrons.

That impressed him, but not quite as much as the rea-

son why it took a bit of effort to see the people inside:

From the top of the shop’s window, next to a chalkboard

menu, hung a huge American flag. It filled half of the big

window, and he guessed that if they could have put a big-

ger one there, they would have.

As he approached the next block, Fulmar saw that

someone had pasted on the side of a redbrick apartment

building a series of U.S. Navy recruitment posters so that

they covered—mostly, anyway—the pro-Nazi graffiti be-


Block after block, he passed more nicely kept shops and

apartment buildings.

By all appearances, Yorkville seemed just another nor-

mal New York neighborhood.

If you didn’t look too deeply, it’d be hard to believe it’s a

boiling pot of subversion. . . .

Ahead, Fulmar saw the brick and glass façade to Wag-

ner’s Restaurant and Market.

The establishment’s name was painted in large gold

lettering on the main picture window, above a round, red

neon sign—rheingold extra dry—advertising beer.

Its street number was painted in the same gold lettering,

but much smaller, on the glass panes above the dark

wooden door.

Fulmar glanced inside the window, past the blinking

neon sign, but did not immediately see Ingrid Müller.

3 7 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He grabbed the big brass handle of the door, pulled

hard, and went inside.

The first thing that he noticed was the blast of heat

that greeted him.

He pulled off his overcoat and draped it on his left

arm, over the sleeve concealing his baby Fairbairn.

He saw that Wagner’s was more of a bar and grill than

a real grocery, such as Schaller & Weber’s, which he had

noticed on Second Avenue just up the block.

The interior of Wagner’s had dark-stained paneled

walls. The ceiling was of pressed tin in a burnished gold

color. The bar, also of dark wood, ran the length of the

right side of the room—where a series of four U.S. flags

hung from staffs in a row above the mirrors. There were

wooden tables and chairs in the middle of the room and

a line of booths down the left side.

At the back of the restaurant was the “market”—two

open refrigerated cases, the kind found in full-service

grocery stores, these containing packages of kielbasa,

bratwurst, potato salad, and such, all menu items that

had been prepared in the kitchen on the premises for


About half of the bar’s twenty or so stools were

taken—including by a half-dozen sailors in uniform—

and three of the tables were each occupied by couples en-

joying their cocktails.

Fulmar noticed motion on the left side of the room,

and when he looked he saw in a booth a blonde woman

in a dark outfit waving to get his attention.


3 7 1

She was sitting alone, smoking a cigarette, and had on

the table in front of her a cup of what he guessed was

probably coffee.

My God! She’s gotten even more gorgeous.

He smiled and made a direct line for her table.

As he walked up, she smiled.

“I knew that had to be you,” she said. “You haven’t

changed . . . but, then, you have.”

She remained seated but held out her right hand.

When he reached to take it, she leaned forward and

turned her head to offer her cheek. Fulmar took her hand,

bent over, touched his right cheek to hers, and made the

sound of a kiss. She turned the other way and he touched

his left cheek to hers, and again made the kissing sound.

Damn, she has soft skin.

Fulmar looked at her. She wore no makeup that he

could tell.

And she doesn’t need it.

Her fair skin was flawless. She had a soft, narrow face

with high cheekbones, a thin nose, delicate lips, high eye-

brows, and deep, ice blue eyes. Her hair was rich and

thick, heavy with big waves. And her dark outfit tried but

failed to hide the fact that she was fantastically built.

“It’s great to see you again, Ingrid. You look sensa-


She smiled appreciatively.

“That’s very kind of you to say.”

She gestured to the seat across the table from her.

“Please, have a seat.”

3 7 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fulmar tossed his overcoat onto the seat and slid in

the booth after it.

The cushioning or the springs—or both—in the seat

were soft or old—or both—and he instantly found him-

self sitting in a sort of self-formed bowl.

The back of this bowl pressed at his lower backside,

which, in turn, pushed at the nose of the .45 tucked in

the small of his back. He discreetly reached back and

repositioned the pistol so that it would not fall out of his


Ingrid said, “I’m so glad that we could get together

again. It’s been—what?—five, six years?”

“Ten,” Fulmar said.

Really? No! That long?”

“And some ten thousand letters,” he added with a smile.

She blushed.

She looked down momentarily as she absently ran the

long, thin fingers of her left hand through her thick,

wavy golden hair.

When she looked back up, she took a puff of the ciga-

rette she held between the tips of her right-hand index

and middle fingers, then exhaled as she leaned forward.

She rested on her right elbow, her wrist cocked, her

thumb angling the cigarette upward.

“If you’re trying to make me feel guilty,” she grinned,

“you’re being successful.”

“I apologize.”

“Please don’t. They were very sweet letters, and I

should be ashamed for not responding to them.”

“Well, I imagine you get quite a bit of fan mail. You


3 7 3

can’t answer every one. And lately you have been writing

me back. . . .”

She smiled a smile that said, Thank you for letting me

off the hook.

After a moment, she said, “Would you like something

to eat or drink?”

He nodded. “Is that coffee?”


“Actually, I have a weakness for the power of persua-


She cocked her head quizzically.

“How so?”

“That neon sign in the window?”

She looked at it, then back at him.

“What about it?”

“I’m convinced it’s there for me,” he said with a

straight face, “and for me alone.”

She laughed. It was a deep and husky laugh—one that

had become, in addition to her stunning looks, her sig-

nature on screen.

Fulmar waved to get the bartender’s attention.

“A Rheingold, please,” he called.

The bartender nodded.

Fulmar looked at Ingrid, who was pushing aside

her cup.

“Make it two,” she said with a smile. “Suddenly, this

tea tastes like acid.”

Fulmar turned back toward the bartender, who was

drawing Fulmar’s beer from the tap.

“Make it two.”

3 7 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Two Rheingolds it is,” the bartender replied.

Fulmar turned back to Ingrid.

“So,” she said, “how is your mother?”

Fulmar did not immediately reply.

“You would probably know better than I,” he said fi -

nally, without emotion.

She raised an eyebrow.

“I thought you knew,” he explained.

She shook her head.

“My mother and I don’t talk. I don’t exist to her, at

least to her as Monica Sinclair, Star of the Silver Screen.”

Ingrid reached out with her right hand and gently

squeezed Fulmar’s left wrist. He liked the warm feel of

her hand, and its strength.

“That’s so sad,” she said softly.

Jesus Christ, Fulmar thought, looking into her eyes.

They’re even more sensual in person than on screen. Can she

turn that on and off as needed—or is it sincere?

He shrugged.

“You get used to it,” he said.

She looked off into the distance.

“And all this time,” she added, “I thought that it was

just me that brought out the bitch in Monica.”

“Well, welcome to the club.”

Ingrid shook her head sadly.

She caressed his wrist, then looked more closely at it.

“You have unusually dry hands,” she said suddenly.

It was more a question than a statement.

Fucking Cosmoline, Fulmar thought.


3 7 5

He said, “That’s a long story. Had trouble washing some

gunk off of my hands.”

She stared at him with a look of amazement.

“You seem to deal with things so well. Nothing seems

to bother you—”

She paused as the bartender arrived with the two

glasses of beer.

He placed one in front of Ingrid, then one in front of


“Danke,” Fulmar said.

“No problem,” the bartender said.

The bartender showed no reaction, one way or the

other, to Fulmar thanking him in German and walked away.

Fulmar smiled at Ingrid.

“Let’s change the subject, huh?”

“Okay,” she said.

She let go of his wrist and put her hands in her lap.

Shit! he thought. Maybe we should get back to dis-

cussing Sweet Ol’ Mom. . . .

Fulmar picked up his beer.

“To reunions,” he said, holding it toward her.

She grinned.

“Why not?” she said, picking up her beer. “To re-


They touched glasses and took sips.

Fulmar put his glass on the table and leaned forward.

“Tell me about yourself.”

“What do you mean?”

“What are you up to these days?”

3 7 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I read the terrible scripts that my agent in Holly-

wood sends me, then scream at my agent for sending me

terrible scripts.”

“What’s wrong with them?”

She let out her trademark laugh loud enough that,

Fulmar saw in his peripheral vision, two of the sailors at

the bar turned and looked and smiled along before going

back to their conversation.

“What’s not wrong with them!” she said. “Forgive me,

but these are roles even your mother would not take.”

She looked wistful.

“It’s hard in these days of war,” she went on, “partic-

ularly with a name like mine, to get good parts. I’m look-

ing at changing agents. There’s a very young guy named

Ovitz who I like a lot. Funny guy, and sharp as razor.”

“Stan Fine mentioned him once,” Fulmar said. “Had

nothing but nice things to say, and that I understand is

unheard of in Hollywood.”

He took a sip of beer.

“So you’ve got some time on your hands between


She narrowed her eyes.

“What do you mean by that?”

Fulmar glanced around the room before replying.

“What we sometimes talked about in our letters.”

She raised one of her thin eyebrows, then looked at

her cigarette and took a long pull on it.

Fulmar said, “You know who my father is, yes?”

She nodded as she exhaled the cigarette smoke toward

the ceiling.


3 7 7

The memory of when she learned that was very clear

in her mind.

Years earlier, in one of Monica Sinclair’s weaker mo-

ments—she’d been stone-drunk after a long day of being

extremely difficult on the set—Ingrid had been told about

“that sonofabitch” with whom Monica had had a fling.

And by whom she had had an unwanted son.

Monica Sinclair had vividly described the Baron von

Fulmar as not only “a miserable fucking prick of the

highest order” but as one highly placed in the Nazi Party

and as the general director of the very important Fulmar

Elektrische G.m.b.H.

So, Ingrid knew, not only was Fulmar arguably as Ger-

man as anyone in Yorkville, but he was unquestionably bet-

ter connected than probably everyone there. Including Fritz

Kuhn, whom Hitler tolerated but did not necessarily like.

She looked him in the eyes.

“And,” he went on, “you have alluded to the fact that

you are friendly with Fritz Kuhn.”

Ingrid quickly looked away.

“I’d prefer we not talk about that here.”

She picked up her beer and took a healthy swallow.

Fulmar did the same, then put down his glass. He

leaned forward.

“I want to help,” he whispered.

“Help what?”

“The Bund.”

Fulmar noticed that the mention of the German-

American Bund—the federation of American Nazis—

seemed to pique her interest.

3 7 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Especially,” he went on, “if there’s any connection to

the bombing of the American cities.”

Ingrid looked at him a very long moment—he thought

he saw sadness or maybe even some disappointment—

but she did not say a word.

She looked away, lit a fresh cigarette, took a puff and


She looked back at Fulmar, her ice blue eyes calculat-

ing, then drained her beer and stubbed out her barely

burned cigarette.

“Let’s discuss this in my apartment,” she said with a


Fulmar smiled back.

Yes, let’s discuss this in your apartment.

This . . . and maybe how I get in your pants.

He turned to the bartender and pointed to their table.

“Check, please!”


Room 909

Robert Treat Hotel

Newark, New Jersey

1829 7 March 1943

Mary was late.

Kurt Bayer stood looking out the big window of the

hotel room, trying to see if he could get a glimpse of her

coming down the sidewalk to the hotel. It was no use. At

this distance, from the ninth floor, it was impossible to


3 7 9

distinguish many details of the people beyond the kind of

clothes they wore—suit or skirt—and the coloring—dark

or light—of that clothing.

He checked his watch again.

She was now almost exactly an hour and a half late.

When she had been only a half hour late, he had gone

from being excited about her arrival to the early stages of

being annoyed. And at an hour, he had started getting


But now, after nearly ninety minutes, he had begun to

worry about her.

And I have no idea how to check on her, he thought,

frustrated. I can’t very well go down to that topless dance

bar—if I could find the fucking thing—and ask around

about her.

Bayer knew, too, that he wasn’t about to go ask

Richard Koch for any help, either. They had spent all day

together going over again—for what in Bayer’s mind had

to be the fiftieth time—their plans for putting a bomb on

a New York City transit bus.

At one point, after Bayer had asked Koch for just a few

dollars—which Koch reluctantly gave him—Koch had

gone after him about Mary, had gone on and on and on

about how the relationship had to end. Period.

Koch had even tried to make Bayer admit that not

only was the relationship stupid but it was dangerous,

too, and he wanted him to promise to think only of the


To which Bayer had promptly stood, glared at Koch,

3 8 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

said that he wasn’t about to walk away from a woman he

thought he might be falling in love with, and then

stormed out of the room and went to his own.

Where, now some two hours later, he waited and wor-


I’m going crazy in here, he thought as he turned away

from the window. Maybe going downstairs and meeting

her there will help.

If nothing else, I’ll get to see her sooner. . . .

He picked up his Walther PPK pistol from the bedside

table, slipped it into the right pocket of his woolen win-

ter coat, and went out the door.

As he approached the bank of elevators, he saw that

the floor indicator above the right pair of doors showed

that that elevator was stopped at the eleventh floor. He

looked above the left set of doors and saw that the nee-

dle of its indicator was moving; the car was coming up,

now passing the seventh floor.

Maybe she’s on it. . . .

The needle of the indicator moved past 7, then 8, and

then 9. He heard the car itself actually pass his floor. The

needle then showed that it had stopped on 10.


He pushed the down button, illuminating it.

The indicator of the right elevator began moving. The

needle moved past 10, approached 9—then passed 9 and

kept going all the way to 1.

What the hell?

He looked at the down button. It was still illumi-


3 8 1

nated. He stabbed it twice with his right index finger


He next heard the sounds of the left car coming down

from the tenth floor, then the clunking of the mechanism

that opened its pair of doors on his floor.

The car was empty.

Bayer quickly entered it, but as the doors started to

close he had a sudden desperate thought.

What if she comes up while I’m going down?

He stepped one foot out of the car, into the path of

the closing doors, and they tried to close completely.

With considerable effort, he fought the mechanism and,

after a moment, forced them back open.

He stood there, leaning against the door, trying to de-

cide what to do.

This is driving me nuts. What is it with this girl that’s

making me act this way? Ach!

He shook his head, stepped back inside the car,

pushed the button labeled l on the wall and sighed as the

door mechanism clunked the doors closed.

Bayer spent a frantic twenty minutes checking the lobby

of the hotel, then the sidewalk outside—going all the

way to the street corner in both directions—then the

lobby again, before taking a seat in the same upholstered

chair in the lobby that Richard Koch had waited that

morning before breakfast.

With his clear view of both the elevator bank and the

3 8 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

front door, he watched a steady stream of guests going

to and from the elevators. He even noticed that at least

once the elevators had carried a guest or guests plural to

the ninth floor.

But no Mary.

After about ten minutes, he had had enough.

He got up, walked to the elevators, and rode the left

one back up to the ninth floor.

When Bayer stepped off of the elevator, he noticed

movement to his right and looked toward it.

Standing in front of the door to the room at the very

end of the hall was a heavyset man of about thirty, medium

height, wearing a tight-fitting dark suit and a hat. He was

also very hairy—he had almost fur overflowing his shirt

collar and cuffs.

Bayer recalled seeing him get on the elevator in the

lobby when he had first gone downstairs. Now the man

apparently was having some difficulty getting his key to

unlock the door to his room. When they exchanged

glances, the man shrugged his shoulders. He looked em-

barrassed or anxious—or both.

Bayer turned in the other direction and walked to his


He unlocked the door of 909, turned the knob, and

began to push open the door. As he did so, the first thing

he noticed was the sound of soft sobbing coming from




3 8 3

He threw open the door.

There on the bed, he saw her curled in the fetal posi-

tion, her back turned toward him.

She had kicked off her heels but still wore her winter

coat. She had on a navy blue, knee-length skirt, white

blouse, and, over her blond hair, a flower-patterned navy


“Mary!” he said, slamming the door harder than he


She responded by sobbing more deeply, her body

trembling with the effort.

Bayer quickly went to her and reached out tentatively

to touch her. His right hand gently grasped her left

shoulder. She recoiled at first, pulling free of his hand.

He softly sat on the bed and touched her shoulder

again. This time, she did not pull away, and when he

tugged gently she slowly—and with what was obvious

pain—rolled toward him, stopping as she lay on her back.

She had the scarf completely covering her face.

He reached down to pull back the scarf and give her a

kiss. She held the fabric tightly, and he had to tug a cou-

ple of times before she let it slide back.

Bayer was shocked at the sight.

So horrible was her bruising and swelling that he au-

tomatically exclaimed in German, “Ach du lieber Gott!”

One of Mary’s eyes was swollen completely shut. The

other had broken blood vessels. Her ears were bruised, as

though she’d been repeatedly slapped. Her nose was

bloody—he wondered if it was in fact broken—and she

had a busted upper lip.

3 8 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He was not sure but it looked like she might have lost

one of the teeth that helped form her goofy little gap.

He looked away from her face and cautiously down

along her body. It was then that he saw that her neck was

also bruised—four horizontal stripes of blue-black on the

left side of her throat, three on the right, that strongly

suggested someone had taken both hands and tried to

strangle her. And farther down, beneath the white blouse,

dark shapes on her breasts that indicated the beating had

been widespread.

He could not comprehend an act so vicious against a

girl so beautiful.

His head spun.

He inhaled deeply.

He began to cry.

“What happened, Mary? Who did this?”

She did not reply. She pulled the scarf back over her

face, rolled back over into the fetal position, and contin-

ued to sob.

Bayer attempted to softly stroke her back to console

her, but when he did she made a strong reflex and he

guessed that she had been beaten on her back, too.

He stood up and anxiously paced the room.

“I’ve got to get you to a hospital.”

Mary shook her head twice and grunted, “Uh-uh.”

Bayer thought, Christ, she’s right. I can’t take her. If they

started asking me questions, they might think that I did this.

And even if they don’t, they will ask who I am, and

that’s a question I can’t afford to answer. . . .


3 8 5

He checked her over cautiously.

After he had determined to the best of his ability that

she did not seem to have any life-threatening injuries—

he was relieved, too, to see that she hadn’t lost any

teeth—he went in the bathroom, ran cold water in the

sink, and soaked a hand towel in it. He wrung out the ex-

cess water and went back to the bed.

“Here. Let me try to clean up some of this.”

She didn’t move at first, but after a moment she slowly

rolled onto her back.

He pulled back the scarf, then removed it from her

head entirely, tossing it to the side of the bed. He began

to softly dab at the dried blood on her lip, taking care not

to reopen the wound.

When that blood was cleared, he refolded the towel to

make a clean area, then moved to her nostrils and worked

to clear them of the caked blood.

When the hand towel had turned completely red, he

went back into the bathroom, rinsed it out, wet a second

one, then took both of them to Mary.

He folded the fresh towel lengthwise and draped it

across her forehead. Then he took the towel that he had

rinsed and went back to softening the dried blood and

dabbing it off.

A half hour later, Bayer carefully began undressing Mary.

He removed her coat, then unbuttoned her blouse

and pulled it back.

3 8 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The bruises across her belly and back almost made

him nauseated.

He helped her into the bathroom and into the shower,

then gently dried her with a towel and put her in bed.

Then he pulled up a chair, turned on some soft music,

and gently stroked her hair until she fell into a deep sleep.

When Bayer awoke the next morning, Mary was curled

under the covers with only her head visible. She was

looking at him with her one good eye.

She tried to smile but the effort clearly hurt her.

“Good morning,” Bayer asked softly. “How do you


She shook her head twice slowly.

“Can I get you anything?”

She shook her head again.

“Are you going to be all right?”

She nodded.

Bayer stood. He walked into the bathroom, filled one

of the glasses with water, drank it all, then refilled the

glass and brought it to Mary.

“Here,” he said, holding out the glass. “Try some of

this. You need to drink.”

She closed her eye but did not move.

Bayer stared at her, wondering what to do next. Then

he saw that she was moving her feet, ever so slightly, then

her legs. He realized that she was attempting to reposi-

tion herself—and that it was taking great effort.

She has got to be in terrible pain.


3 8 7

“Can I help?” he said softly.

She shook her head, then rolled onto her back and

used her elbows to inch herself up, pulling the sheet with

her as she went.

Bayer quickly put the glass of water on the bedside table

and started adjusting the pillows to better support her.

When she was sitting up and as comfortable as could

be expected, she reached over and picked up the glass.

She sipped the water tentatively, drinking only about a

quarter of the water in the glass.

She sat there, her good eye closed, and slowly

breathed in and out. After a moment, she brought the

glass back up to her lips, took a deeper sip than before,

then opened her eye and watched as she put the glass

back on the table.

She looked at Bayer and mouthed, Thank you.

He said very slowly and softly but with some force,

“Who did this, sweetheart?”

Mary closed her eye, shook her head, then slid down

on the bed, back beneath the sheets.

She pulled the cover over her head and went back to


3 8 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ FOUR ]

OSS London Station

London, England

0915 10 March 1943

As a professional aviator, Major Richard M. Canidy,

United States Army Air Forces, knew that to get from

New York City to Algiers the faster, more efficient rout-

ing—the term “faster” being somewhat academic, as

there really was no way in hell to quickly cover such a vast

distance—was to go south, then east, then northeast.

That little adventure—about five days in transit if you

were lucky, longer if you weren’t—meant taking a Boe-

ing C-75—one of the massive tail-dragger transcontinen-

tal Clippers with four 900-horsepower Wright Cyclone

engines that the USAAF had taken over from Pan Am—

to South America via Cuba, British Guiana, and Brazil,

then getting aboard a converted B-24 bomber for the

transatlantic leg to Dakar, French West Africa.

With a fuel stop in the ocean on a speck of rock called

Ascension Island.

If good fortune allowed you to find the refueling stop,

and to make Dakar, then came the long flight over the

Sahara Desert, then another over the Atlas Mountains to

Marrakech, then a four-hour hop to Algiers.

To the weary traveler at that point, the ragged little

Maison Blanche Airport looked more lovely than Wash-

ington National Airport during cherry blossom season.

Conversely, Canidy knew, the northern routing, while

arguably not as “fast” or efficient to the Mediterranean


3 8 9

Theater of Operations as its southern counterpart, had at

least two things going for it:

One—which appealed immensely to Canidy the Aero-

nautical Engineer, who had a profound sense of self-

preservation—it did not require, in an aircraft potentially

flying on fumes, the terrifying task of trying to find a

speck of solid surface on which to put down in one of

earth’s largest bodies of water.

And two—which appealed to Canidy the Love-Struck—

it did mean he could stop and see Ann Chambers en


If pressed, Canidy was not sure which was the stronger

sales point, but together they created a deal that simply

could not be passed up.

And so he had gone from the Gramercy Park Hotel in

New York City to Elizabeth, New Jersey, and there caught

an Air Transport Command C-54 aircraft that ferried him

and twoscore of his fellow comrades in arms to Gander

Field, Newfoundland, then on to Prestwick, Scotland.

Canidy found himself in London in almost no time.

Hauling a suitcase in each hand—one containing his

Johnny gun and the six magazines full of .30-06—Dick

Canidy entered the Berkeley Square building of OSS Lon-

don Station, cleared through security, and made his way

upstairs to the office of Captain Helene Dancy, WAC.

Canidy looked through the doorway into her office,

which was outside the doorway to that of her boss, David

Bruce, the chief of station.

3 9 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

She was standing in front of a filing cabinet, impa-

tiently flipping through folders. Canidy noticed that

despite exuding her usual attractiveness, she did not

presently have a look of overwhelming joy.

“My, don’t we appear happy,” Canidy said.

When she turned and looked at who had had the nerve

to interrupt her with some sort of sarcasm, the flames in

her eyes could have bored holes in cold steel.

But then she saw just who it was and her eyes soft-

ened, and a big smile showed her brilliant white teeth.

“Dick!” she said, slamming the cabinet shut.

“Bad morning?”

“The usual FUBARs. I’m just not in the mood to deal

with them today.”

“Fouled up beyond all recognition? Or the other,

worse F-word?”

“The other,” she said, absently wadding up a sheet of

paper. “What brings you back?”

She looked at the suitcases.

“Are you moving in?”

“I take it that you really don’t know?”

She shook her head.

He bent his head toward Bruce’s office behind her.

“How about him?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“Is he in?”

She shook her head.

“He’s not in the office?” Canidy pressed. “Or the




3 9 1

“Great! I didn’t particularly want to see him, anyway.”

She shook her head and smiled. “You’re impossible.”

“How about Colonel Stevens? I was told to see him

when I got in.”

“I can call, if you like.”

“Thanks, but I’ll just go down to his office. I wanted

to stop here first—a courtesy to Colonel Bruce.”

“Something tells me there’s more to it than that.”

She said it with a knowing smile.

Canidy made a face of shock and put his hands up to

his chest, palms out.

“What!” he said with mock indignation. “I cannot be-

lieve you would suggest that my intentions are anything

less than completely honorable!”

“Take it on down the hall, Major,” Captain Darcy

said, laughing. “Would you like me to bring you two

something to drink?”

“I always said you were the best, Captain. Coffee

would be great.”

She playfully threw the wadded-up sheet of paper at

him as he turned to leave.

Lieutenant Colonel Ed Stevens was seated behind the

desk in his office, leaning back in his chair with his feet

up. In his hands was a thick stack of papers, about half of

which rested on his lap and the other half, which he’d al-

ready read, on his chest.

When Canidy knocked on the doorframe, he saw that

the graying forty-four-year-old was deep in thought.

3 9 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Still trying to solve the world’s problems, Colonel?”

Canidy said.

Stevens’s stonelike face looked up and smiled when he

saw Canidy in the doorway.

He put the papers on his desk, then stood up.

“I’ve been expecting you,” he said. “Drop your bags

in the corner.”

As Canidy did so, Stevens came out from behind the


They shook hands.

“Great to see you back so soon.”

Canidy shrugged.

“What can I say? When I left, it didn’t look like I’d

ever be back. But I found that if one prostrates oneself

before the boss, the boss will send one back out to draw

enemy fire.” He paused. “Lucky me, huh?”

Stevens shook his head.

“You’re damned good at what you do, Dick. Don’t

you forget that.”

They looked each other in the eye a long moment,

then Canidy broke the silence.

“Any word from Stan Fine?”

“Only that he’s in Algiers and setting up shop in what

he describes as ‘loosely controlled chaos.’ ”

Canidy grinned.

“Can you get me the details on how to find him


Stevens nodded.


“And give him a heads-up I’m en route?”


3 9 3


There was a knock at the door and Captain Darcy

brought in a tray with two china mugs of steaming cof-

fee, a third mug half filled with milk, and a small bowl of

sugar. She placed it on the desk.

“Thank you, Helene,” Stevens said.

“Thanks,” Canidy added, picking up one of the mugs.

“You’re welcome, gentlemen,” she said. “Let me

know if you need anything else.”

She smiled and turned and left.

Stevens walked over to the desk and picked up a mug

of coffee and a folder.

“I got an Eyes Only from Colonel Donovan via Chief

Ellis that said you were coming, and that Donovan

wanted me to pull any intel the SI Italy desk here had on

your Professor Rossi.”

Stevens handed over the brown folder that had come

up from the Secret Intelligence branch in the building’s


Canidy flipped it open and saw that it held only a few

sheets of paper.

“Not much there,” Stevens said, “but what we do

have is fresh. Rossi, for example, was seen just last week

at the University of Palermo.”

Palermo? Canidy thought. That’s the north side of

Sicily. Francisco Nola’s people are in Porto Empedocle, on

the south side. Not that you couldn’t get between the two by

boat. But that might be like saying you can get from New

York to London by boat—complete with the damned Ger-

mans trying to sink you. . . .

3 9 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Does Bruce know about this?” Canidy asked.

Stevens shook his head.

“The boss made it clear only you—and I—had the

need to know.”

Canidy raised his eyebrows.

“That wasn’t my idea, Ed.”

“I know, Dick. You shouldn’t sweat it. It’s not the first

op that’s been kept supersecret—and I suspect that it

won’t be the last.”

Canidy nodded.

Not telling Bruce about the mission to nab Professor

Dyer immediately comes to mind, he thought.

He looked at the folder and said, “Eisenhower will

throw a fit if he finds out.”

General Dwight David Eisenhower was Supreme Com-

mander Allied Expeditionary Force, who had just enjoyed

enormous success leading the Allies’ amphibious land-

ing in North Africa—operation torch—and looked to

repeat that with the taking of Sicily and Italy—opera-

tion husky.

Stevens nodded. “Uh-huh.”

“Well, so be it. The boss has his reasons. Ike can play

the game, too.”

“Which reminds me,” Stevens said. “A word to the

wise, my friend. Steer clear of Lieutenant Colonel


“Who the hell is that?”

“Warren J. Owen. He’s one of Ike’s gatekeepers at

AFHQ in Algiers. On the fast track. Ivy League fellow—

Hah vard ’36—who smokes cigars for the pretense, not


3 9 5

because he likes them. And drinks—or at least talks about

drinking—expensive wines, ones you’ve never heard of.

You know the type.”

Canidy made a sour face and nodded.

“Worse,” Stevens went on, “he has a remarkable

knack of bullshitting out both sides of his mouth. Trou-

ble is, I think he really believes what he says.”

Canidy chuckled.

He said, “Reminds me of Turkish officers. When one

solemnly tells you, ‘It is no problem,’ what he means is

it’s not a problem for him.”

Now Stevens chuckled.

After a moment, Stevens added, “And if all that wasn’t

bad enough, this Owen is a ticket puncher.”

Canidy shook his head.

“I won’t mention any names,” Stevens went on, “but

someone said the other night at the Savoy bar that if

Owen could get an I Wuz There ribbon for using the

women’s restroom—and there was absolutely no risk of a

shot being fired in anger in his direction—he’d be front

of the line.”

Canidy let out a belly laugh.

“Yeah,” Stevens smiled, “that’s what everyone at the

bar did, too. Laugh. Apparently, it’s not a secret. And, at

least in my opinion, it’s not a good way for people to

think of an officer who ranks so high—especially one sit-

ting at the right hand of Ike.”

“I agree. Does this Colonel Owen have any other stel-

lar qualities?”

“Well, he does go by the book. Strictly. Which is why

3 9 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

I think that Ike likes him. But his going by the book

really means that he doesn’t like making waves, specifi-

cally doesn’t like anyone else making waves.”

Stevens stared at Canidy.

“Which means—”

“I know, I know,” Canidy said, holding his hands up

chest high, palms out. “I get it. Which means he won’t

like me. Especially if he gets wind of this.” He waved the

folder. “Ike has made it clear (a) that he doesn’t think

much of the OSS, and (b) that he damned sure doesn’t

want us going in ahead of the rest.”

Stevens raised his eyebrows.

“Exactly,” he said.

“So, I’ll deal with it,” Canidy said.

Canidy looked at his wristwatch, then changed the


“I’ve got one stop to make to deliver some girly

things”—he nodded at his suitcases—“then I’m going to

hop out to the airfield at Scampton and hitch a ride there

on one of the B-17s that the Royal Air Force is ferrying

to Algiers.”

Stevens looked to the suitcases, then back to Canidy

and smiled warmly.

“Good for you. But watch yourself, my friend. When

I said that you should not forget that you are good at

what you do, I meant at being a spook. A woman in love

is a far more dangerous proposition.”

Canidy grinned.

“Duly noted, Colonel.”


3 9 7

When Lieutenant Colonel Ed Stevens had called down

for one of London Station’s motorcars to be made avail-

able to Major Richard Canidy, the Brit in charge of the ve-

hicle pool had told him that he was terribly sorry but all of

the standard-issue vehicles in service—a small fleet of non-

descript English-made sedans—were in use. The garage,

unfortunately for the moment, was stark empty.

But when the Brit had heard the disappointment in

Stevens’s voice, he quickly offered one option: If it was

to be a local errand, his brother—who had just pulled up

to bring him his sack lunch of a sardine sandwich—could

do so in his personal vehicle.

Stevens had immediately accepted the kind offer.

Canidy stepped from the building with a suitcase in each

hand. Two British male civilians in their early twenties—

they looked almost like twins—approached him.

“Mr. Canidy, sir?” the one on the left, who wore a tie

and jacket, said.

Canidy nodded. “Yes.”

“I’m Robert, sir. And this is my brother, Harry.”

Canidy nodded.

“Thank you two again for your kind offer.”

Canidy saw that Harry was looking at the suitcases

with what appeared to be mild shock.

“Any problem?” Canidy said.

3 9 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Those are to go with you, sir?” Harry said.

“Sure. Why?”

Harry looked at Robert with a raised eyebrow. Then

the brothers at once turned to look toward the street,

the gap between them opening and giving Canidy a clear

view of what he instantly surmised to be Harry’s personal


It was a candy apple red 1937 Austin Seven 65—

nicknamed “Nippy”—a tiny, two-seat convertible barely

bigger than the passenger’s compartment itself. It looked

to be six, maybe seven feet long, not quite three feet wide,

and the top of the chrome-plated frame of the windshield

looked as if it reached about as high as Canidy’s hip.

It might be best, Canidy thought, if right now I don’t

say a word.

Robert turned back to Canidy.

With classic English understatement, Robert said, quite

unnecessarily, “It’ll be a bit tight of a fit.”

Robert then smiled and revealed thin gray teeth that

could have used the attention of an orthodontist.

He added cheerfully, “But my brother Harry works


He looked at his brother.

“Isn’t that right, Harry?”

Harry looked back at Robert wordlessly—and, Canidy

thought, more than a little dubiously.

“Right!” Robert answered for him.

Robert grabbed one of Canidy’s suitcases and said,

“So off you go!”

After a moment, Harry grabbed the other suitcase and


3 9 9

made himself busy with taking rope from the trunk of the

Austin, positioning the suitcases on the lid of the trunk,

then repositioning them, then tying them down.

After a few minutes, despite the car visibly squatting

under the additional weight, it looked as if Harry had

been indeed successful.

Even he appeared surprised that he had pulled off the


Robert went to the left door and opened it.

“Here you are, Mr. Canidy.”

Canidy squeezed into the passenger’s seat as Harry

hopped behind the steering wheel.

Inside, it was so tight that they touched shoulders.

To make some room, Canidy stuck his left arm out of

his “window” opening—there were no actual glass side

windows, nor side curtains, just an opening—and rested

it on the top of the doorframe.

This car is so low that if I’m not careful and my arm

slips off this door, I’ll drag my damned knuckles across the


Canidy turned to Harry.

“We’re going to Woburn Square,” he said.

Harry made a face that suggested some ambivalence.

“Do you know where it is?” Canidy said.

“Quite,” Harry said. “It’s just that . . .”


Harry hesitated, visibly thinking.

“Nothing. I could be wrong.”

He grabbed the knob of the stick shift with his left

hand and moved it into first, grinding gears as he pushed.

4 0 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

When the sounds of metal being tortured ended, indicat-

ing that the gears had finally properly meshed, he revved

the 747-cubic-centimeter engine to a high whine, let out

on the clutch pedal, and the tiny motorcar lurched into


The car, clearly far overloaded, rode like a brick. At al-

most every bump, it bottomed out, and the jarring re-

peatedly shot up Canidy’s spine to his jaw. He began to

wonder if walking and dragging his suitcases would have

been better than this torturous ride.

Harry seemed oblivious.

He ran up through the gears, the little engine roaring

mightily. He wove through the heavy Wednesday traffic,

then headed down Brook Street. At Hanover Square, he

suddenly downshifted, wrestled the wheel to the left, and

shot toward the traffic circle.

Canidy worried that if his luggage didn’t go flying off

the trunk lid, then its weight being suddenly shifted was

going to cause the Nippy to go up on its two right tires—

maybe even flip.

It didn’t, and Harry accelerated heavily out of the cir-

cle, then shifted into high gear.

He picked up Mortimer Street and headed east.

As they went, Canidy could see the clear evidence of

the recent bombings by the Luftwaffe that he had read

about in the New York papers.

Some shops had their windows blown out while other

shops were gone completely, their buildings demolished.

There were lines of women and children outside mar-

kets and laundries and more.


4 0 1

In the next block, two London bobbies sat sipping tea

at a table on the sidewalk, taking a break from walking

their beat. All that remained of the tea shop was part of

the brick wall that held the store’s wooden signage; the

rest of the building beyond that was gone.

As Harry got on Gower Street, Canidy realized that

the destruction was looking much worse.

And Woburn Square was only blocks away.

He turned to speak to Harry but found that he was so

close that he almost put his nose in Harry’s ear.

He looked forward again, out the windshield, and

said, “How bad were the bombings in this area?”

“Spotty. Some parts the bombs did some serious dam-

age. But other parts went untouched.”

Canidy thought about that a moment.

“And Woburn Mansions?”

In his peripheral vision, he saw Harry shaking his


“Not great,” Harry replied.

They made the next block with only the sound of the

Austin whining.

As they turned onto Woburn Mansions, Canidy felt a

real fear take hold.

It took him a moment to get his bearings because so

much had changed.

He saw the park, then recognized the point in the

park where 16 Woburn Mansions would have been in re-

lation to it.

He looked hard and had trouble believing his eyes.

The building with Ann Chambers’s flat—the very one

4 0 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

that had once survived other bombings with only its

limestone façade scorched black from the fires—was now


Sixteen Woburn Mansions—and everything to its

right and left—was gone.

Bombed to nothing but rubble.

And what about Ann?

Oh, shit!


[ ONE ]

Robert Treat Hotel

Newark, New Jersey

0915 8 March 1943

Kurt Bayer passed through the front doors of the ho-

tel carrying a brown paper sack that was imprinted in

black with: trenton pharmacy/we deliver city-

wide/phone hill 4-3466.

In the bag, he had a fifty-tablet bottle of double-

strength aspirin, a roll of two-inch-wide sterilized gauze,

a roll of white fabric adhesive tape, a pair of blunt-tip scis-

sors, a pint bottle of the topical antiseptic Mercuro-

chrome, and a fifteen-piece box of Whitman’s Sampler


He scanned the lobby for any sign of Richard Koch.

He did not see him, even in the cushioned chair where

the agent usually sat to read the newspaper and smoke


On one hand, he was glad, because if Koch learned

that he had used the cash he’d given him for Mary again,

Koch would no doubt launch back into his speech about

the relationship having to end.

On the other hand, however, he did grudgingly admit

4 0 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

that he admired his partner and knew that he could use

some wise counsel right now to help Mary.

When Bayer got to the ninth floor, he noticed motion

at the end of the hallway to the right. When he glanced

that way, he expected to see the hairy, heavyset man in

the tight suit. He instead saw a tall, dark-skinned man in

casual slacks, shirt, and leather jacket. He had black hair

that was nicely trimmed and a neat, thin black mustache.

And he was, as the heavyset man had been, having ap-

parent difficulty getting his room key to work in his


Guess the fat guy didn’t report it, Bayer thought as he

approached room 909, and if you don’t report it, it won’t

get fixed.

Bayer put his key in his door, unlocked it, and opened

it just enough to slip inside quickly and quietly so as not

to awaken Mary.

That, he immediately saw with the light of the bedside

lamp, hadn’t been necessary.

Mary was awake. And sitting up, albeit clearly with

some discomfort.

“Hi, sweetheart,” he said.

She made her gap-tooth smile.


He held up the paper bag for her to see.

“I went to the pharmacy, got you some stuff.”

“Thank you.”

Bayer took off his winter coat, put it—with the

Walther pistol in the pocket—on the upholstered chair

by the coffee table, then walked over to the curtain.


4 0 5

“Okay if I open this? It’s a beautiful morning. Might

make you feel better.”

“I guess.”

He slowly pulled back the curtain with his left hand

and soft morning light from the western exposure began

to fill the room.

When it was all the way open, Bayer turned—and al-

most dropped the bag.

The morning light emphasized Mary’s injuries. Her

bruising had turned deeper during the night, so much so

that, for example, places on her face that had been sepa-

rate spots the night before had melded into one big blue-

black bruise.

I swear on my mother’s grave that I will get the bastards

who did this. . . .

Bayer walked to Mary, removing the box of chocolates

from the bag as he went.

He sat beside her on the bed and held out the box.

“For you.”

She grinned.

“That’s sweet. Thank you.”

She opened the box and put it on the bedside table,

beside the telephone.

They stared at each other a long time, then Bayer

broke the silence.

“Please, Mary, you have to tell me what happened.”

She closed her eye but said nothing.

“Were you robbed?”

She shook her head.

“Did someone take the money that I gave you?”

4 0 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

She started softly crying.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart. I don’t want to make you cry

more.” He paused. “But I have to know.”

She opened her eye.

“You won’t get mad?”

“Mad? Why would I get mad? Just tell me who did it.”

She was silent a moment.

“Okay . . .” she began, then inhaled deeply. “Donnie.”

“Donnie? Donnie who?”


“Who the hell is Donnie Paselli?”

Mary started crying and sniffling.

Bayer got up and went to the bathroom for a tissue.

He pulled one from the box, then grabbed the box and

brought it back and put it on the bedside table. He

pulled out another two tissues and handed them all

to her.

She gently blew her nose—the effort itself proved

painful—and coated the tissues with a soupy, blood-laced


When she paused, Bayer took the tissues, threw them

in the tin trash can that was under the bedside table, and

gave her two new ones to hold to her nostrils.

She looked at him, then looked away, then said, “They

call him Donnie the Ape—Donnie ‘the Ape’ Paselli.”

“Okay. But why—”

“He’s the guy who I told you beat me before. You

know? The guy I’m supposed to give half of my money I


Bayer was silent.


4 0 7

You didn’t give him the fucking money I gave you?


“You didn’t give him the money . . . ?”

Mary shook her head.

“I had late bills, rent . . .”

She sniffled.

“Please don’t hit me,” she whispered.

Hit you? I want to hug youbut I’m afraid that that

might hurt you even more.

“Shhhh,” he said.

His head spun.

I need to talk to Koch. This has gotten way out of hand.

Bayer leaned forward, toward the bedside table, and

picked up the receiver of the phone. He dialed o, then sat

upright again.

“Operator, please give me room four-ten.”

There was a long pause as the call was put through.

“Yeah,” Bayer then said into the phone. “It’s me—

“Where? I’m in the hotel—

“That can wait. Look, I’ve got a serious problem—

which means we’ve got a serious problem—one that

you’re not going to like—

“No, I can’t tell you here—

“Stop shouting! I really need you to get off of that

right now, and meet me in room nine-oh-nine—

“Right. Nine-oh-nine.”

Bayer put the phone back in its cradle. He looked at


She was watching him, and he could see stark terror in

her one good eye.

4 0 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Not five minutes later, there was a knock at the door.

Damn, that was fast, Bayer thought. He must be


Bayer went to the door, turned the knob—and sud-

denly felt the door being violently forced open.

In the next moment, he was conscious of three things

happening simultaneously: There was a hand squeezing

his throat. He was being pushed against the wall to the

right of the bed. And he was looking down the muzzle of

a pistol.

Holding the small-caliber semiautomatic—he did not

recognize the make, but right now he did not exactly

have a very good view of anything except where the bul-

let would exit immediately before it blew out his brains—

was the tall, dark-skinned man who had been at the end

of the hallway when Bayer had stepped off the elevator.

“Not a fucking word,” the man said evenly, almost


Bayer, pinned to the wall, tried to nod his under-


Mary let out a pathetic whimper.

Both Bayer and the man looked toward her.

“Get out of the fucking bed, Mary!” the man said. “I

want to see your hands.”

Bayer’s eyebrows went up when he heard the man say

her name.

How does he know?


4 0 9

Then the man, as if reading Bayer’s mind, looked at

him and said, “I’m here to collect the money the bitch

owes Donnie.”

He turned back to look at the bed.

“Move it, Mary!”

“Okay, okay, Christopher,” she said.

Mary struggled to get out of the bed but finally did so

and stood there naked and bruised and bent, modestly

trying but failing to cover her breasts and crotch with her

marked arms and hands.

That, you sonofabitch, is a new low, Bayer thought, star-

ing at the man.

The man appeared unmoved.

He motioned with the pistol at Mary and said, “You!

Go close the door!”

Bayer watched as she shuffled feebly from the bed,

passed where he was pinned against the wall, then crossed

the room to the door. She pushed it but was so weak that

when the door swung on its hinges it closed but did not

click completely shut.

Bayer, his voice sounding strange due to his vocal

cords being constricted, asked the man, “How much?”

“Three hundred bucks, plus another hundred as a


Beating her almost to death wasn’t penalty enough?

Bayer thought.

Bayer nodded his understanding.

He tried to swallow.

The man said, “And I want it fucking now.”

4 1 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Bayer nodded again.

“I have to get it from my wallet”—he nodded toward

the upholstered chair—“in my coat.”

The man looked at the coat in the chair.

“Mary,” he said, “bring me that coat!”

Mary shuffled from the door to the chair. With some

difficulty, she pulled the coat off the chair and started

dragging it across the room.

“Hurry, goddammit!” the man said.

[ TWO ]

Richard Koch, who had hung up the phone after Bayer

had called and immediately gone to the elevator and

taken it up, walked down the corridor of the ninth floor.

He looked at the room numbers on the doors on the

right side as he went and saw that he was getting closer

to 909. He came to 903, then 905. When he got to 907,

he looked ahead and saw what had to be the door to 909.

It was open a crack.

He took another step—then heard from the inside of

909 a strange man’s voice say, “Hurry, goddammit!”

It made Koch’s skin crawl.

He instantly got low to the floor, then reached in his

pocket, pulled out the Walther PPK semiautomatic pis-

tol, and worked the slide to chamber one of the 9mm


He started moving toward the door, pistol up and



4 1 1

He came to the doorframe of 909—the side where

the door had its hinges—and stopped just shy of it.

He leaned forward, in the direction of the knob, and

tried to get a look through the crack.

All he could see, though, was some furniture and a

window with its curtain wide open.

He listened and heard a woman weeping, then the

strange man asking, “Which pocket is it in?”

Pocket? Koch thought.

Then he heard another man’s voice grunt something.

It was mostly unintelligible, but clearly it was Bayer’s—

and he sounded under duress.

I have no idea how many people are in there . . .

He pushed on the door gently. It moved, opening an-

other two inches.

He waited to see if there was any reaction to that from

the inside.

There wasn’t, and so he took another look through

the now-larger crack between the door and its frame.

What he saw horrified him.

It was Bayer’s hooker, standing naked—and brutally

bruised from head to toe.

She held Bayer’s coat.

What the hell did Kurt do to her? And why?

And is that her pimp here to settle the score?

Bayer said he had a problem . . . said that we had a


Stupid son of a whore!

I told him something like this could happen.

4 1 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Koch took a deep breath, stayed low, and started

pushing open the door very slowly.


Christopher “the Enforcer” Salerno took great pride in his

street name, and in the fact that he had earned it by be-

ing good at what he did—“debt collection,” he called it.

The thirty-one-year-old had been settling scores for

almost ten years, not counting his teenage years, when he

had dropped out of high school in Hoboken and hustled

on the streets for whoever would hire him to do what-


Having worked nearly a decade exclusively for Donnie

“the Ape” Paselli, he considered himself not only a pro-

fessional—but the professional. He trained to keep his

skills sharp. He worked out daily to stay in top shape.

And he never took anything for granted, particularly in

the middle of a collection.

Right now, his adrenaline was rushing. He knew that he

had to keep it under control while at the same time using it

to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

So far, everything had gone pretty much as planned.

After Mary had not paid Paselli his cut and Salerno

had had to have her beaten—during which she had bab-

bled some nonsense that her trick, “Kurt,” claimed to be

a German agent responsible for all the bombings that

were in the news—they had tailed the stupid hooker

right back to the hotel, right back to her stupid trick.


4 1 3

Then Paselli had waited down the hall to get an idea

of what they were up against to get his money. Then he

had sent Salerno to complete the transaction.

Salerno had his Colt Model 1908 .25 caliber semi-

automatic pistol pointed at Bayer’s forehead. It was a small,

cold-blue-steel vest-pocket model barely as big as his left

hand that held it—but it got the job done. He had his

right hand firmly squeezing Bayer’s throat.

A head taller and some thirty pounds heavier, Salerno

had no trouble keeping control of the guy.

But that damned Mary is taking too long getting me

that coat with the money.

“Hurry, goddammit!” Salerno said.

When Salerno looked over his shoulder at her, he saw

that her one good eye had quickly looked to the door,

then back at him.

Salerno looked at the door, too.

It was moving slowly open.

With his hand still squeezing Bayer’s throat, Salerno

quickly pulled him from the wall and spun him so that he

stood between him and the door. He put the muzzle of

the pistol against Bayer’s skull, right behind his left ear-


“One sound,” Salerno said calmly, “and you’re—”

The door suddenly swung wide open and a man entered

in a crouched position, his pistol sweeping the room.

Shit! Salerno thought.

Salerno squeezed the trigger of the tiny Colt. There

was a crack, and then the slide of the pistol cycled rapidly,

4 1 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

ejecting the spent casing—it landed on the bed—and

feeding a fresh round into the breech.

Bayer started to crumple to the floor.

Mary screamed something unintelligible.

Salerno ignored it.

Using Bayer’s body as a shield, he shoved him toward

the man who now was moving toward them, then

dropped to the floor and rolled left.

The man fired one shot at him, then another.

Neither found their target.

Salerno quickly squeezed off four shots.

Two of them went wild, missing the man completely.

The third .25 caliber bullet hit him in the groin area—

stopping him not at all.

The fourth found his right knee, however, and caused

him to fall forward, over Bayer’s body and toward Sal-


When the man hit the carpet, Salerno quickly put the

muzzle of the tiny Colt to the base of the man’s skull and

fired the last of the six rounds.

He then quickly reached into the front pocket of his

trousers and brought out a full magazine of .25 caliber

ACP ammo.

Salerno swapped the fresh magazine for the spent one,

racked the slide, and aimed the muzzle right back at the

man’s head.

The man did not move.

Salerno looked at Bayer. A steady trickle of blood ran

from his left ear.

He was dead, too.


4 1 5

Neither had an exit wound; the small-caliber bullets

clearly had bounced around inside their skulls, scram-

bling brains and bringing quick death.

As Salerno picked up the man’s pistol— Huh! A Walther.

How about that? —and stuck it in his coat pocket, the

man passed his last gas.

Salerno heard Mary sobbing uncontrollably.

He walked across the room looking for her, following

the sobs.

He found her curled up on her left side on the tile

floor of the bathroom. She had her arms wrapped over

her head, her ears covered.

Salerno stepped closer and saw that there was blood

coming from her neck.

One of my shots must have got her.

He shook his head.

What a waste. If only she’d done what she was sup-

posed to . . .

He leaned over and put a round behind her right ear.

The crack echoed in the tiled room.

Her body quivered, then went limp.

Salerno went back into the main room.

He picked up the coat that Mary had tried to carry

across the room, dug through its pockets, and found a

pistol in the right one.

What the fuck? Another Walther, identical to the other.

He put the second pistol in the other outside pocket

of his coat.

He dug in the coat some more but found no money.

“You lying sack of shit,” he said.

4 1 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He went through Bayer’s pants pockets and found no

money there, either.

He kicked the body.

Then he went to the second guy and picked through

his pockets.


Salerno came out of the right pocket of the pants with

a roll of cash. He pulled off the rubber band, flattened

the bills, and counted the money. Five hundred and

thirty-one dollars. He rolled it back up and wrapped the

roll with the rubber band.

In the left pocket, he found a key to room 410.

Maybe there’s more where this came from . . .

Salerno went to the telephone, asked the operator to

connect him to a number he provided, and after a mo-

ment said into the receiver, “I got the cash. But it got

ugly. Need to get rid of three—huh?—yeah, three. Had a

surprise guest. Take care of it, okay?”

A moment later, he put the receiver back in its cradle.

When he did, he noticed the open Whitman’s Sam-

pler box of chocolates next to the telephone.

He raised an eyebrow, then picked through the selec-

tion. He took out a chocolate-covered cherry and popped

it in his mouth. He swallowed it after just two chews.

He licked his lips, looked again at the selection—then

grabbed a fistful of the chocolates from the box, stuck

them in his coat pocket, and went out the door.


4 1 7

[ FOUR ]

Algiers, Algeria

1625 12 March 1943

Major Richard M. Canidy, USAAF, awoke abruptly when

he felt himself being bounced—bodily lifted a couple of

inches, then dropped—and it took him a moment to get

his bearings and figure out what the hell just happened.

Snug and warm in a lambskin flight suit, he quickly re-

called that he had gone to sleep—a deep sleep, it turned

out—while lying on the floor next to the bulkhead of the

cockpit of the B-17.

He could have tried to sleep in one of the fabric sling

seats that the aircraft had lining one side of the fuselage.

But he knew that that would have been terribly uncom-

fortable, despite the fact that he could have strapped

himself into the seat for security.

The alternative—lying on the floor, against the bulk-

head—was somewhat riskier. If the plane, as it had just

now done, dropped suddenly—the pressure in Canidy’s

ears and sounds from the airstream told him they were

rapidly descending—he would get bounced in the air.

The bouncing was a calculated risk, but it was a hell of

a lot more comfortable than sleeping in the slings.

Canidy was in the last of a flight of four B-17s. Each

was a mammoth marvel of aeronautical engineering. The

B-17 had four twelve-hundred-horsepower Wright Cy-

clone engines. Its cruising speed of 182 miles per hour

gave it a range of two thousand miles while carrying a

bomb payload of three tons. (It could carry as much as

4 1 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

three times that but with a reduced range.) And it was

armed with thirteen .50 caliber machine guns mounted

all around the aircraft.

The routing of the Flying Fortresses had taken them

from England south over the Atlantic Ocean, down the

western coast of Spain, then on an almost due east vector

over Morocco and into Algeria.

Thankfully, the trip had been uneventful.

But Canidy knew that wasn’t always the case with the


Word had gotten around the USAAC that when Gen-

eral Eisenhower had flown pretty much the same routing

a month ago to the Casablanca Conference to meet with

President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and all of

the other top generals, he had been in a Flying Fortress—

and the aircraft had lost two of its engines.

On the growing chance that the B-17 would not make

its destination and that they would have to ditch, Ike had

wound up spending most of the trip wearing a parachute


Canidy felt his big bird turn on final for the Maison

Blanche Airport.

He got up, and went to one of the fabric seats and

strapped himself in.

He sighed.

All signs suggested that they were going to get on the

deck at Algiers just fine.

But that did not mean that he did not have much to

worry about.


4 1 9

He was still sick to his stomach at the thought of Ann

Chambers gone missing . . . and maybe gone forever.

I spent every possible second chasing down anyone who

might know anything about her.

Small wonder I just now slept so hard. . . .

As soon as Canidy had contacted Ed Stevens, Stevens

had said he would immediately have people continue

looking for Ann. He would message Canidy the minute

he heard anything.

And when Canidy had spoken with Ann’s bureau chief

at the London office of Chambers News Service, the ed-

itor—who also had not heard a word from her since the

bombing—promised to honor Canidy’s request that he

pass along any news to Lieutenant Colonel Stevens.

People disappear all the time in war . . . and then reap-


Please, Lord, I never ask for anything, especially for me.

But I pray You let Ann reappear. . . .

The scene outside of Base Operations, in the airport

parking lot, bordered on comical. A crowd of some fifty

or so natives swarmed in all directions. There appeared to

be no logic as to where they went and why.

Canidy stood there for a moment with his suitcases

and watched in amazement. He thought that it resem-

bled what happened when you took your shoe and tapped

the top of an ant mound—the ants suddenly appeared

and swarmed every which way.

4 2 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He felt a hand touch his right hand and then his suit-

case being picked up.

“Hey!” he said, turning to see who it was.

There was a tall, thin, dark-skinned man in a well-

worn, tan-colored suit and a collarless white shirt. He

had a narrow, clean-shaven face with intense almond


“Taxi! Taxi!” he said in broken English with a faint

French accent.

He nodded toward the parking lot.

Why the hell not? Canidy thought.

The man made a path through the crowd and Canidy

followed, carrying the suitcase that contained some cloth-

ing and the Johnny gun.

The parking lot looked more like a junkyard. Not one

of the vehicles appeared to be in sound operating condi-

tion. And when Canidy saw the man stop at a 1936 Peu-

geot 402, it made him long for the tiny Austin “Nippy.”

The black paint on the guy’s taxi was severely faded

and much of it had been overtaken by rust. The sedan

had no trunk lid, no front fenders, the rear bumper was

crushed into the bodywork and the back window was

broken out completely.

The man put the suitcase in the lidless trunk, then

motioned for Canidy to give him the other case to put

with it.

Like hell!

And have someone come along and steal them while

we’re in traffic?

Canidy shook his head and pointed to the backseat.


4 2 1

The man looked, understood what Canidy meant, and

moved the case out of the trunk and into the car. The

second case went next to it. Then Canidy got in beside


“Villa de Vue de Mer,” Canidy said.

“Villa de Vue de Mer?” the driver repeated with some


What the hell is wrong with that?

Stevens said that’s where Fine was based, at the Sea View


“La Villa de Vue de Mer,” Canidy said again with con-


“La Villa de Vue de Mer,” the driver said, nodding re-

peatedly, “La Villa de Vue de Mer.”

It was a twenty-minute drive from the airport into

downtown Algiers.

It wasn’t that long of a distance—twelve, maybe fifteen

kilometers—but the narrow roads were in bad shape and

they were packed with more of the craziness that was at

the airport. It was a third-world mix of traffic that included

not only cars and trucks but people on foot and horses

pulling wagons.

Canidy, on a positive note, did notice that the weather

was absolutely beautiful, the temperature mild, the late-

afternoon sky cloudless and bright blue.

As the car crested a hill, the city and the naturally cir-

cular harbor—with the Mediterranean Sea just beyond—

came into view.

At the port docks was a colorful fleet of wooden fish-

ing boats. And anchored in the harbor were a half dozen

4 2 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

or so United States Navy vessels and twice that many

Liberty ships. Silver barrage balloons—beginning to re-

flect the early golden hues of the sunset—floated above

the ships, their steel-cable tethers discouraging attacks on

the ships by enemy aircraft.

The driver, tapping the horn occasionally, wound the

taxi down the city’s narrow lanes.

The car made a right turn and drove past the luxuri-

ous Hotel St. George. It sat on the lush hillside over-

looking the port.

Canidy knew from his research that the hotel had been

built in 1889. It was of a French Colonial style—with a

brilliant white masonry exterior—and it was surrounded

by beautiful, well-kept gardens and rows of towering

palm trees. The interior was said to be impeccable, with

grand, gilded ceilings and walls adorned by thousands of

multicolored, hand-painted tiles.

Canidy also knew that the supreme commander had

made the St. George his Allied Forces Headquarters.

And with Eisenhower’s AFHQ came all the brass, and all

their aides.

Probably a good idea to keep clear of the place.

They drove on and came to an open market.

The cabbie slowed and rolled past, slow enough for

Canidy to be able to get a good look at the tables of pro-

duce and dried fish for sale.

He studied the people waiting in lines and the ones at

the front, haggling. A tall, olive-skinned man, with thick

black hair cut close to the scalp, a rather large nose, and


4 2 3

a black mustache, walked past his window—and Canidy

did a double take.

They made eye contact, but then the man quickly

looked away.

Damn! If that’s not Francisco Nola, it’s his genetic


Canidy looked again, hard, but the guy had started

walking away and then disappeared into the crowd.

Incredible . . . but then I guess maybe half of the people

here could be part of Nola’s genetic pool.

The crowd cleared out from in front of the car and the

driver picked up speed.

He turned on a narrow street that went uphill, drove

another three blocks, and pulled to a stop in front of a

large, French Colonial–style villa. It resembled the Hotel

St. George, except that it was maybe half as large, and its

masonry exterior was a faint pink color.

There was no signage to indicate the place was any-

thing more than a private residence.

“La Villa de Vue de Mer,” the driver said with some


He stepped out of the car.

Canidy got out of the backseat dragging one of the

suitcases, then reached in and pulled out the other. He

had no idea how much to pay the driver, who stood

watching him.

He motioned to the driver with both hands, palms out

and fingers spread, to wait right there.

The driver looked at him suspiciously, then nodded.

4 2 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy went to the large wooden door of the villa,

looked at it, and noticed that it had a heavy brass knocker

and, next to it at eye level, a smaller door about four

inches square.

He knocked and after a moment the small door


A very unfriendly looking face, belonging to what

looked like a local male who was about age fifty, appeared

in the opening.

He said nothing but raised his right eyebrow as if to

ask, Yes?

Canidy glanced over his shoulder at the driver, who

was watching with what appeared to be a mixture of cu-

riosity and annoyance.

Canidy looked back at the door and said, “Pharmacist

for Pharmacist Two.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stevens had told Canidy that he

would use the code names from the last mission in his

heads-up message to Fine.

The unfriendly face contorted as if it had encountered

a foul smell.

What the hell? Is this the right place?

“Pharmacien pour Pharmacien Deux,” Canidy re-

peated in French.

The unfriendly face left the opening and the little door

closed and locked.

Canidy stood there, wondering what to do next.

He looked at the cabdriver, then smiled, nodded, and

held up one finger to say, It’ll be just another minute,

buddy. Everything’s okay.


4 2 5

After a couple of minutes, Canidy could hear what

sounded like something large and heavy sliding on the

inside of the big, heavy door.

Then the door swung open.

There stood the fit and trim Captain Stanley S. Fine in

the uniform of the USAAF.

Behind him was the fifty-year-old man with the un-

friendly face.

Fine looked past Canidy.

“Nice wheels,” he said with a smile.

Canidy shrugged.

Fine motioned for the man to get Canidy’s bags.

“Good to see you again,” Canidy said, offering his


He looked back out the door.

“How much should I give the cabdriver?” he added.

Fine said something in French to the man with

Canidy’s bags.

The man put Canidy’s bags inside the door, then went

back out to the driver. Canidy heard the man and the

driver begin to noisily negotiate the fare.

“Let’s get a drink,” Fine said. “You’re in time to

watch the sunset.”

Fine closed the door, and Canidy then saw what had

caused the sliding sound on the big door: a long, wooden

four-by-four beam that, when in place across the door,

was held by a U-shaped steel cradle bolted to either side

of the doorframe.

Fine saw Canidy looking at it.

“Keeps out the riffraff,” Fine said. “Well, most of it.”

4 2 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He put his arm around Canidy as they walked.

“You got past it.”

Fine poured two glasses of single malt scotch, neat, and

brought them out onto the tiled balcony where Canidy

leaned against the masonry wall.

The view from the villa was incredible. The city spread

out below on a gentle slope that went all the way down to

the port, maybe ten kilometers’ distance.

The sun, now a red ball melting into the horizon, set

the sky ablaze with deep reds and oranges. It cast re-

markable lights on the ships and barrage balloons in the

harbor, and on the houses and buildings of the city.

“Very, very nice,” Canidy said softly, taking one of the

glasses. “Must be hard to get used to.”

Fine laughed and touched his glass to Canidy’s.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “I don’t think I could ever

get used to something as spectacular as that.”

They both took sips of scotch.

They watched the sky for a moment, then Fine added

solemnly, “That said, I hate to spoil the moment but I’ve

always believed that news that’s not good always should

be dealt with at the soonest opportunity.”

Fine took from the inside pocket of his tunic a folded

sheet of paper and held it out to Canidy.

“This is not bad, per se,” he said. “It’s just not what

you want to hear.”

Canidy quickly unfolded the sheet.

“ ‘Nothing new at this time,’ ” he read aloud.


4 2 7

“I’m very sorry about Ann. Wish I could be the one

to deliver good news.”

Canidy took a big sip of scotch, then looked at Fine.

“I wish that you could, too.”

He looked out at the view. The sky was quickly dark-

ening and the lights of the city began to twinkle on.

Damn, Ann would love this. . . .

“Let me tell you what we’ve got going here,” Fine said

after he had poured them each a fresh drink, “and then

we can get into what you need.”

Canidy stood, leaning against the balcony wall.

“Great. Start with this villa. How’d you get it?”

“It belongs to Pamela Dutton, widow of one of Don-

ovan’s law school buddies who made a mint in shoes, if

you can believe it. Women’s shoes. She has—maybe it’s

had—family here and split her summers between here

and Italy, where they had the shoes made. She let us take

this place over for ten dollars a year on the condition

we’d protect it from the unwashed. And so now it’s our

main OSS installation.”

“How does AFHQ feel about that?”

“Well, they aren’t exactly thrilled. We’ve been put un-

der the direction of AFHQ—”

“Which is based at the St. George, right?”

“Yeah. The brass is, anyway. And unless they specifi-

cally ask us for any intel—which we’re supposed to sup-

ply, and gladly will, but more than a few there don’t like

us—we avoid the place.”

4 2 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy nodded.

“Same old story.”

“Unfortunately. But we don’t have time to dwell on

that. We’re in the very early stages of using the Corsica

model of assembling teams. These we’ll insert in France

to supply and build the resistance. The usual setup: The

leader is an intel officer, and there’s a liaison and the two

radio operators who report to him.” He paused. “We’re

not where I’d like us to be timewise, but I just got here.”

Canidy nodded.

“I remember.”

“The SOE,” Fine went on, “has its finishing school

down at Club des Pins. It’s a swank, resort-type place on

the beach that they’ve taken over. They’re training their

people—and mine—in telegraphy and cryptography and

such. They even have a jump school. And . . . that’s

about the sum of it.”


They silently sipped at their drinks.

Fine broke the silence. “So . . . you’re going in your -


It was more a question than a statement.

Canidy nodded.

“It’s necessary, Stan. We need this guy out now. And

I need to get a handle on whatever it is the boss is after


And, should I not make it back, what the hell.

Ann didn’t, either.

“The trick,” Canidy went on, “is getting into Pa-



4 2 9

Fine was quiet a moment.

“How about PT boats out of Bizerta?”

The wooden-hulled patrol torpedo boats were faster

than hell and armed to the teeth. The eighty-foot-long

Elco model, powered by triple twelve-cylinder, fifteen-

hundred-horsepower Packard engines, could make more

than forty knots. They could be armed with .50 caliber

machine guns, torpedo tubes, depth charges, even a 40

mm Bofors medium antiaircraft gun.

“That’s tempting. I had considered PTs, but then de-

cided they were too open and it was too far. Plus, it’s

really helpful to have good seas and a moonless night

with them.”

Fine nodded.

“How about a sub?”

“That would work. Happen to have an extra sitting


Fine chuckled.

“Not quite,” he said. “But there is going to be a re-

supply of Sandman in Corsica that leaves out of here in

three days.”

“The Corsicans who were recruited through the

French Deuxième Bureau,” Canidy said.

“Right. They’ll take the Casabianca and go ashore on

Corsica by rubber boat.”

Canidy looked at him.

“Try to pay attention, Stan,” he said, and with his

hand that held his drink he pointed toward one o’clock.

“Corsica is a chunk of rock in the water out in that direc-


4 3 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He pointed to three o’clock.

“Sicily,” he went on, “is another chunk of rock in the

water more or less out thataway.”

Fine chuckled again.

Fine said, “Any reason they couldn’t drop you there

after dropping the team on Corsica?”

Canidy thought about that a long moment.

Fine went on: “And wait for you offshore on the bot-

tom till you come out?”

Canidy looked at him, then his eyes brightened.

“Wait,” he said. “What about dropping me off on the

way and picking me up on the way back? We plan for

the pickup in the same place they drop me—just like how

the teams do it—with a backup site.”

Fine nodded thoughtfully.

“That could make sense,” he said. “But . . . what if

there are problems in Corsica before they get back to

you . . .”

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” Canidy said, and

shrugged. “I’ve been stranded before.”

Fine considered that.

“If that’s what you want, Dick, I don’t see why not.”

He paused. “But then, I’m learning there’s a lot that I

think is okay and someone is always more than happy to

tell me otherwise.”

“One Colonel Owen?”

He nodded.

“And others . . . but they can be handled,” Fine said

finally. “What about you—anything you need?”


4 3 1

“No, but thanks. I brought what I thought I’d need,

including a nice new Johnson LMG.”

Fine’s eyebrows went up.

“Nice,” he said. “Where’d you get that?”

Canidy told him about how he and Fulmar each got

one from Joe “Socks” Lanza.

“Amazing,” Fine said when he had finished. “But

then again, I guess not. Not after you’ve seen all the shady

characters running around this town.”

“That reminds me,” Canidy said. “I thought I saw a

guy I knew in the market this afternoon—but he’s not

supposed to be here.”

“This place is white-hot with the anticipation of the

Husky Op,” Fine said, his tone matter-of-fact. “There’re

spies here from every Allied power. Then we’ve got the

Communists, the Fascists—and of course the Nazi spies,

who no doubt are putting two and two together. It

would surprise me not one bit if the pope himself came

walking through town. . . .”

Canidy, deep in thought, gazed out across the water.

“So they just might be expecting someone like me

slipping into Sicily. . . .”

Fine nodded solemnly.

“Yes, unfortunately the odds are good that they


“The boss must understand that.”

They were silent a moment.

“Wait,” Canidy said again. “I do need something else

from you. When I get ashore, I’d like to set some things

4 3 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

to blow in case I need a diversion or two. So, some Com-

position C-2?”

“Not a problem.”

“Okay, then. That’s it.”

“Good. Let me make a call, then we’ll get some dinner.”

[ FIVE ]

1010 East Eighty-third Street

New York City, New York

0135 8 March 1943

Eric Fulmar followed Ingrid Müller out the door of Wag-

ner’s Restaurant and Market. As they walked west, there

was an awkward silence, which Fulmar desperately wanted

to break while consciously avoiding the mentioning in

public of anything about the German-American Bund.

“So,” he said finally, “have you seen any good movies


“Not really. You?”

Heaven Can Wait was pretty funny.”

Heaven Can Wait simply made me sick.”

Fulmar looked at her.

“Why?” he said, incredulous. “I thought it was hilari-

ous. And very romantic.”

She looked at him.

“I auditioned for the lead role.”

“Oh. Sorry I mentioned it.”

They did not speak again till after they were across

Park Avenue.


4 3 3

“Don’t get me wrong,” Ingrid said, switching her

clutch between hands. “Gene Tierney did a marvelous

job as Martha Strable. She’s a doll. I do love her.” She

paused. “But I really wanted that part— needed that


“What happened?”

“It’s what I told you earlier—it’s what didn’t


Fulmar gave that some thought.

“I don’t follow.”

“Ernst said the studio wouldn’t go for me.”


“Lubitsch. The director.”

“Oh, yeah.”

“Maybe I should just change my goddamned name

and start over. Or become a director; clearly, it’s okay for

someone behind the camera to be from Berlin. But not

an actress. . . .”

She let that thought drop as she stopped in front of

the grand entrance to a high-rise apartment building.

The three-foot-square cast-bronze signage on the

brick wall to the right of the door richly announced: roy-

alton towers.

“Here we are,” she said simply.

Behind the pair of thick glass doors was a doorman—

about thirty-five, every bit of six-four and two-twenty,

wearing a dark blue uniform with gold piping—and he

pushed open the left door with no apparent effort.

“Good evening, Miss Müller,” he said formally.

4 3 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

She answered with her husky laugh as she entered and

passed him.

“Harold, don’t be silly,” she called over her shoulder.

“It’s ‘Good morning.’ ”

The doorman smiled.

“Yes, madam. Of course it is. Good morning.”

Harold looked suspiciously at Fulmar.

“Good morning to you, sir,” he said stiffly.

Fulmar nodded and pressed past, catching up to In-

grid at the bank of elevators.

He looked around the expensively appointed lobby.

There was polished marble almost everywhere, and,

looming above, a grand chandelier that looked impossi-

bly big and bright.

Whatever roles she’s getting, Eric thought, the money

must be pretty good. This place didn’t come cheap.

The elevator on the far left was waiting with its doors

open and Ingrid motioned that they should get on it.

“Shall we?” she said.

Inside, Eric saw her push the 10 button. It lit up, the

doors closed, and the car began to ascend. They rode

up in silence.

And, interestingly, her home is not in Yorkville . . . nor

particularly near it.

Third Avenue may as well be the proverbial train tracks

separating her town’s good and bad sides.

He glanced at her and smiled.

She smiled back.

So it would appear that my sweet Ingrid does not wish to

live among her fellow Germans in Yorkville.


4 3 5

What does that tell me?

The elevator reached the tenth floor and the doors


Fulmar saw that the floor there was a smaller version

of the main, first-floor lobby—a wide application of the

same beautiful polished marble and a looming, though

smaller, chandelier.

There also was a picture window that faced south. Ful-

mar went to it and saw that it allowed for a grand view of

the city in that direction, as well as decent ones to the

east and to the west.

He found that, with a little work, he could see just

past the apartment building to the west—it was on Fifth

Avenue—and catch part of the Metropolitan Museum of

Art that was behind it, and beyond that the vast dark area

that was Central Park.

“Nice,” Fulmar said.

“This way,” Ingrid said with a smile.

She started down the hallway, pulling a fob that held a

couple keys from her clutch.

Halfway down the hall, she stopped in front of a door.

It was painted a cream color and, at eye level, had a four-

inch-square frame with 1011 in it. There also was a black

doorbell button.

She tried to put one of the keys into the lock but was

having some difficulty.

She’s nervous. You’d think I was her first gentleman vis-

itor. . . .

Fulmar stepped closer.

“Can I help?”

4 3 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

She worked more quickly with the key and it found its


Without looking at him, she said, “There, got it,”

then turned the knob and pushed open the door.

She motioned with her right hand and said, “After


Fulmar nodded and started to go through the door-

way and into the dark apartment.

“The switch is here on the left,” she offered, reaching

her hand in to hit the light.

There was the sound of something moving inside,

behind the door—and the hair on the back of Fulmar’s

neck stood straight on end.

With his left hand, he quickly swatted her hand away

from the switch before she could turn it on. At the same

time, he threw back the tail of his jacket with his right

hand and pulled out his .45, thumbing back the hammer

as he brought the gun up. Then he threw his full weight

into the door and followed it to the wall.

But it didn’t hit the wall.

It stopped about eight inches shy of the wall, and

when it did there came a heavy, soft thud from behind it

and the sound of a man’s grunt. Then there was a dense,

metallic clunk near Fulmar’s feet—

Was that a pist?

—and then the crack of a small-caliber round going off.

It was a fucking pistol hitting the floor!

“Get out!” Fulmar called to Ingrid.

“Be careful!” Ingrid said.


4 3 7

He pulled back on the door and slammed his weight

into it again, causing another thud and grunt. He

reached around and grabbed at the person behind the

door, found what felt like an arm, yanked hard, and

threw the person to the floor facedown.

In the ambient light, Fulmar could make out that it

was indeed a man.

Fulmar put his left knee on the man’s neck, forcing his

face to the right, then stuck the muzzle of the .45 to the

man’s right ear.

“Make a fucking move and your brains—”

“Eric, don’t!” Ingrid said. “He’s FBI!”

She flipped on the lights, and it took a second for Ful-

mar’s pupils to contract as they adjusted to the bright-


Fulmar now got a good look at the man.

He was smaller than Fulmar, about five-five, one-

thirty, and in his midthirties. He wore a rumpled dark

suit, dark blue shirt, dark patterned tie, and scuffed black

leather shoes. His face and neck were bright red, thanks

to the way Fulmar had him pinned to the slate floor. And

he had a bloody nose.

Guess the door got him good.

Some three feet away, at the foot of a tall curtain, was

the pistol that the man had dropped. Fulmar recognized

it as a small-frame Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, a

five-shot model with a two-inch barrel made for the mil-

itary and police.

Apparently, the man had had a round under the hammer

4 3 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

and when the gun had struck the slate floor the impact

had caused the hammer to move and fire off a round.

I have no idea where the damned bullet went, Fulmar

thought. Just lucky it didn’t hit anyone.

Ingrid quickly closed the door, then knelt beside


“Eric, please—”

He looked at her.

“You know this guy?”

She nodded.

“Who is he?”

“F-B-I,” the man grunted angrily.

Fulmar looked down at him and saw the man’s angry

right eye staring back.

What Fulmar did next took Ingrid—not to mention

the man—completely by surprise.

Fulmar started laughing, slowly at first, then more


Of all the people I could run into, I run into one who’s

on our side. . . .

The man’s angry eye darted about in its socket.

“Get off me!” the man grunted.

Fulmar looked at Ingrid.

“Is he really FBI?”

She stared wide-eyed back at him and nodded slowly.

“What’s so funny?” she said.

“I can’t say,” Fulmar replied as he reached down with

his left hand, dug into the man’s inside coat pocket, and

brought out a small leather wallet.


4 3 9

He flipped it open and saw a badge and an ID card.

Well, shit. So much for wild sex with Ingrid tonight. . . .

Fulmar stood and tossed the wallet on the floor beside

the man’s face.

Ingrid Müller came into the living room from the

kitchen carrying a small, light blue bag made of a thin,

soft rubber material in one hand and a small, stainless

steel pot in the other. She had just filled the rubber bag

with crushed ice and a small amount of cold tap water,

then sealed its screw-top opening. The pot was about a

quarter full of tap water.

Eric Fulmar and the FBI guy—“Agent Joseph Hall,”

it had said on his ID—were seated opposite one another

on leather furniture.

Not just any furniture, Fulmar thought, looking

around the now brightly lit apartment. This is the good

stuff—designer stuff found in museums.

Ingrid’s taste in furnishings ran toward the modern

school—less is more. That included her artwork, oil

paintings that were hardly more than huge floor-to-

ceiling canvases painted in thick textures of a single hue

only slightly darker than the walls.

Thus, there did not appear to be much in the large

apartment, but what there was was very nice and fash-


The main living area, with its light gray-green slate

floor, had as its focal point what Fulmer believed to be

4 4 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

pieces— Probably knockoffs of the real thing, he thought,

but still outrageously expensive—by the very serious de-

signer Le Corbusier.

There was a chrome-and-black-leather couch and two

chrome-and-black-leather chairs (the ones he and Hall

were sitting in) positioned around a four-foot square

glass-top table with a chrome-framed base that mimicked

that of the chairs and couch.

It was all situated on a kind of finely woven rope

mat— “Sisal,” I think it’s called—in a cream color.

The styling of the furniture was boxy, square, and

though visually stunning— like its owner—it was unbeliev-

ably uncomfortable.

Fulmar, taking care not to spill on the leather the

scotch on the rocks that Ingrid had made for him, shifted

in his seat.

It’s like sitting in, well, a damned box.

A well-upholstered box, but a backbreaking box none-


“Here you are, Joe,” Ingrid said, handing the ice bag

to Hall.

The FBI agent pressed the ice bag to his neck and

glared at Fulmar.

Ingrid put the pot on the glass top, then stepped

around the table and sat on the black leather couch.

“What’s with the pot?” Fulmar asked.

“If Harold comes up and says someone reported they

heard a shot, I act like the silly blonde I am and say my heavy

pot got too hot and I dropped it on the table.”

Fulmar raised his eyebrows. “Might work.”


4 4 1

“You’ve clearly never seen me act.”

She smiled, then went on:

“As I was saying, I’ve made my connections in the Ger-

man community here available to the FBI. I’m an Ameri-

can citizen and this is my way of helping in this awful war.”

“And you were willing to sell me out.”

Her face turned very serious.

“If your intention,” she said, her voice hard, “was to

aid and abet the enemy, then you bet your ass I’d do any-

thing that helps stop Hitler even a minute sooner. And

that includes bringing people to speak with a ‘member of

the Bund’

”—she nodded at Hall—“someone about

whom I can easily act, if challenged, that I had no idea

he’s really with the FBI.”

Fulmar smiled.

“I admire your loyalty,” he said after a moment. “It’s

why I approached you.”

“To get to those German agents?”

Fulmar saw Agent Hall’s eyes brighten.

“Maybe,” Fulmar said. “Maybe not.”

“Which is it?” Hall said harshly.

“It’s none of your business,” Fulmar said.

“I am a law enforcement officer of the United States

government,” Hall snapped. “You will answer my ques-

tions. Or you will go to jail.”

Fulmar chuckled.

“I don’t think so.”

He paused.

“Tell me, Agent Hall, what do you know about any con-

nection between the Bund and these German saboteurs?”

4 4 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I’m afraid that I’m not at liberty to discuss such in-


“Because you won’t—or because you can’t, because

you don’t know?”

Hall stared at him.

“I’m the FBI,” Hall said. “I ask the questions.”

Fulmar chuckled again.

“You were almost with the fucking New York City

coroner’s office.”

Hall tried to ignore that.

Fulmar looked at Ingrid.

“Please excuse my language.”

Hall said, “Tell me again, in what capacity are you

here asking such questions?”

“You’re the smart one.” Fulmar grinned. “You figure

it out.”

“Look, I’ve about had enough of your attitude—”

“No,” Fulmar said evenly, “it doesn’t work that way.

How about you get the hell out of here and go try to fig-

ure things out. I’ve got work to do.”

As it turns out, Fulmar thought, your work.

No doubt the FBI is still hoping and waiting those Ger-

man agents just turn themselves in.

Fulmar stood.

Hall just looked up at him.

“I wasn’t kidding,” Fulmar said. “Get up and get the

hell out.”

Hall turned to Ingrid.

“Joe,” she said, “you should do as he says.”


4 4 3

Hall made a face, then stood up. He held out his left

hand, palm up.

“What do you want,” Fulmar said, “subway fare?”

“My revolver.”

“Considering recent events, I don’t think I feel too

comfortable with you having it right now.” He paused.

“I know where you work. I’ll see it gets back to your of-

fice. Meantime, maybe you won’t have to explain what

happened to it.”

“You can’t—”

“I can,” Fulmar interrupted. “And I am.”

He pointed toward the door.

“Out. Now.”

Hall turned for the door.

“This won’t go unchallenged, Fulmar.”

He slammed the door as he left.

After a moment, Ingrid said, “Do you think he’ll

cause trouble?”

“No, of course not. He’s not stupid. He knows who I

am and now thinks he knows what I came to you for. He

does not want anyone to know what happened here; it’s

in his best interest to pretend tonight never happened.”

He paused, then chuckled.

“Hell, when he calms down in the next hour or so

he’ll probably become terrified about whether he should

file an official report for the discharge of a bureau

firearm. They probably track his rounds.”

Fulmar smiled. He drained his drink and put it on the

glass-top table.

4 4 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“I’d better go,” he said. “Thank you—it’s been an in-

teresting evening.”

Ingrid slid up beside him and put her head on his


Fulmar felt her thick hair softly flowing from his face

to his shoulder. He smelled the sweet lilac of her per-


“I feel like I should somehow apologize,” she said,

and added softly, “How about, um, we make it an inter-

esting morning?”

Then he felt her hand on his left buttock.

Fulmar looked at her and grinned.

She made her husky laugh.

She added, “It’s what I said before: you know how to

handle things. And . . . I like the way you handled that


She squeezed his cheek.

Fulmar thought, And I like the way you handle a

guy, too.


[ ONE ]

39 degrees 10 minutes 2 seconds North Latitude

13 degrees 22 minutes 3 seconds East Longitude

Aboard the Casabianca

Off Palermo, Sicily

2010 19 March 1943

Over the course of the previous four days, since leaving

Algiers, Dick Canidy had come to admire Commander

Jean L’Herminier, the submarine’s chief officer.

Canidy found that L’Herminier was truly an officer

and a gentleman, as well as a first-class submariner. Though

the commander had a compact frame—five-seven, maybe

one-forty—the way he carried himself made him seem

much larger. He spoke softly, but there was strength in

his voice, a confidence that he knew exactly what he was


And the thirty-five-year-old had real balls. This wasn’t

the first time he had pushed his ship hard and fast.

The Agosta-class Casabianca, ninety-two meters long

and diesel powered, had been launched February 2,

1935, at St. Nazaire, France. She had been armed with

antiaircraft guns and eleven torpedo tubes and carried a

complement of some fifty men and four officers.

4 4 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

L’Herminier had pushed the sub to make the nearly

five-hundred-nautical-mile trip from Algiers to just north

of the northwestern tip of Sicily in four days. During

nighttime hours, he ran her as much as he felt comfort-

able on the surface, which allowed approximately twice

the speed than when she ran submerged during the day-

light hours.

He had used a somewhat similar tactic four months

earlier, when on November 27, 1942, he and his entire

crew escaped from Toulon, the Mediterranean port in

southern France. Most of the vessels of the French Navy

had just been scuttled there to keep them out of the

hands of the Nazis, who had invaded in retaliation of the

Allies’ operation torch.

L’Herminier had set a hard course of 180 degrees and

sailed the Casabianca as fast as she would go to Algiers,

and there joined the Allies.

And now he was about to send Canidy to the shore of


“Ready, Major?” Commander L’Herminier asked.

“At your pleasure, Commander,” Canidy replied.

Stanley Fine had told Canidy that it had been L’Her-

minier who had come up with the efficient method of

putting agents ashore.

The process involved first making a daylight recon-

naissance of the shoreline by periscope to locate an

appropriate landing spot on shore for the team. (“You

don’t want to drop them off at a tall rocky cliff, for ex-

ample,” Fine had explained.) The next step was to sub-


4 4 7

merge there and lie on the seafloor till dark. Then, in the

safety of darkness, the sub would surface and the agents

would disembark to infiltrate ashore either by swimming

or by inflatable raft.

The process had worked flawlessly on Corsica, Fine

had said, and was quickly being adopted as the standard.

Canidy was dressed in nice slacks, a dark-colored

sweater, and a navy blue Greek fisherman’s cap that he

had pulled from the wardrobe room the OSS maintained

at La Villa de Vue de Mer. These clothes were in fact

from Sicily—possibly even once belonging to the shoe

magnate Dutton himself—and while they did not fit

Canidy perfectly, they were close enough.

He had one other set of clothing from the OSS

wardrobe in a black rubberized duffel that also contained

his Johnson LMG, the six magazines of .30-06 ammuni-

tion for it, four full magazines of .45 ACP for his Colt

pistol, ten pounds of Composition C-2 explosive, two

packages of cheese crackers, a one-pound salami, and a

canteen of water.

In a waterproof canister were the fuses for the Com-

position C-2, his coded notes of Nola’s family contact in-

formation— If for some reason I should find myself in Porto

Empedocle—the copy of what he considered his “Charlie

Lucky’s You’re an Instant Mobster!” form, and his OSS


In his pocket, kept close at hand, was a tin pillbox with

ten or so aspirin—and two glass ampoules of cyanide acid.

When he had put them in there, he had thought, Well,

4 4 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

if the aspirin doesn’t cure a headache, an ampoule sure


Commander L’Herminier looked one final time in the

periscope, and when he was satisfied with what he saw—

or, more important, didn’t see—he turned to his execu-

tive officer.

“Take her up please,” the captain of the boat ordered

in French.

The deck of the submarine was still much awash with sea-

water as Canidy and a pair of sailors wordlessly came

down the conning tower ladder. Canidy carried his duf-

fel. One of the sailors carried a partially inflated rubber

boat, a paddle that folded, and a bellows. The other sailor

carried a rope ladder.

Out on the deck, just forward of the conning tower,

the sailor with the rope ladder began tying it off to hard

points while the sailor with the rubber boat fully inflated it.

When both were finished, Canidy was less than en-


As far as he was concerned, the rubber boat that had

been provided for him to transition from sea to shore left

quite a bit to be desired.

“Boat” is a rather fanciful description, he thought,

eyeing the rubber doughnut.

It was not much better than a large truck-tire inner

tube, and he began to strongly suspect that that was ex-

actly what it was. Or at least a modified version of one,


4 4 9

with a circle of rubber material vulcanized to its bottom

to serve as a sort of floor.

Its chief—if not sole—positive attribute was that be-

ing so small it would not be hard to hide once he reached


He was grateful that he had had some practice getting

in it back in Algiers. But now that he stood on a wet sub

deck out in the open sea, that training seemed rather far

removed from the real world.

He shook his head.

“Now or never, I suppose,” he said, not necessarily to

the sailors.

“Yes, sir,” they said almost in unison.

The paddle was tied to the boat and then the raft tied

with two lines—the second being backup in the event the

first came loose—to the foot of the rope ladder. The

sailors slowly slid the boat down the side of the sub.

The sailors came to attention and saluted Canidy.

“Good luck, sir,” the one who attached the ladder


“Thanks,” he said, returning the salutes. “I think I’m

going to need it.”

He adjusted the straps of the duffel that he had slung

over his right shoulder, then got to his knees beside the

ladder and, with great effort, began working his way

down its difficult rungs.

As he descended, he heard the sound of water lapping

against the hull. With the lapping getting louder, he knew

he was close to the surface of the water.

4 5 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He found the rubber boat bobbing in the sea.

Carefully, and slowly, he reached out with his left foot

and tried first to locate the damned thing and then, if

successful, step into it.

After a moment, he felt the familiar sensation of his

shoe touching rubber.

But the boat bobbed away.

When he tried again and reached farther with his

foot—his right foot slipped on the rope ladder.

He clung to the ladder with his hands with all his


He hung by his hands a moment— Now, that was close

to disaster—then one at a time put both feet back on the

ladder, and when he was sure of his footing he slowly

reached again for the boat.

He got it.

He then carefully managed to get his right foot in the

ring of rubber. He knelt—his knees getting soaked from

water that had collected inside the boat—and slowly

worked his hands down the rope ladder.

He was completely inside now and floating just fine.

Here’s where I suddenly flip.

Or the sub starts to submerge with me still attached.

Moving as quickly as he dared, he untied the paddle,

then the lines attaching the boat to the ladder.

He tugged twice on the ladder to signal he was free of

it, then with his hand pushed off of the sub hull.

The fucking massive sub hull, from this perspective, he

thought, looking up and watching the ladder being re-



4 5 1

He took the paddle, unfolded it, dipped the blade in

the water to his right and stroked.

The boat made almost a complete revolution.


Forgot about that . . .

He carefully reached the paddle out in front of him,

toward shore, dipped the blade again, and brought the

blade straight back toward him.

The rubber boat moved forward.

He pulled this way for about five minutes when he

suddenly felt the boat moving far more quickly than he

could possibly paddle it.

What the hell?

Then he remembered.

Backwash from the sub’s screws.

Thanks, guys!

He looked back, but the big boat was gone in the dark

or the depths . . . or both.

And he suddenly felt very alone.

He rode the rush from the backwash. Then, when it

had died out, he began paddling again.

Ten minutes later, he felt the rubber boat’s bottom hit


4 5 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

[ TWO ]

Gramercy Park Hotel

2 Lexington Avenue

New York City, New York

1315 8 March 1943

When the taxicab pulled up outside the hotel, the driver

saw that he was going to have to wake up the passenger

in the backseat. The guy had fallen asleep almost as soon

as he had gotten in at the corner of Fifth Avenue and

Eighty-third Street.

“Hey, buddy!” the cabbie said, looking in his rearview

mirror. “This is it.”

Eric Fulmar rubbed his eyes, opened them, and yawned.

“Great,” he said, and looked out the window.


He paid the fare and got out and went through the re-

volving door of the hotel.

Heading for the elevator, he passed the front desk,

then stopped and went back.

“Good morning,” he said to the desk clerk. “Any

messages for suite six-oh-one?”

The clerk turned and checked one of the cubbyholes

in the wooden honeycomb behind him and retrieved two

yellow sheets.

He looked at them, then turned and held them out to

Fulmar as he made an unpleasant face.

“A couple for you, Mr. Canidy,” he said curtly.

Fulmar nodded.


4 5 3

He didn’t think it was important to correct him.

And he was too tired to give a damn about whatever

bug was up this guy’s ass.

“Thanks,” Fulmar said.

Fulmar read the messages as he took the elevator up.

One was from housekeeping, saying that they were

sorry but that they were going to have to place an extra

charge against the room for the cleaning of the “oily”


That probably explains why the guy made a face.

But what do I care?

He grinned.

I’m “Mister Canidy.”

The other message had only a date and a time—it was

from noon, just an hour ago—and a telephone number:

WOrth 2-7625.

Fulmar opened the door to the suite.

He saw that it had been neatly made up. His luggage

had been moved from the corner of the sitting room

back into the bedroom. And there was a set of fresh clean

towels hanging in the bathroom.

There was absolutely no sign that Major Richard

Canidy, United States Army Air Forces, had been there.

I wonder what Dick did with my Johnny gun? Or did he

take them both?

Fulmar looked around the suite for the Johnson LMG,

first in the sitting room—under and behind and inside

4 5 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

the Hide-A-Bed couch—and next in the bedroom—

under the bed and between the mattress and box springs.

Then he went to the clothes closet. It wasn’t on the

floor in there. But at the top of the closet was a deep,

dark shelf that held extra comforters and pillows and he

reached up and felt under the blankets.


Fulmar looked and saw that Canidy had rewrapped

the boxes, both the heavy, cardboard one with the

Johnny gun broken down inside and the other, metal

one with the thirty-ought-six ammo, and hidden them


Thanks, pal. I may need this. . . .

He covered the boxes back with the heavy blankets

and pillows, then went to the phone and called the num-

ber that was written on the message.

When the call was answered, he recognized the voice

of Joe “Socks” Lanza.

“Fulmar,” Fulmar said. “I got a message to call this


“Yeah,” Lanza replied. “I asked around, like you



“You’re not going to find out anything where you

were last night.”

What the hell?

“How do you know where I was last night?”

“How do you think? You were in a bar, no? Talking

German to the bartender.”

When ONI—Naval intelligence—in New York City


4 5 5

had been trying to think of ways of casting a wide net to

spy on the German-American Bund in Yorkville, it had

been Lanza’s idea to use William “Tough Willie” Mc-

Cabe’s union guys who serviced the bar vending ma-


Lanza told them that the forty-seven-year-old Mc-

Cabe had a small army of low-paid thugs from Harlem

who ran numbers in the bars, then collected the money.

They were in every Yorkville bar every day—and they

knew every bartender.

And what they learned, Lanza learned.

Fulmar thought, If you consider saying one word

Danke— talking German, then okay, Joe Socks, you got me.

But he’s on the money about it being a dead end.

Jesus! Does he know about Ingrid, too? And Hall, the

FBI guy?

“Okay,” Fulmar said. “So if not there, where?”

“Take the cab out to Lodi.”


“Yeah. There’s a place on Route 17 called Lucky’s

Pink Palace. Ask for Christopher. He’s expecting you.”




“Thought you were in a hurry. If you want to

wait . . .”

What I want— thanks to Ingrid




oh boy, that

Ingridis to fall on the bed here and take a long nap.

But that’s just not an option right now.

“Okay. When will the cab be here?”

4 5 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“It’s there now.”

“It’s here now,” he repeated, incredulous.

He yawned.

“Okay. Thanks.”

Fulmar heard the connection go dead.

Fulmar went out the revolving door of the Gramercy and

saw what he thought was Lanza’s taxicab waiting at the


He started walking toward it. The cab’s engine started

and then the car began rolling toward him.

For a moment, Fulmar thought that he might be

mistaken—the monster fishmonger was not behind the

wheel—but then the car stopped when its back door was

even with him.

He opened the door and asked the driver, “This Joe


“Yeah,” the driver said.

Fulmar saw that the driver was a tiny guy, maybe five-

two, one-ten— probably has to jump around in the shower

just to get wet—and about age thirty. He had a two-day

growth of black, stubby beard and wore a dark work

shirt, corduroy pants, and a black leather Great Gatsby

driving cap.

Fulmar got in the backseat.

“Where’s the big guy?”

“What big guy?”

Fulmar shook his head.


4 5 7

He looked out the window and yawned.

“Never mind,” he said and settled in for a nap.

A jarring sensation abruptly awoke Fulmar from his deep


At first it felt like the taxi had hit a wall or something.

But when he looked out the window and back to where

they’d just been—down what he guessed was Route 17—

he saw that the cabbie had just jumped a curb to reach a

parking lot.

This part of Route 17 was a hellish-looking thorough-

fare through a rough part of town. It had two lanes in

each direction—with vehicles bumper-to-bumper—and

traffic lights as far as the eye could see. It was lined with

cheap used-car lots, greasy burger and fried chicken

joints . . . and strip clubs.

Fulmar looked out the front windshield.

In front of the car was a two-story building almost the

size of a high school gymnasium. It was built of cinder

blocks and had been painted completely hot pink. It had a

flat roof and no windows. The front wall had two steel doors

at street level, one labeled entrance and one labeled exit.

Painted on at least three sides, as well as illuminated

on the pink neon sign atop the twenty-foot-tall steel pole

near the curb, was lucky’s pink palace.

The very top edge of the walls, just below the lip of

the rooftop, had girls! girls! girls! repeated over and

over in lettering three feet tall.

4 5 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Fulmar noted that the parking lot was packed and that

the crowd had a disproportionate number of work


“Looks like the place,” he said.

The driver grunted, then drove around to the back

side of the building.

There were two steel doors in the back wall, one at

ground level and one on the second floor, at the top of a

set of rusty steps that served as a fire escape. The lower

door read: no deliveries 11a.m.–2p.m. The upper

door: no admittance! fire exit! keep clear!

When the cabbie nosed the car into a parking place,

the car’s bumper tapped the bumper of the one parked in

front of it.

He shut off the engine.

“I’ll wait here for you.” He pointed to the top door.

“Just knock on the office door up there.”

As the cabbie tuned the dash radio and adjusted the

volume, Fulmar opened the back door, got out, and

walked toward the steel steps. He could hear loud music

coming from the inside of the building.

At the top of the stairs, he looked at the steel door. It

had three industrial locks and one peephole.

They don’t want anyone getting in this way. . . .

He knocked. There was no reply for a moment, then

he heard one of the locks open, then a second, then the


The door opened a crack and a thick Italian accent

said, “Yeah?”


4 5 9

“I’m looking for Christopher,” Fulmar said. “Joe

Socks says he’s expecting me.”

After a moment, the door opened just enough for

Fulmar to squeeze through.

Once inside, he saw the guy who had opened it—a

really fat guy, easily two-forty, probably two-sixty, in

baggy slacks and a dark shirt, its tail untucked—slam the

door shut, then start throwing the dead bolt locks.

There was nothing at all exceptional about the office.

It had two standard gray steel desks with wooden swivel

chairs on casters, half a dozen regular wooden chairs scat-

tered around the room, a couple of pictures of the Jersey

shore on one wall, a large four-by-four calendar for the

year 1943, with the days to date crossed out, on another.

There was a dartboard hung on a wooden interior door.

And one tall tin trash can, overflowing with old discol-

ored newspapers.

A big, hairy guy sat behind one of the desks and a

thin, dark-skinned guy with a thin mustache was behind

the other.

The fat guy stared at him.

The thin guy got up and came out from behind his desk.

“You Fulmar?” he said.


“Christopher,” he said, his tone of voice flat.

He offered his right hand.

Fulmar shook it and was impressed by the strong grip.

“Why don’t you give us ten minutes?” Christopher

said to the really fat guy.

4 6 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

“Whatever you say, Christopher,” the obese guy said

and started opening the dead bolts again.

When the obese guy was gone, and Christopher had

locked the door, the hairy guy behind the desk said, “Joe

Socks says you’re looking for something?”

“Some one, ” Fulmar said. “I’m sorry, but you are—?”

“In charge.”

He smirked.

Fulmar looked at him.

Okay, have it your way . . .

“Okay. Short version. Lanza has agreed to help me find

the German agents who are setting off bombs in the U.S.”

Neither responded to that.

Fulmar looked at Christopher, then back at the

hairy guy.

“And,” Fulmar went on, “Lanza said you guys knew

something that would help.”

After a moment, the hairy guy nodded.

“Keep this in mind: I’m only doing this because Joe

Socks said to.”

Fulmar nodded. “I understand.”

The hairy guy opened the top drawer of his desk, re-

moved a pistol, and held it out.

Fulmar took it, checked to see if it was loaded—it

was—then said, “It’s a Walther.”

“It’s what we took off the guy who didn’t pay his bills.”

“Okay . . .” Fulmar said.

He made a motion with his right hand that said, Give

me more.


4 6 1

“Story we got was that he’d been boasting that he’d

been doing the bombings.”

“Was he?”

The hairy guy shrugged.

“Where is he?” Fulmar quickly said.




“Look,” Fulmar said. “I’ve got to have more to go on

than that. ‘Some nameless guy at a Jersey strip club says

the bomber is quote gone unquote.’ I’d deserve to have

my head handed to me if I reported back with just that.”

The hairy guy stared back at him.

“Okay,” he said after a moment, “that horny Kraut

told my hooker that he and his partner had been doing

the bombing on the East Coast and that there was an-

other team in Arizona—”

“Texas?” Fulmar said.

“Yeah, Texas. Whatever. I was damned if I was gonna

give the guy up to the fucking FBI, dead or alive. He

owed me for my hooker. So we went to squeeze him—

nobody cheats me, ever—and his Kraut buddy starts a

fucking shoot-out.”

He paused, then went on:

“They lost. And now the sonsofbitches are fish food.”

He made a thin smile.

“That enough ‘to go on’?”

Fulmar thought for a moment.

“Is this pistol all you found? No wallets? No IDs?”

4 6 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The fat guy glanced at Christopher and jerked his head

to say, Give it to him.

Fulmar turned and saw Christopher holding out what

looked like a pen.

“Found this in a duffel in their room. Maybe you can

make something of it.”

Fulmar took it and looked at it closely.

It’s an acid fuse disguised as an ink pen.

And where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Or maybe explosives . . .

“There wasn’t anything else in the bag?”

The hairy guy looked at him with a blank face.


My ass. Of course there was.

But . . . okay . . . I’m not going to get anywhere with


You keep whatever you got.

“I need to use your phone,” Fulmar said.

“Help yourself,” the hairy guy said, motioning to the

black one on his desk.

Fulmar gave a number to the operator.

“Switchboard oh-five,” a woman’s monotone voice


“Fulmar for Chief Ellis.”

“Hold one.”

There was a clicking sound, then a familiar voice.


“Got a pencil handy?”

“Huh?” Ellis said, then recognized Fulmar’s voice.

“Uh, yeah . . . okay, go.”


4 6 3

“Message for the boss: ‘Fire out. No trace.’ ”

“ ‘Fire out. No trace.’ Got it. Congratulations. And

interesting timing.”

“How’s that?”

“The other guys report the other fire is out. It’s on

the news.”


“Yeah. You coming home now?”

“See you soon,” Fulmar said and hung up the phone.

All the way back to Manhattan, with the Walther and

acid-fuse pen in his pockets, Fulmar tried to find holes in

what just happened.

There really isn’t any way to absolutely know if all the

fires are out.

Maybe all the agents aren’t dead.

Maybe others are laying low.

Then again, maybe there aren’t any others.

The only way to find out for sure is to wait and see if

there are any more bombings, while keeping the intel lines


Which I can do from Washington while working on

something else.

Like going to work with Canidy.

He sighed.

But all that can wait till after I see Ingrid again.

The cabbie tuned the radio in the dash to a new

station. The programming was going to a commercial


4 6 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The announcer said, “The news is next after this mes-

sage from one of our sponsors.”

An obnoxious advertisement, sponsored by the Tri-

State Ford Dealers, came and went, and then the an-

nouncer’s voice came back on again.

“And now for today’s breaking news,” he said. “In a

press conference in Washington, D.C., a half hour ago,

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover—”

Fulmar said, “Turn that up, will you?”

The driver did, and they both listened as Hoover said,

“I repeat, we have found no evidence to suggest that this

train wreck in Oklahoma was anything more than a very

tragic event involving a gas leak. . . .”

Say it often enough, Fulmar thought, it becomes the


Fulmar said to the driver, “That’s all I needed to hear.

You can turn it down or change the station.”

He looked out the window and wondered what Ingrid

was doing right now.


Palermo, Sicily

2240 19 March 1943

First impressions were important, Major Richard M.

Canidy, USAAF, knew, and the thing that most im-

pressed him about Sicily was how it appeared utterly un-

affected by the fact that there was a war going on.

Although he had taken great care to evade any Ger-


4 6 5

man or Italian coast watchers when he had landed just up

the beach from Mondello, and when he had deflated the

rubber boat and buried it, and then when he had passed

through the tiny seaside town, his efforts seemed mis-


He had not seen a single soul.

There had of course been a dog, and a slew of damned

feral cats—but not a single human being.

Mondello may as well have had its sidewalks rolled up.

It was only now, as Canidy continued to walk the

ten-plus kilometers to Palermo, paralleling a two-lane

macadam road but staying far off it, that he finally saw


It was a man, and he was inside a small stone house off

in the distance.

Canidy saw him through the window and watched as

he walked across the room—and blew out the candles for

the night.

Amazing, Canidy thought, shaking his head and look-

ing up at the twinking stars in the dark sky. Is the whole is-

land on snooze?

He started walking again.

I don’t know.

But I do know that the last thing I’m going to do is let

my guard down.

I plan on being back at that beach when the sub returns

in six days. . . .

4 6 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy came closer to the capital city and its glow of

lights began pushing back the pitch-black night.

Now, as he entered the outskirts of town with its

brightly painted modern buildings constructed of ma-

sonry, he finally saw some people. He passed a man, then

another, then saw a couple holding hands as they walked

across a piazza.

Not many, but at least it was some life.

He walked until he came to what he recognized from

photographs was the Quattro Canti district. It was the

city center, the medieval “four corners” area, and its an-

cient Norman-built stone buildings loomed in the night


He looked around, then walked on, heading in what

he thought— hoped—was the direction of the University

of Palermo.

I may as well check it out now, in the dark, with no one


Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and bump into the pro-


He chuckled.

Yeah, right.

Fifteen minutes later, after covering five blocks and

backtracking two, he found affixed to a street-corner wall

a metal sign with an arrow and the word università.

Voilà! Canidy thought.

Or is it “Eureka!”?

He reached the university after three blocks.

The school itself was a disappointment. There was


4 6 7

no campus. And with no campus there were no fields

for playing sports, no complex for housing students—

nothing that gave a genuine sense of a school.

There was, instead, only more of the same masonry-

style buildings he had seen in the modern parts of the

city. Across the top of the main building’s façade was ba-

sic signage, the black block lettering on a white back-

ground proclaiming: palermo università.

Canidy walked up and got a closer look in the big win-

dow of the main building.

There was a security guard inside, sitting on a wooden

folding chair with a billy club resting across his knees—

and sound asleep.

The funny thing to do would be to bang loudly on the

window and watch this guy go flying.

It’d also be the stupid thing to do.

Canidy looked around some more and found that the

lights were out all around the university’s building, the

doors locked tight.

At a corner, he came to a coffee shop. Its door was

open, and he could hear the sound of voices floating out.

He walked to the door and looked inside. There were

eight students at the small round table and they had

books with them. But judging by the fact that a couple of

the girls were sitting in the laps of the boys, it appeared

that the last thing they were there for was the study of


One of the girls—a beautiful twentysomething with

dark, inviting eyes, jet-black hair, and large breasts barely

4 6 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

restrained by her sleeveless blouse—noticed Canidy at

the door and smiled at him.

He grinned back, then walked on.

Love conquers all.

He turned onto a street named for Leonardo da

Vinci—earlier, he’d passed one named for Michelan-

gelo—and followed it downhill. He could see the port in

the distance.

When he reached the bottom of the hill, he saw that

there were a number of boats moored in the port. They

were tied either to the long pier or to buoys in the harbor.

He also saw that there was absolutely no one around.

He surveyed the area.

At the pier was one large cargo ship, eighty, ninety feet

long, with a flat deck that had large hatches and tall

booms. It was the biggest vessel in sight. The rest were

all fishing boats of various brightly painted wooden de-

signs, six of them about forty feet in length, but the bulk

of them were about twenty feet long and, interestingly,

pointed at both ends. There were a half dozen more of

these twenty-footers pulled up on the shore of pebbles,

lying on their side, apparently in for repair of some sort.

Overlooking the port were apartments and homes built

almost to the water’s edge. They were dark and quiet.

Dockside was a series of shops, including what looked

to be a fish market, their doors and windows closed and

locked. Lining the outside wall of the fish market were

wooden tables painted in bright greens and yellows and

reds. He had seen similar ones at the Fulton Fish Market.


4 6 9

They were built at a thirty-degree angle, with deep sides

to hold ice, for the display of fresh-caught fish.

Something on the dock moved and Canidy crouched

behind a corner of an apartment.

He looked again, and saw a cat standing next to where

one of the twenty-footers was tied. The boat was covered

almost completely by a tarp, and as Canidy watched the

cat leapt from the pier and landed in the middle of it.

Almost immediately, the cat came flying back onto the

pier—and not by choice, Canidy saw.

The tarp was pulled back and an angry male stuck his

head up. He slurred something in Sicilian at the cat, then

threw a bottle for good measure.

Canidy chuckled softly.

Sounds like someone had a bit to drink tonight and had

to sleep on the boat.

Or maybe that’s where he always sleeps.

I’ve had worse. . . .

Canidy caught himself in a yawn.

I’d like to settle into one right now myself.

But no matter which one I pick, that’ll be the one where

the owner is casting off lines at oh-dark-hundred—and

finding me aboard, snoring, will not be the highlight of

his day.

Or mine.

Canidy then looked back at the beached twenty-foot


But no one’s going fishing in those anytime soon.

He walked down to the second-farthest one. It was

4 7 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

turned on its starboard side, its hull facing the fish mar-

ket and shops. He pulled back on its tarp and saw that the

interior had been gutted. There was a very long, smooth

area where he could crawl in and pull the tarp back for


He looked at his watch and saw that it was now almost

one o’clock.

May as well get rest while I can.

He took a long leak on the pebble beach, then settled

inside the boat, put his .45 under his duffel, rested his

head on top of it, and yawned.

And the Gramercy Park has the nerve to call itself a lux-

ury hotel. . . .

The sound of small diesel engines came loudly across

the water and almost echoed inside the boat hull where

Canidy lay rubbing his eyes.

Judging by the light coming in the edges of the tarp,

he figured it was just turning dawn and a glance at his

wristwatch confirmed it. Both hands were on the six.

Men’s voices filled the air, and there was the sound of

foot traffic on the wooden pier.

Canidy peeked out of the tarp, saw there was nothing

but another boat hull looking back at him, and crawled

out of the boat.

He peered around the boat. The piers were bustling with

fishermen loading their boats for the day; some boats had

already cast off lines and were headed out of the harbor.

Some of the shops were now open. Canidy noticed


4 7 1

the smell of coffee on the salt air, and that someone had

put ice in the display tables outside of the fish market.

Customers were already coming and going.

Canidy turned around and relieved himself in what he

thought was probably the same spot he had five hours

earlier. He started to grab his duffel and throw it on his

back but stopped. He made a close examination of the

boat and the work done on it thus far and decided that

the boat had not been touched in months.

No one’s coming in the next hour or so.

He slipped the .45 into the small of his back, adjusted

his Greek cap, then headed for the shops, hoping he

might get lucky sneaking a cup of coffee.

As he walked across the beach, he studied the steady

traffic going on and off the pier. All of the men looked

approximately the same—same dark pants and sweaters,

same olive complexions, and pretty much the same head

of hair (though this varied greatly; some had beards or

mustaches while others were clean-shaven).

Canidy stepped up on the pier and joined the line

headed to the shops. He followed two men into one and

saw that it wasn’t a shop so much as a bare-bones com-

munal room. There were two wooden tables. On one

were baskets of fruit and breads. On the other, in the cor-

ner, were two big coffeepots. One was being refilled by a

tiny, wrinkled woman who Canidy guessed had to be

eighty, eighty-five.

Hell, she could be a hundred and eighty-five, for all I know.

The fishermen were freely helping themselves, no one

paying for anything.

4 7 2

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

The woman looked at Canidy and she moved her thin

wrinkled lips into something of a smile. She poured cof-

fee into a chipped and stained white porcelain cup and

held it out to him.


He smiled and nodded his thanks, then turned to

leave, grabbing a fig from a basket on the way out.

Outside, standing beside one of the iced-down display

tables, he took his first sip of coffee and looked out across

the piers.

The boat with the drunk who’d thrown the cat off

early that morning still had the tarp across it.

Sleeping in . . . must’ve been some bender he was on.

Canidy looked past that boat, to the end of the pier,

where it made a T, and saw a good-sized fishing boat,

about fifty feet, just arriving. Painted on its bow, just be-

low the rusty anchor mounted there, was: stefania.

Two more of the same-looking men—olive-skinned,

dark clothes, dark hair, et cetera, et cetera—jumped

off the Stefania and secured her lines to cleats on the pier.

Canidy took another sip of coffee—and almost blew it

out when he saw a third man get off the boat.

It just can’t be . . .

He had to get a better look and quickly joined the line

of fishermen walking out on the pier.

As he approached the Stefania, it became clear that he

was not seeing things.

Although the guy had his back to him, there was no

doubt whatever that this guy was not average. He was big


4 7 3

and burly—easily six-two, two-fifty—and towered over

everyone else.

And then Canidy saw who was onboard handing the

big guy a wooden crate.

I knew it!

Canidy stepped closer and said quietly, “I don’t sup-

pose there’s fish in that box, huh, Frank?”

Francisco Nola turned to look but did not appear to

be particularly surprised to see Dick Canidy standing on

a pier in Palermo.

The monster fishmonger, however, almost dropped

the wooden crate into the sea.

Nola looked around the pier, then jerked his head

toward the cabin of his boat.

“C’mon aboard,” he said softly in English to Canidy.

Nola said something in Sicilian to the monster fish-

monger, then turned to go into the cabin.

Canidy hopped aboard and followed.

“So you couldn’t come with me,” Canidy said, “but here

the hell you are.”

Nola was standing next to the helm of the Stefania,

his arms crossed. He stared at Canidy but did not speak.

“What the hell is that all about?” Canidy said, his

voice rising.

Nola glanced out the window before replying.

“This trip was planned before you were sent to me,”

he said.

4 7 4

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

Canidy shook his head in disbelief.

A member of the crew came up from down below car-

rying another crate. He went out of the cabin without

saying a word.

“What’s in the boxes?” Canidy said.

Nola did not immediately reply.

“Chocolates,” he said finally.


“And medicine.”

Canidy stared at him.

“That I believe. What else?”

Nola shrugged.

“Does it matter?”

Canidy ignored that.

“Maybe weapons?” he went on.

Nola looked out the window, then back at Canidy.

“You know whose side I’m on.”

“How did you get this stuff into Algiers?”

“If you know who loads the Liberty ships in New

York, you can figure out who unloads them here.”

Canidy nodded, and thought, And a crate here and a

crate there that goes missing, or isn’t listed on a manifest . . .

doesn’t exist. Nice.

“How do you get to come in and out of here? They

let you?”

“Not everyone. We have to wait till a German named

Müller is away or otherwise distracted.” He paused. “We

have always run an import-export business. Olive oil,

tomatoes, and more out. Merchandise in. It is overlooked


4 7 5

now because you can always find someone willing to look

the other way if it is to his advantage.”

He held up his right hand and rubbed his thumb and

index finger together.

“Why didn’t you tell me you did this—that you ran

boats here?”

Nola grinned.

“You didn’t ask.”

Canidy made a sour face.

“I don’t think it’s funny.”

“Look,” Nola said reasonably, “I would have. But you

were interested in Porto Empedocle.”

Canidy stared at him.

Dammit. He’s right. That’s when I thought we were go-

ing to bring the professor out that way.

“I thought that that was where we’d bring out Pro-

fessor Rossi.”


“Yeah. Know him?”

Nola shook his head.

Canidy said, “He’s at the university here—”

“Yes,” Nola said. “His sister is my cousin’s neighbor.

They used to sometimes have dinners, then play cards.

Dr. Napoli and Dr. Modica, too, but no longer. I hear

both are dead.”

“I thought you said you didn’t know Rossi?”

“I don’t. I said his sister—”

“Jesus Christ!” Canidy exploded.

What is it with this guy?

4 7 6

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

He should be a lawyer!

Or maybe I should ask better questions . . .

I’d better start again.

“Sorry, Frank,” Canidy said, and took a deep breath.

“Can you get me to Rossi?”

[ FOUR ]

Port of Palermo

Palermo, Sicily

1805 25 March 1943

The Stefania, her diesel engine idling, was moored next

to the huge cargo ship when Dick Canidy helped Profes-

sor Arturo Rossi aboard.

Rossi, carrying a suitcase packed with his papers from

his office at the university, tried to move too quickly and

nearly fell into the dark water.

Canidy took the suitcase and Rossi awkwardly rushed

again to get aboard.

He made it, and Canidy then handed the suitcase over

and hopped aboard with his duffel.

As he helped the professor into the cabin, Canidy

thought, He’s been in high gear since the very second he un-

derstood that I could get him the hell out of here.

Keeping him under wraps the last few days has been


And no wonder.

He loses two dear colleagues—one to a heinous disease,

the other shot in front of him by that Müller from the SS—

then is tapped to take their place in that hellhole of a villa.


4 7 7

It was the same as a death sentence.

Canidy helped Rossi get comfortable on a bunk down


At least the villa is history . . . or will be in two hours,

when Nola’s men fire the fuses to the C-2 I set for them.

Canidy looked out the porthole at the harbor.

But I still don’t know what the hell Donovan meant

about something bigger.

Maybe it was the viruses . . .

“Thank you,” Rossi said.

“You’re welcome, Professor.”

Rossi looked at him oddly.

“Something bothering you, Professor?”

He shook his head.

“Just what are you going to do about the Tabun?”

Rossi said.

Tabun? Canidy thought.

He said, “Tabun, as in gas?”

“Yes. That’s also why you’re here, no?”

Canidy did not answer.

“Why Tabun?” he said.

“You’ve seen how few Germans there are here,” the

professor explained.

Next to none.


“Well, in anticipation of an Allied landing on an island

it can barely hold because they’re stretched so thin, the

Germans have very quietly brought in their first ship-

ment of the nerve agent.”

Jesus! That stuff is worse than yellow fever. It targets

4 7 8

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

organs, and it makes muscles twitch till the victim collapses

from exhaustionand dies.

“Where is it?”

Rossi pointed out the porthole, to the darkened cargo

ship moored nearby.

Canidy dug into his duffel and came out with the last

two pounds of Composition C-2, then went topside.

Nola stood at the helm.

“You ready?” Nola said.

“You have any men on the dock?” Canidy replied.

Nola shook his head.

“They are all aboard. There’s no one out there.”

“Give me ten minutes,” Canidy said, and reached to

set his watch.

Nola touched his watch to adjust it.

Canidy said, “Mark.”

Canidy then went out of the cabin, jumped on the pier,

and ran toward the cargo ship.

Nola looked at his watch. Nine minutes had passed since

Canidy left.

He stuck his head out the door of the cabin.

“Cast off the lines,” he called to his men.

The men untied the bow and stern lines from the

cleats on the pier, then leaped back aboard, coiling the

lines as they went.

Nola checked his watch.

The second hand swept the face.

Ten minutes.


4 7 9

He looked back to the pier, saw no one, and frowned.

His right hand reached up and bumped forward the

lever that controlled the transmission.

As the Stefania slowly moved ahead, Nola turned the

wooden spoke wheel to port and her bow began to angle

out toward the open sea.

Just as the transom cleared the end of the pier, Nola

heard a heavy thump, thump aft of him.

He did not turn around to look.

It was the unmistakable sound of feet hitting the deck.

The Stefania was dead in the water—her engine off and

all lights out—just north of Mondello, which was just be-

low the Villa del Archimedes at Partanna.

It had been an hour since she had left the dock at

Palermo, and Dick Canidy, sitting on the transom and

peering toward shore through a pair of battered binocu-

lars, was beginning to question his skills.

He let the binocs hang from the strap around his

neck, looked again at his watch, then back toward land—

and then there came a small explosion followed by a sec-

ond one, and then by a much louder one.

It lit the night.

“That third one,” he said to no one in particular,

“must have been the fuel cell cooking off. Or . . . maybe

there was something more onboard that ship.”

“Whatever it was,” the professor replied, “judging by

the fire plume, it totally consumed everything aboard.”

There was a loud rush of water about one hundred

4 8 0

W . E . B . G R I F F I N

yards north of their position. Everyone turned to see the

great black bulk of a submarine. It was lit by the glow in

the sky.

Canidy turned to the professor.

“There’s our ride,” he said. “Too bad we can’t stick

around to see the villa go up. That’s going to be one of

my masterpieces.”

W.E.B. Griffin is the author of six bestselling series: The

Corps, Brotherhood of War, Badge of Honor, Men at

War, Honor Bound, and Presidential Agent. He has been

invested into the orders of St. George of the U.S. Armor

Association, and St. Andrew of the U.S. Army Aviation

Association, and is a life member of the U.S. Special Op-

erations Association; Gaston-Lee Post 5660, Veterans of

Foreign Wars; China Post #1 in Exile of the American

Legion; and the Police Chiefs Association of Southeast

Pennsylvania, South New Jersey, and Delaware. He is an

honorary member of the U.S. Army Otter & Caribou

Association, the U.S. Army Special Forces Association,

the U.S. Marine Corps Raider Association, and the

USMC Combat Correspondents Association. Visit his

website at

William E. Butterworth IV has been a writer and edi-

tor for major newspapers and magazines for twenty-five

years, and has worked closley with his father for several

years on the editing of the Griffin books. He lives in


Document Outline

Cover Page


Also by W.E.B. Griffin

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication Page

Epigraph Page

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

About the Authors

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