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The Hour of the Cat
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The Hour of the Cat (Fintan Dunne #1)

3.23  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
It’s just another murder, one of the hundreds of simple homicides in 1939, a spinster nurse is killed in her apartment; a suspect is caught with the murder weapon and convicted. Fintan Dunne, the P.I. lured onto the case; and coerced by conscience into unraveling the complex setup that has put an innocent man on Death Row, will soon find this is a murder with tentacles tha ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by The Overlook Press (first published May 20th 2005)
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HOUR OF THE CAT. (2005). Peter Quinn. ***.
This is a well written and well researched detective novel set in the late 1930s. It is written as two parallel stories involving an American detective, Fintan Dunne, and a German Admiral, Admiral Canaris. Canaris, of course, is a historical figure, and much information about his real life and achievements is provided to the reader. Fintan is the fictional lead, and we meet him as he is hired to do his best to free a convicted killer from Sing Sing; due
Pete Loveday
Nov 03, 2012 Pete Loveday rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hour of the Cat
Peter Quinn
(Historical Detective)
The setting is both New York and Berlin in 1938.
Grim years and the plot is divided into two – Finton Dunne, an ex New York policeman turned Private Detective, sucked in to investigating the trial and conviction of murderer, with a deadline of an Execution.
Secondly, hero of the First World War, now and Admiral in the German Government, admiral Wilhelm Canaris who is forced to walk the tightrope of love of country and the racial excesses of the T
Aug 22, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1939 and Fintan Dunn, is a PI, struggling to find work in New York City. He had a great lead on a divorce case; a woman wanted him to catch her husband in flagrante delicto in order to improve her case for divorce. But alas, just that morning his potential client was found, literally, holding a smoking gun at her husband who was dead lying next to his hysterical nubile lover. So maybe that is why when he met the beautiful Miss Elba Corado in his office, he actually listens to her request t ...more
Jul 15, 2014 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s no easy task summing up the plot of Peter Quinn’s historical thriller, Hour of the Cat. Although the main mystery concerns whether or not a man on death row has been framed for murder, there are several diverse plot lines, a countless cast of characters and plenty of historical details to absorb along the way. And Quinn shows no mercy for those readers who aren’t paying attention as the action shifts between gritty New York locales to the offices and playgrounds of Nazi big shots during the ...more
Rob Kitchin
Oct 19, 2013 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The strength of The Hour of the Cat is its plot, characters, and historical contextualisation and detail. The story is an expansive, complex but intricately plotted tale that blends a traditional style private investigator tale with national and international politics. There are numerous interlinked subplots that mix fictional and real-life characters and are contextualised within the historical record of the time, such as the eugenics movement on both sides of the Atlantic, the expressions of N ...more
Nov 13, 2013 Al rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An international murder mystery, built around the notorious eugenics fad of the late 30s. Set in 1938, the novel shifts between New York, where private eye Fintan Dunne is trying to sort out a brutal murder, and Berlin, where a few Nazi officers are trying to stop an increasingly irrational Hitler from forcing Germany into another devastating war and imposing his final solution on the Jews and others. The story is historically informed, the period detail, particularly in New York, is interestin ...more
Chris Ellis
Interesting read, delving heavily into the backing and supposed legitimacy provided by German scientists and doctors for the ethnic and "inferior specimen" cleansing behind the Holocaust.

There is a story line in New York City also, somewhat along the same lines.

The whole was a little disjointed for my taste, but some passages were downright chilling in their possible comparison to present day political candidates.

For example - this line spoken by a female Jewish doctor, forced out by the Nazi re
Aug 19, 2013 GlenK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This sprawling work has elements of political and spy thriller but is mostly a tight and gritty 30's style detective novel with a great feel for time and place. Initially the plot meanders a bit and the shifts of focus between New York City and Berlin have an effect on the momentum but once it becomes clear that some grisly events in Germany are tied to some New York murders all is very good. The protagonist, private eye Dunne, is an excellent character, written with a subtlety that ensures he d ...more
Small Creek
Sep 20, 2008 Small Creek rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: neo-noirists
Try taking a walk in a nice, English garden, only to find that you've managed to walk yourself around in circles, getting nowhere, with no idea what you are doing. That's about the experience of reading this; difficult to get through, hard to follow. The initial boost that the blurb gave me petered out ten pages in and, stumbling and grumbling my way through the remaining, I found myself at the conclusion with no idea how I'd gotten there.

Try it out with a clear head and no expectations; you mig
The history and setting were fairly well done - the prevalence on both sides of the Atlantic of the pseudo-science of eugenics that was used to justify everything from non-intervention to concentration camps and genocide, the dithering of the Allied powers who didn't want to get involved, the paralysis of the German officer class who despised Hitler and were afraid to oppose him overtly until it was too late, were all pretty well laid out. But I thought the plot and the characters were a little ...more
Carolyn Rose
Dec 02, 2010 Carolyn Rose rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set on the eve of WWII, and dealing with the issue of eugenics, this book blends two plots--that of a New York private detective trying to clear a man sentenced to death, and Admiral Canaris, walking a tightrope between his love of his country (Germany) and the horrors of Hitler's rise to power. I recommend it to anyone interested in this time period.
Sheryl Smith
It was an interesting read, but it was a bit hard to follow who was going where and doing what. It took a bit too long for the story to come together for my taste.

Still, it was an interesting view into the minds of the mid-eschelon of the Nazi regime and their counterparts in the U.S. and England.
Oct 15, 2016 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Historical insights

Readers with knowledge of the Holocaust and German history will find this to be an interesting read. Those expecting a straightforward murder mystery or police drama will come away frustrated. Enough gems exist here to investigate Quinn's other books, but this one took effort to complete.
Janet Martin
Must agree with others who felt the story was well researched, but confusing and flat. Certainly an decent espionage thriller that could have greatly benefited from keeping the story in fewer viewpoints, and possibly been exceptional
Jan 09, 2014 K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good historical mystery. Easy to get into characters. Topic was above average. Felt much like Follett's eye of the needle or key to Rebecca. Wish I'd read in order.
Toesnorth's mom
pretty good, pre WWII Germany and US
Jack Laschenski
Hitler, Eugenics, American traitors, crooked cops!

The strange picture of America and Germany in the 1930s.

Probably better than my rating!
Jan 06, 2012 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
May 01, 2014 Janette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This sounded so good, but it ended up being a lot of work to slog through this book. The story was interesting but I just couldn't stand his writing.
Al Stoess
Apr 12, 2014 Al Stoess rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Quinn fans. Nazi reading fans.
Interesting mix of history and faction.
Nov 30, 2014 Mam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesting take on preWW2 attitudes in both US and Germany. I enjoyed the historical references, but thought the writing was at times tedious.
Apr 28, 2012 Chandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Noir ...detectives and Nazis and murder can it be wrong?
Nov 29, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Narrated by Ned Schmidtke.
Christine Wahl
Start date July 27, 2014
Jan 20, 2013 Hanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the mounting suspense and the different vantage points of major and minor players in a WWII-era scandal.
Apr 11, 2008 Marya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't actually read this - I couldn't get past the first 30 pages. It was too much like a bad film noir attempt, and hopelessly boring.
A rather formulaic almost mystery where the main character is a down-on-his luck private eye. Set in New York in 1938. The history was fun, but the story was kind of flat.
Boris Feldman
Jan 19, 2014 Boris Feldman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding mystery that wraps together WWI trench warfare, NYC corruption, and Nazi eugenics.
Jul 08, 2014 Kay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Mystery - Historical Fiction - Espionage thriller. Highly recommend.
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Peter Quinn is the author of the novel Banished Children of Eve (winner of an American Book Award) and previously served as speechwriter for New York governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. A third-generation New Yorker whose granparents were born in Ireland, he is currently Editorial Director for Time Warner and lives in Hastings, New York.
More about Peter Quinn...

Other Books in the Series

Fintan Dunne (3 books)
  • The Man Who Never Returned (Fintan Dunne, #2)
  • Dry Bones (Fintan Dunne, #3)

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