Red Herring, by Jonothan Cullinane, will satisfy readers who enjoy both historical fiction and a good detective story. It’s set in 1951 Auckland, New Zealand, not long after the end of World War II, at a time when the Iron Curtain has descended across Europe and the threat of Communism spreading from Asia, the ‘red peril’, is seen as very real. It’s not a good time to declare yourself a Communist, and the looming 1951 Waterside Worker’s strike, is political dynamite.
All sorts of interesting and very shady real life characters in New Zealand history take sides while the threat of the strike looms. Into this arena step two wonderful characters, Johnny Molloy, an ex-Communist private detective, and Caitlin O’Carolan, a daring and dashing young reporter. Their paths meet while investigating the background of a suspicious man overboard insurance case, and they accidentally stumble upon a conspiracy that leads right up to the Prime Minister. Johnny and Caitlin are swept up in a tale of high stakes adventure.
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and anyone who has some knowledge of the historical events and people of this period, will enjoy it even more.
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