Face of the Enemy
Joanne Dobson and Beverle Graves Myers
Poisoned Pen, Sep 4 2012, $24.95
America changed on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Throughout the country, patriotism and fear intensified to stratospheric levels. Several thousand miles away from the sight of the deadly assault, New York City, like all of the United States, begins to mobilize.
The FBI invades a Brooklyn boarding house to take away Japanese- American artist Masako Fumi Oakley, wife of an ailing professor. Stunned by the legal abduction is Nurse Louise Hunter who is tending to the professor’s health needs; she vows to get Masako freed from Ellis Island and back with her spouse. When someone murders Masako’s art dealer while he closed down her show, the police suspect her as the killer mostly because of her ethnicity. Louise investigates; helped by boarding house resident Cabby Ward the reporter and Police Lieutenant Michael McKenna who wants the real killer caught instead of a Japanese scapegoat that the Feds prefer.
The parallels between the aftermath reactions to 12/7 and 9/11 are uncanny as Joanne Dobson and Beverle Graves Myers captures the targeted reactions by “patriots” acting out of ambition or fear. The investigation is enjoyable although the G-men are stereotyped as ambitious and uncaring re the truth. Still this is an engaging entity as America prepares for war after Pearl Harbor which seems so similar to America preparing for war after the Towers, the pentagon and Pennsylvania.