Hurricane Hole by John Kerr

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Hurricane Hole by John Kerr

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A fictional story neatly interwoven with the delicate situation in the nineteen forties when the Governor was an ex-king with Nazi sympathies.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Robert Hale
ISBN: 978-0709099055

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In 1942 German U-boats were wreaking havoc with Allied shipping in the Caribbean. Tom Hamilton, a young American working undercover and posing as a rich playboy, was sent to the Bahamas to investigate Nils Ericsson, a Swedish industrialist. Sweden might have been neutral in the war but Ericsson was known to have ties to the Nazis. It wasn't long before Hamilton was certain that Ericsson was building a base for U-boats at Hurricane Hole on Hog Island. The problem was what to do about it. The Governor of the Bahamas was the Duke of Windsor, friend of Ericsson and himself a suspected Nazi sympathiser. As an added complication Hamilton was attracted to Evelyn Shawcross but as she was a friend of both the Governor and Ericsson, could he trust her?

John Kerr is developing a speciality. He takes a piece of British history, lightly fictionalises it and builds it into a gripping story. We saw it first with Fell the Angels when he looked at the Priory Murder and came up with an ingenious solution to the mystery.In Hurricane Hole he looks at a situation created when a country at war has a spare ex-king whose sympathies might not be entirely reliable and who needs to be put somewhere where he can do least damage. But in a world war such places are few and far between.

Kerr does a good job of weaving together fact and fiction but I wasn't entirely convinced by the relationship between Hamilton and Evelyn Shawcross, which seemed almost too convenient. Additionally, he had something of an embarrassment of riches in his true story. A dodgy ex-king is feast enough - but there was also the unresolved mystery of the murder of Sir Harry Oakes, which took place in July 1943 and where there was quite probably enough material for a separate book.

I know - I'm being picky. I really shouldn't criticise a generous author and this did make a good, interesting and informative read. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Next of Kin by John Boyne where another fictional story is woven into the life of the Duke of Windsor.

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