Face of the Enemy
Friday, April 28, 2017
Book Review: Face of the Enemy
Face of the Enemy
Reviewed by Crystal V. Rhodes
I like the old black and white, fast talking film noir mystery movies of the 1930s and 40s that I’ve occasionally run across on TV. I like the sense of urgency, and the sense of style they convey, but rarely have I found a book that captured the feeling of that film genre, that is until I read Face of the Enemy, by Jo Anne Dobson and Beverly Graves Myers.
Set in December 1941, shortly after Japan bombed Pear Harbor, Face of the Enemy sheds light on America’s racial paranoia during that period of time, especially its bigotry toward people of Japanese descent. Even more interesting is the fact that this novel doesn’t take place on the West Coast where there were mass government incarcerations of people of Japanese ancestry. Instead, Face of the Enemy takes place on the East Coast, in the glitzy art world of New York City.
When the murdered body of an art dealer is discovered in his gallery, the authorities suspect artists, Masako Fumi, an avant-garde Japanese immigrant, married to a university professor, who is American and who is gravely ill. Although there are other suspects and even a lead detective who is skeptical about her guilt, the FBI is anxious to turn the talented artist’s case into a political coup, especially since she’s the estranged daughter of a high official in the Japanese government. It seems that Masako’s only hope for redemption is her husband’s nurse, an unassuming Southern bell named Louise Hunter, who fervently believes in the woman’s innocence and vows to help her.
The twists and turns in Face of the Enemy are a mystery lover’s delight. The characters are vivid and the dialogue is snappy. As for the story line, it contains historic references about an era about which I knew little. Face of the Enemy wasn’t merely entertaining, but educational as well.
C.V. Rhodes is a member of the Speed City Sisters in Crime chapter and co-author, with L. Barnett Evans, of the Grandmothers, Incorporated cozy mystery series. Visit their website at www.grandmothersinc.com