At Dusk All Cats Are Grey by Jerrard Tickell was first published in 1940 but it has been published as an e-book by Odyssey Press and when they asked me if I would like to review it I jumped at the chance as I’ve enjoyed reading some of his books in the past.
This is yet another book set at the beginning of World War 2, I seem to have been reading so many of them recently, I suppose the novelists of the day felt the need to write about it and how it was affecting people.
Joanna is the twenty-two year old daughter of Lady and Sir Robert Shirley. Sir Robert is a gentleman farmer in the Cotswolds but he is very poor and he is almost certainly going to have to sell off more land. Joanne decides it’s time she got out and earned a living. She has a rare talent (for a Brit anyway) in that she picks up languages very easily and as she has spent time in Austria and Germany skiing in the past she’s fluent in German.
She gets a job in an advertising agency in London but while she is socialising in the city she meets up with Colonel Seymour who offers her an undercover job when he discovers that she can pass as a native German or Austrian. Joanne isn’t at all keen to spy on Austrian refugees as she is asked to, but with mayhem ensuing across Europe she’s only one of many who have to do things they would rather not.
Of course there’s a lot more to the book than I’ve said, there’s also some romance thrown in. I’ve noticed that some other people who have reviewed this book have been disappointed that Tickell didn’t spell out exactly what Colonel Seymour’s department was up to. For me that just added to the authenticity because so many people were involved in ‘hush hush’ work, and at the time nobody questioned the fact that people couldn’t talk about the work they were doing. Walls have ears – as the slogan said.