The Mask of Glass by Holly Roth

The Mask of Glass cover

Holly Roth was an American writer and The Mask of Glass was first published by Penguin in 1957. It’s very much a product of the times but a great read all the same.

Young Jimmy Kennemore is working in the US Army’s Counter- Intelligence Corps. It’s his dream job. His work hours are flexible, he gets a great allowance for clothes and living expenses and each week he is given an assignment in a briefing session in Manhattan.

When he’s given the task of tracking down a deserter from the US Army, Sergeant John Antonio Viola, he begins by visiting Viola’s old school in the hope of being able to interview some of Viola’s old schoolfriends.

This leads to Kennemore stumbling into a situation which even he can’t quite believe, involving high flying military leaders and politicians.

This is a thriller rather than a murder mystery and it reflects what was going on at the time in McCarthy’s America. There was a lot of paranoia although to be fair it was fuelled by a few spies such as Alger Hiss, Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs who had been caught passing on information to the USSR. I do enjoy a blast back to the Cold War era now and again. It makes me feel quite nostalgic!

Sadly, in 1964 Holly Roth fell off a small yacht when she was sailing in the Mediterranean and her body was never found. This is the second book by Holly Roth which I’ve read, the first one being The Content Assignment which I liked but I think I preferred this one.