On the home front, two wartime lovers reunite under a cloud of paranoia in this thriller from Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Ross Macdonald
In 1937 Munich, an American must be careful when he smokes his pipe. Robert Branch, a careless academic, makes the mistake of lighting up when the Führer is about to begin a procession, and nearly gets pummeled for his mistake. Only the timely intervention of Ruth Esch, a flame-haired actress, saves him. So begins a month-long romance between East and West—a torrid affair that ends when the lovers make the mistake of defending a Jew, earning Branch a beating and Esch a trip to a concentration camp. Six years later, Esch escapes to Vichy and makes her way to Detroit. To her surprise, Branch is waiting for her. He is a professor, working for the war effort, and his paranoia about a spy inside the Motor City war board sours their reunion. Once again, a dangerous net is encircling these lovers—a reminder that, in this war, love always comes second to death.