H. Paul Doucette
I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1948. I left home at age 16 and, after a brief stint in the army, I began a career as a merchant seaman (12 years). This took me to many places in the world. Following that, I entered into a professional career as a transportation /logistics specialist. Somewhere in there I took a few years off and ‘thumbed’ my way across North America and Mexico as part of the ‘Hippie’ counterculture movement. I was also active in the civil rights and anti-war movements.
I have lived and worked in many countries over the course of my life and have gained a knowledge and appreciation for the differences we share as humans. I like to think that this life experience has enabled me to apply a certain perspective to my characters and stories.
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What good comes from a war? As far as Robie was concerned the answer was – profit.
It is Fall 1942 and the war rages on in Europe and on the North Atlantic. In the early years he had to deal with local criminals trying to profit from the sudden influx of men and materials destined for overseas and German agents. The issue of spies has fallen away as have most of the local players involved in thefts of war goods and materials. However, that is about to change.
It begins with a rash of hijackings outside the city. Robie is brought in to help his friend Inspector Phil Maloney, a RCMP officer on detached service to Naval Intelligence. Together they uncover a major French crime organization is working with a Montreal gang who are behind the thefts. The deeper they dig the more they begin to realize this could be their most perilous case yet.
What were the chances! The U-boat captain peered into the lens of the periscope, scanning for any signs of trouble. All he could see was the darkness of the night – perfect for the landing of his passenger, he thought as he lowered the periscope and ordered the boat to surface.
Thirty minutes later the rubber boat was back and the man they carried was safely ashore. Everything went off like clockwork except for the untimely arrival of a small dory with two men inside it.
Robichaud got the call to see his boss, Lieutenant Morrison, shortly after arriving at the station. Fifteen minutes later he was on his way to Naval Headquarters on temporary detached duty. He and Pete Duncan, his partner, would be assigned to track down another Nazi agent. This time, however, they would be in race with a Norwegian team also seeking the agent with orders to kill him.
Robie and Pete work their through a small group of Nazi sympathizers who would try and prevent the agents capture.
id knocked on the door to room 103, hearing no reply, she inserted her pass key and opene
d the door. When she saw the dead man lying on the floor beside the bed, she dropped her arm load of clean sheets and towels, raising her hands to her mouth. A second later she turned and bolted for the elevator.
Detectives John Robichaud and Pete Duncan would soon be drawn into another complicated investigation as they tried to piece together who the dead man was and why here ended up at the King Edward Hotel with no identification or legitimate reason for being there. Their efforts would eventually put them up against an organized German spy operation that saw them and their friends at Naval Intelligence chasing German agents and murderous merchant seamen from a mystery ship at anchor in Bedford Basin.
It never rains but it pours as the old saw goes. It looked like the truth of this saying was about to play out for Robie and his partner, Pete Duncan.
First on their plate was the discovery of a young teenage girl found by a night patrolman lying behind bushes on Chebucto Road who had been raped. Next, Robie is sent to investigate an accident on a ship in for repairs in which a man died. He soon uncovers a conspiracy by local businessmen to use inferior materials, and last, Pete goes after moonshiners who are peddling poison booze through local bootleggers.
War brings out the best in people at times: heroism; sacrifice, while in others only evil and opportunism. Robie and Pete relentlessly pursue the three cases with a sense of anger and determination
The job was hard enough since Halifax became the focal point as the major staging area for the convoys supplying the war effort in England. Robichaud has his hands full dealing with the influx of people looking for work, foreign merchantmen looking for distractions from the perils of convoy duty and servicemen waiting transport across the Atlantic. Compounding his headaches is the growing shortages for affordable housing and the prohibitions on liquor sales in the city. Now he has a murder to deal with.
The dead man with a hole in his head was fished from the water just outside the anti-submarine nets by a local fishing boat. His name was Denny Cafferty, a suspected IRA soldier who fled Ireland and the British Special Branch.
Robichaud and his partner, Pete Duncan, soon find themselves up to their necks with more murders and a homicidal German spy.
Detective John Robichaud knelt over the dead body of a man lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood. Wasn't there enough blood being spilled in this damn war, he thought as he studied the puncture wound in the man's neck. He looked up and spotted the union button pinned to his hat a few feet away: he was a stevedore.
This was another connection to his investigation into a major theft operation involving the docks, although this was the first time they criminals took such a drastic step. It would not be long before he had another body on his hands. This one tied to yet another German agent sent to spy on the convoys massing in the port.
Robichaud and his partner, Pete Duncan, would soon be on the trail of a villain with ties to a major European criminal organization in Marseilles looking for a foothold on this side of the ocean. But had not counted on him and Duncan.
Jack Reilly is happy living and working in Brooklyn. He is a private investigator running his own one man agency with a some success, and he has the love of a good woman. All is right in his world.
Then one day, a friend, his former partner from his days as a MP in the army during the war, calls on him for help. An old enemy from the last days of the war; one who has sworn revenge on them for the death of his brother and his incarceration, has returned and found them.
Reilly ends up facing his enemy in a warehouse and brings the affair to a tragic and fatal end.