E. Howard Hunt was a CIA operative who became a bit of a celebrity by going to prison for 33 months relating to his involvement in the 1971 Watergate burglary in the service of U.S. President Richard Nixon. In all the hubbub surrounding the scandal, it became widely known that Hunt was a prolific writer of crime and espionage fiction under a myriad of pseudonyms, including Gordon Davis. Where Murder Waits was a 127-page Fawcett Gold Medal paperback from 1965 written by Hunt using the Davis name. The paperback was later released under Hunt’s own name after the author gained his notoriety.
Patrick Conroy is a Washington, DC attorney with a fancy office adorned by original paintings from classic artists. We learn that Conroy was involved in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion from 1961 that sought to overthrow Fidel Castro, a misstep that landed Conroy in a Cuban prison for a time. He takes a meeting with exiled and aging former Cuban Prime Minister Eusebio Calderon, who needs Conroy’s help.
A Cuban exile group treasurer named Claudio Barros is missing following a car accident. Barros was the custodian of $250,000 raised from the donations of dishwashers and laborers in Miami with the hope of funding an insurgency to topple Castro and deliver a free Cuba. But now, Barros is gone and so is the money. Calderon needs Conroy to investigate the disappearance and recover the missing money. The investigation brings Conroy to Panama where he meets several people basically trying to accomplish the same thing - including a CIA operative and a hot Cuban babe named Lola - as promised on the paperback’s cover.
In order to enjoy Where Murder Waits, the reader must have an interest in Cuban exile politics of the 1960s - or have a willingness to learn. It’s not the spicy Fawcett Good Medal crime novel advertised on the cover packaging, but the paperback is a fast-moving diversion that blends international intrigue with a compelling mystery. If Cuban Cold-War skulduggery is your thing, you’re sure to be pleased with this one.
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