Minotaur, Aug 25 2009, $24.99
In 1956 in Key West, fisherman Peter Cuthbert is killed by a harpoon. The police are indifferent to the death, but Peter’s friend Ernest Hemingway is not. Although he admits to himself his drinking buzz may have given him the courage at almost sixty and feeling like his writing career is over while hiding from much of the world, Hemingway decides to investigate as writer’s block should not prove an impediment to the Nobel Prize winner. Of course, he knows his broken leg with its gorilla cast will hinder his probe though alcohol should alleviate that handicap if he can avoid rooftop foot first dives.
His inquiry leads the amateur sleuth to Cuba, where Batista welcomes the Noble Prize winning author who then interviews mobster Meyer Lansky in Havana, and revolutionary Fidel Castro and ultimately Che Guevara in the foothills. The first two offer nothing of significance to the investigation, but Che insists Cuthbert was not just a fisherman. Stunned by the revolutionary revelation, Hemingway goes back to Key West to hide away only the feuding FBI and the CIA interrogate him as if they would like to answer FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS as him.
The key to this delightful historical amateur sleuth is how Michael Atkinson captures the essence of Hemingway who as an almost sexagenarian needs to recapture his macho youth but recognizes that he can only do so with drink to strengthen his fortitude. His wife is incredibly drawn while the key people he interrogates in Cuba also seem genuine; their discussions highlight this super though implausible sleuthing saga of