Author: Michael and Kathleen McMenamin

Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing

Pages: 389

Genre: Historical Thriller

Winston Churchill’s Scottish goddaughter, Mattie McGary, the
adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist, reluctantly returns to Nazi
Germany in the summer of 1934 and once again finds herself in deadly
peril in a gangster state where widespread kidnappings and ransoms are
sanctioned by the new government.
Mattie turns down an early request by her boss Hearst to go to
Germany to report on how Hitler will deal with the SA Brown Shirts of
Ernst Rohm who want a true socialist ‘second revolution’ to follow
Hitler’s stunning first revolution in 1933. Having been away from
Germany for over a year, her reputation as “Hitler’s favorite foreign
journalist” is fading and she wants to keep it that way.
Instead, at Churchill’s suggestion, she persuades Hearst to let her
investigate one of the best-kept secrets of the Great War—that in 1915,
facilitated by a sinister German-American working for Henry Ford,
British and Imperial German officials essentially committed treason by
agreeing Britain would sell raw rubber to Germany in exchange for it
selling precision optical equipment to Britain.  Why? To keep the war
going and the profits flowing.  After Mattie interviews Ford’s
German-American go-between, however, agents of Scotland Yard’s Special
Branch are sent by Churchill’s political opponents in the British
government to rough her up and warn her she will be prosecuted under the
Official Secrets Act unless she backs off the story.
Left no choice, Mattie sets out for Germany to investigate the story
from the German side and interview the German nobleman who negotiated
the optics for rubber deal. There, Mattie lands right in the middle of
what Hearst originally wanted her to investigate—Adolf Hitler believes
one revolution is enough—and she learns that Hitler has ordered the SS
to assassinate all the senior leadership of Ernst Rohm’s SA Brown Shirts
as well as other political enemies on Saturday 30 June, an event soon
known to History as ‘The Night of the Long Knives’.
Mattie must flee Germany to save her life. Not only does the
German-American working for Henry Ford want her story on the optics for
rubber treason killed, he wants her dead along with it. Worse, Mattie’s
nemesis, the ‘Blond Beast’ of the SS, Reinhard Heydrich, is in charge of
Hitler’s purge and he’s secretly put her name on his list…



Mattie McGary

21 Club
21 West 52nd Street
New York City
Wednesday, 13 June 1934
MATTIE McGARY tipped the taxi driver and stepped from
the Yellow Cab and walked under the portico of the 21 Club, the former 1930’s
speakeasy that had become, after the end of prohibition, one of the most
popular watering holes in
New York. It was known to its regulars, of which
Mattie was one, as Jack and Charlie’s or simply 21. She was a few minutes
early, but she didn’t want to keep her boss, William Randolph Hearst, waiting.
The new Hearst headquarters building was just up the street at West 57th
and Eighth Avenue and he also might be early.
Mattie was a tall,
attractive and some—including her husband—would say stunning redhead whose
figure turned heads in any room she entered. Now, she entered the Bar Room at
21 and stood there, scanning the room until she saw Hearst at his favorite
table, #4, in the far left-hand corner of the room. Her hair was cut in a short
tousled style that she had somewhat patterned after the American aviatrix
Amelia Earhart. She wore a royal blue matching silk jacket and form-fitting
skirt flattering a figure that, judging from the number of male heads that
turned as she waved at Hearst and walked the length of the dark mahogany-lined
room, drew men’s attention wherever she went. As she was the only woman in the
Bar Room, she had no doubt most men were checking out her ass. She had wedding
and engagement rings on her left hand, but she knew what her assets were.
There were various
model aircraft hanging from the Bar Room’s low, dark ceiling. These included a
British Imperial Airways Flying Boat, a Pan American Clipper, Lindbergh’s
Spirit of St. Louis, a Ford Tri-Motor, a giant Handley-Page HP-42 bi-plane
airliner, and, of personal interest to her, a Pitcairn-Cierva PCA-2 autogiro
and the new German Zeppelin, the Graf
formerly the British Vickers-built airship the R-100.
The autogiro was a
model of the Celtic Princess, her
husband Bourke Cockran’s aircraft. A few years ago she and her then-fiancé had
flown it cross-country in an unsuccessful attempt to break America Earhart’s
record set earlier that year. The zeppelin was the model of an airship
commanded by her good friend Kurt von Sturm with whom, to her regret, she had a
brief affair several years ago when she and Cockran had been briefly estranged
and she thought, erroneously, that he had dropped her and taken up with a new
blonde client.
Hearst stood up to
greet Mattie when she arrived at his table. They exchanged brief kisses on the
cheek and then a waiter arrived to pull out the table so she could sit beside
him on the banquette. 21 had a specific protocol that if two people were dining
together at a banquette table, then they had to sit next to each other facing
out to the room.
Hearst was a tall,
shambling man, well over 6 feet with a comma of gray hair boyishly falling over
his forehead. He had clear, blue eyes and didn’t look his 71 years of age. For
such a large man, however, he had a surprisingly high voice.
“Thanks for
joining me for lunch, Mattie, I appreciate it.”
Mattie had been
surprised Hearst asked her to lunch at 21 when she called him yesterday to
schedule an appointment to discuss her next assignment. Usually, on those
occasions, they met at his castle-like estate on Long Island Sound when he was
on the East coast. “Any time you want to treat me to lunch at Jack and
Charlie’s, Chief, all you have to do is ask and I’ll be there with bells on.
What’s the occasion?”
Hearst smiled. “I
always take my Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalists to celebrate at 21.”
“Well, Chief, this
is the second year in a row I’ve had some stories nominated for a Pulitzer, but
that’s not the same as being a winner.”
In fact, Mattie
had four stories from 1933 nominated for a Pulitzer, all of which she believed
deserved to be winners. One involved the Transfer Agreement between the Jewish
Palestine Authority and the German government in which the Nazis agreed to
allow Jews emigrating to
Palestine to avoid the currency rules which forbade
any German emigrant from taking assets with him. In exchange for allowing
emigrating Jews to take with them to
Palestine the equivalent of $5,000 US, the Jewish
Palestine Authority agreed to buy exports of agricultural equipment from
Germany in an equivalent amount. Further, the
Jewish Authority agreed to actively oppose the Jewish-led worldwide boycott of
German exports that was threatening to cripple the German economy and bring
down the new Nazi government.
A companion story
concerned the Concordat negotiated
between the
Vatican and the Nazis whereby the German
government agreed to allow the Catholic Church to operate freely in
Germany with no interference. In exchange, the
Church agreed to forbid its clergy—priests, monks and nuns—from engaging in
‘political activity’ of any kind with the Nazis being the sole arbiter of what
constituted ‘political activity’.
The third story
consisted of exclusive interviews with the new German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler,
and the new U.S. President, Franklin Roosevelt, right before assassination
attempts on both where Mattie had been sitting beside them during the attempts.
A fourth story concerned the rise of the fascist movement in
America, focusing on the Silver Legion of America
and Friends of New Germany.
Hearst raised his
hand and a waiter came over with a silver bucket of ice on a pedestal, inside
of which was a bottle of champagne. He placed two champagne flutes on the table
and held the bottle up for Hearst’s inspection. He nodded his approval and the
waiter undid the foil, popped the cork and filled Mattie’s flute halfway to the
top. She smiled when she noticed the champagne was Pol Roger, the favorite of
her godfather Winston Churchill.
Once Hearst’s
flute was filled, he stood up, tapped his spoon against the flute until the
buzz of noise from the many luncheon conversations in that section of the room
had died down. Then he raised his flute and said in a loud voice that carried
to the front of the Bar Room. “I propose a toast to the Hearst organization’s
newest Pulitzer Prize winner.”
Mattie blushed as
applause and not a few wolf whistles greeted Hearst’s toast.
“Really, Chief, I
won?” Mattie asked as she reached over and hugged Hearst after he sat down.
“Which story was it?” she asked, her voice full of excitement.
“Actually, it was
all four stories and two prizes. You received the prize for ‘Correspondence’
for your stories from
Germany on the Transfer Agreement and the Concordat. I think it was your interview
with Hermann Göring
that did the trick. No other story had that. You got the ‘Reporting’ prize for
your stories on the Hitler and FDR assassination attempts after your exclusive
interviews with them as well as your story on American fascists. The panelists
were impressed by your courage under fire with Hitler and FDR as well as your
running the gauntlet of the Silver Shirts and the Friends of New Germany in
front of Severance Hall in
Hearst reached
down into a briefcase beside him and pulled up a galley proof of The New York American dated for tomorrow
and handed it to her. There, on the front page and above the fold was a bold
headline: ‘Two Pulitzers For Hearst Papers’ Mattie McGary’. Right below it was
a two-year-old photo of Mattie standing in front of Cockran’s autogiro that she
had just flown across the country, almost breaking Amelia Earhart’s record.
Shot from below, it was her favorite. She was wearing a leather flying outfit
from head to toe—a shearling–lined sheepskin flying jacket, trousers and
boots—a camera in one hand, her leather flight helmet and goggles in the other,
her tousled red hair blowing in the wind and a big grin on her face.
“That’s only the
galley for The American,” Hearst
said, “but the same story in the same place will run in all my papers
Thanks, Chief,”
Mattie said as she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. “I really
appreciate it.”
“It’s a shame,”
Hearst said, “that the Transfer Agreement and the Concordat undercut the anti-Nazi boycott of German exports that
otherwise might have crippled the German economy and brought down the new Nazi
“True, it didn’t
do that,” Mattie allowed, “but don’t overlook the silver lining of the boycott.
It accomplished two big things. It’s all there in my interview with Göring. First, Hitler
issued a directive to the SA and its brown-shirted Storm Troopers to cease any
actions like boycotts against the mostly Jewish-owned department stores and
their suppliers. He even authorized a loan to a Jewish Department store that
was close to bankruptcy. Sure, Hitler only did it to keep thousands of Aryans
off the unemployment rolls if any department stores had to close their doors
because of brown-shirt bullying, but he still did it and those stores remained
open and prospering.”
Mattie paused and took a sip of champagne.
“The second thing Hitler and Göring did in response to the boycott last year
was even bigger. They forbade all violence against the Jews that the SA had
been committing without authorization of the government. The penalty for doing
so was, at a minimum, confinement to a concentration camp or, at the other end,
“Really, death?” Hearst asked. “I don’t
recall you mentioning that in your article.”
“I didn’t go into any detail,” Mattie
replied, “and only mentioned it in passing. You remember Bobby Sullivan?”
“Sure, I first met him at San Simeon in 1929
right before the reception of the
Graf Zeppelin when it arrived in Los Angeles
on the round-the-world voyage I sponsored. He was in your wedding party last
year in
Wasn’t he ex-IRA or something?”
“More like the Irish Republican Brotherhood
led by Michael Collins. He was a member of ‘The Apostles’, Collins’ hit squad
in the Anglo-Irish War in 1920 to 1921. Anyway, Bobby’s sister was married to a
Jewish physician in
Berlin who the SA
castrated and killed last year. Göring practically gave Bobby a license to kill
in taking revenge on all those responsible. He showed me photographs of Bobby’s
six victims, all of them naked below the waist and missing their manly parts.
Each man had a sign pinned to his chest that said ‘This is what happens to all
who disobey the Fuhrer and kill Jews without his consent.’ We obviously
couldn’t use them in your papers, but Göring actually had them published on the
front page of
Miss McGary,” the waiter said as he returned to their table to take their lunch
orders. Mattie thanked him and then ordered a dozen oysters and chicken hash
while Hearst went for the Dover Sole and, to her surprise, another bottle of
Pol Roger. Her boss rarely drank alcohol and, in fact, prohibited alcohol in
the guest rooms at San Simeon, his elaborate Spanish mission-style estate in
Central California.
“I must say Göring was right,” Mattie
continued after the waiter had left, “when he said the SA loved their, uh,
genitals more than they hated Jews because violence against Jews over the
course of the next year practically disappeared, especially in large cities
where most German Jews live. I think the boycott deserves the credit for
forcing Hitler’s hand to issue those decrees.”
“Okay, Mattie,
what’s next? What are you going to give me to enter in next year’s Pulitzers?
I’d really like to see you follow up on that SA leader Ernst Rohm and the story
Berlin correspondent filed in March about a
speech he gave in early February. He said that the SA was the true army of
National Socialism and that the Reichswehr
should be limited to being a training organization for the SA. I’d like to
know what your friend Göring thinks about that, not to mention the German General
Mattie frowned. It
had been well over a year since last she had been in
Germany. As a consequence, her reputation in Germany as ‘Hitler’s favorite foreign journalist’
was beginning to fade. The last thing she wanted to do was revive that by doing
a story on the SA and the German Army, notwithstanding that she had many
high-level contacts in Nazi Germany including Göring and the Nazi foreign press chief
Ernst ‘Putzi’ Hanfstaengl as well as Hitler himself.
Göring is not my friend, Chief. He is a source and
that only because my friend Kurt von Sturm is his principle adviser on
airships. Speaking of airships, Bourke and I are flying to
Europe this Saturday on the Graf Bismarck. We’re going to spend the summer at our new house in Ireland. Bourke is going to finish his book on
political assassinations and I’m going to use it as a base of operations for
what I hope you’ll approve as my next story. Patrick and his grandmother Mary
Morrissey sail tomorrow for
Ireland. He’s going to spend a month in Galway with her getting to know his first and
second cousins before he comes up to join us in Donegal.”
“That sounds like
a wonderful summer. What did you have in mind for your next story, my dear?”
“Fascist movements
Europe other than Germany and Italy. A companion piece, if you will, to my
story on fascism in
America. Democracy is in trouble, Chief. I’ve
done the preliminary research and there are fascist movements all over
Europe. If the world’s economy stays bad, many
of them could come to power just like Hitler and Mussolini.”

Her oysters arrived and Mattie ate one, took a sip of champagne and continued.

She held up her
hand, and ticked them off on her fingers. “There are strong fascist parties in
Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Poland.”
“Well,” Hearst
began, “I suppose it would be a good follow-up to the American fascist story,
but I really was hoping to have an in-depth piece on the growing tension
between Rohm’s SA and the German General Staff who I imagine don’t take kindly
to becoming just a training cadre for Nazi Storm Troopers. Our
new Berlin correspondent, Prescott Talbot, is good, but
he’s not as good as his predecessor Isaac Rosenbaum or, for that matter, you.”
Mattie began to
reply, but she was interrupted by their entrées being served. After the waiter
had left and she had sampled her chicken hash, she looked over at Hearst. “Yes,
it’s a shame you had to reassign Zack, but you had no choice after those SA
thugs fractured his skull and cut off his ear for a souvenir.
London is a far safer place for a Jewish
journalist. Look, I really don’t want to get involved in any story about Ernst
“Why is that?”
Hearst asked.
“Because when I was working on the Transfer Agreement,
Kurt von Sturm and I were kidnapped at the Reichsbank
one night by SA Storm Troopers and brought to Rohm’s hotel suite where, in
plain view, he was buggering one of his adjutants, a young, very naked blond
Storm Trooper.”
Hearst’s eyes went wide. “Oh, my God!” Hearst exclaimed.
“I had no idea.”
“Wait. It gets worse. It’s common knowledge that Rohm is
homosexual, so I wasn’t surprised, but doing it right in front of us was a tad
off-putting. What’s worse is that he threatened to do the same to me if Kurt
and I didn’t tell him why we had been at the Reichsbank that evening.”
“That’s…I’m at a loss…What a horrible person.” Hearst
“Yep,” Mattie said and slurped another oyster.
“Fortunately, Sturm bluffed our way out of Rohm’s clutches. He said that I was
an undercover Gestapo agent who used
my position as a journalist with the Hearst papers as a cover for my work for
the Reich and that we had been on a
top-secret mission inside the Reichsbank at
the behest of Reichsminister
Göring with the blessing of
the Fuhrer.”
“Well, given that, I understand your reluctance to go
anywhere near that man again, but can’t you do the story without interviewing
him?” Hearst said.
“Here’s what I can
do. “Mattie concluded, “Göring and Rohm are bitter enemies. I’ve known Göring since
1923 when he commandeered my motorcar as a machine gun platform in the
Munich putsch.
If I have Sturm convey my request to Göring to have him give an exclusive
interview to Prescott Talbot on the subject of Ernst Rohm, I’m sure he’ll
agree. I’ll have Kurt brief Talbot off the record on what he knows. Göring has wiretaps on all the top SA
people, not just Rohm. Transcripts of the calls are made daily. They’re called
the ‘Brown Pages’ because of the color of the paper on which they’re typed.
Sturm is on the approved list so he may well know a lot about what Rohm and
other SA thugs are up to.”
Hearst sighed.
“Well, it’s not the same as you doing the interview, but it’s better than what
Talbot could do on his own. I’m not enthusiastic about your European fascist
story, but let me think about it some more and I’ll get back to you. Why do I
have the idea you always get the better of me when we disagree on your next
Mattie grinned. “A
faulty memory on your part, Chief. Sooner or later, you always get your way.”

Michael McMenamin is the co-author with his son
Patrick of the award winning 1930s era historical novels featuring
Winston Churchill and his fictional Scottish goddaughter, the
adventure-seeking Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary. The first five
novels in the series—The DeValera Deception, The Parsifal Pursuit, The Gemini Agenda, The Berghof Betrayal and The Silver Mosaic—received a total of 15 literary awards. He is currently at work with his daughter Kathleen McMenamin on the sixth Winston and Mattie historical adventure, The Liebold Protocol.

Michael is the author of the critically acclaimed Becoming Winston Churchill, The Untold Story of Young Winston and His American Mentor [Hardcover, Greenwood 2007; Paperback, Enigma 2009] and the co-author of Milking the Public, Political Scandals of the Dairy Lobby from LBJ to Jimmy Carter [Nelson Hall, 1980]. He is an editorial board member of Finest Hour, the quarterly journal of the International Churchill Society and a contributing editor for the libertarian magazine Reason. His work also has appeared in The Churchills in Ireland, 1660-1965, Corrections and Controversies [Irish Academic Press, 2012] as well as two Reason anthologies, Free Minds & Free Markets, Twenty Five Years of Reason [Pacific Research Institute, 1993] and Choice, the Best of Reason [BenBella
Books, 2004]. A full-time writer, he was formerly a first amendment and
media defense lawyer and a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Agent.   

Kathleen, the other half of the father-daughter
writing team, has been editing her father’s writing for longer than she
cares to remember. She is the co-author with her sister Kelly of the
critically acclaimed Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality [Sterling, 2017]. The two sisters are professional organizers, personality-type experts and the founders of PixiesDidIt, a
home and life organization business. Kathleen is an honors graduate of
Sarah Lawrence College and has an MFA in Creative Writing from New York
University. The novella Appointment in Prague is her second
joint writing project with her father. Their first was “Bringing Home
the First Amendment”, a review in the August 1984 Reason magazine of Nat Hentoff’s The Day They Came to Arrest the Book.  While a teen-ager, she and her father would often take runs together, creating plots for adventure stories as they ran.