The Odor of Violets by Baynard Kendrick
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In the early days of WWII, a blind detective follows unseen clues to solve a murder and undermine a German spy plot.
Meet Captain Duncan Maclain. Blinded during his service in the first World War, Maclain made up for his lack of vision by sharpening his other senses, achieving a mastery of the subtle unseen clues often missed by those who see only with their eyes. Aided by his dogs Schnucke and Driest, the Captain puts the intelligence-gathering techniques he learned in the Army to work, making a name for himself as New York City’s most sought-after private detective. Now it’s 1940, there’s a second World War breaking out, and Maclain is pulled into a case unlike any he’s investigated before.
The murder of an actor in his Greenwich Village apartment would cause a stir no matter the circumstances but, when the actor happens to possess secret government plans, and when those plans go missing along with the young woman with whom he was last seen, it’s sensational enough to interest not only the local police, but the American government as well.
Maclain suspects a German spy plot at work and, in a world where treasonous men and patriots are indistinguishable to the naked eye, it will take his special skills to sniff out the solution.
Reissued for the first time in over a half-century, Odor of Violets is the most well-known installment in the long-running Duncan Maclain series, which featured one of crime fiction’s earliest disabled detectives. The novel, filmed in 1942 as Eyes in the Night, is a classic hybrid of mystery and espionage fiction.