The plot

What really happened that fateful night when a fire destroyed the centre block of the Canadian Parliament building?

Inspector Andrew MacNutt, his wife Katherine, and Count Jaggi know as they were there in the Centre block’s reading-room when the fire started.

Ever since the war began Inspector MacNutt, head of the Dominion Police’s Secret Police, has been struggling to secure the Canadian and US border against acts of sabotage by a network of saboteurs being run by German military diplomatic attaches Captain’s von Papen and Boy-Ed out of New York City.

His job is not easy as he tries to get a grip on authorized and unauthorized counter-intelligence operations being run by various government departments, busy bodies such as Mrs. Ramsey, gripped with spy fever and over active imagination, reporting anyone with a German sounding name as a spy, and being informed of British counter-intelligence activities in New York City by the American newspapers.

The good news is that the military attaches activities had caught the attention of the American authorities, especially Inspector Tunney of the New York City’s Bomb squad. They declared von Papen persona non grata and ordered him back to Germany. The bad news, German military intelligence had sent one of their best operatives in England, Count Jaggi, to replace him with orders to hamper and disrupt Allied shipping out of New York City’s harbour.

Before going to New York, Count Jaggi visits Ottawa to get the lay of the land. While Canada had not developed the ferocious military reputation it would develop later in WW1 it was a critical supplier of food and munitions to the Allied war effort. Also, Ottawa was the key transit point for British gold shipments to pay for munitions contracts in Canada and at the United States.

His title and his cover as Belgian Relief representative, gives him a quick entry to the highest level of Ottawa society where he meets Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden, and Liberal Prime Ministers, Sir Wilfred Laurier and Mackenzie King, as well as the royals, the Governor-General, his Royal Highnesses the Duke and the Duchess of Connaught.

In Ottawa, Count Jaggi, a womanizer with a weakness for married women, meets a very attractive Katherine MacNutt, the Inspector’s wife, who is helping with the homefront war effort by working on Ottawa’s Belgian Relief committee. Their first meeting was not very auspicious since she gave him a white feather while he was mailing reports, written in invisible ink back to German. Handing out of white feathers was a common practice, by Canadian women, to encourage young men to enlist. Katherine starting handing out the white feathers when her son, Jaime, was reported missing in action in France.

When he arrives in New York, he and Müller, his second in command, try to clean up the mess created by the British confiscation of von Papen’s, personal and diplomatic papers, which detailed his intelligence activities, when his ship was stopped in the Port of Falmouth, England.

However, Inpsector Tunney is hot on the trail of German saboteurs that have been targeting Allied shipping in the New York City harbour and soon will have the Count in his sights.

As Count Jaggi takes a final trip to Ottawa, to give his Belgian Relief lecture he doesn’t know that the Inspector MacNutt has intercepted his secret letters, containing invisible ink, and is waiting for him.

But the Count couldn’t resist seeing Katherine one time for one last time with tragic consequences.