A mystery set in Philadelphia in the 1920s, when the Red Scare was waning, the Socialists were still scary, (not like Bernie Sanders), and the chief sleuth in the piece is an older man confined to a wheelchair, and helped by his two young assistants — a secretary and a young sleuth-in-training.
I have read a lot of fiction which was written in this period, and it all has a certain tone to the writing. It is a little hard to explain, but you can always tell a work from the early 1900s. This book by Peiffer has that tone, almost pitch perfect. I kept getting confused if I was reading a book from that time, or reading a modern book written to sound like that time. Yeah, I know. I confuse easily. I consider it part of my charm.
There is a lot about the socialist revolutionaries and the Reds, all revolving around the mystery of an purportedly innocent man hanged for being a Red. The book highlights the fear and hate for those coming from other countries (gee, sound sadly familiar?). The police chief comes to the wheelchair detective asking him to investigate the mystery and get to the bottom of the story. Contrary to the modern day stories where the police absolutely want the P.I.s to have nothing to do with police business, a lot of stories from the lat 1800s and early 1900s have the police asking the civilian amateur sleuth for help in solving their cases.
The title is from the bible:
It will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs fo the times? — Matthew 16:3
A nice enjoyable read, a little tedious in places, but over all, a pleasant diversion.