Four Shots in the Night: A True Story of Spies, Murder, and Justice in Northern Ireland

PublicAffairs: Perseus. Apr. 2024. 368p. ISBN 9781541703186. $32. HIST
Hemming’s (Agents of Influence) true crime tale of murder in Northern Ireland delves into the shadowy world of Republican paramilitary organizations and spies run by the British Army and MI5. He peels back layers of secrecy and betrayal to discover who murdered Frank Hegarty, a member of the IRA’s Quartermaster Unit, which handled the hiding and distribution of weapons used for various attacks. Hegarty’s body was dumped along a lonely country lane. Using a variety of declassified government papers, memoirs, and historical accounts, the author discovered that the “Nutting Squad,” a feared IRA unit that murdered accused spies and enforced IRA death sentences, likely murdered Hegarty after the Irish police seized weapons based on information the murder victim had supplied. The author reveals British controlled IRA agent, codenamed “Stakeknife” and implicated in dozens of other IRA murders, participated in the killing at the behest of IRA chief and future Irish politician Martin McGuinness. Hegarty’s family publicly rebuked McGuiness after he promised that Hegarty would not be harmed if he returned to Northern Ireland.
VERDICT Readers interested in the Troubles will be intrigued by this dive into violence and secrecy surrounding the IRA.
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