The Birdmen of Cape Cod

Speaker Paul Kemprecos
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 – 5:00 PM

Join the Atwood Museum on July 20th to hear about the true story from Cape Cod’s history that inspired and influenced Paul Kemprecos’ new novel Killing Icarus. Make your reservations today for this virtual lecture!

On July 21, 1918, a German U-boat surfaced off Nauset Beach in Orleans and fired on a tugboat and the four barges it was towing. Some crew were injured, the tug was set ablaze and the barges sunk, despite the efforts of a plane from the Chatham naval air base to defend them, and a few shells hit the mainland. Little more than ten years later the Germans were back for a second, more benign invasion, when a team of three German glider experts, led by ace pilot Peter Hesselbach, launched historic glider flights from Highland golf links and Corn Hill in Truro.

In the aftermath of the flights a German-American glider school was established high on a South Wellfleet bluff overlooking the Atlantic. The school closed a year later, a victim of the stock market crash, and its buildings were used for a cottage colony.

Paul Kemprecos was a reporter for The Cape Codder when he heard about the Germans from the cottage colony owners.

Decades later, after Kemprecos had become a best-selling author, he was trying to come up with a concept for a new novel and recalled the glider story and conversations with locals who remembered the dashing young pilot and his colleagues. He wondered if any of the Germans from the school ever returned to Cape Cod. And if so, why?

The result of those recollections was Killling Icarus, a suspense-mystery set mostly in Truro, released July 2021. He will talk about how the story he heard at the top of a cliff in Wellfleet planted the seeds for the book, in which an art historian discovers a World War Two secret in an Edward Hopper sketch that links back to those days when German bird men soared above the beaches and dunes of Cape Cod.

Paul Kemprecos is the author of eight books in the Cape-based Aristotle “Soc” Socarides private detective series. He co-authored eight best-selling novels with adventure writer Clive Cussler, and two Matt Hawkins thrillers in addition to Killing Icarus. He and his wife Christi live in Dennis.

Reservations are available by clicking HERE.  Zoom link will be sent 1 hour prior to the start of the talk, you can join 15 minutes before the start.

Admission: $10, Members are Free