Four Shots In the Night with Henry Hemming and Rossa McPhillips

Four Shots in the Night by Henry Hemming
Four Shots In The Night with Henry Hemming


In this episode of the Spybrary podcast, Shane Whaley and guest host Rossa McPhillips MBE discuss the book ‘Four Shots in the Night‘ by Henry Hemming.

Four Shots In the Night tells the story of the 1986 murder of a British spy inside the IRA and the subsequent investigation that took place 30 years later. It explores the role of Martin McGuinness and British intelligence in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. The hosts also discuss the historical context of the conflict and the process of getting Sinn Fein involved in the political process as well as the Kenova report. The book is praised for its extensive research and the new insights it provides into the intelligence operations during that time.

During the conversation, Spybrary Podcast host Shane Whaley shared a photo of his copy of Four Shots in the Night and how many tabs he used for information that was new to him.

Four Shots in the Night

Watch our conversation about Four Shots In the Night with Henry Hemming and Rossa McPhillips

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00:00 Introduction to ‘Four Shots in the Night'

02:11 The Emotional Impact of the Story

05:16 Focus on Frank Hegarty

08:52 The Complex Character of Martin McGuinness

15:05 The Allegations of Martin McGuinness as a Spy

22:06 The Role of Intelligence in the Northern Ireland Troubles

28:32 The Ethics of Agents Committing Criminal Activity

30:21 The Death of Frank Hegarty and Closure for Families

34:40 Future Projects

What is Four Shots in the Night by Henry Hemming about?

Four Shots in the Night is the story of a political murder: the killing of an IRA member turned British informant. 

The search for justice for this one man's death—his body found in broad daylight, with tape over his eyes, an undisguised hit—would deliver more than the truth. It exposed his status as an informant and led to protests, campaigns, far-reaching changes to British law, a historic ruling from a senior judicial body, a ground-breaking police investigation, and bitter condemnation from a US Congressional commission. And there have been persistent rumors that one of the country’s most senior politicians, the Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness, might have been personally involved in this particular murder.

Relying on archival research, interviews, and the findings of a new complete police investigation, Four Shots in the Night tells a riveting story not just of this murder but of his role in the decades-long conflict that defined him–the Troubles. And the questions it tackles are even larger: how did the Troubles really come to an end? Was it a feat of diplomatic negotiation, as we've been told–or did spies play the decisive role? And how far can, or should, a spy go, for the good of his country? Four Shots in the Night is a page-turner that will make you think.

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