Tuesday, November 24, 2015

James R. Benn, Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery

James R. Benn, Billy Boyle:  A World War II Mystery
Soho Crime, 2006

ISBN-10: 1616953551

Billy Boyle, who has just been promoted to detective in the Boston PD, finds  himself in the Army.  Family connections get him into OCS and an appointment on the staff of his Uncle Ike (whose wife is a relation of the Boyles).  His role is to serve as a special investigator as needed.  And he is almost immediately needed, as a member of the Norwegian government in exile dies at a conference to finalize plans for an invasion of Norway (a joint operation of the US, the UK, and the Norwegians).  Also, there's apparently a German spy around.  Billy is uncertain of his ability to investigate the matter But  with the assistance of a Polish Captain (and Baron) Piort Augustus Kazimierz--Kaz--and an English WREN (Daphne Seaton), he begins to make progress.  The settings all seem realistic, and the evocation of the atmosphere in England in 1942 is extraordinarily well done.  Billy's progress toward a solution is also well-handled, and plausible.  And the ending is just flat out brilliant.  As a debut novel in a series (of, to date, 10 books), this sets the bar very high for the succeeding books.

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