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by James R. Benn

Pub Date: Sept. 6th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-641-29298-6
Publisher: Soho Crime

A righteous American soldier helps British intel in its probe of the French Resistance.

Capt. Billy Boyle’s brief respite in Cairo is cut short when he’s reassigned to a special, top-secret mission in October 1944. What should be a simple Mediterranean journey to the new HQ in France becomes a dangerous passage with the discovery that the Germans are in pursuit. Billy’s guide, Erasmos Papadakis, is accused by his fellow Greek resistance fighters of working with the Germans. When Erasmos is shot dead from afar, it’s a reminder of the constant dangers of war and the challenge of distinguishing allies from enemies. Billy’s new assignment, sorting out the true allegiances in the French Resistance, means a reunion with his longtime sidekick, Polish baron Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, and his British ladylove, Diana Seaton, who’s now working with Christine Granville, a legend among the British intelligence arm known as the Special Operations Executive. Although the books in Benn’s long-running series have evolved from straightforward whodunits with a wartime background into ambitious, atmospheric thrillers, broader both in scope and literary finesse, two mysteries propel the action here: the murder of gregarious Oxford-educated SOE officer Dickie Thorne and the disappearance of 2 million francs last seen in the custody of deceased half-German half-French liaison Albert Schenck, a Gestapo officer. Can Schenck’s widow, Marie, shed any light on this missing fortune? A lengthy historical note traces the real-life roots of some of the characters.

A solid mystery tucked into a colorful thriller dramatizing war’s complexity and devastation.