An unidentified corpse on the southwest coast of England throws a wrench into D-Day planning. Can Capt. Billy Boyle identify the victim and crack the case?
April 23, 1944. Allied forces are gathered in Kingsbridge, waiting for the go-ahead to swarm the beaches of Normandy, but a body on the beach threatens to disrupt their sensitive timetable. Boston cop–turned–Army investigator Boyle (Death's Door, 2012, etc.) is called in to investigate, along with his melancholy partner, Piotr Augustus Kazimierz. The local coroner, Dr. Verniquet, confirms that the body has been in the water for more than a month and offers the opinion that the victim was a petty criminal of some sort. Billy wonders whether the dead man had darker designs, perhaps on Gen. Eisenhower, who’s supervising the big maneuver and makes a cameo appearance. Billy’s suspicions deepen when a sniper fires at him and Kaz, who end up pinned by their overturned jeep. Their probe gains traction when Billy decides to follow the money by determining who stood to profit most from foiling the D-Day invasion. The investigation leads the pair to some slick and colorful gangsters at a racetrack as well as the dining room of British society’s upper crust, where additional murders complicate the case.
Billy’s ninth case moves a bit too deliberately and may have too many red herrings, but his whiz-bang first-person narrative keeps the story afloat, and its Greatest Generation plot gives it an appealing sense of nostalgia.