World War II malfeasance requires cover-ups in 1961.
Colonel Mitchell, part of the tech support sent to reconnoiter German holdings in the war, is cordially distrusted by the men who die in suspiciously large numbers under his leadership. Ben Reese, a scout for the Allies, is well aware of Mitchell’s reputation, but he’s seriously wounded and airlifted home before he can take action against him. Fast-forward to 1961, when Ben, now an archivist at Alderton University, spies Mitchell lurking in the street. But wait: wasn’t the colonel reported killed in the war? Ben’s attempts to track down this doppelgänger coincide with the attempts of Kate Lindsay, the widow of his best friend Graham, to find out who sent her a gruesome marital memento: her dead husband’s eyeball. Intercutting wartime vignettes with 1960s sequences, the plot traipses from Scotland to France to Italy, killing off two old-timers while Ben restores purloined jewelry to its rightful owner, purchases incunabula for his university and woos the fair Kate, whom he rescues from the villain’s clutches.
Poignant in delineating Reese’s combat wounds and rehab, mildly interesting when he restores a fresco and parries university politicking. But even an investigator as enthusiastic as Reese (Out of the Ruins, 2003, etc.) has far too many problems to solve with any semblance of plausibility.