- 372 page
- Publisher : Soho Crime
- Language: : English
- ISBN-10 : 1569479704
My rating for Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery – 4
Buy Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery from Amazon.com*
More Books by James R. Benn*
During the investigation we learn what makes Boyle tick during his recollections of his conversations with his father. What makes Boyle unique among the cliché of military sleuths is that not only he is Irish (some clues which involve his family in the IRA) but Boyle also doesn’t want to be in uniform. He grew up hearing stories about his father’s experience in WWI and living under the shadow of Uncle Frank – who didn’t make it back.
From my prior reading about the WWII generation and from talking to WWII veterans I know Boyle’s dilemma was not uncommon. A health male who was not in uniform was ashamed to walk down the street. A solution to the Boyle’s dilemma presented through political connections which got Billy Boyle into Office Candidate School and, as mentioned before, being a relative of Ike got him transferred away from the front and a policeman got him a cushy job at Ike’s headquarters.
Being unqualified to do anything which will contribute in any way, shape or form to the war effort Boyle can’t figure out what he should be doing. Before he knows it, he is being escorted around by of Second Officer Daphne Seaton of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and Lt Piotr Augustus Kazimierz of the Polish Free Corps, who goes by “Kaz”. After all the preliminary introductions to the main characters, the mystery gets underway as Boyle spearheads a multi-layered murder investigation of a high ranking Norwegian government official.
From my military experience I already realized that many decisions are made between the choices of “really bad” and “really really bad”, but the honesty of which the author writes about these might seem a brooding to many readers, yet the honesty of the high cost of war should be realized by all. There are several surprises in this book; I have to confess that I did not see the ending – which is always nice. People, main characters we care about, are wounded in this story, mentally and physically, the harshness of WWII, even when not facing the enemy or spending the night in a foxhole is seen even from London.
Billy Boyle: A World War II Mystery is wonderful historical fiction, the history, as far as I could tell, is accurate, the plot is intriguing and the mystery is solid. While many of the characters are cliche, Boyle grows in front of our eyes and realizes that fighting Chinese gangs cannot be compared to the fields of battle. Something his father and uncle tried to impress upon him before he left. This is one of those books which do not require the reader to think too much, straight fun, a bit silly but a good and easy read overall.
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
*Amazon links point to an affiliate account