March, 1944: US Army Lieutenant Billy Boyle, back in England after a dangerous mission in Italy, is due for a little R&R. But he doesn’t get to kick back and enjoy his leisure time because two upsetting cases fall into his lap at once.
The first is a personal request from an estranged friend: Sergeant Eugene “Tree” Jackson, who grew up with Billy in Boston, is part of the 617th Tank Destroyers, the all-African American battalion poised to make history by being the US Army’s first combatant African American company. But making history isn’t easy, and the 617 faces racism at every turn. One of Tree’s men, a gunner named Angry Smith, has been arrested for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit, and faces the gallows if the real killer isn’t found. Tree knows US top brass won’t care about justice in this instance, and asks Billy if he’ll look into it.
British intelligence agent Major Cosgrove puts Billy on a bizarre and delicate case. A British accountant has been murdered in an English village, and he may or may not have had some connection with the US Army. Billy is supposed to go into the village and investigate the murder, but everything seems fishy—he’s not allowed to interrogate certain key witnesses and his friends and helpers keep being whisked away.
If he’s lucky, maybe Billy can get to the bottom of both mysteries—and save more than one innocent life.
About the Author
James R. Benn is the author of the Billy Boyle World War II mystery series. He has been a librarian for many years. He lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.
The eight in the Billy Boyle series of a young police officer who enlists in World War 2 and is given the special assignment of assisting his Uncle Ike (yes, Dwight D. Eisenhower). This book gives a unique perspective on the culture of the U.S. and England as regards a black U.S. serviceman. The story is rich, complex and exciting with a superior plot and deep characterization.