World War One and British agent Anthony Brooke is on the verge of being sent back to the front, when events in London transpire to keep him away from the front line – for now. A well-to-do couple, the Jowetts, seemingly shoot each other inside Mr Jowett’s study, but there are clear signs of murder. And when it becomes clear that a kidnapped child is involved, Brooke, and his new wife, Tara, find themselves up investigating.
But the investigation will soon take Brooke to Belgium, which students of the period might realise will be a problem. The child is being held deep inside German-occupied territory and Brooke must risk life and limb to infiltrate a hospital and escape with a child in tow. Shouldn’t be too difficult…
This is the second Brooke novel, following Frankie’s Letter. I haven’t read that one, which was a bit of an issue initially as I have no idea who “Milly” was. Our hero immediately realises that the kidnapped girl must be “Milly” but unfortunately, unless I missed it, I didn’t feel I had enough information concerning her importance.
That’s the complaints over with, though. Be warned, this isn’t, and doesn’t try to be, a traditional mystery. Instead, Dolores Gordon-Smith has written an homage to John Buchan and it’s that style (as much as I know that style) of tale. The sequence when Brooke is in Belgium is cracking stuff, and the parts either side are highly entertaining too. Don’t be put off by that cover, which really makes it look like an entirely different genre, this is a fun thriller.
Not a traditional mystery, but if you’re looking for a different style of crime novel, then this is Highly Recommended.
Many thanks to Severn House for the review copy.