What's a 22-year-old Irish American cop who's never been out of Massachusetts before doing at Beardsley Hall, an English country house, having lunch with King Haakon of Norway? Billy Boyle himself wonders.
Back home in Southie, he'd barely made detective when war was declared. Unwilling to fight and perhaps die for England, he was relieved when his mother wangled a job for him on the staff of a general married to her distant cousin. But the general turns out to be Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose headquarters are in London, which is undergoing the Blitz. And Uncle Ike wants Billy to be his personal investigator.
Billy is dispatched to the seat of the Norwegian government in exile. Operation Jupiter, the impending invasion of Norway, is being planned, but it is feared that there is a German spy amongst the Norwegians. Billy doubts his own abilities, with good reason. A theft and two murders test his investigative powers, but Billy proves to be a better detective than he or anyone else expected.
"Benn crafts a crackling good adventure, with much flavorsome period color." (Kirkus Reviews)
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Best Kept Secret
Not for me
1. I found the protagonist, Billy Boyle, to be unlikeable. If I got into a conversation with him at a party, I'd be looking for an escape route in about 10 minutes. He's both rude and boring, an intolerable combination. He's not particularly intelligent, has no humor and is too shallow to make his obnoxiousness interesting.
2. The writing seems rather "entry-level" to me. The dialogue is dull, the characters and action predictable. There is very little character development. Billy Boyle is heavily drawn as a Yank in jolly olde England, all stereotypes dragged out. It seems like the author is trying to make sure that he sounds SO American, to the point where his dialogue strikes me as affected, rather than natural.
3. The narrator's Boston accent didn't work for me at all. It sounded to me like the accent I would do if I was trying to mock the Kennedy's, and I'm not much of an impressionist!
The idea for the series seems like a good one but the execution is lacking.