cover image The Devouring: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

The Devouring: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

James R. Benn. Soho Crime, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61695-773-5

Switzerland provides the setting for Benn’s suspenseful 12th whodunit featuring U.S. Army investigator Billy Boyle (after 2016’s Blue Madonna). Billy and his colleague and friend Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz, a lieutenant in the Polish Army in exile, are supposed to be flown from England into occupied France and dropped near the Swiss border, but the mission goes awry after their plane is shot down by the Germans, killing the pilot. Billy and Kaz manage to make it into Switzerland, with the assistance of a member of the Sinti ethnic group bent on revenge against the Nazis. Once they reach Geneva, their contact, Maureen Conaty, explains that they are to help with Operation Safehaven, an OSS effort to identify hidden German funds so that the U.S. treasury can “negotiate with neutral governments to keep the money out of the hands of the Nazis and use it to rebuild Europe after the war.” The pair is soon investigating a murder, and Benn does his usual excellent job of incorporating historical background into a fast-paced plot, which barely slows down on the way to the satisfactory resolution. (Sept.)