cover image When Hell Struck Twelve: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

When Hell Struck Twelve: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery

James R. Benn. Soho Crime, $27.95 (360p) ISBN 978-1-61695-963-0

In August 1944, Capt. Billy Boyle is working for General Eisenhower in the Office of Special Investigations of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, in Benn’s stellar 14th WWII mystery (after 2018’s Solemn Graves). As the Allies close in on the enemy forces trying to escape the Falaise Gap, Billy’s job is to interrogate prisoners to learn about German plans to defend Paris. Boyle soon figures out that his assignment is a ruse to make it appear that the Allies are desperate for information about Paris, a clear signal that an attack on that city is in the works, when Eisenhower actually intends to bypass Paris. Meanwhile, one of the captured soldiers they question reveals that a French partisan group’s leader, code-named Atlantik, has been betraying members of the Resistance. A briefing is planned that’s intended to flush out Atlantik, complete with a phony mortar attack, but it goes wrong, and two men, including an American officer, are murdered amid the chaos. The author makes the most of the tense and dramatic backdrop to this high-stakes whodunit. Benn has surpassed himself with this installment. (Sept.)